Sometimes, even when an Oreo takes the best of precautions, she or he may find themselves at an event in close proximity of another person of color. Such was the case last Friday.
I went to see a friend’s improv show. Black folks generally do not congregate at independent 30-seat theaters to watch silly make-em-ups, so I thought I was safe.
Until I saw the doorman. Black guy.
He was nice enough, we had a pleasant conversation and I went in to watch my show.
Afterwards, the theater owner approached me and said that he saw me talking to the guy at the door.
“You two’d make a cute couple,” he said. “Too bad he doesn’t date black girls.”
My face lit up!
“Ha! And I don’t date black guys!”
My new Oreo friend overheard me and we had a great conversation about traditional Italian cuisine, Vespas and lucid dreaming.
And it reminded me that yeah, sometimes as an Oreo, you’re gonna end up in conversation in public with someone who looks like they could be related to you. People will assume this is the case or they will assume that you’re more interested in each other than in the freckled, ruddy headed kids next to you. So you must take precautions; and through your manners and conversation remind those around you that you are not RBP, but in fact, Oreos.
1. Stand outside. If one of you is a woman, definitely take your conversation outside if you can. This will allow the wind to blow through your freshly relaxed hair. Natural styles and dreads do not billow in the wind. Showing off your chemically treated locks will show that you are not an RBP.
2. Strategically drop a business card. When the passerby who picks it up sees a title like “Executive Chef,” “Lead Architect,” or “Cranio-Maxillofacial Surgeon,” she or he can relax, knowing that they are in the presence of well-marketed Oreos.
3. Sing a little. First of all, everyone loves musicals, even if they say they don’t. So whether you break out some of Sondheim’s Company or Abba’s Mamma Mia, your non-soulful ditty will have everyone joining in and understanding who you really are!
For more on watching your back in public, see how to Go Solo; Why even a non-color can pose a threat; and why it’s important for other Oreos to follow the rules.
Make Patrick proud…or he’ll hack to you bits on a sheet of plastic. The upside? You’ll be listening to Huey Lewis–so sing along and maybe he’ll spare ya.