And it's not just something the kids are doing. It's been a worldwide meme that's been a viral phenomenon since at least this spring, with the widely publicized death of a 20-year-old who fell off a balcony trying to take a picture of himself planking.
But now, the concept of planking is becoming more and more visible in references made on Twitter by members of the hip-hop community.
Within the black community, some of the photos are arguably horrendous. One shows a woman with her head in a toilet bowl, hands to the side, feet against the wall. Others show people in sexual positions. Body outstretched on a stool.
The rules of planking require you to keep your body in a straight position with your hands to the side, face down. A humiliating pose to say the least. The term that black folks have been using is #plankin or #planking.
CBS Sports has showcased several photos by Orlando Magic's Gilbert Arenas and center Dwight Howard whom they called "two of the most prolific plankers". Photos showed the two planking at a hotel and throughout Orlando's Amway center.
As the wave of planking photos built to a wave and then crested yesterday at least one person made people think about a more serious side of planking. Comedian Katt Williams posted a picture on Twitter showing a man being arrested, face down on the ground, hands cuffed behind his back. The caption on the photo: PLANKING, You're Doing It Wrong. Williams added the message "Black people been #Plankin for years."
And that's what's gotten so many in the black community shocked by this Internet craze which trended heavily on Tuesday. There were multitudes of mentions and even people who said the word "planking" was derived from a slavery era term. It allegedly described the prostrate position slaves had to take when traveling over the Atlantic.
From the Wikipedia page on "slave ship":
Often the ships, also known as Guineamen, transported hundreds of slaves, who were chained tightly to plank beds. For example, the slave ship Henrietta Marie carried about 200 slaves on the long Middle Passage. They were confined to cargo holds with each slave chained with little room to move.
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