How to Talk About Current Events: Baltimore

April 30, 2015

It’s happened again.

Police officers killed a man of color who was committing no crime and folks got upset about this.

About 10,000 folks marched peacefully, explained their positions, prayed and cried. About 30 people set some stuff on fire and those are the 30 people who most of the media and a large portion of my facebook feed is interested in focusing on.

When things like this happen, people love speaking in soundbites about it, and as an Oreo, it’s your job to make them feel okay about that. It’s your duty is to usher them through a conversation with a little awkwardness as possible. It’s a great Oreo honor to move the conversation along so you can get back to work before they start to wonder which side you’re really on.

The following is a Conversation Guide to help you do just that.

InnerVoice: Ahem!! Did I see that you posted on facebook about Baltimore??

TheOreoExperience: Yeah, I did. Excuse me everyone, this is my Inner Voice. She likes to chime in every once in a while, though I’m sure she’s just leaving–

IV: Yeah, hi folks. Just one second, Oreo and I have to clear some ish up. Posting sincere opinions about polarizing events on facebook not very Oreo of you, is it?

TOE: Well, I thought maybe I’d make myself into a more layered, nuanced character.

IV: People don’t want layers or nuance. That’s why the writer 50 Shades of Gray has been allowed to publish a book teaching people how to write.

TOE: Yikes! But you don’t think a little re-branding is okay?

IV: It’s risky. One day you’re like “oh, let’s try something new” The next day you’re Tropicana and all your merch spoils on the shelf.

Don't pull a Trop

Don’t pull a Trop

TOE: Fair enough. But you know what doesn’t go well with morning coffee and self-doubt? Your patronizing. So if you’ll excuse me, I need to write.

Part of your duty is to usher them through a conversation with a little awkwardness as possible…oh, we did that already. Here we go. Follow the patterns in this conversation guide will help you through even the most klutyz convo.


So… Baltimore, huh? Crazy. You must have opinions, huh?

Upon hearing this, your instinct may be to prepare and then jete away (which is totally appropriate in other situations. Click here for reference). However, this is a time when the nation needs to heal. Please note that though this is a time when the nation needs to heal, let your conversation partner lead the healing part of the conversation. When a person of color talks about “healing,” riots break out.

So… Baltimore, huh? Crazy. You must have opinions, huh?

Oh good morning. Let me just put a pin in this multi-department schedule I’m working on. Would you like a petit four?

I mean… why would people destroy their own city?

You mean after six days of completely peaceful demonstrating that got approximately zero media attention?

IV: Woah, woah, woah! Too much nuance. Back that shit up.

TOE: You’re right, you’re right. I forgot myself. Dear readers, don’t point out the six days of peaceful protests thing, it will just make it look like you’re involved in the “fight” or the “movement.” And no one wants a fight or a movement at their regatta.



Let’s try that again.

I mean… why would people destroy their own city?

Yeah, I know what you mean… Oh, and the lavender and sea salt in these really pair well with the ganache, don’t you think?

I mean… it’s not like that guy was innocent. Have you seen the rap sheet on that guy? What was his name Michael Brown?

No, that was Missouri.

Tamil…Tamir Rice?

No, that was Cleveland.

John C–

Crawford? That was also Ohio.

Eric Garner?

That was New York. Freddie Gray. The guy in this incident is Freddie Gray.

Right. Gray. Well anyway, he was selling drugs for years, so it’s not like he was some Boy Scout.

Yeah, and I suppose the punishment for having sold drugs should be beheading without a trail.

IV: Jesus! Calm down Oreo X. You just got them to agree that actual sprigs of lavender belong in food you’re actually eating.

TOE: Those sprigs are actually really good.

IV: Well, then focus on that.

TOE: You’re right. Lavender, good. Justified anger, fear, and concern = terrifying. Backing up.

Right. Gray. Well anyway, he was selling drugs for years, so it’s not like he was some Boy Scout.

So true. You know what else is good on these? Cracked pepper. Has to be cracked, though.

I mean, violence doesn’t fix anything, you know.

Yup, which is probably why police officers shouldn’t resort to violence when meeting with someone who isn’t actively committing violence against someone else.

IV: New choice!

You’re so right. Which is why it’s really disappointing that all the people calling for non violence now weren’t calling for it when all those videos of cops shooting people surfaced.

IV: New choice!

I hear you. Violence solves nothing. Which is why officers should be trained to diffuse situations instead of escalating it through beatings and shootings.

IV: Are you even listening to me?

Tell me about it. The only thing I want to do violence on is another one of these petit fours.

TOE: Hey, Inner Voice. This is hard. Like really hard.

IV: And that’s why we fight… with clever jokes, not with rocks. Just to clarify FBI agents who may or may not be monitoring this communique, we fight with snark, which is legal and non-lethal

You know who is a hero in all this? That mom who beat up her son for protesting. I mean, if more parents would just raise their kids, then maybe their kids wouldn’t be thugs.

(At this point, you kinda just wanna shove all the petit fours in your mouth.)

Did you just eat all those petit fours?

(muffled) They’re really good.200

They really are. Did you make them yourself?

Yeah. I couldn’t sleep after watching this Irving Berlin documentary. I was just so amped up.

Well, thanks for these. And thanks for the talk.

You’re welcome.

You um… you have lavender sprig in your teeth.



See. With just a few snacks and a little determination, you can keep your social standing, your good name, and your Oreo brand.

IV: See, that wasn’t so bad now was it?

TOE: I don’t know, Inner Voice. To tell you the truth, I really don’t know.

What’s your favorite reason for decrying the protests? And what do you like to stuff your face with to avoid reality? Let us know in the comments!


How to Write about Current Events Part I

And Part II



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I Think She Likes Me!

April 23, 2015

So yeah, I think it’s time I take my new relationship public. Spoiler alert: It’s going well!!


What do you think? How I can keep this going? Let us know in the comments!


That Time I Accidentally Joined a Cult

April 5, 2015

…or at least the first time.



Have you ever done anything insane for stupid reasons? Let us know in the comments!


The Best Quotes From That Deadline Story

March 26, 2015

People have been up in arms over Nellie Andreeva’s story on Deadline about how there are too many ethnic faces on TV these days.

If you didn’t get a chance to read it, you can check it out at this link.

Tl;dr version: Because TV shows are getting more diverse, deserving white actors are losing out on roles and we’ve maybe gone too far with this whole diversity thing.

People were not impressed.

ShondaRhimes Deadline

And sure, the article is full of quotes like this:

“…the pendulum might have swung a bit too far in the opposite direction. Instead of opening the field for actors of any race to compete for any role in a color-blind manner, there has been a significant number of parts designated as ethnic this year, making them off-limits for Caucasian actors, some agents signal. Many pilot characters this year were listed as open to all ethnicities, but when reps would call to inquire about an actor submission, they frequently have been told that only non-Caucasian actors would be considered.”

And this:

“Because of the sudden flood of roles for ethnic actors after years of suppressed opportunities for them, the talent pool of experienced minority performers — especially in the younger range — is pretty limited.”

And this:

“While they are among the most voracious and loyal TV viewers, African-Americans still represent only 13% of the U.S. population. They were grossly underserved, but now, with shows as Empire, Black-ish, Scandal and HTGAWM on broadcast, Tyler Perry’s fare on OWN and Mara Brock Akil’s series on BET, they have scripted choices, so the growth in that fraction of the TV audience might have reached its peak.”

And sure, people are upset with the fact that a white lady is screaming “reverse racism” because like 5 shows have minority leads. Yeah, people are bugged that she’s intimating that black actors aren’t as talented as white actors. And folks are annoyed that Andreeva is OK with the fact that there has always been a larger percentage of white people on TV than there are in the actual population, but it freaks her out when it’s the other way around.

Fine. Heard.

But while there were some “offensive” quotes in this piece, there were some great ones, too! And no one’s talking about those. So, you’re welcome from The Oreo Experience.

Here are the best quotes from the Nellie Andreeva article.

Like take a look at this:

“In one instance, after a number of actors of different ethnicities tested for two roles in a pilot this year, two Caucasian actors ended up being the top choices for the two remaining regular parts.”

A dependent clause! Just chilling, hanging out in the middle of a sentence. Obviously, this girl can write! And the fact that she can write complex sentences while her freedoms are being chipped away one episode of How To Get Away With Murder at a time is extra impressive. Anne Frank only wrote one book. Andreeva writes like four posts a day. You get it, girl!


And this!

“This is not to say that there weren’t other hot commodities this pilot season; star names were in demand as usual, as were hot young guys and girls and occasional foreigners with that ‘sparkle.'”

Proper use of a semi-colon. That’s hard to do! It’s especially hard to do when you are holding such a heavy torch, even if it is in your non-dominant hand. Have you looked at the I Have a Dream speech? No semi-colons.


And look at this!

“Television has been successful with shows that had both all-white (Friends, Seinfeld) and all-black (The Cosby Show) casts on the strength of their premise, execution and talent performances and chemistry.”

In-sentence citations!! With italics! Fancy!



So I think this shows that everyone can just calm down a bit. I’m guessing she even spelled her name correctly. And that is very hard to do when filled with the very justified fear that your people are being unfairly oppressed. I mean, Eric Garner could barely form more than one sentence, imagine how Nellie feels.


What do you think of Nellie’s article? Is TV too ethnic? Not ethnic enough? Do we just need more cowbell? Let us know in the comments!


I know, dear ones. This may sound like difficult TV times for the aspiringly creative, but you can help. Here are some of the best ways to be a good Oreo, to fight the good fight, and to make sure that everyone feels safe in their skin and with yours.


Quick Oreo Tip: Always Volunteer to Take the Picture

March 19, 2015

Don’t let this happen to you.





Always take the pic XX

I know, I know. You’re very excited about singing wenching songs at that Renaissance Faire, performing some delightfully observant sketch comedy, and stopping for a snapshot during that road trip to visit South Carolina’s most haunted historic plantations. You want proof that you were there. You want an image of a lovely memory. You want something to throw up on Facebook.

But phone cameras aren’t interested in what you want.

Filters can’t save you now.


Do you like the way you look in photos? Any filters out there that help save you from yourself? 

Let us know about them in the comments. 


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I Just Don’t Look Like Michelle Obama, Tho

February 13, 2015

About once a week at least one person tells me that I look “just like” Michelle Obama. They say this with straight faces, without being punked, and usually very excitedly.

Just for reference. Here is a picture of the First Lady.


And here is a picture me in the state I’m usually in when people tell me that I look just like the First Lady.

Just in case it’s still not clear that these pictures are of two different women, let me point out the differences.

Photo on 2-13-15 at 2.05 PM #2

Michelle Obama is 5 feet, 11 inches tall.

I am 5-foot-4 on a good day


Michelle Obama’s hair is a beautiful and even distribution of chestnut brown and black.

My hair is salt and peppery in randomly placed streaks.


Michelle Obama has gotten her pre-baby body back.

The other week, someone asked if I was pregnant


Michelle Obama can clearly do a few good minutes of kettlebell swings

I can recognize kettlebells in pictures.


Michelle Obama’s nails are a lovely length and manicured.

The pinky nails on my hands and feet refuse to grow at all.


Michelle Obama’s style has been described as “classic” and “all-American.”

My style has been described as “mostly from Target, but sometimes Ross, too.”


Michelle Obama is married to the thoughtful, progressive leader of the free world.

I once dated a guy who cried every time we went on a date because I “reminded him so much of the nanny who raised him… But she was more than a maid, she was like family. LIKE FAMILY!!”


Michelle Obama went to college and got a law degree from Harvard

I went to college and got a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism, or as it’s noted on my diploma, a BJ


Michelle Obama has met the Queen of England

I have watched many episodes of Downton Abbey


Who do people say you look like? Are they also lying? Let us know about it in the comments.



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Black History Month: A Short Survival Guide

February 6, 2015

I remember it like it was yesterday.

There I was, 8 years old, making some awesome dioramas, sipping Capri Suns neat, and generally just enjoying the crap out of fourth grade.

Slip one of these inside your Trapper Keeper and you were set!

Slip one of these inside your Trapper Keeper and you were set!

To that point in time, I had made it through 6 years of schooling being able to skate under the racial radar, not draw attention to myself, and generally thinking that who I was was OK.

Then Black History Month came along. A separate but equal period of time in which to focus on what really matters — the things that make us different that we must learn to crush into submission.

Despite my years of training, people still sometimes look at me and think “Oh, a black person. Isn’t that nice/vaguely threatening/potentially interesting.” And during this month, those thoughts have the potential to run rampant. Suddenly you go from just another friendly face at the bar to someone who can potentially answer some questions.

Trust me, you do not want to answer those questions.

The more questions you answer about “your experience as a minority,” or “your point of view on current events as a minority,” or “your thoughts their new savory egg and hemp seed muffins as a minority,” the more likely you are to dirty the lens through which people see you. You’ve worked too hard to suddenly turn into someone’s black friend.

“But what do I do?” you’re thinking. “How do I avoid these conversations?” “What if someone comes toward me, MLK biography open and dog-eared, how do I escape?”

With these 5 steps, it’s easier than you think.

Get Your Blinders On

Always remember that their vision is based on movement. This advice works for avoiding dinosaurs, it works for avoiding Regular Black People, and it works for avoiding well-meaning co workers as well.

You know the feeling. You’re sitting in your cube. Happily scrolling through Instagrams for images for your vision board working incredibly hard at helping the company meet its goals when you feel it. The eyes from a few cubes away.

Do not look into them. One second of eye contact and you’re giving a green light to awkward questions.


If you find the stares difficult to ignore, just pull out some of your polo prep. Grab a wide-brimmed hat or parasol; and if all else fails, just borrow your horse’s blinders. Colonel Beauregard Sable won’t mind at all.

Opera Sonar and Grand Jete Away

There’s a reason dolphins never run into you. Okay, several reasons actually. But one of the big ones is sonar. They send a sound into the world, wait to see what it bounces off on and avoid what they need to. You can do the same.

Keep a cadenza on your lips and listen for its echo. When that bad boy starts to doppler, get away and get away fast. Whether it’s Grand, Russian, or Tour, a jete is just the thing to get you out of the line of sight asap. A glissade will also do in a pinch.

Plus, look how happy you look!

Plus, look how happy you look!

Let Them Correct You

You only have to say “Blooker P. Wooshingbun” once in a conversation for folks to get the message.


Look The Part

Get your hair done, slap on a shade of foundation a half shade lighter than you, press that Peter Pan collar, stand in the right light… and folks might have to look twice to confirm your ethnic status. In that second it takes them to reconsider you can make your getaway.


Distract and Deflect

Sometimes, despite doing everything right, someone’s going to ask you something awkward. It’s okay. The good news is you don’t need to make a scene and be all uppity about it. You’re not an RBP after all. The better news is that you also don’t have to answer.

Look, it would probably be helpful to be people’s very own personal ethnic point of reference. But once you admit to identifying with the minority, that’s all folks will be able to see you as. So it’s not about being rude to get out of the convo, it’s about self-preservation.

Here’s your script: “That’s a really good question. I would love to answer it, but I have to finish this piece for a haiku festival this weekend.”

Discussing fencing is also an excellent way to change the topic

Discussing fencing is also an excellent way to change the topic

They’ll tell you that they’ll catch up with you later (or, if they’re feeling like risking it all, that they’ll “holla at you later.”) But chances are, they’ll find a real RBP or the self-awareness to know that it’s not your responsibility to explain anything to them and they’ll forget they ever asked. You won’t forget, but that’s okay. Part of being a good Oreo is learning to love that burning, gnawing feeling.

If you don’t have anything going on this weekend, feel free to use our handy Oreo Excuse Generator.

What do you think about Black History Month? Helpful teaching tool or terrifying social construct? Let us know in the comments! 


For Mor-eo Oreo:
Follow The Oreo Experience on Twitter (@oreoexperience)
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Watch fun Oreo videos on youtube!

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