The Pros and Cons of Having Been Called “Colored” at the Equestrian Center Today

Embrace it! Awkward moments are good for you!

I was taking a turn about the Equestrian Center after riding today when I had an experience that definitely made me take stock in my Oreodom.

I was nearly of the gate and back to my car when an older man rode up to me in his golf cart and asked what I was doing there.

To be fair, there was a competition going on so most of the people there were in formal riding gear, though I had hoped my jodhpurs would have helped me blend in a bit.

I told him I was just there to watch, he informed me that he was the show vet and we started a lovely conversation about big animal care, James Harriet and our favorite places in Ireland and West Hollywood. Then, my new friend said this to me:

“There’s another colored gal who has a horse up here…do you know her?”

Now, while I’m sure the gal was at the last meeting, I didn’t know who he was talking about and I told him so.

At first, I forgot my Oreoness and was a little put off by having been called colored. But then, my Oreo senses kicked in and I decided to chart it out and see how I should feel…

CON: Even with the jodhpurs and tightly-pinned bun, he still noticed I was black.

PRO: Though he noticed I was black, he still talked freely to me, suggesting that he didn’t think I was angry RBP.

CON: He made the small circle of people around us uncomfortable, as they all did quick side glances at me to see how I would react.

PRO: My Oreo-sense allowed me to put everyone else at ease by responding sweetly and without malice to his thoughtful inquiry.

CON: Getting away with saying it once made him say it again and more when he added: “Oh yeah, and there’s this other colored fellow who owns a couple of horses down the way. I mean, I think he’s a black guy, he’s really, you know, dark like you are.” Equal amounts of uncomfyness followed.

PRO: Each time he said an adjective that described the hue of my skin, it made my back stiffen straighter and straighter–which made my my posture much better for my next riding lesson.

Antiquated terms, FTW!

His questions also made it clear that there are other Oreos nearby…if any of you are reading this, let me know you’re out there and we’ll grab a scone or something.

What’s the most uncomfortable thing someone’s asked you in public? How did you respond? Let us know in the comments!

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16 comments

  1. When I first met my husband Nick’s family, his very sweet grandmother was like, “You look very tan. Very dusky. Almost as if…as if you were Mexican.” Nick was in the other room but heard what she said and came roaring in as if I was going to pop the old lady in the face. But she didn’t mean any harm. I just said, “I almost look as if I’m Mexican because I almost am Mexican.” And then I asked her to pass the mixed nuts, and that was that.

  2. @D.Train…interesting because imo, you two are about the same amount of olive-complexioned (wow, spell check says “complexioned” is a word! I wasn’t sure). Though I’ve usually seen you in dim-ish theater lighting…

  3. When my youngest daughter was at our neighborhood pool in our complex a lady once asked her if she was Puerto Rican because her Italian heritage and her sunkissed skin made her look non white. I remember feeling really angry–not because my daughter’s whiteness was questioned–but because there are still people in the world that think their whiteness makes them the gatekeepers of the world…well, in case they haven’t noticed the world has passed them by…there are so many educated and well to do non whites in the world that these “gatekeepers” look really pathetic…
    Everything is from either fear or love…if you have fear read a book…but for God sake don’t spread your ignorance!

  4. How? How did you not kick him square in the bratwurst and keep walking?! I’d have driven across his face with his own golf cart for good measure. Stupid, craggly old fossil…

    My mom had the exact same thing happen to her at work.

    Fortunately, it hasn’t happened to me. If it ever does, I’ll end up on the 5:00 news…very RBP-ish, but a necessary evil, and definitely worth it.

  5. Oh, and my most uncomfortable thing…hm. Ah, I got it! I was at my white/Filipino guyfriend’s graduation party, and his dad walked up to me and said (loudly) “C’mon! Aren’t ya gonna go getchur freak on on the dance floor with [his son]?” complete with what I think was neck-swinging and some ebonics for good measure. I’d remember more, but I was too busy imagining my silverware being jammed into his neck….

    1. I was at a wedding where no one really took any notice of me…until Baby Got Back came on. Then, there was a circle around me and a lot of happy shouting and me blushing as best as I could. *le sigh*

      How’s school going?

  6. Eh, school is…well, it’s going. First time away from home. Been keeping up with work okay because I live in an efficiency despite being a frosh, and I haven’t made any friends who constantly want me around. No parties, either. The silence is driving me batty, though; I’m used to my big old family of five, so I turn on the TV for extra background noise. So depressing. XD Hopefully college gets better with age.

    1. I wish I had something to say other than the overused and hardly effective “it will get better.” But it will. I’m sure it won’t be long before that apartment is party central…away from the ever watchful eyes of dorm RAs!

  7. Hmmm, top three public utterances by non-whites in no particular order:

    1. “Hey, say something black!”

    2. “You guys all know the theme song to ‘The Jefferson’s”, right?

    3. “Do you know you’re the first black person to ever be in my car?”

    Hey, at least I had witnesses to this wackness, so people can verify I don’t make up this shit.

    #1 was said at this workshop where we were supposed to learn to be better people. What the guy was asking was for me to give him a demo of “ebonics.” I declined.

    #2 No kidding, uttered at a table full of people who attend MENSA meetings. Yep. That line was said to me by a “genius.”

    #3 Said while en route to lunch when I was working in my hometown of Atlanta. And just to be clear, both statements numbers 1 and 2 were made in the progressive state of California where I now reside. You know, the state where “people don’t see color like they do in the South.”

    *Shazam!

  8. Is there a chance that the vet was British? Because my husband is from England and the word “Black” is very offensive, “Colored” is preferred.

  9. I don’t get it. The media and some black leaders use the word “colored” as well. I’ve always hated this antiquated term as much as I hate the word “minority”.

    Worse still, I’m tired of blacks calling one another ‘nigga’ all the time. It’s not cool. I wish they’d grow up and stop.

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