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You Can’t Say That on Television…Without Letting Me Know to Tune In!

October 25, 2013
Aasif Mandvi - those eyes, that smirk, that ability to make people forget that their words are being broadcast to millions and that there are such things as "consequences" mmmmmmmm

Aasif Mandvi – those eyes, that smirk, that ability to make people forget that their words are being broadcast to millions and that there are such things as “consequences”  - Yum!

In case you didn’t catch Thursday’s Daily Show clip that everyone is talking about, here’s the Reader’s Digest version: (Note to self: Find out if people still read Reader’s Digest)

Aasif Mandvi interviewed Don Yelton, a GOP Precinct Captain from North Carolina. During the interview, the two discussed voting rights generally, and more specifically, the fact that since the Supreme Court repealed part of the Voting Rights Act, North Carolina has done what it can to make sure that only the right people get the right vote. Yelton agrees with this practice and supports oppressive voting rules that keep various populations out of the polls. Oh, and he’s super racist about it.

If you haven’t seen the video, it’s worth a watch. So click here for that. Don’t worry, we’ll wait. (and if someone wants to teach me how to embed Daily Show clips on WordPress, there’s a bright and shiny oatmeal raisin cookie in it for you!)

HmmmmmhmmmmmooooooAAAAAAAAAAlalalalalawhatdoesthefoxsaytchofftchofftchoffalliwantedwastobreakyourwaaaalllllsbuteverybody’slikecristalmaybachdiamondsonyourtimepiecesomethingsomethingtigersonagold — oh you’re back!

So yeah. I watched that video and as you might expect, I was pissed.

That guy was so phoning it in! Sure, he trotted out uncomfortably bigoted phrases like “one of my best friends is black,” and “lazy blacks,” and “we call them negroes,” and yes, he even dropped the n-word a couple of times. Good for him, but he left so many great phrases out!

With just one more ounce of sticktoitiveness, Mr. Yelton could have done us the favor of saying words and phrases like:

  • Welfare queens
  • Food stamp president
  • Tar baby
  • They just don’t value education
  • Our blacks are better than theirs
  • Look, if it wasn’t for slavery, they’d all still be smashing rocks and throwing spears in Africa
  • What’s the difference between a pizza and a black guy
  • Can I touch your hair
  • The Holocaust? Yeah, I’ve heard that propaganda before.
  • Fried chicken and diabetes

With just one or two extra phrases, I could have totally won last night’s game of Unbelievably Dumb And Totally Cliched Right Wing Racist Things Bingo–a game I play weekly. PM me for deets on the next location.

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Vacation Rules

October 14, 2013

Just got some pictures and daguerreotypes back from a week away I spent with the fella’s family.

To be fair, there is a lighthouse in all of my vacation photos from where ever I go.

To be fair, I can’t take a vacation photo that doesn’t include a lighthouse. No matter where I am.

This is a branch of the family he doesn’t talk to or see all that often, so it was a great chance to reconnect. Even better, unlike visiting the distant arms of my RBP family where we literally had KFC for dinner (don’t worry, eating fried chicken on someone else’s dime is one of the exceptions that makes it okay to consume. Still, I didn’t like it), his extended family are the waspiest. They pronounce their “r” as “ah”s, they went to boarding schools, they start drinking at 4 p.m and don’t stop until after midnight. Hashtag heaven.

Of course, I did learn some things on my visit and will share them here. Feel free to use these tips on your next trip to New England. And please feel free to add any of your own.

Do try to date someone who’s family owns a house from the early 1900s. It will go nicely with your chalet.

Don’t continue to date them unless said house is at a cape or in the St. Lawrence River. Easy, land-locked vacations are for the weak.

Do remember to pack Dramamine. You don’t want to look like you’ve never been in an antique Chris Craft before.

Don’t get into the water! Even if the boat capsizes, do not go in! You’re bright. Figure it out. You may float on it, hydroplane over it, or drink next to it. But one drop of natural river water without a tonne of conditioner at the ready and your freshly pressed hair will kink right up and leave you looking like a q-tip. No one can unsee that. Especially wasps.

I don't care how many floaties you have to stuff in that hull. Do not let yourself get wet! (source)

I don’t care how many floaties you have to stuff in that hull. Do not let yourself get wet!
(source)

Do laugh at their jokes about how you are the only person of non-European descent who has ever visited the house. It is pretty funny when you think about it.

Don’t be surprised when even though your boyfriend has slept in the main, appointed quarters of the house his entire 4-decade life, he suddenly finds himself relegated to the servants quarters because he’s with you. It’s not personal, they’ve just instituted some new rules….this year. House virgins have to sleep in the servants’ quarters with the peeling paint and mold on the walls. That way they “appreciate it more” next time. You’d do the same with your chalet.

Do use the time to catch up on your reading. Proof is still excellent…or maybe it’s Doubt. I get those confused. You know what, bring both. Also, Faust.

Don’t be surprised when the patriarch of the family hands you a book and says he thinks you’ll love it. Spoiler alert, he’s going to give you a spoiler alert and it will sound like this: “It’s really interesting. It’s about sailors who were shipwrecked and became slaves. But here’s the thing. They were white slaves. White. Slaves.”

Do agree that white slavery is definitely the weirder slavery.

Don’t be surprised that two more days pass before the master and mistress of the house talk to you directly and that it only happens after they find out you ride horses.

Do be prepared to show photos of show ribbons or the conversation will be brief.

Don’t take offense to the hundreds of questions everyone has about your hair when you curl it that one time.

Do not let them touch it. No one needs that can of worms.

Don’t forget to drop words like “Main line,” “Colby College,” and “made pony.”

Do go ahead and answer when your boyfriend’s mom continually calls you by the name of his first black girlfriend.

Don’t correct her. Once it happens five times in a row, it’s just going to be awkward to change the pattern.

Do not hug and kiss goodbye at the end of the trip. That kind of showiness is for Southerners.

Don’t forget about to start planning next year’s trip early! And just wait, you might get moved up to the nice rooms.

What was it like the last time you visited your in-law types? Let us know about it in the comments! 

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So Stereotypical

September 24, 2013

People often ask me why I try so hard to escape my ethnicity. It’s an odd question to be because there are plenty of obvious reasons. I mean, come on! Think about it. It’s pretty clear. I mean, who would want to be… Why would anyone let themselves look like… I can’t believe people would be contentReally? With the choices out there, someone would actually… Who wants to be in the same group as… Seriously? People are okay with that… Anyhoo

I digress.

It’s not just that I want a better deal on my home or auto loan, a lessened chance of getting diabetes, and the ability to get my hair done without it feeling like I’m being punished. The truth is, one of the biggest reasons I work so hard at surprising people with just how Oreo I am is that in many other ways, I am beyond stereotypical.

  • As a Los Angeleno, I will drive to something even if it’s only 3 blocks away.
  • As someone who was raised Baptist, I’m always terrified I’m pregnant.
  • As someone who drifted over to Episcopalianism, I kvetch way too much about whatever I give up for Lent.
  • As an American, I’m pretty sure I can’t differentiate between Yemen and Bahrain on a map.
  • As a Southern Californian, I’m freezing if it’s below 70-degrees.
  • As a left leaner, I don’t get what’s so great about owning assault weapons or what’s so terrible about letting poor kids eat food.
  • As someone who looked like this in high school, I found refuge in the theater.
  • As a theater kid, I sing showtunes all the bloody time.
  • As a writer, I’m perfectly content not speaking to anyone for a week or so straight.
  • As a member of the tail end of Gen X, I fiercely fight for my right not to be lumped in with Gen Y. Nothing personal, most of my friends, but I was born in the 70s and that fact is important to me.
  • As a woman, I always wish I were thinner and I freaking love yogurt. Seriously. I will Yogurt all the live long day.
The spoils of my war

The spoils of my war

  • As a Texan, I can run a train on some brisket, I often say “y’all” and yes, I will clap my hands if someone sings “the stars at night…”
  • As an only child, I really don’t understand team sports. I just don’t see why you need so many people at once. I can run with the ball or you can run with the ball, but we don’t all need to be here.

So, so predictable. Being an Oreo is the thing keeps me interesting.

What makes you interesting. Or boring? Let us know in the comments

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Dos and Don’ts for Attending Yoga and Other Racially Themed Events

September 5, 2013

One of the best ways to have fun as a group is to play pretend and act like you’re a totally different group. Kids do this at parties all the time. They play Castle ™ or Princess ™ or if you’re me, you played Let’s Write Checks At the Grocery Store ™.

But adults do things differently. Gone are the days when you could just get your gal pals together and have a Fairy Tea Party ™. Adults have to up the stakes. And the Power of Your Om Yoga Studio in Santa Barbara, CA showed us exactly what those stakes should be.

Last week, the yoga studio hosted a Ghetto Fabulous Yoga Night. Per the invitation.

“Each month we will be featuring a new funky class…this month let’s get ghetto fabulous! You sport the white tank, roll up one leg of your tight black pants, and we’ll make sure to have a rockin’ playlist bring the bling”

Invitees were directed to:

“Come dressed in your favorite ghetto fabulous outfit, snap-back caps, corn rows, heavy lip liner or whatever you can dream up.”

Then afterward, everyone posted pictures proving that a good time was had by all.

Throwing gang signs--the authentic way to end Savasana  (source)

Throwing gang signs–the authentic way to end Savasana
(source)

We all know that the first rule of throwing a blackface party is to NOT TELL ANYONE YOU’RE THROWING A BLACKFACE PARTY. But people not only insist on throwing these things, they’re very excited to tell everyone that they’re happening.

Which means that it’s not unlikely that you might accidentally wander into such an event. You might be tempted to walk back out, but with the following Do and Don’t list, you can attend your racially dubious event with ease.

  • DO keep an open mind. People who embarrass you are people, too. We should accept them.
  • DON’T take it personally. They’re not making fun of you, just people you’re potentially related to. Stop being all uppity about it
  • DO allow people to ask you to validate their choices. Chances are someone will say something like “did I do these cornrows right?” or “Where can I get a better grill” or “Do you have a do-rag I can borrow?” Just smile, nod and let them touch your hair. They’re having a good time.
  • DON’T be a jerk and ruin all the fun.
  • DO hang out after class. They’re going out for drinks, why not join them? That way you can giggle over how much fun it all was, make plans for the next big event and cocktail away your pain.
  • DON’T miss even more fun upcoming classes! In the next few weeks, be sure to catch:

Run for the Border Restorative

Next week we’re gonna fiesta as we get fit! Come to class dressed in your favorite poncho, sombrero, or day laborer outfit and get ready to stretch out those sexy salsa hips! We’ll swap out our yoga bricks for old lawnmowers for added authenticity. Don’t worry about those armed guards at the door, we just want it to feel like you’re really there! Ole! Ayiyiyiyiyiyi! Casa! Perro!

Burka’d Bikram

In October, we’re turning our Sun Salutations East! The Middle East that is! Ohmygod, you guys, we’re hilarious!! You thought our hot room was toasty before. Well, wait for this! You’ll be shocked at how much you sweat in our full length burkas! Remember girls, though we can only see your eyes, we’ll still be able to tell if you’re cheating. And we all know what happens when you cheat. We are not afraid to stone a bitch!

OG Kundalini

In December, just in time for Christmas, we’re going OG – that’s Original Ghetto to you! You sport the tattered pants, the torn shirt, shoeless feet and those super cute side curls! We’ll bring yellow arm bands for everyone and supply a rockin’ klezmer-polka mashup!

Can’t wait to see everyone there!

For more awesomely awkward shindigs, check out:

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Lighten Up! Getting Rid of those Tanlines

September 3, 2013

The end of the summer presents Oreos with one of our most frustrating challenges. Three months of backyard BBQs, Renaissance Faires, regattas, derbies, and weekends in the Thousand Islands can leave already darker than ideal skin with an unfortunate tan.

The sun: An Oreo's best frenemy (source)

The sun: An Oreo’s best frenemy
(source)

This reminds us that an Oreo’s relationship with the sun is complicated. On one hand, it’s the enemy. A light tan can make you go from kinda looking like a black person to totally looking like a Black Person before you even realize it.

On the other hand, however, the sun can get you instant acceptance into Club Anglo (21+). Stay outdoors long enough and you can dazzle your friends when they ask you: “Wow! I didn’t think you could sunburn!” Sure, there’s the searing pain, the blisters and the increased risk of melanoma; but if it doesn’t hurt, how do you know it’s working?

But even if you break through to a socializing burn, it’s going to go right back to a tan–that Judas of skin conditions which prevents you from even thinking you can pass your annual paper bag test with just the slightest kiss.

 There is hope, though, fellow Oreos! You can reclaim your slightly less brown skin tone and start to slip less noticeably into your favorite Barneys, Hermes, or hoodie. Just follow the 3 B’s of Beauty ™ for lighter skin and a brighter end of summer.

 

1. Buff

The first thing you need to do is to take off that darker damaged layer of skin with something mildly abrasive. There are many tools and applications you can choose from. Grab yourself an exfoliating body wash, a loofah, Brillo pad, or pack 24-grit sanding sheets and give yourself a rubdown.

 

2. Balm

Next, you’ll want to calm down your skin with something cool and liquid. This is also a time to sneak in some extra abrasion in case you missed any rogue patches during Step 1. Once again, many things can work. In no particular order (except for their effectiveness) try: Aloe, lemon juice, rubbing alcohol, peroxide, or some clorox to cool off and clear your skin.

3. Bandage

Some people have reported blisters or bleeding while their sparkly new skin is coming through. This is perfectly normal. No pain, no gain, right? Besides, you’re the one who let your skin get all dark in the first place, so quit your bitching and put yourself together.

If you find that your skin has opened, just apply some cool compresses, gauze, and either plastic or cloth bandages. These wraps have the added bonus of hiding your skin all together, so at a distance you’ll look as white as the shoes you can’t wear anymore this year.

 

If you find that bleeding doesn’t stop in one business day or you have an erection lasting more than four hours, please consult a physician.

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Any other tricks for removing unsightly tan lines? Let us know in the comments!

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Is It Worth the Frisk?

August 14, 2013

This week, a U.S. District Judge ruled that New York’s policy of patting down suspected ne’er do wells known as “Stop and Frisk” was unconstitutional. Stop and Frisk will be allowed to continue, though Judge Shira Scheindlin had ordered that an independent monitoring agency oversee changes in the NYPD related to the policy.

Some of the things the as-yet-to-be-determined agency might find interesting include the following:

  • Last year, 87% of the people stopped under stop and frisk were Black or Latino–groups that make up less than 50% of NYC’s population.

  • Only about 1.9% of Stops and Frisks lead to police finding guns. Police were almost twice as likely to find guns on whites than minorities.

  • NYPD officers stopped young black men 168,000 times. Only 158,000 young black men live in NYC

  • Only about 6% of Stops and Frisks lead to arrests

In addition to the numbers on the page, there was also this video where a young man was stopped and frisked twice in just a few blocks. When he tried to point this out to the officers, they didn’t take it too well.

New York City Mayor Bloomberg plans to appeal the ruling. He has also said in the past that the best way to deal with Stop and Frisks is to be “cooperative” and to accept the policy as a part of urban life.

You might read the above and think it’s unfair. It might sound like a law enforcement tactic really went off the rails.  It might sound like people are being profiled and rights are being violated.

Even if all of that is true, don’t be sad. Be ready.

Here are three things you can do to make sure that your Stop and Frisk experience is as painless as possible.

1. Always wear cashmere. Just like a real lady is never under-dressed  neither should an of color be in New York City. Class it up by investing in a variety of high quality cashmere satin shirts, pants, jackets, dresses, rain coats, corsets, vests, turtlenecks, socks, and shoes and you’ll be ready when a cop starts patting you down. The officer will be so distracted by the glorious texture and your excellent taste that they won’t even notice that gun you’re not carrying. In a pinch, velveteen will do.

2. Stay Moisturized. By keeping your skin moist, smooth and supple, those rough cop hands will slide right over your trembling body, no matter how much you struggle to hide that handful of 57 Splenda packets you took from Hugo’s. Sure they’re not illegal, but it is an embarrassing stash.

3. Be Flexible. Not just with your opinions on social justice, but with your actual body. They’re going to get all up in there, so don’t fight. Let ‘em get all up in there. You never know what they’re going to not find, so practice holding that grand battement and let them have a good ol’ fashioned look around.

Have you been stopped or frisked? What do you think of the ruling? Let us know in the comments!

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Rules Were Made to Be Broken…

August 13, 2013

…or at least to find workarounds…

One of the most important Oreo rules is that we do not fraternize with other of colors.

Be the only one in a crowd and you add just enough color to make things interesting. You provide a resource for people to ask all those questions they know are annoying, so they realize it’s in their best interest not to ask an RBP never got to ask before. You give people an out when they’re accused of living a sheltered life. You add a touch of surprise and joy when you karaoke to Carrie Underwood instead of Queen Bey. You are a precious gift. Like saffron or a unicorn. Doing your golden unicorn thing.

Show up as two of a kind and you look like a gang. Date another black and you’ve gone from being interesting and worldly to just being predictable. Start pairing up with other of colors and you run the risk of commiserating about society’s structural inequalities, making plans to attend an August Wilson festival, wondering if you do spend too much time and money erasing all the ethnicity out of your hair, and forgetting every single one of your favorite frittata recipes.

So as a young Oreo, you make a promise to never even look twice at another member of the tribe and all is good and right with the world.

Except for days like today when you accidentally watch a trailer for Lee Danile’s The Butler.

I know, I know. Dangerous territory here. It’s a slippery slope from checking out what skinny Forrest Whitaker is up to to thinking to yourself: “I don’t know, maybe Precious based on the novel Push by Sapphire isn’t so bad,” to saying aloud:  “Sure, there are some problems in the denouement, but Madea does make me laugh,” to screaming: “Fuck it, break out the fried okra, let’s put on a do-rag and watch Roots!”

Also dangerous: One Mr. David Oyelowo who stars in this film.

david2

Those eyes. That jaw line. That smirk. Goddarn that smirk. Goddarn it right to heck!!! That way that suit hangs on that shoulder. That…accent?

Fortunately, I hadn’t snapped to my senses and turned off the TV, so I heard a snippet of a soundbite and it turns out he sounds like this:

He’s British! That’s about as far from being an RBP as you can possibly get. The Queen’s English isn’t in the same vein as Ebonics. It’s not even in the same hemisphere!

(…I think..geogrraphy wasn’t my strongest subject)

This star crush might be safe after all.

Watching that preview and invoking the knowledge of Tyler Perry definitely wasn’t, safe however. So please excuse me, I’m going to catch up on my Downton Abbey reruns and practice some Monsters and Men for my next karaoke night.

What do you think? Should I sandwich Mr. Oyelowo in between Hugh Grant and John Slattery (happy birthday to him today, btw!) on my celebrity freebies list? Who are your celebrity crushes? Let us know in the comments!

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