We Survived Another One – The Origin of Black Friday
Tony Branco’s cartoon about “Black Friday” got me thinking (a very rare event I might add). He illustrated OWS protestors being overrun by shoppers. One of the overrun OWS protestors held a sign which said, “Black Friday is Racist!” That sign caused me to do some research. And speaking of OWS and “Black Friday,” this DJ Redman article says it all.
Today, retailers recognize the day after Thanksgiving as the first day of the Christmas shopping season, and refer to it as “Black Friday.” The idea that the day after Thanksgiving marks the official start of the holiday shopping season may be related to the Santa Claus parades, such as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, held on Thanksgiving Day starting in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
The “black” refers to the ink accountants used (before the advent of computers) to record profits, as opposed to red ink indicating losses. Note that, revenue wise, this is NOT the best day. The two days before Christmas (for all of us procrastinators) are the most profitable days. But this source tells a different story. In an effort to make it a day that shoppers wanted to avoid, the Philadelphia Police Department gave that name to the Friday after Thanksgiving. In 1966, “Black Friday” was born. The police hated the day – massive traffic jams, overcrowded sidewalks, lots of shoplifters – all because downtown Philly stores were filled with shoppers taking advantage of holiday sales. It wasn’t until 2004 that the term began to be widely used by retailers.
So where is the racism? Well, this source claims to see racism. “Once again, the racist Republican corporate fascists have conspired together to cast negativity on people of color. You’d think it’d be enough that racist Republicans celebrate the racist holiday of Thanksgiving by “giving thanks” to their bigoted ancestors for stealing from, oppressing, and murdering Native Americans, right? Wrong. They have also decided to use the biggest shopping day of the year, the day after the racist Thanksgiving holiday, to formulate yet another racist conspiracy. In this overtly racist act, they’ve decided to call the day after Thanksgiving ‘Black Friday.'” If you choose to read what this source is saying, I think that you will agree that its rhetoric is ridiculous and “over the top.”