Deep Tan or Just Too Dark: How to Tell if Your Conversation Partner is Safe

As we know, per the Oreo code, it is imperative to limit conversations with other of colors. If you’re having a private chat, you risk talking about pertinent issues of race and sounding/feeling like a regular black person; and if you’re in public, you risk everyone assuming you’re talking about pertinent issues of race and thinking you’re an RBP.

But sometimes, black people have blonde hair and white people have tans.

...or terrible stylists

So, at times it can sometimes be hard to tell if that swarthy skier is of color or just southern European.

PS. if they use the word “swarthy” in casual convo, you’re probably safe.

This weekend, I ran into exactly this problem!

Things started off well. I went to mass. At an episcopal church. In Beverly Hills. My chances of running into an RBP were slim to none.

Did any of colors make it on to this show?

But then at the parish-sponsored mimosa brunch a struck up a conversation with a guy who was…probably white. But per his skin tone, could definitely be cast to play any number of innocuous ethnic characters on say Lost or Fringe. If you had told me he was Middle Eastern, Indian or Mexican, I would have believed you.

I had to know if I was in danger. So I employed these tricks to suss out the situation.

1. Verify name. Now that we mostly facebook instead of having conversations with people, asking someone for their full name is par for the course. If the accompanying last name ends in “–artinez” or “–mbutu” better cut that convo short and look for the nearest van Beveren or Lundegaard in the room.

2. Mention your travels and see if they react accordingly. Make sure you clarify the Oreoness of said travels. For example. NEVER say “I was in Africa this summer.” Yikes! What, were you checking out the homeland?? No, it’s “I was researching 5-star accommodations in Zimbabwe for a piece I’m writing for Travel + Leisure…” or “I was scouting for Arabian horses in South America…” If they react with familiarity to the locale, abort!

3. Ask someone else. Excuse yourself to the bathroom and on your way there or back, ask someone else in the room if they know where so-and-so is from. They’ll know. Why not just ask the person yourself, you ask? Well, that’s just impolite.

*Caution! You could be talking with a well-studied Oreo, Coconut or Phillipino Twinkie. So they may have all the right answers and still be technically of color. In that case, refer to these rules for how to conduct a convo with one of your own kind.

And if they turn out to be white, but are still a little hiphoppier than you are, check out these tips.


    1. i just linked over from make and takes. okay~ you are the best mom ever. what a cute idea for a tute! they are abodarle. it so makes me want to make these with my kids. tell your little stars they are fab and totally headed to the today show or martha stewart!

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