As Jay Bookman notes in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

“According to his spokesman, U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, a Southerner born and bred, had no idea on earth that the word “uppity” had racial connotations when he used it to describe Barack and Michelle Obama.

No idea at all. Could have knocked him over with a feather when someone told him. Really, who knew?”

(See also here.)

From Bookman’s comments section:

“This morning I called Westmoreland’s office:

Them: Good morning, Congressman Westmoreland’s office.

Me: Good morning, I would like to make a public comment.

Them: Yes, sir, what is your comment?

Me: I would like to compliment Congressman Westmoreland on his comments yesterday about Barack Obama. We need more people like him to call a spade a spade. You crackers in Georgia must be very proud.

Them: [long pause] Sir, there’s no need to be insulting.

Me: I’m sorry, but how did I insult you?

Them: There is no need to call me a cracker.

Me: I’ve never heard that term used in a derogatory sense. It is important to note that the dictionary definition of “cracker” is “a thin, crisp biscuit.” That’s what we meant by cracker when we used it in the city where I grew up.

Them: Well, that’s not how you meant it.

Me: Oh, so what you’re saying is that you don’t like being called names. Now you know how it feels.

Them: [another long pause] Sir, I have to take another call.”

Heh. Indeed. (h/t Jack and Jill Politics)