race blogs

Race Reversal: Acting Black to Win an Election

Black enough.  (source)

Black enough.
(source)

I need to find a solid term for a reverse Oreo: Someone who’s white who acts black. One that can be appropriately applied to Dave Wilson, one of the newest members of Houston’s Community College Board of Trustees. In order to win his seat in a heavily black district, Wilson pretended that he was black.

Wilson was smart about it. He didn’t need to start voting for Obama or dropping the n-word to make his point. Instead, he just used his campaign information strategically. He omitted photos of himself on voter mailer and instead, sent out a flier featuring the faces of several happy black folks.

From Business Insider:

The mailers featured “smiling African-American faces — which he readily admits he just lifted off websites — and captioned with the words, ‘Please vote for our friend and neighbor Dave Wilson'” over 24-year incumbent Bruce Austin. He won in the heavily black district by just 26 votes.

“Every time a politician talks, he’s out there deceiving voters,” Wilson told the network.

He also ran a radio add that was narrated by two black women.

“Dave Wilson? Isn’t he the—” one woman says.

“Yes, Dave Wilson is the man who’s fighting for our neighborhoods,” the other says.

People often get on to me for “acting too white and not being myself”. But first, take a look at this picture circa 1999 and you’ll see I come by my whiteness honestly. Second, even if I didn’t spend years crafting and honing a someone to pretend to be, this story just goes to show that other people do it every day.  So what if someone takes on personas in order to reach a desired end? We all lie about who we are to some extent? Do you really want to go to the gym that much? Of course not, you just want a chance at a date in about 4 weeks. I want a better rate on my home loan, a lessened chance of getting diabetes and the ability to stop answering questions about my hair. So I Oreo it up. This guy wanted to help run a Community College, so he lied to his community. We’re totally twinsies.

I kinda want to send him a congratulations card for his good work because on one hand, I admire him. He managed to successfully hide from his own ethnicity. On the other hand, all of his new friends are RBP, so I’m not sure I want to give that guy my home address.

What do you think? Bad politics or fair game? What lies have you told to get what you want? Let us know in the comments!

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

Diary of a Mad White Black Woman – Buyer’s Remorse

Dear Diary,

I finally caught up on this Barney’s kerfluffle. Apparently, the chain has hired a civil rights expert to investigate their policies and determine if they’re in the wrong. This all started a couple of weeks ago when a 19-year-old African-American man, Trayon Christian purchased a $349 Ferragamo belt. Outside the store, undercover police officers detained him because they got a tip that the card he used to by the belt was fraudulent. Christian was held in a cell for a couple of hours before being released sans charges.

Shortly after that, a 21-year-old black woman, Kayla Phillips told the press that she experienced a similar incident when she bought a $2,500 Celine handbag. Her temporary debit card didn’t have a name on it; and though the sale went through, police surrounded Phillips after she left the store.

After reading about both of these stories, I was, natch, horrified and embarrassed.

These folks were so close to being model Oreos, then ruined it by making the wrong purchases. I blame myself for not being more vigilant.

Sure, going into a Barney’s with intent to buy is a great first step, but you’ve got to follow it through by picking up the right items.

This is the belt that Christian tried to buy.

And try not to buy something so black. That's just doubling down on a negative.

And try not to buy something so black. That’s just doubling down on a negative.

It’s reversible. Nothing says “not quite up to snuff” like being reversible. He might as well been picking through a bin of hypercolor shirts. Next time, try a Paul Smith contrast-stitch belt and add a pocket square. Trust me, including a $200 16-inch quadrilateral of pashmina to any purchase will throw everyone off the scent.

Second: A handbag? A whole handbag? When you’re black and you’re buying something that big, it looks like you’re just trying to find a place to hide your pressing comb and welfare baby. Instead, get a clutch. An Edie Parker, a Tila March – the smaller the better. If all you can fit inside is one credit card, that’s fine. Just make sure it has your appropriately hyphenated name on it.

We don’t go to Barney’s for function. We go to Barney’s to make a point. I hope that these points are more strongly made in future.

They should take heart though. Sometimes, even the brightest Oreos make the simple mistakes.

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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!

 

Lighten Up! Getting Rid of those Tanlines

The end of the summer presents Oreos with one of our most frustrating challenges. Three months of backyard BBQs, Renaissance Faires, regattas, derbies, and weekends in the Thousand Islands can leave already darker than ideal skin with an unfortunate tan.

The sun: An Oreo's best frenemy (source)

The sun: An Oreo’s best frenemy
(source)

This reminds us that an Oreo’s relationship with the sun is complicated. On one hand, it’s the enemy. A light tan can make you go from kinda looking like a black person to totally looking like a Black Person before you even realize it.

On the other hand, however, the sun can get you instant acceptance into Club Anglo (21+). Stay outdoors long enough and you can dazzle your friends when they ask you: “Wow! I didn’t think you could sunburn!” Sure, there’s the searing pain, the blisters and the increased risk of melanoma; but if it doesn’t hurt, how do you know it’s working?

But even if you break through to a socializing burn, it’s going to go right back to a tan–that Judas of skin conditions which prevents you from even thinking you can pass your annual paper bag test with just the slightest kiss.

 There is hope, though, fellow Oreos! You can reclaim your slightly less brown skin tone and start to slip less noticeably into your favorite Barneys, Hermes, or hoodie. Just follow the 3 B’s of Beauty ™ for lighter skin and a brighter end of summer.

 

1. Buff

The first thing you need to do is to take off that darker damaged layer of skin with something mildly abrasive. There are many tools and applications you can choose from. Grab yourself an exfoliating body wash, a loofah, Brillo pad, or pack 24-grit sanding sheets and give yourself a rubdown.

 

2. Balm

Next, you’ll want to calm down your skin with something cool and liquid. This is also a time to sneak in some extra abrasion in case you missed any rogue patches during Step 1. Once again, many things can work. In no particular order (except for their effectiveness) try: Aloe, lemon juice, rubbing alcohol, peroxide, or some clorox to cool off and clear your skin.

3. Bandage

Some people have reported blisters or bleeding while their sparkly new skin is coming through. This is perfectly normal. No pain, no gain, right? Besides, you’re the one who let your skin get all dark in the first place, so quit your bitching and put yourself together.

If you find that your skin has opened, just apply some cool compresses, gauze, and either plastic or cloth bandages. These wraps have the added bonus of hiding your skin all together, so at a distance you’ll look as white as the shoes you can’t wear anymore this year.

 

If you find that bleeding doesn’t stop in one business day or you have an erection lasting more than four hours, please consult a physician.

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Any other tricks for removing unsightly tan lines? Let us know in the comments!

Wrong Idea Wedding (VIDEO)

Sometimes you have the best intentions and the worst outcomes.

Special Thanks to:

Director/Editor Shilpi Roy
Director of Photography Anthony Chiappetti Khunz
Producer Reena Dutt
Featuring:  Dan Wingard, Jennifer Meyer, Jason Layden, Scott Narver, Tish Merritt, Gerrard Panahon, Rob Roth, Mark Arana, and Jim McCaffree

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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!

The Black Guys I Know

One of the most popular questions I get as an Oreo is;

“You’ve never dated a black guy?”

And then when I ask them if they want to see my piccolo or otherwise try to change the conversation, the next question usually is:

“Piccolo? Is that a euphemism for something?”

And when I say no and smile inside because I think I’ve distracted them, they say:

“But wait. Really? Reallllly? You’ve…never…dated a black guy?”

That’s when I usually try to direct their attention to photos of me at a Renaissance Faire and ask them to help me pick out bodice patterns for next year.

“How is that possible…?”

First of all, I haven’t dated tons of guys who share individual traits with me. I’ve never dated someone from my hometown.

Maybe because I looked like this when I lived there.

Maybe because I looked like this when I lived there.

I’ve never dated another Journalism Major from The University of Texas at Austin. I’ve never dated a guy who was 5’5” who wore a small in women’s blouses. I’ve never dated someone with a birthmark on his shoulder, a bellybutton ring or a hatred for the Oxford comma that rivals mine. I’ve never dated someone who’s the offspring of an engineer and an accountant and I’ve never been in a relationship with an only child.

Second, it’s not like there are all these hordes of black guys who I’m denying access from the top of my ivory tower.

Though if we do build an Ivory tower, can we use this pattern? (source)

Though if we do build an Ivory tower, can we use this pattern?
(source)

Though if you know an ivory tower for sale, hook an Oreo up!

Honestly, apart from my own family members, I don’t even know that many black guys. And the ones I do wouldn’t be viable options even if they could sunburn.

If I were to try date a black guy (#spoileralert, never will, it’s against the rules) these are the only options I could choose from:

  • That quiet kid at work who sat down the hall from me last year – Much too young. I’m not opposed to dating someone my junior, but there’s maybe a 10-12 year age gap here, which—as you can tell by looking at me today—makes him like 12 years old.
  • That one guy at the office I see coming into the same entrance to my building – I think he’s gay.
  • That older guy at work who wears the fun t-shirts – Married
  • That guy who works one floor down from me – Moving to the northwest in a few months. I’m much too needy for that.
  • That guy with the round face and beard – I think he is also gay
  • That guy at swing dancing – We don’t even talk. He Balboas, I don’t Balboa. When we tried to dance once, he was so annoyed that I don’t Balboa that we nearly stopped dancing halfway through the song
  • My hairdresser’s son – He really is 12
  • That priest – He’s already pledged his life to someone else. Way to c-block, JC!

So unless I want to be a homewrecker, a Mrs. Robinson or an RBP, there’s no market for me.

Even when I was dating online, I was never approached by guys of color. All of my friends regularly got pinged by a Jamaal or a Kendrick or a Michael. But not me. It’s like they knew, nay, respected who I was.

…Could have also been the fact that I put that picture of tweenage me on my profile and that I talked a LOT about Renn Fests.

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Who are the black guys you know? Do you want to date them? Let us know in the comments!

Remember that time Dr. Drew couldn’t get over my dating habits? Click here to reminisce.

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For Mor-eo Oreo:

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