Black Girl in a Big Dress is also beginning her festival run next month at The International Black Film Festival in Nashville, and the Urban Mediamakers Film Festival in Atlanta!
This post originally appeared here.
It has been updated below.
Also, seriously, how do you pronounce it? Is it “ruh-prize” or “ruh-preeze”?
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
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!
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!
What’s your favourite thing about forced free labour? Let us know in the comments!
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!
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.
Look at this darling little white girl.
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!
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!
Look at this guy!
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!
Look at the love!
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:
- Check out This Guide #BlookerPWooshingbun.
- And then maybe read this about my first Black History Month wherein I should probably stop using these people’s real names.
What heroes are you celebrating this February? Let us know in the comments!
For Mor-eo Oreo:
Remember the game Truth or Dare? That game we played as kids with the goal to embarrass each other as much as possible in the name of pre-pubescent bonding? I was thinking about that game during the last few days (no, nothing weird happened over the weekend, why?) and I realized something very important: This game is wasted on the young.
When you’re a kid and you play Truth or Dare, you get questions like:
“Truth… do you like Ben?” or “Truth…have you gotten your period?” or “Dare: I dare you to show us your bra!”
These questions are worthless. Doesn’t matter how you feel about Ben. Dollars to donuts he is not into the girl who looooooves turquoise and who’s 12-year-old teeth are just not where they should be. And in a few years, to make up for the fact that Ben never gave you the time of day, you’ll be showing everyone your bra.
But if we could re-purpose this set up and harness the power of probing questions and suggestions for ridiculous action items for 30-somethings, lives would change, my friends. Lives would change.
Think about it. You’re hanging with your friends. Enjoying
a glass 3.4 bottles of wine, someone finally puts down the Cards Against Humanity and suggests Truth or Dare.
“Truth: Do you really need to have Bradley Murphy’s number in your phone anymore?”
“Truth: Be honest. If a friend talked to you….the way you talk to you… would you consider that person a friend? No, no you would not.”
Or “Dare: …I dare you to revamp your resume. You don’t have to send it out, let’s just open up that Word doc and see what we’re working with.”
Maybe, “Dare you to just put your gym bag in the car. Don’t have sign up anywhere. Just pack it, put it in the backseat and when you’re ready, it will be, too.”
We could change the world you guys. The whole world.
What would you Truth or Dare yourself to do?
Let us know in the comments. Then let us know how it goes! #TheRevolutionBeginsHere #ButNotA”Revolution”Revolution,CIA.Don’tGetItTwistedJustSomeSelfImprovement
I was so happy this week to finally be graced with my shiny, brand spanking new Restoration Hardware catalog in all it’s 12-lb glory!
If you haven’t gotten it yet, you’re in a for a treat! An eco nightmare of a treat, but what’s life without a little waste?
If you have gotten it, I’m assuming you’ll be reading this post when you come out of your polished nickel daze and will need to know what to do with that mound of quasi-recyclable paper once you’ve finished dog-earing all that needs to be dog-eared.
Take care. The placement of said catalogue in your home will speak volumes about who you are, where you’ve come from and who you wish to be. So lay it down with care. And feel free to use this guide.
Where you put it:Front Step
What you’re saying: “I’ve come home too late to notice this dark grey brick” or: “I can be bothered to fix the broken slate, so this’ll do.”
Where you put it: Book-ended on the Art Deco table in your foyer
What you’re saying: “Please wait here. I’ll be with you shortly and I hope that you remain in the utmost comfort until I return. Oh, and if you wouldn’t mind taking off your shoes.”
Where you put it: On the distressed teak coffee table in your living room.
What you’re saying: “We’re low on coasters.”
Where you put it: Atop the subway tile counter top in your breakfast nook
What you’re saying: “It’s best if we don’t speak to each other during meals. I’m sure you agree.”
Where you put it: Stuffed into your tall vase, the one with the long sticks.
What you’re saying: “I just want you to understand something. I’ve made it. No one has tall vases with sticks unless they’ve made it.”
Where you put it: In the box with tear-outs from your House Beautiful subscription and Persian Pear wallpaper swatches.
What you’re saying: “No, no, everything’s fine. I’m just re-doing this other bedroom to make more of a space for myself. We’re not sleeping in separate rooms so much as I just end up working late and don’t want to wake him when I–did you want a drink?”
Where you put it: Under the absinthe fountain
What you’re saying: “Listen, everyone has problems.”
Where you put it: Hanging from your abalone chandelier
What you’re saying: “What’s the point of having something–be it a piece of lighting, a vintage celery dish, or a fight–if you’re not going to draw a little attention to it?”
Where you put it: In the drawer of your Dutch industrial bedside table
What you’re saying: “I only dream of paradise and cupcakes. What about you?”
Where do you put your most important stuff? And does anyone have a hookup to a cool vintage celery dish; I’m super hoping to find one. Let us know in the comments!
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.
For Mor-eo Oreo: Follow The Oreo Experience on Twitter (@oreoexperience)
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 content… Really? With the choices out there, someone would actually… Who wants to be in the same group as… Seriously? People are okay with that… Anyhoo
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.
- 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
For Mor-eo Oreo: Follow The Oreo Experience on Twitter (@oreoexperience)