"Step on a crack, break your mother's back," has a racist past
You probably heard the saying all over the playground when you were a child at school: “Step on a crack, break your mother’s back!” The saying had kids jumping over sidewalk cracks, usually not taking the rhyme seriously. The phrase’s backstory, however, has a bleak history. It dates back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries in America, making it relatively new compared to some of the other superstitions on this list.
Originally, the saying was, “Step on a crack and your mother will turn black.” At this time in the United States, racism was rampant in society. The phrase “your mother will turn black” meant she would give birth to a black child or that she would marry a black man (interracial relationships were also a no-no at that time). This would result in tainted blood, or a “black” family line, which signified a major scandal and loss of status.