#CrackerBarrelGate Shows How Far Racist Vitriol Goes When Black People Point Out Racism
Facebook seemingly ignored the racist and sexual threats made at Ijeoma Oluo.
August 06, 2017 at 2:36 pm
The Establishment Editor-at-Large Ijeoma Oluo shared her unease while dining at a Cracker Barrel restaurant while on vacation but her tweet meant to make light of her uneasiness fueled racist trolls and incited a storm of backlash on Facebook and Twitter.
On July 31, Oluo tweeted about eating at a Cracker Barrel for the first time. She wrote jokingly about the number of white customers in the restaurant saying "will they let my black a** walk out of here?" Her joke was based on previous instances where the chain faced discrimination accusations.
In the past, Cracker Barrel has been at the center of major lawsuits alleging the restaurant chain of racism. One of the largest lawsuits was a $100 million civil rights lawsuit filed in 2001. According to the Associated Press, that lawsuit accused Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc. of systematic discrimination and documents acts of alleged racism in 175 cities in 30 states. And in 2004, the United States Department of Justice investigated the chain and proved the claims of discrimination to be true.
Within days, her joke was met with an onslaught of threats ranging from rape to being shot on sight. Users also left racist and dehumanizing memes on Facebook that compared the writer and mother to monkeys.
Trolls claimed that her joke was racist toward white people and that sentiment served as justification for their racist responses. Oluo documented every moment, screenshot messages/posts and tweets and recorded Twitter and Facebook's handling of the threats on Medium in an Aug. 2 post.
Quick summary of #CrackerBarrelGate from what I can tell:— Gretchen Koch (@GretchenKoch) August 2, 2017
Ijeoma Oluo: Haha, I'm afraid of white people
White People: YOU FUCKING SHOULD BE
This is some of the most vile shit against a PoC I have read in a long time. #crackerbarrelgate— VzA (@ValerieComplex) August 3, 2017
I've never used "cracker" as an insult against white people - it's not even a good insult. Good to know you'll get mad over nothing tho pic.twitter.com/Egmap2LER3— Ijeoma Oluo (@IjeomaOluo) August 5, 2017
Oluo admitted that Twitter was helpful in removing and locking many of the user profiles responsible for sending the messages and tweets her way. However, Facebook was not so quick to do the same.
"They suspended me for three days for posting screenshots of the abuse they have refused to do anything about," she wrote. For three days, she was met with racist messages/posts like these:
Despite the trolls' best attempts to silence her, Oluo had both white and black supporters, including comedian W. Kamau Bell.
Wow. White people gonna white people #crackerbarrelgate— Jude™ (@TheEntropicMan) July 31, 2017
Hey fellow white folks: a black woman stating how she feels inside a very white space IS NOT racism. Maybe try listening #crackerbarrelgate— Katy Horan (@katyhoranart) August 3, 2017