racial profiling

#FBF – Black Girl in a Big Dress

#FBF to a year ago when we wrapped production on the first season of Black Girl in a Big Dress. It’s been an amazing ride! Thanks to everyone who’s watched, shared, liked, commented and pointed out that correct, those are in fact, not bourbon cremes. Here’s to getting the right biscuits in Season Two!

If you haven’t seen the show, check out all 8 episodes of Season One below!!

 

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Django Rechained – Makeout Sesh Gets Messy

This weekend I, like many of you, read about The Adventure of Django Unchained Actress Danielle Watts Out and About in Studio City.

If you haven’t heard about this yet, SPOILERALERT:

Watts was making out with her celebrity chef boyfriend in their car when they were approached by cops. They asked her for ID and asked questions intimating they thought she was a prostitute. When she didn’t hand over her ID, they handcuffed her, put her in the back of a squad car; and eventually released her.

Watts, in happier times. (source)

Watts, in happier times.
(source)

I read this story; and became very sad.

Because despite the best efforts of The Oreo Experience, Intl, LLC, ESQ, sometimes people forget some of the basics.

Danielle did a lot of things right (white boyfriend, hanging out in Tony neighborhood where the average home price is $1.1 million) but she also made some classic mistakes.

Can you spot them? I’ll give you a minute. Eyes on your own paper!

Answer carefully

Answer carefully

SFX: Girl from Impanema

Pencils down! Let’s see how you did. What did Ms. Watts do wrong? Here we go:

Short, natural hair.
Maintaining long hair as a woman of color takes a long time and goodly amount of dedication. Your long flowing locks will make it clear that you don’t have time to take on a second job as a prostitute. It’s also in line with pretty standard Western beauty standards. Showing that you’re not afraid to not conform also shows that you’re not afraid to not be breaking laws. When someone endures the time, money, and third-degree burns necessary to fit in perfectly, you can be much more assured that they don’t want to cause trouble.

NYC shirt
Sure New York City is home to great museums, priceless works of art and brilliant architecture. But it’s also super diverse and sung about by rappers. How are police supposed to know that you’re paying homage to The Big Apple because you really love Art Deco buildings or because you’re in line with Mr. Beyonce?

You can still wear shirts that announce one’s love of cities, just make sure they’re the right cities. For example, I love sporting my “Wisconsin is for me!” or “Omaha is lovely this time of year!” or “I sure do enjoy Salt Lake City” tees.

Colorful shorts.
Short shorts are totally ok, but we need to tone down the colors. The orange and purple and bold patterns are reminiscent of some African tribal prints (which I only know since I have done the scary research so that you don’t have to).

Didn’t show the cops her ID.
Look, just because there’s no law on the CA books that says you don’t have to carry ID with you if you’re not operating a motor vehicle. And just because California doesn’t have a Stop and Identify statute doesn’t mean a darn thing. Oreos are not interested in the “letter of the law,” we’re interested in “making other people feel comfortable.”

Expressed affection during daylight hours
Everyone knows that the best, safest, most secure and sincere way to show your love just how much you love them is in the dark. And maybe in separate beds. Pennings sonnets. Praying for redemption from your lust.

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What do you think? Justified stop or something else? Have you been pulled over for silly reasons? How did you get out of it? Or are you writing from jail? If you are writing from jail, it is one of those nicely lit ones like on OITNB; or one of the scary jails from that SpikeTV show JAIL?
Let us know in the comments!

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

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.

BORING!

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! 

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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!

Computers are Concerned

In this video, we see a computer freeze when faced with the face of an RBP. The webcam is supposed to follow the face of the user around. It does so when presented with an anglo visage, but not when presented with an ethnic one. This implies that the software wasn’t programmed to recognize non-standard faces or that the computer, having become self-aware, as such items are want to do, understood the danger inherent therein.

A follow up video, posted by theGrio.com showed an HP webcam experiment that did not produce potentially litigious results. Host Todd Johnson also read a quote from HP where the computer company explained that their cameras don’t work as well in areas with insufficient lighting.

So, the computers don’t recognize RBP in the dark…which is where you most certainly don’t want to run into one. Wishful bionic thinking. The machine is self aware.