Sure planking (especially by celebrities) is a really stupid craze, but racist? That's what rapper/actor Xzibit says.
Yesterday, after he said, “Planking is the dumbest shit ever,” he tweeted, “Planking was a way to
transport slaves on ships during the slave trade, it's not funny.
He also added, “Don't get it twisted. I care less where your dumb asses lay
face down and take pictures of the shit, I'm just telling you where it
Actually, it's a variation of the Lying Down Game: “also known as planking in Australia, is a mass-participatory meme that involves having one's photograph taken whilst lying rigidly face down in public space and then sharing the image via internet. Since becoming popular through Facebook around June 2009, the viral game has spawned thousands of photos of people lying flat in public landscapes across the world.”
Still, Camilo Smith at TheGrio.com says the racist idea of planking comes from the connection to how slaves were transported. In the book, Upon these Shores: Themes in the African-American Experience, 1600 to the Present, it says:
Some ships had tiny bunks, really nothing more than shelves, on
which slaves could recline; in others, the slaves lay side by side on
the planking, rolling with the ship, bodies virtually touching, for
weeks on end.