In this post we fact check the origins of Black Friday and the Willie Lynch speech.
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. 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 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. It pays to check facts before sharing. 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. Another tale doing the rounds is the meaning of the word picnic.
See also: 12 Reasons to Stop Promoting the Fake “Willie Lynch” Speech