Black Girl in a Big Dress is also beginning her festival run next month at The International Black Film Festival in Nashville, and the Urban Mediamakers Film Festival in Atlanta!
This post originally appeared here.
It has been updated below.
Also, seriously, how do you pronounce it? Is it “ruh-prize” or “ruh-preeze”?
Every now and again a public official will casually say that America was the best when slavery was happening. They usually say it has something to do with family values and God and MAGA.
This week it happened again and people are all butt hurt because Alabama Senate candidate and alleged serial sexual predator Roy Moore basically said that slavery was A-OK when asked what his idea of a perfect America was.
Here’s how that totally reasonable exchange went down:
At a campaign event in September, a journalist asked Moore when was the last time America was “Great.”
Moore said: “I think it was great at the time when families were united. Even though we had slavery, they cared for one another. … Our families were strong, our country had a direction.”
And just like always, after said public official reminds us that slavery was totes nbd, there’s a huge snowflake backlash and everyone starts talking about how “terrible” it was that families were stolen from their homes, ripped apart, horrifically abused so that farmers in America could grow crops without having to do all that “work,” and used to set up a system of economics in this country that relies on people doing very difficult labour for none to low wages.
And I’m always so surprised that people would say things like this.
Because there are so many benefits to slavery that people always overlook. Here are 7 of ’em!
1. Fitness plans. According to some stats I hastily Googled, almost half of all black people are obese. This article says that in 42 states, more than a third of the black people there are obese. And in 15 states, that number goes up to 40%. I imagine that means that those black people are so fat that…they probably have a number of health problems and are uncomfortable in tiny seats or skinny jeans.
But back in slave days, blacks were super fit!! You can’t have a high body fat percentage when you’re doing hard labor all day. Not only did they get some cardio in when they were running from dogs and bullets, but they also got some fantastic strength training by carrying around full bushels of crops.
And they didn’t have to pay for it! Today a Crossfit membership that offers this kind of HIT training is not cheap! But back in the day, slaves got all that exercise for freezies! #jelly
2. Zero Percent Unemployment. It’s not new that The Great Recession was hard on everyone. But statistics show that it was super hard on blacks and that the African American population has been slower to recover than other groups.
That’s so not how it was when slavery was en vogue. You’d be hard pressed to find a black person out of work then. And sure, they didn’t get paid and they had to work ridiculous hours and they were beaten to death if they voiced an opinion or tried to find their husband who had been sold to a different family, but you know how good an internship looks on a resume!
3. Travel Benefits. Trying to work overseas can be a nightmare! There’s Visas and sponsors to worry about. You have to figure out how to get your paychecks converted into the right currency for whatever bank you’re using. You can’t lose your passport.
But slaves got to work overseas and had someone else take care of all the particulars! All slaves had to do was mind their own business in Africa. Then, suddenly, they got a surprise trip to a whole new world with lodging already taken care of!
4. Easier Investment Portfolios. Have you looked at a paycheck recently? They’re so confusing! There’s the gross pay and allowances and all kinds of taxes. And don’t get me started on how complicated it can be to have a 401K! You have to figure out who your dependents are and how much of what stock you want to invest in. And if your company does matching funds, what’s the tipping point when you start taking out too much…it just goes on and on and on…
But slaves didn’t have to worry about all that. No pay meant no financial headache! No one likes doing their taxes and slaves got away with never having to.
6. Lots of Time Outdoors. How tiring is it, being cooped up in an office all day! Fluorescent lights and distant windows and office chairs that never seem to be adjusted quite right. It feels so good to just get away at the weekend. Go outside, take a hike or even just a walk around the neighborhood. Camping is a huge industry–people love it! And those lucky lucky slaves got to be outside all the time!! And they didn’t even have to wear sunscreen!
7. Low-Sugar Diet. We’ve already talked about the obesity rates among blacks, but diabetes is sky-high, too. Diabetes rates are twice as high among African-Americans than it is in whites. And they’re more likely to have to have limbs amputated. No. Thank. You.
It’s hard to over do it on the sugar when you’re eating scraps of meat and bread, or not being allowed to eat at all, so slaves totally had it good when it came to controlling carbs! It’s soooooo hard to say no to dessert. But slaves never got the chance to say yes! How easy would it be to be healthy without all that nasty temptation everywhere!
8. Gated Community Living. Today, neighborhoods where lots of black live are all scary like Compton or Oakland or The South. But as slaves, blacks got to live in super secure, fenced-in areas that would be totes out of their price range today. Jealous!
What’s your favourite thing about forced free labour? Let us know in the comments!
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!
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.
Look at this darling little white girl.
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!
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!
Look at this guy!
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!
Look at the love!
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:
- Check out This Guide #BlookerPWooshingbun.
- And then maybe read this about my first Black History Month wherein I should probably stop using these people’s real names.
What heroes are you celebrating this February? Let us know in the comments!
For Mor-eo Oreo:
How to handle speaking out on line is one of the biggest issues of this era.
Because let’s be honest. Sometimes a joke or a meme or a picture is super funny.
But sometimes, it’s super racist or sexist, too.
BuuuuuuUUUuuut, that doesn’t mean it’s not funny and it definitely doesn’t mean you shouldn’t just go ahead and post whatever you want wherever you want.
I mean, it’s basically nothing but a complete abortion of your Constitutionally protected right to free speech not to post that shit. Sure, there are a lot of difficult topics of national importance to talk about right now, and the best way to do that is with a funny-as-heck-jokey-joke. And bonus, a joke is much quicker than a whole conversation and allows you to get back to watching Dr. Thorne on Amazon. (That’s what I’m doing with my time, anyway, I can only assume we’re all following the latest from Julian Fellowes).
Now when it comes to people setting great examples for posting offensive shit and just not giving a flip about it, there are a lot of examples to choose from, but let’s focus on a couplefew that made news this week. Just like these folks (one of which is a physician, two of which are elected state senators), you shouldn’t be afraid to share your controversial opinion. You worked hard on those barbs, now’s the time to just let them out.
Now, some people might call these joke “tasteless,” or “offensive” or “completely fucking tone deaf and awful” or “definitely not part of the job duties of being a g*ddamned senator.” But these guys were probably super proud of what they came up with and so posting it was just self-care. Something I think we can all agree that we need these days.
But even thought these proud Americans were just being good and expressive citizens, the Internet’s response was quick and harsh. Heather’s work was contacted and the senator’s facebook pages filled up with vitriol and news media were contacted. Yikes!
So what do you do if you find yourself in this kind of situation? Harassed online because your funny joke just happened to also be quite racist/sexist/horrible?
It’s simple: Just follow these steps to keep your klout score up and your employers from being flooded with calls and emails asking for your head and resignation.
- Claim you were hacked. If it’s good enough for the US election, it’s good enough for you. Do what Dr. Wick did and say that you lost control of your account for a while and unkind forces put words (funny ones) into your tweet mouth. People won’t believe you because you will be lying, but at least you’re making an effort.
- Apologize, the right way. Say something Kellyanne Conwayish like “Well, I’m sorry if anyone got their feelings hurt.” This kind of statement lets you get credit for saying the word “sorry” without the pesky burden of taking responsibility for your actions or releasing any amount of your narcissism. Don’t apologize the way the SNL writer Katie Rich did–with sincerity and humility. All that will do is make you a “good person” and get you another, equally cool, job. But you won’t look nearly as awesome.
- Lash out/double down. Lean in to what you said in the first place. If folks aren’t on board with it, that’s their problem.
- Make like one black or female friend. Not to give you a pass and absolve you of guilt. But to maybe stop you from doing this stupid thing in the first place.
Heather, Senators, I am available for consultations and coaching. Don’t hesitate to reach out.
What was the last worst thing you said online? How did you recover? Let us know in the comments!
For Mor-eo Oreo:
Look, we all have to say or hear things that are uncomfortable sometimes.
A doctor might have to look someone in the eye and say that there’s nothing to be done.
A supervisor might have to look someone in the eye and tell them that they’ve been made redundant.
A partner might need to look their lover in the eye and say “I love you.”
The point is, life can get real awkward real fast.
And right now, people are saying uncomfortable things all over the place.
Whether it’s refugees saying “please remember that we’re human beings,” or college students saying “please let us be treated fairly,” or liberals saying “please, let’s not bring back the ideals that the Nazi party espoused,” conversations are getting weird.
Now sure, it’s important that people be able to look someone in the eye and say “Hey, I think what you’re saying is going to lead to a lot of people being treated unfairly.” But ohmygod, no need to embarrass yourself and everyone around you by just being all weird and honest about it.
So the following is a handy guide to help you figure out how to say all those icky truths in a way that’s more palatable to your peers. If you’re having a hard time saying what you want without forcing everyone to get defensive defending their indefensible positions, try getting it off your chest:
Through Interpretive Dance
You remember that Chandelier video. What on earth was happening? Maybe that nude tween was saying: “Hello and I hope you’re having a good time.” Or maybe she was saying “In the event of an emergency, all minorities will be moved to the back of the aircraft.” Who knows? That’s the beauty of unclear artistic expression. You can say whatever you want and no one can really get upset because they have no idea what’s going on. You get some exercise and stretching in and they get to walk away assuming that you’re on the same page…or that you’re weird enough that they don’t really want to continue talking to you anyway. Win win!
Everything’s easier to take after your third Manhattan. So just get in there.
Hard to write these things
Finally figured it out
But everyone is dead now
With a relaxing meter and few word to work with, you run little risk of upsetting someone with a politically charged short poem. Plus, you’ll spend more time trying to craft this thing than you do trying to find new abbreviations to make your latest Tweet fit into 140 characters. By the time you’ve figured out how to say what you want to say, everyone will have forgotten what you’re talking about and will be on to new issues anyway.
With The Help of a Carrier Pigeon
After you’ve tied your message to its cute little legs, you’ll be so caught up thinking about how you can turn this little gal’s adventures into a charming Pixar film that you’ll forget all about your very salient point.
To the Tune of $80+/hr
As much as we all love TED talks, there are some boring ones, but poll those audiences and they’ll say it changed their lives! All these rallies where political candidates say crazy things? People pay big bucks to get a seat at one of those tables and then they clap politely and pretend like everything’s cool. So just start charging top dollar for your opinion and you’ll find you have a lot more fans.
How do you like to express yourself for minimum impact? Let us know in the comments!
And for more help saying awkward things, check out:
- If you Can’t Say Something Nice
- How to Write about Current Events
- Don’t Get Mad, Just Re-Frame Those Angry Thoughts!
Because, what’s more important, really? Self expression or self preservation. Remember, that which does not kill us gets us invited to better parties.
For Mor-eo Oreo:
- Follow The Oreo Experience on Twitter (@oreoexperience)
- Like us on facebook!
- And subscribe on youtube!