Month: November 2013

Diary of a Mad Black White Woman – Hail to the Chief

Dear Diary:

It’s obviously fun to blend inI’ve spent a lot of years, a lot of dollars and perfected a lot of grimaces at the salon to do so. I mean, who doesn’t want to look like you belong, to get the invitations to THE events and to not be shoved on the ground just because you bought an overpriced belt.

But getting profiled and being harassed based on your looks gives you cool stories, bro. Not getting profiled doesn’t. Hence the fact that my yesterday was fairly uneventful.

What, this? Oh, nothing. Just the leader of the free world hanging out where I have coffee everyday. nbd

What, this? Oh, nothing. Just the leader of the free world hanging out where I have coffee everyday. nbd
(photo courtesy of Madison Sellers)

I mean sure, President Obama came to my work and I got to see him speak from 30 metres away. Yes, that happened. But some of the people I worked with got to see the President speak from 30 metres away AND got to tell everyone how intense security was with them. At their obligatory dinners tomorrow, they’re going to be ones getting sympathy and attention because they were roughly turned away from stairwells, had dogs search their bags and got wands stuck in uncomfortable places.

I’ll only be getting sympathy and attention because my hosts will find it unfathomable that my jaw can actually unhinge and that that much stuffing can fit inside one human being. During our President’s Day, none of the SWAT/CIA/FBI/Secret Service/Glendale Police even looked twice at me. I got to go up a blocked off flight of stairs as a (white) co-worker was questioned before he could proceed up the same stairs. And even though I went through 2 mandatory metal detectors, when I held my arms out to let the guy rub that stick on me, both times I was waved on with nary even a flick of that stick. Apparently “stop and frisk” isn’t really that big of an issue.

BORING!

I know I’m supposed to be happy about this. The fact that I was ignored means that I blended in. The way that I looked, spoke and comported didn’t raise any hackles or pique any suspicions. According to law enforcement, I looked just like everyone else– a success in an Oreo’s book.

But I’m wondering: maybe becoming one with the majority isn’t just about being profiled or not. Maybe it’s about where and how you get profiled. Any ol’ RBP can get stopped in Beverly Hills or handcuffed in the Upper West Side. That’s to be expected. That’s what RBP do.  But since domestic terror suspects aren’t usually black people, maybe it should be the goal of a true and dedicated Oreo one day be mistaken for one (a terror suspect, not a black person, let’s not get crazy). Yes, I think that’s what it is.  It’s not that I’m impossible to please, it’s just that an Oreo’s work is never done.

I’m sure I’m in part just overreacting to what was a perfectly fine and historic event. So,  I’m going to get back to finishing this Earl Grey and quiche and start hoping for what will happen at airport security when I head back to London next fall. Fingers crossed that the stories will be epic! 

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For Mor-eo! Follow The Oreo Experience on Twitter (@oreoexperience)
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Oreo Sister From Another Mister?

Dearest Lady Belle,

…if that truly is the name you were Christened,

For a fortnight, I have been pacing about my room questioning the very notion of a correspondence. I apologize in advance if my words seem out of turn or my manner too curt. But I feel it is of utmost importance that we speak.

I see your corset-perfect posture and raise you going en pointe.

I see your stagecoach rides and challenge you to a side-saddle race any day of your choosing.

recognize that you fancy your taking air with the blonde pony-tailed gent but I will show you a perambulation that will leave you both in shame. 

It is only for your benefit that I caution you to refrain from thinking that your station in the manor will cause you to be seen as the Oreo to emulate. There are many of us with whom you will need to contend. It is a battle I look forward to finding; and from which I feel certain I will emerge triumphant.

PS. Can we be best friends forever. Please for reals.

I eagerly await your reply. 

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For Mor-eo! Follow The Oreo Experience on Twitter (@oreoexperience)

Race Reversal: Acting Black to Win an Election

Black enough.  (source)

Black enough.
(source)

I need to find a solid term for a reverse Oreo: Someone who’s white who acts black. One that can be appropriately applied to Dave Wilson, one of the newest members of Houston’s Community College Board of Trustees. In order to win his seat in a heavily black district, Wilson pretended that he was black.

Wilson was smart about it. He didn’t need to start voting for Obama or dropping the n-word to make his point. Instead, he just used his campaign information strategically. He omitted photos of himself on voter mailer and instead, sent out a flier featuring the faces of several happy black folks.

From Business Insider:

The mailers featured “smiling African-American faces — which he readily admits he just lifted off websites — and captioned with the words, ‘Please vote for our friend and neighbor Dave Wilson'” over 24-year incumbent Bruce Austin. He won in the heavily black district by just 26 votes.

“Every time a politician talks, he’s out there deceiving voters,” Wilson told the network.

He also ran a radio add that was narrated by two black women.

“Dave Wilson? Isn’t he the—” one woman says.

“Yes, Dave Wilson is the man who’s fighting for our neighborhoods,” the other says.

People often get on to me for “acting too white and not being myself”. But first, take a look at this picture circa 1999 and you’ll see I come by my whiteness honestly. Second, even if I didn’t spend years crafting and honing a someone to pretend to be, this story just goes to show that other people do it every day.  So what if someone takes on personas in order to reach a desired end? We all lie about who we are to some extent? Do you really want to go to the gym that much? Of course not, you just want a chance at a date in about 4 weeks. I want a better rate on my home loan, a lessened chance of getting diabetes and the ability to stop answering questions about my hair. So I Oreo it up. This guy wanted to help run a Community College, so he lied to his community. We’re totally twinsies.

I kinda want to send him a congratulations card for his good work because on one hand, I admire him. He managed to successfully hide from his own ethnicity. On the other hand, all of his new friends are RBP, so I’m not sure I want to give that guy my home address.

What do you think? Bad politics or fair game? What lies have you told to get what you want? Let us know in the comments!

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For Mor-eo! Follow The Oreo Experience on Twitter (@oreoexperience)

Diary of a Mad White Black Woman – Buyer’s Remorse

Dear Diary,

I finally caught up on this Barney’s kerfluffle. Apparently, the chain has hired a civil rights expert to investigate their policies and determine if they’re in the wrong. This all started a couple of weeks ago when a 19-year-old African-American man, Trayon Christian purchased a $349 Ferragamo belt. Outside the store, undercover police officers detained him because they got a tip that the card he used to by the belt was fraudulent. Christian was held in a cell for a couple of hours before being released sans charges.

Shortly after that, a 21-year-old black woman, Kayla Phillips told the press that she experienced a similar incident when she bought a $2,500 Celine handbag. Her temporary debit card didn’t have a name on it; and though the sale went through, police surrounded Phillips after she left the store.

After reading about both of these stories, I was, natch, horrified and embarrassed.

These folks were so close to being model Oreos, then ruined it by making the wrong purchases. I blame myself for not being more vigilant.

Sure, going into a Barney’s with intent to buy is a great first step, but you’ve got to follow it through by picking up the right items.

This is the belt that Christian tried to buy.

And try not to buy something so black. That's just doubling down on a negative.

And try not to buy something so black. That’s just doubling down on a negative.

It’s reversible. Nothing says “not quite up to snuff” like being reversible. He might as well been picking through a bin of hypercolor shirts. Next time, try a Paul Smith contrast-stitch belt and add a pocket square. Trust me, including a $200 16-inch quadrilateral of pashmina to any purchase will throw everyone off the scent.

Second: A handbag? A whole handbag? When you’re black and you’re buying something that big, it looks like you’re just trying to find a place to hide your pressing comb and welfare baby. Instead, get a clutch. An Edie Parker, a Tila March – the smaller the better. If all you can fit inside is one credit card, that’s fine. Just make sure it has your appropriately hyphenated name on it.

We don’t go to Barney’s for function. We go to Barney’s to make a point. I hope that these points are more strongly made in future.

They should take heart though. Sometimes, even the brightest Oreos make the simple mistakes.

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For Mor-eo Oreo: Follow The Oreo Experience on Twitter (@oreoexperience)

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