An ex-hostess who worked at Cracker Barrel posted a video to her Tik Tok account, revealing that some of the employees used a “code” word to reference Black people.
According to Newsweek, the video has amassed over 237,000 views as @cinnamnhoney shared her experience working at the popular restaurant chain in Arizona.
@cinnamnhoneya waitress used to complain SO MUCH if i sat “canadians” in her section & i was so confused bc i thought canadians were stereotyped as nice♬ original sound – kooze
“A waitress used to complain SO MUCH if I sat ‘Canadians’ in her section & I was so confused bc I thought Canadians were stereotyped as nice,” she wrote in her caption.
In the video, the Tik Tok user reflected on the incident as the on-screen caption read, “Me, a hostess at Cracker Barrel, wondering how every employee knew a table was full of Canadians even though they didn’t have a telling accent.”
Moments later, the video changed to a new caption: “‘Canadian was a code word for black people”.
After learning the surprising information, Cracker Barrel told the outlet it “will be looking into the matter further.”
“We only recently learned about this video and have not had a chance to identify or speak with the relevant individuals. Obviously, racism has no place at Cracker Barrel and any actions like the ones described in the video would be against our policies, beliefs and who we are as a company,” a Cracker Barrel spokesperson said.
While this may have been the first time @cinnamnhoney has witnessed the slur being used, it’s not considered a new word. In 2008, former assistant district attorney Mike Trent of Harris County, Texas, released an internal memo referring to Black jurors as “Canadians,” The Guardian reported.
The memo was initially written in 2003 and surfaced five years later. Trent praised the prosecutor for his handling of a specific case.
“He overcame a subversively good defense by Matt Hennessey that had some Canadians on the jury feeling sorry for the defendant and forced them to do the right thing,” Trent wrote, according to The Toronto Star.
Trent explained that he did not know the word was used as a disguised slur and that he thought there were Black Canadians on the jury, per The Star. However, Canadians can be naturalized as U.S. citizens, but the outlet confirmed that there were no ex-pat Canadians on that jury.
Other users commented on @cinnamnhoney’s post, sharing their experiences with the word “Canadian.”
“This happened to me too but at a water park, I was a lifeguarding! I had NO idea,” @demileigh1994 said. In a follow-up, she added. “The other lifeguards were saying ‘yeah I had to jump in after a Canadian.’ ‘Canadians can’t swim.’ And I said how do you know they’re Canadian?”
“Absolutely ridiculous I remember this as a host. As well as “NIMS”. N-words in my section. Some people don’t deserve even basic and common decency,” @yode_r wrote.
“I had a coworker tell me this when I worked at Olive Garden “they were Canadian I knew they wouldn’t tip” I was appalled when I learned what that meant,” @subdivisionsunrises said.
Since “Canadians” was already used at their former establishment, another Tik Tok user said they came up with a different word to reference Black patrons.
“Canadians was already well known so at the place I used to work at so they used ‘executives’,” @beanzaza wrote.