The controversial New York Knicks guard, known for his antics both on and off the court, made waves when he posted on his Instagram page that the shopping holiday was rooted in slavery
Many Americans have called for a boycott of the post-Thanksgiving retail sales, which kicks off the official start of the holiday gift-buying season, to protest the decision by a Missouri grand jury to not indict Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown.
According to New York Knicks guard J.R. Smith’s Instagram page, Black Friday is historically linked to slavery.
On Tuesday evening, Smith posted the following message linking the biggest shopping day of the year with a “historical” factoid claiming that the day after Thanksgiving was when slaves were sold for half price. Smith quickly deleted the post, but not before users shared the image on social media.
Historically, the term had consumerist connotations by 1961, when Philadelphia police used “Black Friday” and “Black Saturday” to complain about additional traffic and other problems associated with shoppers heading out to begin their Christmas shopping.
Retailers began advertising “Black Friday” sales by the late 1980s, because the surge in sales often pushed business owners balancing their books from red into the black. Bookkeepers use red figures to indicate losses and black figures to indicate profit.
Many disagree with what the Knicks player posted, however, everyone is entitled to their freedom of speech as documented under the First Amendment.
-Tamara El (@_SheWise_)