How Cracker Barrel Just Got Dragged Into Another Controversy

If there was ever a modern restaurant chain that can't seem to avoid controversy, it's Cracker Barrel

Cracker Barrel is supposed to be a nice, family-friendly country-themed restaurant where people can go to eat deep-fried foods at a reasonable price. As explained on the  FAQ page of Cracker Barrel's website, the chain was named after the tradition of people gathering around a cracker barrel at the local general store to talk. In fact, Southern Living observes that this tradition is closely tied to the meaning of the term "cracker barrel." defines it as an adjective "suggesting the simple rustic informality and directness thought to be characteristic of life in and around a country store." As it turns out, this restaurant chain has received negative attention due to its name in the past couple of years.

There has been an ongoing rumor circling the net claiming that "Cracker Barrel" relates to the racist white nationalist term or to a barrel of "whips" used on enslaved people. In one iteration, posters even claim that the stylized "K" in its store sign is supposed to be a whip. This has been debunked, by Sopes, though it is true that in other contexts, the term "cracker" has been used in reference to cracking whips. Even so, the name seems to keep coming back to haunt the restaurant chain.

Cracker Barrel's name is being tied to a white supremacist group

Recently, the arrest of 31 white nationalists who were hiding in a U-Haul sparked up yet another controversy regarding Cracker Barrel's name. The members in question were armed and plotting to riot at a Pride event. So, what does have to do with a restaurant and store chain that sells a lot of rocking chairs and Southern-style meals? It can be summed up in a Twitter and a joke that went like this: "What do you call a U-Haul filled with white supremacists? A cracker barrel!"

The pun, of course, comes from the term "cracker," which is slang for a white supremacist, and the fact that a group of them were found crammed in a tin "barrel" ... erm, U-Haul. Since the arrest occurred, Twitter has been lit up with the hashtag #CrackerBarrel as a way to discuss it. At the time of this writing, Cracker Barrel hasn't released a statement regarding the trolling or the joke. Perhaps that's for the best. So, if you were worried about something going wrong at the Cracker Barrel near you, fear not. It's just people trolling racists and poking fun at a very unfortunate name association.