The joke is that “Sneed’s Feed and Seed” is also formerly “Chuck’s.” Get it?
Don’t worry if you don’t, because it’s not that funny. But if you’re on social media you know that hasn’t stopped white supremacists from using the joke against BIPOC at every opportunity.
The origins of the joke can be traced back to a 1999 episode of The Simpsons. In the episode, there’s a store called “Sneed’s Feed and Seed” which according to the sign was previously called “Chuck’s.” Although a dirty joke invoking some very distasteful words, this seems fairly harmless so far.
According to KnowYourMeme, the first internet reference to Sneed’s Feed & Seed comes from an episode capsule text document written on March 27th, 2000, by Benjamin Robinson on the Simpson’s Archive website.
In the post, Robinson detailed the hidden innuendo in the title by pointing out the correlation of “Sneed, feed and seed” all ending with the suffix “-eed,” meaning Chuck’s former ownership would imply the “-uck” suffix instead — leading to the store formerly being “Chuck’s Fuck & Suck” if following the initial starting letters.
The joke has since taken on a life of its own in online white supremacist communities taking their cues from 4chan. “Sneed” has for several years been used as a racial slur on the infamous website, and its white supremacists use it as a weapon to refer to BIPOCs and, in particular, journalists of color. The term is used to assert white supremacy and to dehumanize marginalized voices being perceived as a threat to white supremacy.
The slur is now leaking out from 4chan, and this has created an increasingly hostile environment for those finding themselves targeted.
The slur has become such a problem that Twitter and Facebook have taken steps to block “Sneeding” on their platform. But community leaders from Black Twitter are pointing out that it’s not enough — BIPOCs feel existentially threatened and targeted every time they encounter the joke.
Inadvertent references to Sneed or elements of the joke are basically everywhere in our daily online lives and can induce fear and alienation in targeted communities, they point out.
Efforts by social media companies to block references to Sneed on their platforms is a good step, but it’s clearly not enough to combat the problem. Community leaders are calling for more action to be taken to address the harmful effects of this slur, and to ensure that marginalized communities do not have to feel threatened in their daily lives.
The fact that a seemingly harmless joke from a popular TV show has become a battle cry for white supremacists highlights the need for greater awareness and understanding of the harmful potential of language. And it’s all so damn tiring.
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