Month: April 2015

How to Talk About Current Events: Baltimore

It’s happened again.

Police officers killed a man of color who was committing no crime and folks got upset about this.

About 10,000 folks marched peacefully, explained their positions, prayed and cried. About 30 people set some stuff on fire and those are the 30 people who most of the media and a large portion of my facebook feed is interested in focusing on.

When things like this happen, people love speaking in soundbites about it, and as an Oreo, it’s your job to make them feel okay about that. It’s your duty is to usher them through a conversation with a little awkwardness as possible. It’s a great Oreo honor to move the conversation along so you can get back to work before they start to wonder which side you’re really on.

The following is a Conversation Guide to help you do just that.

InnerVoice: Ahem!! Did I see that you posted on facebook about Baltimore??

TheOreoExperience: Yeah, I did. Excuse me everyone, this is my Inner Voice. She likes to chime in every once in a while, though I’m sure she’s just leaving–

IV: Yeah, hi folks. Just one second, Oreo and I have to clear some ish up. Posting sincere opinions about polarizing events on facebook not very Oreo of you, is it?

TOE: Well, I thought maybe I’d make myself into a more layered, nuanced character.

IV: People don’t want layers or nuance. That’s why the writer 50 Shades of Gray has been allowed to publish a book teaching people how to write.

TOE: Yikes! But you don’t think a little re-branding is okay?

IV: It’s risky. One day you’re like “oh, let’s try something new” The next day you’re Tropicana and all your merch spoils on the shelf.

Don't pull a Trop

Don’t pull a Trop

TOE: Fair enough. But you know what doesn’t go well with morning coffee and self-doubt? Your patronizing. So if you’ll excuse me, I need to write.

Part of your duty is to usher them through a conversation with a little awkwardness as possible…oh, we did that already. Here we go. Follow the patterns in this conversation guide will help you through even the most klutyz convo.

 

So… Baltimore, huh? Crazy. You must have opinions, huh?

Upon hearing this, your instinct may be to prepare and then jete away (which is totally appropriate in other situations. Click here for reference). However, this is a time when the nation needs to heal. Please note that though this is a time when the nation needs to heal, let your conversation partner lead the healing part of the conversation. When a person of color talks about “healing,” riots break out.

So… Baltimore, huh? Crazy. You must have opinions, huh?

Oh good morning. Let me just put a pin in this multi-department schedule I’m working on. Would you like a petit four?

I mean… why would people destroy their own city?

You mean after six days of completely peaceful demonstrating that got approximately zero media attention?

IV: Woah, woah, woah! Too much nuance. Back that shit up.

TOE: You’re right, you’re right. I forgot myself. Dear readers, don’t point out the six days of peaceful protests thing, it will just make it look like you’re involved in the “fight” or the “movement.” And no one wants a fight or a movement at their regatta.

 

200

Let’s try that again.

I mean… why would people destroy their own city?

Yeah, I know what you mean… Oh, and the lavender and sea salt in these really pair well with the ganache, don’t you think?

I mean… it’s not like that guy was innocent. Have you seen the rap sheet on that guy? What was his name Michael Brown?

No, that was Missouri.

Tamil…Tamir Rice?

No, that was Cleveland.

John C–

Crawford? That was also Ohio.

Eric Garner?

That was New York. Freddie Gray. The guy in this incident is Freddie Gray.

Right. Gray. Well anyway, he was selling drugs for years, so it’s not like he was some Boy Scout.

Yeah, and I suppose the punishment for having sold drugs should be beheading without a trail.

IV: Jesus! Calm down Oreo X. You just got them to agree that actual sprigs of lavender belong in food you’re actually eating.

TOE: Those sprigs are actually really good.

IV: Well, then focus on that.

TOE: You’re right. Lavender, good. Justified anger, fear, and concern = terrifying. Backing up.

Right. Gray. Well anyway, he was selling drugs for years, so it’s not like he was some Boy Scout.

So true. You know what else is good on these? Cracked pepper. Has to be cracked, though.

I mean, violence doesn’t fix anything, you know.

Yup, which is probably why police officers shouldn’t resort to violence when meeting with someone who isn’t actively committing violence against someone else.

IV: New choice!

You’re so right. Which is why it’s really disappointing that all the people calling for non violence now weren’t calling for it when all those videos of cops shooting people surfaced.

IV: New choice!

I hear you. Violence solves nothing. Which is why officers should be trained to diffuse situations instead of escalating it through beatings and shootings.

IV: Are you even listening to me?

Tell me about it. The only thing I want to do violence on is another one of these petit fours.

TOE: Hey, Inner Voice. This is hard. Like really hard.

IV: And that’s why we fight… with clever jokes, not with rocks. Just to clarify FBI agents who may or may not be monitoring this communique, we fight with snark, which is legal and non-lethal

You know who is a hero in all this? That mom who beat up her son for protesting. I mean, if more parents would just raise their kids, then maybe their kids wouldn’t be thugs.

(At this point, you kinda just wanna shove all the petit fours in your mouth.)

Did you just eat all those petit fours?

(muffled) They’re really good.200

They really are. Did you make them yourself?

Yeah. I couldn’t sleep after watching this Irving Berlin documentary. I was just so amped up.

Well, thanks for these. And thanks for the talk.

You’re welcome.

You um… you have lavender sprig in your teeth.

Thanks.

 

See. With just a few snacks and a little determination, you can keep your social standing, your good name, and your Oreo brand.

IV: See, that wasn’t so bad now was it?

TOE: I don’t know, Inner Voice. To tell you the truth, I really don’t know.


What’s your favorite reason for decrying the protests? And what do you like to stuff your face with to avoid reality? Let us know in the comments!

Related:

How to Write about Current Events Part I

And Part II

 

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