Students at the University of Florida believed the name “Black Friday” should be changed until they learned that it has nothing to do with race.
Referencing a November 18 opinion article in the Chicago Tribune called “Talk of the County: Black Friday should be renamed so it is not ‘discriminating and profiling against black people,’” Campus Reform reporter Ophelie Jacobson asked students at the schools Gainesville campus if they supported changing the name of Black Friday — the day after Thanksgiving on which millions of Americans storm retail shops to get holiday deals for gifts and other items.
“I think equality’s important,” one student said in response, while another said “I mean, I think it’s definitely a valid opinion. I kind of agree it should be changed just because Black Friday sounds offensive.”
Yet another student explained to Jacobson that they have always felt uncomfortable with the name. “Honestly I’m down to rename that,” they said, adding:
I don’t like the name Black Friday. I never really have since I was small. Whenever I would go to stores, everything would be jammed packed and I would see workers, kind of, it sounds wrong, but they would lean more toward the lighter skinned people. Like, they would assist them.
One student, however, pointed out that a name change “isn’t going to help actual black people”
Once Jacobson pointed out that the term “Black Friday” has nothing to do with race, students appeared to change their tune.
“If it’s not about skin color then I don’t see that there’s a problem,” one student said, while another replied, “If you want to just rename it to, like, spare the feelings, then that’s not helpful.”
According to the History Channel, the actual origin of the name rests with Philadelphia police in the 1950s describing the “chaos that ensued on the day after Thanksgiving, when hordes of suburban shoppers and tourists flooded into the city in advance of the big Army-Navy football game held on that Saturday every year.”
In the late 1980s, however, retailers attempted to rebrand the term to describe the transition from operating at a loss, “in the red,” to earning a profit, moving “into the black.” This rebranding stuck and remains the current understanding of the meaning of “Black Friday.”