icon bookmark-bicon bookmarkicon cameraicon checkicon chevron downicon chevron lefticon chevron righticon chevron upicon closeicon v-compressicon downloadicon editicon v-expandicon fbicon fileicon filtericon flag ruicon full chevron downicon full chevron lefticon full chevron righticon full chevron upicon gpicon insicon mailicon moveicon-musicicon mutedicon nomutedicon okicon v-pauseicon v-playicon searchicon shareicon sign inicon sign upicon stepbackicon stepforicon swipe downicon tagicon tagsicon tgicon trashicon twicon vkicon yticon wticon fm

Picnics and celebrity weddings are the latest to be added to the ever-growing list of things that are racist. Pass the sick bucket

Guy Birchall
Guy Birchall

Guy Birchall, British journalist covering current affairs, politics and free speech issues. Recently published in The Sun and Spiked Online. Follow him on Twitter @guybirchall

Guy Birchall, British journalist covering current affairs, politics and free speech issues. Recently published in The Sun and Spiked Online. Follow him on Twitter @guybirchall

Picnics and celebrity weddings are the latest to be added to the ever-growing list of things that are racist. Pass the sick bucket
According to disingenuous race hustlers the simple act of eating outdoors is evocative of lynching and Ryan Reynolds getting married at a old plantation glamorises slavery. How is anyone taking this nonsense seriously?

Picnics are the latest activity to have the shadow of racism cast across them by the perpetually offended, who must devote inordinate amounts of their waking hours searching for new “outrages” to be outraged about. 

The theory behind why the simple act of eating outdoors may be an act of white supremacy apparently stems from the fact that terrible people in old Dixie sometimes had picnics at lynchings. 

According to Treva Lindsey, an associate professor of women’s studies at Ohio State University, “The word, picnic, carries with it the memory that there was a time when white folks gathered to eat outside, burning black flesh would be on the menu.” 

Also on rt.com Gina Carano’s formidable stand against BLM bullies is a much-wanted victory over cancel culture

This is palpably insane. Is professor Lindsey seriously suggesting that saying “picnic” immediately transports black people back to the antebellum South like something out of a Jordan Peele horror movie? Is she arguing that people of colour are reminded of their ancestors being brutally murdered if they see a white family enjoying an al fresco sandwich? Does the song “Teddy Bears Picnic” need to be consigned to the dustbin of history along with “Deutschland Uber Alles”?

Apparently, the facts that the term derives from the French phrase pique-nique, and first appeared in English in a letter from Lord Chesterfield in 1748, and has absolutely nothing to do with race whatsoever doesn’t matter. Neither does the fact that most picnics in the history of picnicking had nothing to do with lynching. No, what matters is that some racist people did something and now that thing is itself racist. This is a ridiculous way to view the world. 

There is a worrying tendency these days to view certain things in the worst possible light. Like in this instance, all the picnics that had nothing to do with racial murder are now viewed through the prism of those that were. But why would we allow the worst people who did something to own that act or activity when it is, in reality, completely neutral? 

If it is argued that picnics, or the use of the word, are to go the way of the dodo because they occasionally happened near lynchings, what else is to end up on that list? Rope? Trees? White sheets? All these things are only offensive in a certain, very specific context, and it is disingenuous to suggest otherwise. If we were to expand it beyond the remit of slavery and Jim Crow then all manner of things could become problematic, virtually every German company still going that existed before 1933 would surely be on the list for starters. 

In a similar vein, there is now a fad for apologising for using things that were once associated with some centuries old sin. Just this week actor Ryan Reynolds felt the need to apologise for his choice of wedding venue because it was on an old plantation. When the Deadpool star tied the knot with Gossip Girl’s Blake Lively in 2012 they chose a stunning South Carolina mansion called Boone Hall

The settlement itself has been a working plantation since 1681 and remains one to this day. The hall, in which the Reynolds’ got hitched, is a colonial revival house that was built in 1936. Obviously, architecture is a matter of taste and opinion, but I’d wager most couples would be thrilled with it as a place to wed. It appears that eight years ago Mr and Mrs Reynolds did enjoy their big day and no one had a problem with it at the time, but then 2012 was a few years before the world went woke. 

Apparently, Reynolds first got grief for having his wedding at Boone Hall after he tweeted praise for the movie Black Panther in 2018. Your guess is as good as mine as to why his choice of wedding venue is in any way relevant to him liking a movie about a superhero from a fictional country, but I digress. This viral bout of rage clearly fizzled out quickly and probably would have stayed that way if Fast Company hadn’t decided they wanted to score some woke points. 

Reynolds has given an interview to the September issue of this magazine, in which his interviewer raises the topic of his wedding venue, or, as Fast Company calls it, his “complicated personal history”. He tells us that the actor was forced to confront this “complicated history” again after the death of George Floyd, because obviously a Hollywood wedding that took place eight years ago is inexorably linked to a death in police custody in May 2020.

We are told that the Deadpool star is “still clearly pained by the hurt the wedding caused, as well as by his own lack of judgment.” Reynolds himself describes it as variously “something we’ll always be deeply and unreservedly sorry for”, “impossible to reconcile” and “a giant f***ing mistake”. 

From those statements anyone would think that he’d had a slavery themed wedding officiated by a klansman. But he didn’t, he had a small and very private wedding, the couple didn’t publicise it, there weren’t splashes in Vogue or Hello! Magazine and, obviously, its connection to slavery was not why they chose the venue. They chose it because they liked the look of it, as did the director of the 2004 film The Notebook in which Boone Hall featured. Why is this anyone else’s business?

Also on rt.com Overdue antidote to Black Lives Matter’s poisonous ideology arrives in the form of Britain’s ‘strictest teacher’

The biggest problem with all of this nonsense is that I don’t believe any of the parties involved are sincere. I do not believe there are people who see picnicking families in the park and immediately think of someone stringing up a runaway slave. I do not believe that people were genuinely offended by a Hollywood actor’s wedding venue. And I don’t believe the people apologising for offending people with these “hateful” picnics and weddings are sorry.

All of this is performative, virtue signalling, woke b*llocks. It doesn’t help mend any fences or improve race relations, it just lines the pockets of race hustlers and massages the egos of celebrities who like to imagine they are far more important than they are.

Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

Podcasts