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Picnic
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TOPIC: Picnic
#23318
Picnic 7 Years, 7 Months ago  
In my Sociology class, the instructor was talking about race and ethnicity. While showing us a video on some of the history of the treatment of blacks in America, the instructor mentioned the origin of the word "picnic." It came, he said, from the phrase "pick a nigger," social gatherings where a black man was selected at random and lynched, while families looked on and ate their meals.

The story sounded apocryphal at the time, so after class I did a little research. Sure enough, the story is false. The word picnic has no connection with the barbarous acts of lynching, but instead originates in late 17th century France. My instructor is a highly educated and intelligent individual, but even he fell prey to a widespread hoax.

You can see more information here: www.snopes.com/language/offense/picnic.htm

I emailed my instructor, who will no doubt retract his statement at the next class. I can't fault him too much, as I myself fell prey to an internet hoax regarding Congress taxing e-mail (d'oh!).

I guess the lesson to be learned is don't take things at face value.
Kradlo
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#23319
Picnic 7 Years, 7 Months ago  
This one was new - never heard this "definition" before, and had I heard it I would have told the person pushing it that he/she is silly, as it is a French term. I actually knew that, but has never been able to spell it properly, though...

But it shows what the Internet is capable of doing to people if they're not wary and in possession of a good dictionary or encyclopedia. One of my co-workers fell for the sterility-inducing-drug-used-by-rapists hoax a while ago, and sent it off to everyone at the office. A follow-up problem is usually that the person being told that he/she is pushing drivel loses face, and some people have big problems handling that in a graceful way.
willypold
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#23320
Picnic 7 Years, 7 Months ago  
Fortunately, my instructor is a very cool guy; he's a social worker as well as instructor. I'm sure he'll take the news well. No one is perfect, and we all make mistakes. The good amend their mistakes, and I'm sure he'll amend his.
Kradlo
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