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.


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! 

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

Obama Problems – Education

Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan

Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan

President Obama agreed with Education Secretary Arne Duncan, this week when he said the American school year should be longer so that more students will get a better chance at a better education.


Currently, US 4th graders ranked 11th in reading skills and below Latvia and Kazakhstan in math skills. 


Obama suggested that keeping students in school longer will help them become more competitive in the global economy when they are adults.


The students most likely to be influenced by these changes are students of color who are on average more likely to be in underperforming schools. 


And thus, the students most likely to be harmed by this potential legislation: budding, young Oreos.


When I was in school, I didn’t have a President pushing math and science at me. I found those nerdy subjects all by myself. I could have easily paid attention to the football and basketball games that I attended…in my marching band uniform. How fantastic are spats, btw!!!


But I snuck my calculus books into the stadium in my hatbox underneath my band cap’s bright white feather plume and I didn’t need an elected official to tell me to kill my social life like this. I did it because I cared enough to do it.


And because of those early efforts, I have won the right to call myself an Oreo today.


Imagine the tens of students like myself who would no longer be the special, noteworthy darker skinned child who bucked the trend and read on their own volition, could solve a differential equation because they liked it and joining the Academic Decathlon team because the bullying hurt so good.


If all students are encouraged–and especially by a President of half color–then my work would be in vain, my efforts would be for naught, and my Dickens Fair Society would no longer be a color-free, safe haven.


C’mon, Mr. President. You know you love Little Dorrit reenactments. Don’t take those away from me.