black chick

Your Acceptable Black Friend

So, I have some news. I have a new friend. She’s… Black.

And I’m not talking about just another card-carrying, flag-waving Oreo. She’s no RBP, but she downloaded Beyonce’s secret album the other week. Whatever. It’s no big deal. She filled out the application. And so now we have coffee every now and then.

Obviously when making a new black friend it’s important to be careful. Get too many of you together and it looks like you’re trying to stage a revival of The Color Purple.

And sure, she does like theater, but if we stage any production, it will probably be a revival of Proof. I’ll be playing the mathematical formula. It’ll be pretty groundbreaking.

Yes, there are some obvious risks with consorting with other Of Colors, but there are actually a couple of plusses as well. Tread carefully enough and you can still be a very special snowflake, but your new pal might just become a friend with some benefits.

She’ll have lotion.

Your Acceptable Black Friend probably doesn’t spend as much time trying to deny her countenance as you do. Because of that, she totally accepts that sometimes, said countenance gets ashy. White people can live without lotion forever. If their skin is dry, all they have to deal with is a distracting itch that can lead to cracks in the skin and possible infection.

What they don’t have to deal with is the embarrassing trail of chalky, flaky, white streak on brown skin if they dare scratch. (Meditation classes on ignoring discomfort are starting up again in a couple of weeks. PM me for deets).

The first step is admitting you have a problem.

The first step is admitting you have a problem.

I’d take the infection if it means that a simple itch didn’t draw attention to my Hamish curse. This leads to wishful thinking which leads to not buying lotion which leads to having to wear long pants all winter.

But your ABF probably just “accepts” that she gets ashy. So she’ll buy lotion. Which you can borrow on the DL.

You’ll be better at crossword puzzles.

I don’t know what “deuces” or “turnt out” means, but it’s fun to say (ironically, of course.) Thanks, ABF!

She’ll create a diversion

Despite an Oreo’s best efforts, at first blush, you’re still going to look ethnic. Relaxers and Peter Pan collars and tulle skirts aside, people will still get the wrong impression. This means that sometimes, people will approach you and use terms like “yo” and “articulate” when they start talking to you. They’ll point you away from the delicious trout canapés and tell you where the okra is or ask you how you feel about grinding on surfboarts or Michelle Obama’s healthy eating campaign.

You’d think the deer in the headlights look would be enough to deter them, but it usually only makes them ask more questions. Or encourages them to build you a playlist that includes far too little Sarah Watkins and far too many vocal riffs.

Your ABF, however, can fill in the gaps between their attempts at conversation and your terrified silence. While they chat, you can slip away unnoticed and take a moment to yourself to start planning your next Downton Abbey viewing extravaganza.

That Dowager’s got nothing on you. 

Bring it on, Violet!

Bring it on, Violet!

Deuces!

Who are some of your newest friends? What are the best things about them? And what is going on with Mr. Bates?? He’s about to lose his mind, right? He’s totally headed for Crazyton Abbey?

Let us know in the comments. 

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

You Can’t Say That on Television…Without Letting Me Know to Tune In!

Aasif Mandvi - those eyes, that smirk, that ability to make people forget that their words are being broadcast to millions and that there are such things as "consequences" mmmmmmmm

Aasif Mandvi – those eyes, that smirk, that ability to make people forget that their words are being broadcast to millions and that there are such things as “consequences”  – Yum!

In case you didn’t catch Thursday’s Daily Show clip that everyone is talking about, here’s the Reader’s Digest version: (Note to self: Find out if people still read Reader’s Digest)

Aasif Mandvi interviewed Don Yelton, a GOP Precinct Captain from North Carolina. During the interview, the two discussed voting rights generally, and more specifically, the fact that since the Supreme Court repealed part of the Voting Rights Act, North Carolina has done what it can to make sure that only the right people get the right vote. Yelton agrees with this practice and supports oppressive voting rules that keep various populations out of the polls. Oh, and he’s super racist about it.

If you haven’t seen the video, it’s worth a watch. So click here for that. Don’t worry, we’ll wait. (and if someone wants to teach me how to embed Daily Show clips on WordPress, there’s a bright and shiny oatmeal raisin cookie in it for you!)

HmmmmmhmmmmmooooooAAAAAAAAAAlalalalalawhatdoesthefoxsaytchofftchofftchoffalliwantedwastobreakyourwaaaalllllsbuteverybody’slikecristalmaybachdiamondsonyourtimepiecesomethingsomethingtigersonagold — oh you’re back!

So yeah. I watched that video and as you might expect, I was pissed.

That guy was so phoning it in! Sure, he trotted out uncomfortably bigoted phrases like “one of my best friends is black,” and “lazy blacks,” and “we call them negroes,” and yes, he even dropped the n-word a couple of times. Good for him, but he left so many great phrases out!

With just one more ounce of sticktoitiveness, Mr. Yelton could have done us the favor of saying words and phrases like:

  • Welfare queens
  • Food stamp president
  • Tar baby
  • They just don’t value education
  • Our blacks are better than theirs
  • Look, if it wasn’t for slavery, they’d all still be smashing rocks and throwing spears in Africa
  • What’s the difference between a pizza and a black guy
  • Can I touch your hair
  • The Holocaust? Yeah, I’ve heard that propaganda before.
  • Fried chicken and diabetes

With just one or two extra phrases, I could have totally won last night’s game of Unbelievably Dumb And Totally Cliched Right Wing Racist Things Bingo–a game I play weekly. PM me for deets on the next location.

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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!

Vacation Rules

Just got some pictures and daguerreotypes back from a week away I spent with the fella’s family.

To be fair, there is a lighthouse in all of my vacation photos from where ever I go.

To be fair, I can’t take a vacation photo that doesn’t include a lighthouse. No matter where I am.

This is a branch of the family he doesn’t talk to or see all that often, so it was a great chance to reconnect. Even better, unlike visiting the distant arms of my RBP family where we literally had KFC for dinner (don’t worry, eating fried chicken on someone else’s dime is one of the exceptions that makes it okay to consume. Still, I didn’t like it), his extended family are the waspiest. They pronounce their “r” as “ah”s, they went to boarding schools, they start drinking at 4 p.m and don’t stop until after midnight. Hashtag heaven.

Of course, I did learn some things on my visit and will share them here. Feel free to use these tips on your next trip to New England. And please feel free to add any of your own.

Do try to date someone who’s family owns a house from the early 1900s. It will go nicely with your chalet.

Don’t continue to date them unless said house is at a cape or in the St. Lawrence River. Easy, land-locked vacations are for the weak.

Do remember to pack Dramamine. You don’t want to look like you’ve never been in an antique Chris Craft before.

Don’t get into the water! Even if the boat capsizes, do not go in! You’re bright. Figure it out. You may float on it, hydroplane over it, or drink next to it. But one drop of natural river water without a tonne of conditioner at the ready and your freshly pressed hair will kink right up and leave you looking like a q-tip. No one can unsee that. Especially wasps.

I don't care how many floaties you have to stuff in that hull. Do not let yourself get wet! (source)

I don’t care how many floaties you have to stuff in that hull. Do not let yourself get wet!
(source)

Do laugh at their jokes about how you are the only person of non-European descent who has ever visited the house. It is pretty funny when you think about it.

Don’t be surprised when even though your boyfriend has slept in the main, appointed quarters of the house his entire 4-decade life, he suddenly finds himself relegated to the servants quarters because he’s with you. It’s not personal, they’ve just instituted some new rules….this year. House virgins have to sleep in the servants’ quarters with the peeling paint and mold on the walls. That way they “appreciate it more” next time. You’d do the same with your chalet.

Do use the time to catch up on your reading. Proof is still excellent…or maybe it’s Doubt. I get those confused. You know what, bring both. Also, Faust.

Don’t be surprised when the patriarch of the family hands you a book and says he thinks you’ll love it. Spoiler alert, he’s going to give you a spoiler alert and it will sound like this: “It’s really interesting. It’s about sailors who were shipwrecked and became slaves. But here’s the thing. They were white slaves. White. Slaves.”

Do agree that white slavery is definitely the weirder slavery.

Don’t be surprised that two more days pass before the master and mistress of the house talk to you directly and that it only happens after they find out you ride horses.

Do be prepared to show photos of show ribbons or the conversation will be brief.

Don’t take offense to the hundreds of questions everyone has about your hair when you curl it that one time.

Do not let them touch it. No one needs that can of worms.

Don’t forget to drop words like “Main line,” “Colby College,” and “made pony.”

Do go ahead and answer when your boyfriend’s mom continually calls you by the name of his first black girlfriend.

Don’t correct her. Once it happens five times in a row, it’s just going to be awkward to change the pattern.

Do not hug and kiss goodbye at the end of the trip. That kind of showiness is for Southerners.

Don’t forget about to start planning next year’s trip early! And just wait, you might get moved up to the nice rooms.

What was it like the last time you visited your in-law types? Let us know about it 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!

So Stereotypical

People often ask me why I try so hard to escape my ethnicity. It’s an odd question to be because there are plenty of obvious reasons. I mean, come on! Think about it. It’s pretty clear. I mean, who would want to be… Why would anyone let themselves look like… I can’t believe people would be contentReally? With the choices out there, someone would actually… Who wants to be in the same group as… Seriously? People are okay with that… Anyhoo

I digress.

It’s not just that I want a better deal on my home or auto loan, a lessened chance of getting diabetes, and the ability to get my hair done without it feeling like I’m being punished. The truth is, one of the biggest reasons I work so hard at surprising people with just how Oreo I am is that in many other ways, I am beyond stereotypical.

  • As a Los Angeleno, I will drive to something even if it’s only 3 blocks away.
  • As someone who was raised Baptist, I’m always terrified I’m pregnant.
  • As someone who drifted over to Episcopalianism, I kvetch way too much about whatever I give up for Lent.
  • As an American, I’m pretty sure I can’t differentiate between Yemen and Bahrain on a map.
  • As a Southern Californian, I’m freezing if it’s below 70-degrees.
  • As a left leaner, I don’t get what’s so great about owning assault weapons or what’s so terrible about letting poor kids eat food.
  • As someone who looked like this in high school, I found refuge in the theater.
  • As a theater kid, I sing showtunes all the bloody time.
  • As a writer, I’m perfectly content not speaking to anyone for a week or so straight.
  • As a member of the tail end of Gen X, I fiercely fight for my right not to be lumped in with Gen Y. Nothing personal, most of my friends, but I was born in the 70s and that fact is important to me.
  • As a woman, I always wish I were thinner and I freaking love yogurt. Seriously. I will Yogurt all the live long day.
The spoils of my war

The spoils of my war

  • As a Texan, I can run a train on some brisket, I often say “y’all” and yes, I will clap my hands if someone sings “the stars at night…”
  • As an only child, I really don’t understand team sports. I just don’t see why you need so many people at once. I can run with the ball or you can run with the ball, but we don’t all need to be here.

So, so predictable. Being an Oreo is the thing keeps me interesting.

What makes you interesting. Or boring? 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!

 

How to Write about Current Events, Zimmerman

Since Saturday, I’ve been trying to figure out what to say about the George Zimmerman non-verdict. Just like I tried to figure out what to say when all this started last year. Moments like this are what folks like me are here for. We’re supposed to say something hella pithy and clever and poignant and then drop the mic like BOOM.

The good news is, I have been saying a lot about the ol’ GZ sitch. The less good news is that the conversations have mostly been in my head. And they’ve sounded a little like this:

Saturday

TheOreoExperience: Holygoodness, I love me a singalong! And on such a lovely Los Angeles summer night! Ha! Summer days, drifting away to ah ah those suummmer niiiiiiights.

Inner Voice: Psst! Pssssst! Psssssssssssssssssssssssssst! Check your phone!  Someone just got an AP Mobile update saying that the verdict has come in.

TOE: C’mon. I just got my goodie bag. There are bubbles in here. I guarantee you the verdict is not going to make me want to blow bubbles.

IV: Who’s Bubbles?

TOE: My bubbles, I just– hey! I see what you did there. Stop being a child. We are at a Grease singalong. This is serious business.

IV: Travolta’s tight pants are serious business.

TOE: Yes they are. So stop distracting me. I’ll deal with this tomorrow.

IV: Okay. Sure thing.

(beat)

IV: He was found not guilty of all charges.

TOE: WHAT?! WHAT THE EFFING HOLY MOTHER EFFING EFF?! HOW IS THAT–

IV: We have to write about this.

TOE: I know, I know. But seriously, tomorrow. It hurts my self to think about this and It’s hard to put coherent satire together when you’re singing Beauty School Dropout.

Remember, kids. The moral of this story is something along the lines of become a slut to get the man of your dreams.  Not gonna say it worked for me...not gonna say it didn't.  (source)

Remember, kids. The moral of this story is something along the lines of become a slut to get the man of your dreams.
Not gonna say it worked for me…not gonna say it didn’t.
(source)

Every Day Since Saturday

IV: Why aren’t we writing yet?

TOE: Because…I just… I mean, have you…

IV: Oh, come on. You live for this stuff!

TOE: What a horrible thing to say.

IV: But it plays perfectly into your whole narrative.

TOE: It’s just too dark. I mean, as much as I like making jokes about this stuff, I kinda wish i didn’t have to.

IV: Yeah and I wish I had a unicorn right now.

TOE: Okay, fine.

IV: Wish in one hand, poop in the other, see which one fills up first.

TOE: I get it.

IV: When you wish upon a star, you look like a crazy person talking to yourself like that.

TOE: Okay!! You are not nice today.

IV: We’ve got things to do. Let’s hear what you’ve got.

TOE: Okay, well I thought about doing a piece about how a little Oreo fashion instruction could solve a lot of issues. Instead of hoodies, black folks should don turtlenecks and wigs–they keep all the brown from being seen, but aren’t as gangy looking. The right wig can also totally throw someone off the scene. I’m thinking a Whig era wig, you know. Also, I look amazeballs in a turtleneck.  

IV: Hmmm, yeah, now all I’m thinking about is that poor boy. Fucking sad.

TOE: That’s the problem!

IV: What else ya got? I think we can still make something work.

TOE: Hmmm, I could make a list of names that were more likely to encourage a guilty verdict. I mean, if George Zimmerman had shot young Albert Van Beveran or little Larson Latimer or if he had murdered Mackenzie Morris, things might have been different. I could talk about how Oreos know this and so we’ll even change our last names if it arranges an anglo-tastic alliteration. Maybe throw in a list of things you can change your name to?

IV: Yeah, it’s still really just bumming me out right now.

TOE: What about–

IV: You know what. Why don’t we just call it a day maybe go out on a cat picture.

TOE: Sounds good! Can we do some kitten mittens?

IV: Wouldn’t have it any other way.

TOE: You’re good to me.

IV: I really am.

TOE: Thanks Craig for the tip on the gif!

IV: Who’s Craig?

TOE: This guy I work with. He’s cool.

IV: Right on.

1233209173_1993968011

 

TOE: Hey, IWS?

IV: Yeah?

TOE: Is this maybe what’s wrong with, oh, everything by the way? The whole let’s just look at a cat gif instead of rising up and taking action as a society?

(beat)

IV: It’s a really good gif.

TOE: Has everyone in my office seen me talking out loud to myself?

IV: Yup!

TOE: We have really got to get you a body.

(Click here for How To Write About Current Events Part I)

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What are your favorite pieces on the Trayvon Martin case? Give us links in the comments!

Or, if you’re the emotional child that I am, what are your favorite make-yourself-feel-better photos or gifts? Leave those in the comments, too! 

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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

Family Time

One of the most basic tenants of being an Oreo is that you do not spend time en masse with other browns and blacks. If you do things like go to Renaissance Faires, oboe conventions, regattas and while collar office spaces, this is fairly easily accomplished. The one time it’s a real bugger to work around is when you’re guilted into  you decide to go visit people you’re related to…and they live in the South.

However, like most of the jams that Oreos find themselves in, there are ways to mitigate the damaging proximity to melanin that one must experience during obligatory small talk fests with people who share your genetic code.

It should be noted that Oreos prefer getting marmalade and not jam. (source)

It should be noted that Oreos prefer getting stuck in marmalades and not jams.
(source)

I just got back from such a trip and wanted to share with you my tips and tricks for not seeming quite so black when you’re in the company of a whole buncha black folks.

Pack Appropriate Reading Material

Hundreds of people will walk past you on the plane, so make sure you aren’t holding something hella ethnic like Oprah’s magazine or those Beatz headphones. Instead, try a copy of The Harvard Business Review or Epitaph for a Peach. Why relax when you can use journalism to fend of judgement and remind yourself of how poetically you’re not thinking about all that you’re not achieving.

Pass Through Airport Security Without Unloading All Liquids

The airport is a place where it is defs not okay to be brown. One the last three flights I’ve taken, my boyfriend has managed to get through security with razors in his bag while I’ve been accused of having too many toiletries bags and had my hair inspected as though I just got back from a missionary trip in the barrio and they wanted to make sure I didn’t have lice.

But this time was different. Maybe it was because they figure no one on their way to Raleigh Durham would be up to trouble. Maybe it was the fact that it was a red-eye and we were all tired. Or maybe it’s because the fact that I just totally forgot to take a couple of bottles out of my bag looked like such a boss move to them that they couldn’t bring themselves to do anything but let me go.

Stay At A House Where Slaves Used To Work

If you’re gonna go to the South on a trip, you might as well go to The South. Instead of staying in an RBP-tastic place like La Quinta or The Hampton Inn and Suites, I chose a delightful little B&B. That was built in 1847. In the Confederacy. That was owned by a rich legacy family. Which means that once upon a time, it’s very likely that a house girl made the bed that I refused to while I was there. (Well, not the same bed. This bed was too comfortable to be 166 years old.)

I'm in there somewhere. And always will be

I’m in there somewhere. And always will be

Identify Favorite  Patterns

There was another bonus to the ex slave resort. And I’m not talking about the awesome wainscoting or the gladiolas or the awesome sitting room where yes, I claimed that I had the ‘vaypas’ so I could sit in the awesome chair. This place also had the same toile pattern that appears on an ottoman I just bought. It was like the house was calling to me from afar. I wouldn’t have been surprised if at the end of the trip, my vision rack focused on a photo from 1864 where I stood grinning with the rest of the house staff while a voice over reminded that I was a guest and I’d always been a guest…

Spend An Hour Or So Discussing the Pros and Cons of the Artistic Director and Conductor of the Local Philharmonic

In case you were concerned that I didn’t come by my Oreoness honestly, you only need to meet my uncle and aunt. I hadn’t seen these people in a decade. But instead of catching up about ourselves (boring), we threw on a classical hits CD, talked about each movement and shot the shit about who brought out the best in what movements (totally not boring!)

Make Small Talk re: Who Has Better Summers, Scotland or Switzerland

Trick questions. It’s Basque, obvs.

And just as soon as I finish paying off student loans, I hope to always be here.

And just as soon as I finish paying off student loans, I hope to always be here.

Stuff Emotions So Deeply That You Feel Full Enough to Refuse the Fried Chicken

RBP are known for their clever comebacks, snappy repartee and their delightful disses and dozens. So when a parent decides for the 10,000th  time to describe not just you looked like at birth, but your afterbirth at birth, many RBP would have something to say that would stop that conversation in its tracks. But where’s the challenge in that. Anyone can walk out of a room, set some boundaries and decide not to engage in inappropriate conversation topics. But it takes real skill to sit and endure. To smile and nod. And to not get all up in someone’s business about it. And that is a skill I’m proud of. In large part because it really does turn your appetite enough that you can honestly say that no thank you, you’re fine with just the roll and you don’t need the okra, greens or pecan pie. … okay, maybe a little pecan pie.

You're also not going to want to eat ham salad again. Not after that story.  (source)

You’re also not going to want to eat ham salad again. Not after that story.
(source)

When was your last trip home? How did it go? Any advice for next time?

How to Meet Someone

(source)

Con’t be afraid to crop out dark spots in your photos.
(source)

With the end of the year comes a host of potentially awkward situations for an Oreo: office holiday parties, obligatory shindigs thrown by vague acquaintances, family dinners, the lack of new Shark Tank and Kitchen Nightmares episodes.

Not only is the Oreo forced to make make-believe merry with people who also don’t want to be there, but she or he might get stuck talking to another of color, or worse, an RBP. In some cases, an Oreo might find herself in the extra sticky situation of having to introduce another melanin-rich individual to someone else. Or worse, they might be introduced to a black person by a malicious member of their blanchetourage.

In either case, it is imperative to make it clear that the Oreo a) does not know this person well b) does not wish to know this person well and c) hopes no one gets to know this person well. Too much familiarity and an onlooker is certain to fear a gang-fight.

Here are some steps you can take at your next party to make sure that everyone knows you’re only shaking this person’s hand to be polite.

Mispronounce their name. Nothing says that you just don’t give a shit like the mispronunciation of a name you just heard learned. If you’re meeting a Michael, try calling them Michelle, La-Michael or Quantas to make sure no one thinks you’re friends. Adding an “accidental”  “La-” a “D'” or a “-eesha” to the beginning or end of most names will make them sound super black and thus allow everyone to recognize how little you think of this person. It will also draw attention to their darkness and keep people from looking at yours.

Look Away. Whether you look just above their heads, to the left or right of their ears or bury your face in yours or your neighbor’s purse, keep yourself from locking eyes with the Other. You don’t want them thinking that they can engage you in further conversation or steal your soul–which they will do.

Accentuate the negative. This will highlight your own accomplishments as well as ensure that mutual friends will try to keep their distance, which in turn, will help you keep yours. Try saying something like:

  • “Hi Marcie, this is LaJennifer-eessha, her divorce should be just about final by now.”
  • “Nice to meet you.. D’Steven, was it? Didn’t I see you in the parking lot just before that busload of children was shot… Huh. Must have been your twin, then!”
  • “This is LaD’EeshaJohnFootballPlayer. His sentencing hearing is next week. What’s that? You’ve never been convicted of anything? Huh, I’m sure it’s just a matter of time. I mean… look at you!”

With phrases like these, you’ll ensure that the conversation will be brief and your humiliation bearable.

No touch. While you may not be able to get away with avoiding a handshake, do not under any circumstances hug, kiss, tickle or sleep with this person. You’re dark enough. You don’t want that shit rubbing off on you.

For more tips and tricks for social situations, see below.

Click here for an additional Holiday Party Survival Guide

Click here for info on how to deal with someone who looks Mixed Race

Click here to see how to deal with a white person who surprises you by suddenly sounding all black out of nowhere.

Celebrate carefully, my friends.

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