Toni Braxton posted a call to boycott Black Friday on her Facebook page with an image of a slave auction and text claiming that Black Friday was linked to slave auctions the day after Thanksgiving. This post did the rounds on Facebook and Twitter helping to miseducate generations of Black people. Celebs have the power to do so much good if only they would educate themselves first.
This claim is false. The origins of Black Friday have nothing to do with slavery. According to Snopes, the term was first coined in 1951 to refer to the practice of workers calling in sick on the day after Thanksgiving in order to have four consecutive days off.
By 1961 the term “Black Friday” was being used mockingly by Philadelphia police, who had to deal with the mayhem caused by all the extra pedestrian and vehicular traffic created by hordes of shoppers heading to the stores on the two days after Thanksgiving.
Eventually, the term was claimed by retailers to refer to the fact that the day after Thanksgiving was a chance for their accounts to be ‘in the black’ as the Christmas holiday shopping began.
Someone deliberately created that image to get a rise out of Black folks and it wasn’t Toni. It is hard to understand why someone would want to tell lies about something like this until you look at other things designed to trigger black anger.
You may have heard the saying “the best way to hide something from Black people is to put it in a book.” Whilst nobody knows for sure where the saying came from we can all agree that it is designed to serve up negative emotions and possible debate.
The etymology of picnic
Here’s another tall tale showing the lengths some will go to get a rise out of people. The $$ signs are inserted to lessen offence.
This e-mail is being sent to you as a public service announcement and as information in the form of a little known Black History Fact. This information can also be found in the African American Archives at the Smithsonian Institute.
Although not taught in American learning institutions and literature, it is noted in most Black history professional circles and literature that the origin of the term “picnic” derives from the acts of lynching African-Americans. The word “picnic” is rooted from the whole theme of “Pick A Ni$$er.” This is where individuals would “pic” a Black person to lynch and make this into a family gathering. There would be music and a “picnic.” (“Nic” being the white acronym for “ni$$er.”) Scenes of this were depicted in the movie “Rosewood.”
We should choose to use the word “barbecue” or “outing” instead of the word “picnic.”
Please forward this e-mail to all of your family and friends and let’s educate our people.
The truth is that the word ‘picnic’ began life as a 17th-century French word: it wasn’t even close to being an American invention. A 1692 edition of Origines de la Langue Françoise de Ménage mentions ‘piquenique’ as being of recent origin and marks the first appearance of the word in print.
As for how the French came by this new term, it was likely invented by joining the common form of the verb ‘piquer’ (meaning “to pick” or “peck”) with ‘nique,’ possibly either a Germanic term meaning “worthless thing” or merely a nonsense rhyming syllable coined to fit the first half of this new palate-pleaser.
The first documented appearance of the term outside the French language occurred in 1748, but picnic was rarely used in English prior to 1800 or thereabouts. Even then, the word still wasn’t being used in America (but rather in England) and referred to a fashionable pot-luck social affair that was not necessarily held out-of-doors.
The Willie Lynch speech
When it comes to negative emotions, can there be anything more debated than the Willie Lynch speech? This is supposed to be a speech given by one William Lynch to slave owners. In this speech, he reveals the secret of controlling slaves by setting them against each other. Despite the infamous speech being proven as a hoax, Black people still debate its merits. There are many who know (and admit) that the “speech” is fake but they want to “wake up” Black people.
In other words, they consciously lie to Black people when it is convenient.
Why do people knowingly share lies on social media: Likes, shares and retweets seem to be a factor but Black anger for sport could be another. A lot of so-called racist posts are actually created by black people so it pays to be cautious. One person shared a story of a black boy being killed by police just to see how many people would retweet it without fact-checking. It got thousands of retweets.
The way we get our news has changed a lot. Even I jumped on Twitter to see what’s doing the rounds but before I press retweet on a controversial topic, I check my facts. We like to call people out on their racist behaviour but we should make sure to call each other out on our bullshit lies and shit-stirring too.