Tuesday, November 1, 2011
TCU student asked to cover controversial campaign sign
Graham "Cracker" McMillan says he didn't mean to offend anyone with his nickname.
When running for elected offices, colorful signs and catchy slogans are typical. In the current Student Government Association election, one sign in particular has earned a little more attention than the others.
Graham McMillan is running for vice president of external relations at TCU under the nickname of Graham “Cracker” McMillan. But due to the varied connotations of the term “cracker,” McMillan was asked to cover his signs.
McMillan, a sophomore political science major, has introduced himself by saying, “Hello. I’m Graham, like the cracker” since high school. People can easily mispronounce his name, he said, so he began saying “Graham, like the cracker” to help people remember him.
When it came to his campaign posters, he stuck with what was familiar. Graham “Cracker” may be a familiar nickname in McMillan’s circle, but outside his circle, it is considered a derogatory term.
His signs were only out for a few days before students noticed bright blue, purple and flame-colored tape positioned over “Cracker.”
McMillan said he heard that individuals were viewing his nickname as derogatory. He covered his signs and taped over “cracker” at the urging of his SGA adviser Kim Turner. “I just followed her advice and trusted her judgement,” McMillan said.
Turner declined to comment about why she asked McMillan to tape over the word.
McMillan said if the university deemed his signs to be derogatory, then asking him to cover them was more than fair.
“I had no intention of offending anyone,” McMillan said. “I just played off my name just like I’ve been doing since I walked in the door.”
Running unopposed, McMillan said the taping of his signs has not negatively affected his campaign. He said it might have helped due to all the publicity from the change.
There were students who felt there was no need to cover his signs. Michael Dabbs, a junior strategic communication major, said the signs might have been changed because “[cracker] could have been taken out of context.”
Marc Milhollin, a junior nutrition major, said he doubted that McMillan meant to be discriminatory. He said that because “cracker” is also a derogatory term for white people, he did not understand the reaction.
“Since he’s a white person, it doesn’t seem offensive,” Jessica Altenberg said. “I really don’t see how anyone was offended.”
Altenberg, a senior nursing major, said since that slogan was a part of his personality it was natural for him to put it in his campaign.
“He’s the nicest guy,” she said. “I don’t think he would do something intentionally to hurt people.”
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