Author: oreowriter

7 Awesome Things About Slavery (Reprise)

This post originally appeared here.

It has been updated below.

Also, seriously, how do you pronounce it? Is it “ruh-prize” or “ruh-preeze”?

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Every now and again a public official will casually say that America was the best when slavery was happening. They usually say it has something to do with family values and God and MAGA.

 

This week it happened again and people are all butt hurt because Alabama Senate candidate and alleged serial sexual predator Roy Moore basically said that slavery was A-OK when asked what his idea of a perfect America was.

Here’s how that totally reasonable exchange went down:

At a campaign event in September, a journalist asked Moore when was the last time America was “Great.”

Moore said: “I think it was great at the time when families were united. Even though we had slavery, they cared for one another. … Our families were strong, our country had a direction.”

And just like always, after said public official reminds us that slavery was totes nbd, there’s a huge snowflake backlash and everyone starts talking about how “terrible” it was that families were stolen from their homes, ripped apart, horrifically abused so that farmers in America could grow crops without having to do all that “work,” and used to set up a system of economics in this country that relies on people doing very difficult labour for none to low wages.

And I’m always so surprised that people would say things like this.

Because there are so many benefits to slavery that people always overlook. Here are 7 of ’em!

1. Fitness plans. According to some stats I hastily Googled, almost half of all black people are obese. This article says that in 42 states, more than a third of the black people there are obese. And in 15 states, that number goes up to 40%. I imagine that means that those black people are so fat that…they probably have a number of health problems and are uncomfortable in tiny seats or skinny jeans.

But back in slave days, blacks were super fit!! You can’t have a high body fat percentage when you’re doing hard labor all day. Not only did they get some cardio in when they were running from dogs and bullets, but they also got some fantastic strength training by carrying around full bushels of crops.

And they didn’t have to pay for it! Today a Crossfit membership that offers this kind of HIT training is not cheap! But back in the day, slaves got all that exercise for freezies! #jelly

Not fat.

2. Zero Percent Unemployment. It’s not new that The Great Recession was hard on everyone. But statistics show that it was super hard on blacks and that the African American population has been slower to recover than other groups.

That’s so not how it was when slavery was en vogue. You’d be hard pressed to find a black person out of work then. And sure, they didn’t get paid and they had to work ridiculous hours and they were beaten to death if they voiced an opinion or tried to find their husband who had been sold to a different family, but you know how good an internship looks on a resume!

3. Travel Benefits. Trying to work overseas can be a nightmare! There’s Visas and sponsors to worry about. You have to figure out how to get your paychecks converted into the right currency for whatever bank you’re using. You can’t lose your passport.

But slaves got to work overseas and had someone else take care of all the particulars! All slaves had to do was mind their own business in Africa. Then, suddenly, they got a surprise trip to a whole new world with lodging already taken care of!

Sure it’s crowded, but think of the travel points!

 

4. Easier Investment Portfolios. Have you looked at a paycheck recently? They’re so confusing! There’s the gross pay and allowances and all kinds of taxes. And don’t get me started on how complicated it can be to have a 401K! You have to figure out who your dependents are and how much of what stock you want to invest in. And if your company does matching funds, what’s the tipping point when you start taking out too much…it just goes on and on and on…

But slaves didn’t have to worry about all that. No pay meant no financial headache! No one likes doing their taxes and slaves got away with never having to.

6. Lots of Time Outdoors. How tiring is it, being cooped up in an office all day! Fluorescent lights and distant windows and office chairs that never seem to be adjusted quite right. It feels so good to just get away at the weekend. Go outside, take a hike or even just a walk around the neighborhood. Camping is a huge industry–people love it! And those lucky lucky slaves got to be outside all the time!! And they didn’t even have to wear sunscreen!

7. Low-Sugar Diet. We’ve already talked about the obesity rates among blacks, but diabetes is sky-high, too. Diabetes rates are twice as high among African-Americans than it is in whites. And they’re more likely to have to have limbs amputated. No. Thank. You.

It’s hard to over do it on the sugar when you’re eating scraps of meat and bread, or not being allowed to eat at all, so slaves totally had it good when it came to controlling carbs! It’s soooooo hard to say no to dessert. But slaves never got the chance to say yes! How easy would it be to be healthy without all that nasty temptation everywhere!

8. Gated Community Living. Today, neighborhoods where lots of black live are all scary like Compton or Oakland or The South. But as slaves, blacks got to live in super secure, fenced-in areas that would be totes out of their price range today. Jealous!

I mean, no, they didn’t live in the big house, but they got to live behind the gate. Which is more than I’m doing, tell you that!

 

What’s your favourite thing about forced free labour? Let us know in the comments!

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For Mor-eo Oreo: Follow The Oreo Experience on Twitter (@oreoexperience)
Leave a comment here or at any of the above and let us know what you think!
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Please also check out The Oreo Experience’s new webseries, BLACK GIRL IN A BIG DRESS. Join awkward African American Anglophile Adrienne as she navigates 21st century dating with 19th century ideals. All 8 episodes of Season One streaming now!

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EXCLUSIVE: Other Shows HBO Considered Before Deciding On Confederate

Managed to get my hands on this internal memo circulated at HBO. Some pretty interesting titles here. I’m still rooting for Rosa Parks and Rec!! (Full text below)

 

 

Hey HBO,

Here are some other ideas we’re kicking around. Looking forward to your thoughts!!

 

GROUNDHOG MLK DAY – In the spirit of the acclaimed and beloved GROUNDHOG DAY, this series will re-live the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King over and over and over and over again. Each week, the audience will get the opportunity to see the assassination from many angles they never knew they wanted to see before.

 

JAMES CROWE – Superhero anti-heroes are all the rage these days, right? (read: Deadpool, Batman-those are the two that come to mind, anyway, so we’re gonna call that a trend). So why not create a Civil Rights-era anti-hero for us to hate, study, and learn from?? James Crowe is just a regular dude who just hates black people. That’s his whole deal. This series will follow his journey from regular citizen to political machinist slash lynch mob organizer. Every episode, he’ll come up with a new way to fuck over people who are darker-skinned than him. But also, he’s really charming in that Bradley Cooper/Littlefinger sort of way.

 

BOYCOTT BOYBAND – People also love musicals right now, right? We keep seeing all these Hamilton posts, so we figure that’s like a whole thing now. BOYCOTT BOYBAND combines the heartbreak of segregation with the joy of four-part harmony. Yes, people are getting fire-hosed, but also yes, they’re singing about it and cutting an album. We’re thinking of partnering with Harry Styles on this one. Each week, audiences will get to see visceral images of people being violently arrested while the sweet, dulcet tones of our favorite Motown quartet delivers a soundtrack that is sure to please!!

 

ROSA PARKS AND REC – A mockumentary-style (this is still a cool thing to do right?) series that shows us the quirky side of everyone’s favorite Civil Rights Era icon. From the back of the bus to in front of the camera, she’s a Pam Beasley for a new generation!! (Possible to get Jenna Fischer to play titular role?)

 

CIVIL WRONGS – It’s a procedural where every week, an African American person or family will try to use the court system of the United States to protect themselves and win their civil rights. But here’s the kicker: Every week, they will lose!! The good news is that this will be deeply painful to watch and the better news is that we’ll probably get several Emmys for it. Thinking of Peter Dinklage for the lead.

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Which one of these are you most interested in tuning in to? If you let us know which one and why in the form of a slave narrative, you might be eligible for a walk-on role in Season 4!!

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Here were some other fantastic ideas for programming. What was your favorite?

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We’re just a few weeks away from launching BLACK GIRL IN A BIG DRESS!! Please join us at any of the following:

Carl Knows Casting: A Short Play By The Oreo Experience

They say “write what you know,” so I transcribed this interaction that happened like 6 days ago.

 

Characters:

The Oreo Experience – You know me. I love Renaissance Fairs. I’m not the best in social situations. I make a real effort to attend Edwardian Era dance classes.

Carl – An educated professional.

Harriet – A coworker who I know reads this blog. Hi “Harriet!” Feel free to correct any inaccuracies you see below.

 

 

INT. THE OREO EXPERIENCE’S OFFICE – AFTERNOON

THE OREO EXPERIENCE, CARL, and HARRIET enter TOE’s office, finishing a conversation. 

HARRIET
Have you thought about acting?

THE OREO EXPERIENCE
Haha! Sometimes. I mean, I perform every now and then.

CARL
You could be in that movie where the girls all go to Vegas!

THE OREO EXPERIENCE
You mean Rough Night with Kate McKinnon! I would love that! Love her!

CARL
No, no. The other one. With the black girls.

THE OREO EXPERIENCE
Girls Trip?

CARL
Yeah! That one! You can be in that one!

THE OREO EXPERIENCE
Why can’t I be in Rough Night?

CARL
(incredulously. it’s important that the actor deliver this line with the amount of “duh” that was in the original)
Because they’re all white. You should be in the other one.

THE OREO EXPERIENCE
I would so be besties with Kate McKinnon.

CARL
You can’t hang out with Kate McKinnon.

THE OREO EXPERIENCE
I can definitely hang out with Kate McKinnon. I mean, I had a dream where she and I made out for like 17 minutes, so I think I’m good on the Kate McKinnon front.

CARL
You’ll just fit in better with the black girls.

THE OREO EXPERIENCE

CARL
What?

THE OREO EXPERIENCE
You know that I made a whole web series about how I dress up in Victorian gear and speak in an English accent whenever possible. Just gonna go out on a limb here and say that Rough Night might be the film for me.

The Oreo Experience then plays the following pieces for Carl.

The Oreo Experience closes her browser window and turns back to Carl.

CARL
Huh. Well, maybe after you finish working on that, they’ll let you be in Girls Trip.

FIN

 

 

Discussion Questions:

  • Considering both of these films are both completed and already distributed, should I be in Rough Night or Girl’s Trip?
  • How are TOE’s steadfastness and commitment to composure first made clear in the play? In what ways, during the course of the play, is she the victim of her own habits? Are these features eventually responsible for her happiness or sorrow?
  • What is the playwright suggesting about capitalism?
  • Discuss Winston as an heroic icon. What qualities help him define his own role?
  • Do you think Harriet should have had more lines?
  • What does the cherry orchard signify?
  • Have you started following Black Girl in a Big Dress on Facebook, Insta, or Twitter? Why or why not?

 

 

 

 

Matthew Gets Dreadlocks: A short play by The Oreo Experience

Matthew Gets Dreadlocks: A short play by The Oreo Experience
Based on true events

 

INT. PERFECTLY NORMAL CONFERENCE ROOM IN A PROFESSIONAL SPACE – DAY
The Oreo Experience finishes some emails on her laptop while other people file in.

THIS ONE GUY:
Did y’all see that Matthew got dreadlocks?

THIS ONE GIRL:
I did!! It’s crazy!

THIS OTHER GUY:
I can’t believe he just did that. I mean, it looks cool, I guess. But, it’s so different.

THIS OTHER GIRL:
How do dreadlocks even work?

A quiet beat.

All heads turn, nearly in unison, toward The Oreo Experience as she looks up from her laptop.

THE OREO EXPERIENCE:
Are we waiting for Margot to join, or are we just getting started–
(then, off their looks)
–What?

THIS ONE GUY:
Like how do they work?

THE OREO EXPERIENCE:
How does what work?

THIS ONE GUY:
Dreadlocks.

THE OREO EXPERIENCE:
I don’t know. So, is Margot–

THIS OTHER GUY:
I mean, it’s fake hair, right? Like Matthew had to get extensions, right?

THE OREO EXPERIENCE:
I don’t know Matthew and I don’t know anything about his hair.

THIS ONE GUY:
You saw the tall guy with dreadlocks today, right? That’s fake hair, yeah?

THIS OTHER GUY:
It has to be. His hair was not that long, was it?

THE OREO EXPERIENCE:
Are you asking me?

THIS OTHER GIRL:
Yeah, how does it work?

THE OREO EXPERIENCE:
Look, I’m writing this down to make fun of this later, and I’m not even sure if it’s “dreds” or “dreads.” So maybe you should just google it?

THIS ONE GUY:
It’s not that serious, but like… how does it work?

THE OREO EXPERIENCE:
I don’t have dreds…dreads…whatever. So I really don’t know.

The Oreo experience takes this opportunity to re-open her laptop and get back to work since this is how it’s gonna be.

THIS ONE GIRL:
Can you wash it?

THIS OTHER GUY:
I read that you can’t wash it.

THIS OTHER GIRL:
He doesn’t smell, so he must wash it, or something, right?

THIS ONE GIRL:
Like, how long does that take? Can you do it in a couple hours?

THE ONE GUY:
How long does it last?

THIS OTHER GUY:
How do you get it to grow in that shape?

THIS OTHER GIRL:
Is it soft? Like what does it feel like?

The Oreo Experience looks up, expecting to see people looking at other people. Nope. They’re still looking at her.

THE OREO EXPERIENCE:
If you really want to know, maybe you should just ask Matthew…directly?

THIS ONE GIRL:
Well no, I mean, I’m not going to be all weird or rude about it!

 

FIN

 

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If you can answer any of these people’s questions about dreadlocks, please send me your responses and I will make sure they get delivered appropriately.

Fly Too Close To The Sun…

Regular readers know that one of the key tenets of The Oreo Lifestyle™ is to blend in as much as possible and as quickly as possible. The sooner you can get people to stop noticing you’re not white, the sooner they’ll stop posting weird, passive aggressive messages about you getting out of your own car in front of your own house on NextDoor.

 

 

Oreos are very good at this. But every once in a while, it goes all pear-shaped.

Like for example: That time last week when you found a nearly dead baby hummingbird in your driveway and spent your nightly-youtubing-British-sketch-comedy hours on frantically getting this little bird to the right rescue.

 

 

We all know how this goes. One minute, you’re discussing fledging behaviour, humane traps for predators, and the best ways to clean your yard fountains to prevent the spread of conjunctivitis, and the next minute, one of your rescuers says:

“Yes, I’m employed by the organization, but for money, I also hunt for recyclables in the park. I’m like a blonde Mexican!”

Whoops! It’s a classic situation–assimilating so well that your conversation partner believes that you will be happy to trade in stereotypes about another race. It just means you’re too good at being you.

But what’s an Oreo to do?

Call them out and you risk being labelled a paid Black Lives Matter protestor. Laugh along and you risk them assuming that you also voted to #MAGA.

It seems like a lose-lose situation. And it is. But follow one of these three simple steps and you’ll get out of there unscathed.

Exotic allergies are your friend

Start coughing or sneezing or scratching yourself furiously and blame it on something very specific like westerly winds, or yellow #7, or laughter. This is a great tactic since sudden onsets of specific sensitivities are super Anglo-tastic and no one can tell if what you’re saying is true. All they want is for you to calm down so we can all get on with the evening.

Exotic languages are your friend

Start signing or speaking Japanese or interpretive dancing and explain that with your very interesting upbringing, spoken English wasn’t your first language and you’ve been lip-reading slash translating as best you can this whole time and you didn’t understand that last bit, but you’re very tired, so maybe it’s best that y’all just call it a day.

Exotic women are your friends

Try this sentence: “Did you really just say that you’re like A Blonde Mexican? Oh! Are you talking about how much you look like Rita Hayworth in The Lady From Shanghai? I totally agree!”

 

Doesn’t matter if she looks like Ms. Hayworth or not, just pay her the compliment and let her be happy about it. Hopefully, she’ll be so excited that she’ll forget about the racism and you can begin your exit. (Yes, Hayworth was Spanish, not Mexican, but trust me, this woman you’re talking to won’t know the difference).

Get out of the conversation unscathed and you can be happy in the knowledge that you saved a little bird’s life and kept that nice lady from feeling embarrassed.

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What are your favorite tips for making it out of an awkward moment? Let us know in the comments! 

And for more helpful How-Tos, be sure to check out:

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

And be sure to check out the Oreo Experience-produced webseries: Black Girl in a Big Dress
Leave a comment here or at any of the above and let us know what you think!

At Least 5 Reasons I Should Have a Small But Definitely On-Camera Role in the Downton Abbey Movie: An Open Letter to Julian Fellowes

At Least 5 Reasons I Should Have a Small But Definitely On-Camera Role in the Downton Abbey Movie: An Open Letter to Julian Fellowes

 

My Dear Mr. Fellowes,

I was thrilled to bursting when I saw the news last week that Downton Abbey: The Movie will start shooting this year. I love this show. For six winters, my entire Sunday days were dedicated to prepping my home for our Downton Abbey viewing party. Sometimes this meant something as simple as popping a roast in the oven; sometimes, opera-length gloves were involved. My Monday days were spent discussing every detail of the show. And my Thursday days were spent shivering in the corner because it had been far too long since I had seen the Crawleys and I feared I never would again. 

Though I may just be another fan in the masses, I think we would be a great fit to work together. I have detailed my reasons why below and am open to any questions or clarifications you require.

  1. I already own several corsets. Think how much money you’ll save in wardrobe by only having to dress 45 of your 46 extras for what will surely be a glorious holiday or wedding ball where I proudly walk through scene without weeping openly in joy and touching everything around me just to make sure it’s real!
  2. You’ll look super woke. People love saying “woke” these days and they rarely get to say it about costume dramas like Downton or Tory peers like yourself. In fact, there’s much gnashing of teeth about how even though people of color were definitely hanging out in early 1900s society, they rarely get featured in films and shows about these eras. Think of all the awesome PR you’ll get just by having me walk through frame and definitely not smile directly into camera.
  3. I watched Gosford Park about 45 times. With a running time of 2 hours and 17 minutes, I invested a lot of time in this work. I think it’s only fair that I cash in on that investment of that time that I could have spent with “family” or “friends” by spending a bit more time flying across the globe, motoring out to Highclere Castle, fannying about a green room, and then crossing through a scene definitely without embracing Anna Smith in the middle of a take.
  4. I just used the phrase “fannying about” without batting an eye. I may have been born in Texas and now live in California, but I’m pretty much the most British of all my friends–even the British ones. And when I had my DNA tested, it turns out that a full 10% of me hails from slaveowners that came from Britain. It would mean the world to me to return to my homeland for the occasion of appearing, if only briefly, in a scene wherein I walk through the drawing room definitely without reciting every single one of the Dowager’s best one-liners while weeping happily.
  5. I just spent a bunch of time crafting this new webseries, Black Girl in a Big Dress, which is, in part, a nod to my love of all things slightly old and very British. I mean, come on. 

 

For real, your Lordship. Let’s do this!

I look most forward to receiving your reply.  

Sincerely,

The Oreo Experience

PS. I am actually quite excited about this new project, BLACK GIRL IN A BIG DRESS! And hope that everyone reading will take a look! It’s been a labor of love for the last half year and I can’t wait for everyone to see the whole thing. Find us on twitter @BlkGirlBigDress and Facebook.com/blackgirlinabigdress
PPS. I can’t promise that I’m not wearing that giant dress right now.

PPPSNext Week on The Oreo Experience: At Least 5 Things I am Willing to do to be a Part of the Downton Abbey Movie.

 

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What’s your favorite costume drama (okay, or favorite “regular TV show”) and why should you have a role in its next installment? Let us know in the comments and let’s get you on camera! 

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For Mor-eo Oreo and to find out more about Black Girl in a Big Dress:

Follow The Oreo Experience on Twitter (@oreoexperience)
Like us on facebook!
Or subscribe on youtube!
Leave a comment here or at any of the above and let us know what you think!

Great Heroes of Black History Month

As longtime readers of this space will know, an Oreo is not likely to celebrate Black History Month. Summer Solstice, is fine. Nothing wrong with a Labor Day picnic. And I’m already happily planning the photo shoot for this year’s Boxing Day cards.

But Black History Month is not something we traditionally make space for. When black people go on and on about other black people…and especially when they go on and on about the historical treatment of black people, it makes other people very uncomfortable. It doesn’t matter if what said black person is saying is “true,” or “correct,” or “a helpful bit of conversation to help understand current events,” history and truth will always be around, so no need to harp on them. Comfort, however, is fleeting and should be cherished. Like a shooting star or the finish on a nice Southern French Negrette.

Yesterday, however, Vice President Pence gave us a lovely gift! He showed us that we can celebrate Black History Month by talking about White People!

pence_tweet-png_848779016

 

 

That’s way more comfortable than being all snowflakey/SJW/RBP about it. It’s perfect! We get a few more days to throw a lovely bash (who’s gonna pass up an excuse to pass the flutes!) and we can do it without upsetting the social order.

I hear what you’re saying, though. You’ve been indoctrinated to focus on black heroes during BHM. Effectively, unsung white champions have been Affirmative Actioned right out of the conversation. So they’ve been all but forgotten. What white heroes would we even talk about? We’ve got you covered. Below are a handful of white folks to lift up along with talking points about their contributions to Black America.

Ellen Clapsaddle

Look at this darling little white girl.

f65fe7c642a54ca8b280fbc3b64bb851

She was illustrated by another darling white girl. Ellen Hattie Clapsaddle lived in the late 1800s and early 1900s and was the most prolific greeting card illustrator of her day. Black people, after being freed from slavery, developing economic communities of their own, standing up to the nation when those communities were torn down, and then building themselves up again would eventually mail postcards to each other. Thanks for the support, Ellen!

 

Hubert Cecil Booth

This is Hubert!

image2

Back in the day when everyone went by all three of their names, he was busy being three-named and inventing the vacuum cleaner. Most homes in the US have a vacuum cleaner and some of those homes have black people in them. Plus, earlier last century when black people could only get work as preachers or maids, some of those ladies used vacuum cleaners instead of having to break their fingers combing carpet by hand. Where would they be without this great man? Thanks, Hube!

 

This Guy

Look at this guy!

portrait-1880455_1280

 

Who is he and what did he do? Does that matter? I think what’s important to see here is that he looks like someone you could just have a conversation with. He probably keeps a level head and gently guides you to make decisions that don’t get everyone all riled up. Thanks, This Guy!

This couple!

Look at the love!

marriage-1880258_1280

These two are just starting on their lives together, but they’ve totally had conversations about adopting a kid one day. And they’re not totally opposed to the idea of adopting inter-racially. So there’s like a solid 70-30 chance that they’ll help reduce the inner city by one. Thanks, This couple!

Happy Black History Month, everyone!

For more BHM survival tips:

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What heroes are you celebrating this February? Let us know in the comments! 

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For Mor-eo Oreo:

Follow The Oreo Experience on Twitter (@oreoexperience)
Like us on facebook!
Or subscribe on youtube!
Leave a comment here or at any of the above and let us know what you think!