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Planking: Entertainment or Offensive?


The Internet phenomenon "planking" is considered by some to be offensive. (WRDW-TV / July 25, 2011)

Planking consists of lying face down in an unusual location such as on furniture, roads and even parts of buildings. The participant's pictures are taken and posted on the Internet.

"I saw it on Facebook. My mom showed it to me on there and explained what they were doing, so I thought it was cool," said local comedian and "planker" Joe King.

Critics on a variety of blog sites and social networks have accused the fad of emulating the slave trade era in which the African slaves were stowed in the lower cargo hold of the slave ships in a similar fashion.

"I feel it's somewhat offensive, but in this day and age, it doesn't represent me as an African-American," said Billy Reese, a local Augustan.

The owner of the Rebel Lion Culture Shop, Samas Cartwright, also views planking as a mere fad.

"I don't think planking has anything to do with slavery. Whoever came up with it wasn't thinking about a slave boat. They were just thinking about something to do," Cartwright said. "It's not a jab at black folks. If anything, black folks get involved with it."

When gathering the interviews on this issue, a representative of the Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History declined to speak on the subject due to the surrounding controversy.

"I think it's ridiculous. It's all about what you associate things with," said Molly Lux, a tourist from Chicago. "A lot of things have multiple meanings."

Whether people feel that the Internet craze is entertaining or a form of crude humor, stunts such as planking seem like a test of time to see how far the American society has progressed through the darkest of periods.

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