self loathing

Great Heroes of Black History Month

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!

pence_tweet-png_848779016

 

 

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.

Ellen Clapsaddle

Look at this darling little white girl.

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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!

image2

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!

 

This Guy

Look at this guy!

portrait-1880455_1280

 

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!

This couple!

Look at the love!

marriage-1880258_1280

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:

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What heroes are you celebrating this February? Let us know in the comments! 

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Truth or Dare

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.

We all go through dark times.

Ben, I never blamed you.

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.

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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

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What Not To Say When Everyone In The Room Shouts The N Word, Then Suddenly Realizes You’re Also In The Room

Zumba. I love it. Especially on nights like last night.

Zumba is actually tricky for an Oreo. During the dance-style group exercise class, some of the moves can come dangerously close to looking like popping and/or locking. So as a good Oreo, I always try to stiffen up a little on some of the hippier moves so as not to frighten the other dancers or myself.

What I feel like when I work out

And then tonight, something wonderful happened. I don’t know what the song was (Sondheim didn’t write it, so I was at a loss), but everyone else in the room did. As we danced, they sang along and sang along and sang along and then everyone sang the n-word. In unison. Without missing a beat.

I couldn’t have been more thrilled.

Usually, when there’s an RBP in the room, people would shy away from one of the most offensive words in the English language. They’d think twice about loudly shouting a word that has probably gotten people killed.( At the very least, it’s gotten people into debates on Oprah’s couch–which for an Oreo might be a scarier place than the business end of a revolver.) Normally, if an RBP was in a room, people would maybe try to be polite — not out of fear of making a faux pas, but mainly out of some regard for public safety.

But not with me there. It was like they didn’t think I was black at all!!

Unfortunately, as quickly as my happiness was upon me, it disappeared. For mere seconds after they said the word, they caught sight of my reflection in the mirror and no one sang along for the rest of class.

What I probably look like when I workout

My apologies, ladies, for sullying last night’s good vibes. I will work on my layback and hopefully blend in much better next time.

Granted, some of the following did go through my head, but thanks to my Oreo training, they stayed inside and my outside voice never took control.

  • Why do you all know this song???!
  • Why did you include this song in your playlist??!
  • Is there a manager I can talk to?
  • What did he say after the n-bomb? I really can’t understand any of these lyrics.
  • Please don’t vote.
  • Don Sterling called, he’d like his favorite word back.
  • I’m concerned you might not have wrapped your heads around some basic points of everyday etiquette
  • This is a radio song, so you’ve said this like…how many time by now? And it hasn’t occurred to you to maybe… not?
  • This is a huge city on the liberal left coast for fuck’s sake! Get your shit together!
  • Oh yeah? We’ll your momma’s so fat, I”m very concerned for her long term  health.
  • You’re right, it is ~just~ a word after all, you stupid whale cunt.
  • Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never— *sobs*
  • Maybe I should just got to bootcamp. There’s not music in bootcamp.

Any of those responses would have seemed really RBP-like. Sure, the growing ulcer in my stomach might one day take over my entire digestion system. But I’ll look darn good while I’m convalescing. Yay, Zumba!

We’ve all been there. Someone has said something horrible and we’ve wanted to respond. But a response only makes people feel as awkward as you do.  And we’re better than that. What do you not say when someone pisses you off? Let us know in the comments.

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American Girl Gone

Happy start of summer! And welcome back to me. If you’re wondering where I’ve been, I can tell you (and not because I just visited my own Oreo Excuse Generator) that I’ve just been super swamped prepping for a Tom Stoppard Exhibition and this really great Castle Con.

(Also, just saying… my last entry was about how I finally made a black friend, and then suddenly the blogging stops. Coincidence? There are no coincidences my friends. Only war!)

Now that I’m back, what better way to kick of the beginning of Florida’s polo season than with a bit of nostalgia.

Last week, American Girl (making pretweens lose their minds since 1986) announced that it was discontinuing 4 of its historical dolls, 2 of which are of color. Cecile, who is African American, and Ivy, Asian American, will be going to American Girl Doll Heaven, leaving 7 dolls in the AG lineup. Including only one black doll. …who is a slave.

12 Years a Slave would have been much more adorbs if this was Solomon Northrup (source)

12 Years a Slave would have been much more adorbs if this was Solomon Northrup

Okay, fine she’s a former slave, so that’s good. She got out.  But whatever, part of her story involves being whipped into submission, sold for her womb and potentially being used for gynecological-related live science experiments.

The specifics of her history might matter less, except that a big part of the American Girl doll experience is the book that comes with your Girl, which tells about her life up until the point that you got her. I’m sure they leave out the R-rated bits, but that doesn’t mean they’re not there.

..oorrr, maybe there they're in all their gory detail. Yikes!  Well, that's a choice for a bedtime story

..oorrr, maybe the details are there in all their gory detail. Yikes! Well, that’s a choice for a bedtime story

(Also, these dolls cost $110. One hundred and ten dollars!! For ONE doll?  That’s 4 VIP tables at Empire Polo Club. Or like 30 Oprah Chais, which is the blackest thing I’ll admit to doing. For real, though, those things are yum! )

I only have one wish for slave Addy.

I wish that I knew about this brand when I was a kid and buying dolls! (read: making my parents buy me dolls!) This situation would have made my doll buying experience so much easier!

The one year or so I was into dolls was pretty rough. All I wanted was a blonde- or red-haired doll with long straight hair and freckles and a name like Allison or Brigita. Not too much to ask for. Every one of my friends had one, why shouldn’t I?

There are worse things than wanting an uberwench looking doll. Like wanting this one. It breast feeds. On children.

There are worse things than wanting an aryana looking doll. Like wanting this one. It breast feeds. On children.

But my parents wanted me to have “a positive self-image,” and “a reflection of myself in my playthings” and “more respect for my pointe shoes.” The latter had little to do with the doll issue, but it was still a struggle to explain that more respect would have been impossible as I had nothing but respect for my pointe shoes.

Anyway, all I wanted was for my doll to blend in in a way that I never could. Isn’t that what playtime is about? Indulging a kid’s fantasies about who they could be one day? Allowing them to dream about what beautiful person they might grow up to become? Giving them a little taste of vicarious happiness?

I knew from an early age that what doesn’t kill you gets you invited to better parties, so at age 9, assimilation was the goal. And I might have done it, too, if it hadn’t been for those pesky Cabbage Patch Kids!

See, if all I had to work with was American Girl dolls then my parents would never have let me have a toy that was also a slave. But since CPKs had one regular ol’ Cabbage Black Kid, that was my option: Black doll or no doll.

I remember the standoff in the store with my mom. The Toys R Us aisles loomed huge above me. And atop them, my Ginger Princess. So far out of my reach.

My mother stepped into frame holding the baby power smelling yard-headed monstrosity that was the “diverse’ CPK.

This doll or no doll.

“Fine,” I said after what felt an hour of almost passing out from the strain of so much defiance. “I’ll get a Pound Puppy instead.”

She still made me get the brown one.

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What were your favorite childhood toys? Did they reinforce your desires to be someone else? How did you negotiate this with your family? What do you let your kids play with today? Do you think American Girl doll should keep the diversity, or are we giving Slave Addy too hard of a time?

Let us know in the comments! 

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That’s Not an Apology

To ring out the old year, MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry hosted a humour segment on her show where comedians and panelists poked fun at the news of the day.

Unfortunately, they also poked fun at the Romney’s. More specifically, she made a coupla jokes about the newest, youngest, not-whitest Romney – the adopted baby boy Kieran Romney.

Sad to see that Rafalca didn't make the holiday card

Sad to see that Rafalca didn’t make the holiday card

Seeing this picture, Harris Perry commented that “one of these things is not like the other” and that it would be totes adorbs to see Kieran and North West join forces.

A few days after that, and after some backlash, she started her broadcast with a the following statement that made my jaw hit the floor.  Just look at the video below.

I’m confused as to why she would call that an apology. I’ve followed lots of news stories about verbal faux pas – from Megyn “Are there are too many y’s in my name?” Kelly’s comment that kids should just accept that Santa and Jesus were white, to Phil “I’m Actually Quite Preppy, But Grew This Beard for Duck Dynasty” Robertson’s announcement that gay people were the same as terrorists, to Todd “A Woman’s Body Has a Way of Shutting that Whole Thing Down” Akin and what Harris Perry gave was not an apology.

A real high-profile apology has within it the following sub-pologies. In order to smooth out any waves made by what you said, you first need to:

Apologize for other people not having a sense of humor.
When Megyn Kelly took a moment to chastise people who would like to see Santas of various colors and creeds by saying that while Santa can live in an ice desert and fly through the air in a vehicle pulled by cloven hooved magicals, he definitely, definitely cannot be anything but white, she followed it up a week later by saying that she was definitely sorry…that no one got that she was making a really funny joke. Any hurt feelings or sense of cultural dismissal was only felt because brown people are too dumb to get what’s funny about insisting that we experience a white, very white, and only white, Christmas.

Apologize for other people not being able to understand excellent songwriting.
Earlier this year, singer Rick Ross came under fire for including the following lyrics in a song:

Put Molly all in her champagne, she ain’t even know it
I took her home and I enjoyed that, she ain’t even know it.

While  the linguistic arrangement of the worse “ain’t” and “even know it” gives me night terrors, the message is also concerning. Basically, Ross is singing about drugging a girl and having a good, enjoyable sex with her unconscious body.

When he apologized, Ross made sure to mention that any offense is listener’s fault. He didn’t use the word any variation of the words “sexual assault” in the lyrics after all, so why on earth would anyone think that’s what he’s talking about.

 “I would never use the term rape in my records… I want to make sure this is clear, that woman is the most precious gift known to man. It was a misunderstanding with a lyric, a misinterpretation where the term rape wasn’t used.

Apologize for other people not getting what a super awesome team leader you are.
In March, the founder of lingere yoga pants company Lululemon got into hot water when he responded to customer complaints that his company’s sexy long johns yoga pants were too sheer. Instead of re-jiggering the manufacturing, he instead stated that the problem had nothing to do with the child slaves who make the unnecessarily expensive underwear yoga pants and everything to do with the fact that women’s thighs sometimes touch.

Later, he posted an apology video on youtube where he got teary eyed and apologized to his team members for having to listen to people complain about their product and for all those whiney pants not understanding what an amazing culture has been built up at Lululemon.

Apologize for other people’s inability to stand up for 1st Amendment rights.
A few weeks ago, Duck Dynasty’s patriarch angered lots of people by saying that gay guys just don’t get how awesome vaginas are and that it’s just a step or two from being gay to having sex with animals. Shortly thereafter, he was put on hiatus from his show.

DD supporters lost each and every one of their mind and said that he was being discriminated against because people should be able to say whatever they want with no consequences because First Amendment!

And…obviously. Our constitution clearly protects people from their own issues by putting in safeguards like the 1st Ammend. So go ahead and call your boss a beslubbering beef-witted cunt and when you’re subsequently fired, sue the shit out of them.

Apologize for other people not being down with your own personal version of god.
Included in the outrage over Phil Robertson’s week-long hiatus from the reality show that has exploited faux Southern culture and made him a bazillionaire (another inalienable American right), was the fact that Phil was being persecuted for expressing his religious beliefs.

Said Robertson: All I did was quote from the Scriptures, but they just didn’t know it.”

Why let a little thing like separation of church and state get in between you and a good publicity stunt.

Here’s a resolution for Ms. HP – learn to say you’re sorry in a way that lets us know what you really mean.  

Who else is really good at apologizing? What’s something you’re not all that sorry for? Let us know in the comments! 

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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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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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Leave a comment here or at any of the above and let us know what you think!