Month: May 2010

Oreo Origins: College

You learn a lot on a college campus. A lot.

A story coming out of Harvard Law School fondly reminded me of one of an experience I had when visiting colleges during my senior year of high school.

The Harvard story goes like this: A promising young law student says to her friends via email:

“I just hate leaving things where I feel I misstated my position,’’ Grace wrote. “I absolutely do not rule out the possibility that African-Americans are, on average, genetically predisposed to be less intelligent.’’

Way to go law student for applying the logic you have bee learning in school to a major social issue! With so few of color students (let’s hear it for my Ivy League Oreos!) pahking their cahs in Hahvahd’s garahge, it only stands to reason that it’s because your RBP is well, just not as bright.

And that reminded me of an inspiring day on the campus of a school I was considering attending.

The year I graduated from college, my home state repealed any sort of affirmative action practices in schools. What this one college took that to mean is that they shouldn’t allow any minority students to attend their weekly summer sleepover recruiting events. So they pulled the minority students out of the early scheduled sessions and put us all into to one camp session.

Not cool. Because there we were. About 200 Oreos and Coconuts at the tops of our class with our Bad Religion tapes and our composition notebooks full of angsty poetry, forced to hang out with a bunch of other of colors.

And then this doozie at lunch:

College (aged) counselor: You guys are so lucky to be minorities.

Minorities: Oh?

C(A)C: Yeah! You guys can get into school and not have to be smart or anything!

I don’t know what became of that girl, but she left an impression that day. I resolved to stand up for who I was.

A proud Oreo.

The conversation shifted to field hockey and John Hughes and I’m pretty sure that by the end of that chat, she was wondering if we were really minorities or not.

For proof of how much fun it is to be a minority on a college campus, check out this party, this club and go back to school with a little pop quiz.

House Name Fail = Self loathing win? What do You Think?

Architect says he didn’t know what porch monkey meant.

a) Do you believe him?

b) The fact that a super offensive term is now just used–is that a sign of progress or regression?

To be fair, it is difficult to be up on all the mean memes out there. I, in fact, sang a version of Jingle Bells to my mom once that went like this:

“Jingle Bells, Batman smells, granny got a gun

Pull the trigger shot a _____”

I was 8 or so and had no idea what I was saying…or why Mom started crying.

When did you first learn that something you said was off color…pun definitely intended? Let us know!

What’s the Oreo equivalent for this guy? Suggestions Please!

We’ve talked about it briefly before, but is there a term for a gay person who hopes to be seen as straight?

Hmm, charming, attractive and talented? Yeah, I definitely don't want this guy pretending to be after me!

The inspiration for discovering this term comes to us courtesy of Newsweek’s Ramin Setoodeh, an openly gay man in the media who writes that gay actors shouldn’t play straight people. He criticizes Sean Hayes and his current performance on Broadway in Promises, Promises and Jonathan Groff who plays a straight guy on Glee.

He says that neither of these guys’ performances are believable because they are, irl, gay dudes.

Thank you for the head’s up, Ramin. And thanks for sending more would-be’s to the self loathing fold!

Nothing’s going to freak out some up and coming young actors more than hearing that because of who they are, they should be prohibited from accepting the vast majority of roles in film and television. I can almost hear the collective cry from kids who haven’t come out yet (and thanks to you, sir, might never get around to breathing that sigh of relief) in theater arts departments all over the country.

Picture it with me! Scores of young men are now criticizing every syllable they utter–was that a near lisp, they’ll think, or did I just stutter? They will watch their feet as they walk to make sure there’s no hint of a super gay sashay…but what if they’re just side stepping to avoid their own tears? Oh well, better man up!  Otherwise, there will be a critic like Ramin to remind them that as gay folk, they’re just not good enough.

It’s a good thing that Ramin hasn’t noticed how  highly trained and experienced actors go through years and years of practice and preparation to erase biases they may bring to a character. Or that he overlooked the fact that straight actors play gay, that back in the day men played women. And no one tell him that Idina Menzel is not really a green witch, that David Hasslehoff is not really a mad scientist capable of creating a serum that can split a person’s personality into two distinct halves, that Josh Brolin is not George W. Bush and that Cate Blanchette is not John Lennon.

And why leave out the lesbians? Ramin cites a couple of guys in his piece, but doesn’t seem to think that

Sometimes masks fit so well, why bother taking them off, huh Ramin?

Lesbians playing not-lesbians is a apparently not a problem. Poor ladies, why let them get away with being okay with themselves. C’mon, Ramin, without adding the gals to the you-should-self-hate list, it’s like some sort of weird affirmative action program. And we all know how horrible those are.

So what is the Oreo version of the straight gay? If an Oreo is someone who is black on the outside, but white on the inside, what’s the word for someone who’s actually gay, but presents as a socially acceptable breeder? Spaghetti squash? Testicle? (c’mon, the latter–they’re basically smoothish on the outside and inside filled with, well, lots of not straight biological tubing)

And what do you think? Should actors have to put height, weight, training and sexual preference on their head shots?

All the Single Ladies…are Oreos apparently

So I’ve been catching up on my DVRed shows since I’ve been back and my interested was definitely piqued by this presentation from Nightline.

“Why Can’t a Successful Black Woman Find a Man?”

The conclusion they came to was that RBP males are just kind of okay people and that of color women should lower their expectations and snag themselves a middle of the road mate. The men on the show described black women as “delusional” for wanting men who were, as panelist Sherri Shepard suggested, “ambitious” and who had “a sense of humor.” Men also described women as conniving and petty and said that women should use sex appeal and not reason, logic or passion if they want their men to listen to them.

I, of course, was horrified at this.

They were ignoring the much simpler answer: These ladies should go full Oreo and date white!

They’re obviously headed in the Oreo direction anyway what with their college degrees, bulging bank accounts and not-AIDS. So why not dive the way in??

So many benefits to dating white.

  • First of all, if you’re an of color woman and you date an of color dude…how typical can you be? Why not instead, enjoy the pleasantly surprised smiles when you introduce your new beau to your buddies by planting a kiss on the face of a handsome white stranger at happy hour? Folks just won’t see it coming and you become a great conversation piece.
  • Two revolves around two words: Good and hair. If you reproduce, think of the money you’ll save on expensive relaxers when your half-white kid has loose locks that respond to your average comb.
  • Three: Upward mobility. When you and your non colored partner go to buy that condo or purchase your box seats at the Pantages, think how excited people will be to have a nifty interracial couple sitting next to them. Have two black folks show up with a real estate agent in a neighborhood toying with gentrification and you’re likely to get some uncomfy looks and stares. Spare yourself the awkward welcome to the neighborhood bbq, have a tapas tasting instead and watch your new neighbors grin!

Now, back to the panel itself. Way to go Nightline for choosing the right commentators and solidifying some really important societal tropes. I mean, who better to host a discussion about something as personal as marriage and who ends up with whom and why than comedian Steve Harvey!

Also Nightline, way to remind us that there is in fact a terrifying social problem if women do not get married. This conversation wasn’t centered around people choosing to forgo relationships, it was about women not being able to marry. How dare they.

Like other discussions in the genre, the Nightline special began with the Disney-inspired assumption that marriage is an appropriate and universal goal for women. Any failure to achieve marriage must therefore be pathological. With this starting assumption panelists were encouraged to offer solutions without needing to fully articulate why low marriage rates are troubling.

Writer Melissa Harris-Lacewell outlined the event and shows us how RBP women are really making things difficult for the county and themselves:

In the 1960s, the Moynihan Report blamed black women heads of household for social deterioration in black communities. In the 1980s single black mothers were vilified as welfare cheats responsible for the nation’s economic decline. In the 1990s black women were blamed for birthing a generation of “crack babies” that were predicted to burden the nation’s health and educational systems. The Nightline conversation was suspiciously reminiscent of this prior reasoning. As the nation copes with its anxieties about a black president, a shifting economy and a new global position, black women suddenly reemerge as a problem to be solved.

All this could be solved, ladies if you’d just embrace the Oreo lifestyle. Which yes, includes things like enjoying schooling and employment, but also things like dating the right guys. And by right, we mean, white. Because they’re out there. They can get you into the right clubs. And according to these panelists, RBP men do not want to step up to the plate.

The solution offered most frequently in Wednesday’s conversation was familiar: professional black women need to scale back expectations.

But questionable casting or not, thanks, Nightline for adding to my self loathing. Not only am I an of color woman–the most undesirable of the women according to statistics and you; but I am also but I am an unmarried of color woman-proving your point that we’re hard to place to be correct. Yikes. I’m sorry, me. So very sorry.

Cop Claims “A Black Guy Shot Me”; Makes Case for Better Hair

We’ve talked here before about how important it is to wash, rinse and repeat the ethnicity out of one’s hair with a relaxer. But

Relaxed hair is not just easier to go into the pool with; it's your safety net!

now, thanks to a friend in Philly, we can see why in shocking detail.

The short story is, this cop was ticked off about his new beat. So, instead of filing a complaint or updating his resume on Monster, he did was made the most logical sense…he shot himself in the shoulder, then told his buddies that a black guy did it.

A cop had been shot; a manhunt was on. The block was cordoned off with yellow tape. Cops and SWAT teams fanned the streets. K-9 units scoured through brush. Some businesses were forced to close for five hours.

“The cops were questioning everybody,” Potts, 57, recalled.

Sgt. Robert Ralston, a 21-year veteran and father of five, said he’d been shot on patrol by a black man with “cornrows” and a “mark or tattoo under his left eye.”

Yesterday, the Overbrook neighbors were outraged to learn that it was all a lie.

This is one of the oldest tricks in the book. Don’t like what you just did? Tell friends and neighbors that some black dude was responsible and soon the police tape goes up, few questions asked and you can get off pretty much scott free. Soon, your conscience will catch up to you and/or the lack of evidence will become clear, but not before you’ve enjoyed a few more minutes of freedom.

What makes this case a perfect reminder for proper hair care is that the cop told his friends that a guy with cornrows was his attacker. Cornrows are an obvious ethnic style worn by both men and women. And so, innocents with tightly braided hair were being stopped and questioned. But, any Oreos on the scene would have been left alone. With long, flowing locks of hair flapping in the breeze, from a distance, with a turtleneck and long sleeves on, Oreos might actually just look like curvy brunettes.

So keep that salve simmering on your scalp, kiddies. It will make the ride home much, much easier.

Oh, and for creating the stir that lost businesses money, kept people from their homes and scared the shit out of some innocents, you’ll be happy to know that Sgt. Ralston will not be criminally charged.

For more examples of how you can blame RBP for things you did…check out this list, courtesy of NewsOne.

Diary of a Mad White Black Woman: Gmail Ad Fail

I have never been so insulted by a computer program.

After months of scanning sent and received emails, this is what Google came up with for me?

 

What’s the best/worst targeted ad you’ve had linked to your email or facebook page? Let us know in the comments!
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Leave a comment here or at any of the above and let us know what you think!

 

 

Healthy Reminders

One of the motivators that helps me stay on track is the fact that according to society things featuring non-colors are just things while things featuring of colors are…different.

Example

White brides are just “brides.” Black brides are not just brides.

Black people do not enjoy Jurassic Park or Mortal Kombat. (btw, I was all about the icy spit thing when I was a young Oreo!)

What do you call it when you separate people or things by race? That’s right…inspiration!!