As a creative professional, there are certain hazards that come with the job. Income droughts, being compared to characters in RENT (dangerous for an Oreo since half the cast is black) and failing powerful executives.
This is a short story about the latter.
I won’t go through the cat and mouse game of trying to make you guess at which studio this occurred, but if any information squeaks out, you didn’t hear it from this OreoWriter.
I remember it like it was yesterday. I showed up to work in my smart pencil skirt, boots, cardigan and scarf belt and was immediately whisked off to a meeting. In attendance were the other writers on the show, my boss, and a couple of VPs.
I was a little worried because there was another of color in the room. I didn’t know him well enough to suss out his tendencies, so I kept my distance and sat on the other side of the table.
Apparently, I didn’t sit far away enough.
At this particular studio, there is a fellowship program though which many, but not all writers of color join the company. I of course, did not do the program–imagine, sitting in a room with nothing but people who looked liked me? We might be all kinds of tempted to discuss shared experiences or issues pertinent to those experience, thus depleting scores of O-points and becoming RBPs in the process.
I was referred to this position by a contact and after a quick interview, was hired.
The VP looked at me. His first words.
VP: Oh, did you do our fellowship program?
OW: No, I didn’t.
VP: No, no, our fellowship program, did you do it earlier?
VP: I don’t mean are you doing it now, I mean did you do it before?
OW: No. I didn’t.
VP: You didn’t do our fellowship program?
Quiet for a beat.
VP: Then how did you get this job?
Naturally, I was upset.
I knew that I should have added the Blair Waldorf headband to the outfit. Clearly I confused this executive. As he (and Sandra Bullock, et al) rightly pointed out, RBP need the kind and benevolent hands of the fairer folk to get jobs or join football teams.
Which is why I work so hard to not be an RBP. I was five sixths of the way there that day. But I didn’t make it. And thus, this poor exec was confused as to how I got there in the first place. Without the full and proper costuming, how was he to know who I really was?
His confusion, understandable. My oreofail, unacceptable.