When I was up in Massachusetts visiting my best friend, David Sweet, we went to visit Plymoth Plantation. They were having a video shoot for an upcoming video & documentary about the first Thanksgiving. The local "Native Americans" are fairly sensitive about what you call them & how you talk to them. So, the only way Plymoth Plantation could get them to agree to participate in the video was to include a patronizing handout for the visitors - so they wouldn't offend the "Native Americans". They even sat down all the visitors in a classroom & spelled out the what we could & couldn't say.
Needless to say, I found it kinda humorous. SO...when preparing for the living history at Jonesboro, I decided to come up with my own handout, based VERY CLOSELY on the handout from Plymoth Plantation. After reading it, would you feel like you had been patronized to?
To Our Visitors:
The living history that is taking place this weekend is a very exciting and historic event. It is probable that at no time since the 1860's have we had so many Cracker Women wearing traditional clothing walking these grounds. These Cracker Women are not staff of Historic Jonesboro, but are members of other local Cracker communities who have agreed to participate in this event. The event has particular meaning for the Cracker Women as they are the people indigenous to the Jonesboro area.
Consider this and the fact that the event is open at certain times to the public (see enclosed schedule), we would like to bring to the attention of our visitors certain behaviors that are not appropriate when approaching Cracker Women.
We thank you very much for your cooperation. Cracker staff and guests will very much appreciate your respectful attitude.
- Please do not ask if people are "real Crackers." All of the people wearing the traditional homespun outfits for the event are from the Middle Georgia, Northern Alabama, and Smyrna communities. Paulding County Crackers are not represented due to a tornado at the trailer park.
-Please refrain from asking personal questions about any aspects of physical appearance. It is not generally polite to do so with any total stranger; nor is it with Cracker Women. Not all Cracker Women fit the stereotypical image of what people think "Crackers" are supposed to look like.
-Please refrain from using such commentary as "Squeal like a pig!" ; referring to men as "Bubbas"; to women as "Camp Followers"; to people generally as "White Trash"; please also refrain from humming the theme song from "Deliverance"; asking if their Nova is up on blocks; or asking if their family tree forks or not. Such phrases and questions are both derogatory and insulting, as they are drawn from demeaning stereotypes. They diminish our humanity and deprive us of basic dignity and respect.