To Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY), “white cracker” isn’t derogatory — it’s a “term of endearment.”
The longtime congressman ruffled some feathers last year when he told the Daily Beast that members of the tea party were the same group of “white crackers” who tried to fight desegregation in the South during the Civil Rights movement.
In a Monday interview with HuffPost Live, Rangel expressed surprise that those comments received backlash.
“I thought that was a term of endearment, you know,” Rangel said. “[The tea party is] so proud of their heritage and all the things they believe in.”
He then extended an apology of sorts for using the term, but suggested that he thought “cracker” wasn’t derogatory and that those who took offense were being hypocritical.
“With all of the feelings I have against these people that have been against justice, fair play, equality and the freedoms as we know it, if I offended them by calling them a white cracker, for that I apologize,” Rangel said. “For the rest of it — there’s a lot that has to be done here. With the names I’ve been called, I never really put cracker in that category.”
“This shows how ridiculous this is,” he added. ”A guy from Lenox Avenue who’s in Congress calls mean-spirited people that bomb and kill people, set dogs on them, lynch people and still refuse to believe that we’re suffering in pain from this — they can say, ’That guy makes a lot of sense, but he had no business calling us a white cracker.’”