According to the Oxford dictionary, boycott means to “withdraw from commercial or social started relations with (a country, organization, or person) as a punishment or protest.” There is a long history related to the term, like where it came from and why. A famous boycott in the 21st century is the Grab Your Wallet boycott, initiated in July 2018, which targeted Donald Trump for not understanding the effects of climate change and discrimination. A more well-known boycott in history was the one led by Rosa Parks in 1955, who refused to give up her seat to a white person. After being forced off the bus, Parks started the Montgomery Bus Boycott through which many activists stopped riding the bus. Black people boycotted for the right to equal seating. Rosa Parks’ protest defined the word boycott for me, but recently, I’ve been doing some research to dig deeper into its meaning.
Born in 1932 in Norfolk, England, Charles Boycott made history with just his ego and his name. The time Charles was alive was a hard time for farmers who suffered from high costs for rent. Feeling sympathy for their cause, Charles, the head landlord, told his worker, Erne, to lower rents by 10%. The farmers, sensing weakness, got greedy and asked for 25% lower, and Erne said no. Charles got mad at them for being ungrateful and started to evict farmers. Now it was the workers' turn to get mad; those who still had their houses refused to pay rent at all, and the farmers without houses stopped farming, depriving the people of England of necessities like milk and eggs. Charles decided to give back the houses because he, and all the townspeople, needed the food. England decided to name this action boycotting, after the person who was targeted by this protest.
In conclusion, I am always impressed how understanding the derivation of a word can deepen its meaning. When reading about the current boycotts in the newspaper, or using my voice to stand up for what I believe in, I will always remember Charles, and I hope you do too.