Tag Archives: etymology of picnic

The Etymology of “Picnic”

18 Jun

Several LATTC BFSA meetings ago, some members were concerned about using the term, “picnic” in describing our Juneteenth celebration.  Etymologists dismiss the claim that the word picnic derived from events in which blacks were lynched, and online sources like Snopes and Urban Legends support those claims.

However, the response from Dr. David Pilgrim, sociology professor and curator of Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Michigan, describes a different perspective.  He said that although “etymologists smugly dismiss the claim” that picnic began with the lynchings of black Americans, there is some truth in it, “as the lynchings of blacks often occurred in picnic-like settings.”  Read the whole response at  http://www.ferris.edu/jimcrow/question/jan04.htm and visit their archives for more interesting readings.

So, should we or should we not use the term?

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