Franchesca Ramsey, the host of MTV’s YouTube series Decoded, created a video explaining why she does not believe the terms “cracker,” “white trash” or “redneck” are racist. She starts the video by mocking poor and homeless white people who deny the concept of white privilege. Afterward, she asserts that the terms “cracker,” “white trash” and “redneck” are classist rather than racist because they were coined by upperclass whites. Although Ramsey admits that each of those terms have become racialized, she denies that they are racist because African-American slaves were not using them to oppress poor white people.
Ramsey fails to understand that context of words change over time and racism does not equate to institutional oppression. For example, the origin of “monkey” is just the name of a primate and was never meant to be a racial slur. Given Ramsey’s own logic, calling someone who is African American or black a “monkey” is not racist (which is certainly not true).
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