stereotypes

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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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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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!

 

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!

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

Rejected Paula Deen Party Ideas

I just caught up with the Paula Deen story this weekend. Seems like the n-word is just the tip of that buttery iceberg.

Deen not only wanted an all black staff at her brother’s wedding, she didn’t let them use the same bathroom or entrances or exits, she kinda wanted them to “tap dance around,”  and a bunch of other racist whatnots including recently apologizing and saying she’s not racist by using the punchline from a racist joke as said apology.

But, the woman should be given some credit. The wedding could have been a lot worse. Turns out,  the plantation-style, all-black-servants shindig was maybe the best of the other ideas on the table. Here are a few more themes Deen had on the back burner that she hasn’t been able to do…yet

Beads and Blankets Bonanza” – Guests will have the chance to purchase jewelry and couch throws at great prices! Hors d’oeuvres passed by the Chickasaw Nation.

Turquoise and tears.  A perfect combo!

Turquoise and tears. A perfect part pair!

Model Train Mayhem” – Guests will sip turn of the century cocktails while watching interns an elaborate miniature locomotive track around the seating area. Special thanks to interns Deng Shu Chan and Zhang Wei Huang.

Bonus! The interns double as footrests!

Bonus! The interns double as footrests!

Rosie the Riveter Rocks!!” – Guests will don 1940s costumes and build their own metal works…including windows bars and a new lock for front doors that will be fitted on the graciously donated home of Mr. and Mrs. Nakamura. Don’t worry that they’re still inside and the guests have the key. That’s all part of the fun!

You CAN do it...for about 10 years before your staff finally wises up and reports you to the proper authorities.

You CAN do it…for about 10 years before your staff finally wises up and reports you to the proper authorities.

They all sound like good ol’ fashioned grand times to me!

Deen’s not the only one who likes to party with blackface. Check out these  how-tos for getting down with the browns and let us know what you think!

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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

Cheerios Girl and The Art of the Awkward Interview

Once upon a couple of weeks ago, Cheerios released an adorable commercial where an adorable little girl uses adorable kid logic and adorably pours Cheerios all over her sleeping father to help him stay healthy.

Cute, right?  Haha! Wrong! At least to a good chunk of the online community, anyway.

Cheerios had to close the comments section under this video due to racism. And this week, the little girl at the center of the blended family controversy spoke out…ish.

While young Grace is not an Oreo Oreo (she’s mixed race, not in denial), she’s made of enough cutes to get an honorary mention. Plus, during her interview with NBC, she shows us some great ways to handle the awkwardness that comes when people see that you’re the one thing that’s not like the others.

So the next time you find yourself at the wrong end of an inquiry, remember what Grace would do and try the following:

Wear a jaunty cardigan. No one wants to trouble someone in a delicate sweater. So not only do the long sleeves hide the evidence of your melanin, you get bonus points because the warm fuzzy fabric makes everyone around feel warmer and fuzzier themselves.

Smile and stare in lieu of answering. Making someone ask the same question more than 2 times in a row usually draws attention to the how weird/unnecessary/obvious/rude the question in the first place. So instead of answering, allow yourself a little time delay. You’ll find you won’t have to say very much and maybe not even answer the question at all. If

Look as cute as possible. Delivering a blank stare instead of a canned answer might come across as rude in some circles. But not if you’re super adorbs about it! So rose up those cheeks (yes, guys, you can do this, too), dig in those dimples, shine up that twinkle in your eye and get ready to deflect.

Bring back up. When possible, surround yourself with at least two other people with more patience than you have. It helps if they’re taller and if maybe one of them is white. (What am I saying, Oreos? Haha ‘maybe one of them.’ Obvi, both will be!) You can always use a head-tossing giggle to throw the question to them, ask them to translate or just stand a bit behind them and blend into the background.

Start talking to yourself. When all else fails, just start having a conversation with yourself instead of whoever bugging you. They’ll leave you alone.

Watch the interview here and see these tips in action!

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