At 08:51 PM 9/12/2000 -0700, Charley wrote: >> Egyptian, Bedowin or Cracker, matters not. Inclusionary racism is, >perhaps, >What in the world is a cracker? Back in the 1840's, Florida was cattle country. They were doing things that were done in Texas just before and after the civil war, hunting wild cattle and driving them to (in Florida's case) seaports for eventual delivery to markets. This continued through the US Civil War, where Florida beef fed much of the South. Cattle drives and all that. Beef is still an important part of the state's agriculture. But Florida Cowhunters and Cowmen (not "cowboys") of the era used long whips to herd the cows. The cows would hide in scrub that was so heavy it took a lot to get them out - frequently they could not be roped and dragged out, they had to be driven out, so the cowhunters would crack their whips (loud as a gunshot) to get the cattle moving into the open. (Actually whipping the cows would have been counterproductive, as until the 1960's, there was an insect called the "screwworm" that would infest cuts. Therefore it was important to be able to crack the whip. In the 1960's, a program started by the University of Florida released millions of sterile male screwworms, and since screwworms only mated once, they were significantly reduced in number such that they are no longer a major agricultural pest in Florida. One of the disadvantages of monogamy.) They would also use the whipcracks to keep the cows bunched on the drives. Thus, the cowmen were called "crackers". There is a historical cattle drive trail in Florida, called "The Cracker Trail". The term has been applied to white Southern US residents in general (according to Mirriam Webster it is "usually disparaging" in that case), but is usually reserved for non-city residents of Florida and, more recently (but for at least 30 years that I know of), Georgia. Check out the "Cracker Western" series from Pineapple Press. According to http://www.m-w.com, there is a significant difference between the capitalized and lowercase versions of the word. I cannot think of a way to put scuba content into this other than perhaps that some people eat crackers to reduce seasickness. Perhaps this is an indication that we are off topic and should abandon this subject. -- We will fight for bovine freedom, And hold our large heads high. We will run free, with the buffalo or die! Cows with Guns. - Dana Lyons, Cows With Guns Nick Simicich mailto:[log in to unmask] http://scifi.squawk.com/njs.html -- Stop by and Light Up The World!