(Excerpt from my book, “Growing Up White: An Oreo’s Guide to Fitting In”)
Of course, this is a made-up term, and it means the study of Oreos.
I’m going to put my old college training to work here and attempt to elaborate on the psychology behind this whole Oreo thing.
I often wonder how I would have turned out had I been raised “in the hood,” or at least in predominantly Black neighborhoods. How would I be different had I not been a “military brat?”
Seriously, I think about my hair being perfectly groomed, although hair is not something I have to deal with much today! Might I have been able to pull off awe-inspiring dance moves? Would I like sweet potato pie and urban music?
One thing I DO know is that I absolutely draw the line when it comes to chitterlings. No way, no how, not EVER!!
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t regret the opportunities I had growing up in a military family, it’s just that I wonder if I missed out on what could have been.
I knew in high school that “ghetto neighborhoods” made me feel uneasy. My family attended an all-Black church for a few years back then, and although I found the
“ghetto” neighborhood fascinating, I felt uneasy, as if I expected someone to pop out of nowhere to attack us at a traffic light.
My White friends did not help any—they would talk about never going to certain parts of town because of the crime and shootings.
I avoided interactions with Black males as much as possible because to me they seemed unpredictable, and I DID have some history of being the target of violence perpetrated by Black males in middle school.
To some Blacks, I was a Black male in skin color only; it was their belief that I was
programmed by “the Man.”
Black females? I found them to be just as intimidating, just in a different way. I can safely say I have never met such demanding and straight-to-the-point females as they were. A common question was, “How much money do you make?”
A common statement was, “Well, you look like you have a job.” Lord have mercy! Perhaps these women were the minority, outliers, and I just happened to be unlucky enough to meet them.
Even today, grown man that I am, I can honestly say that I can’t wait to get home from the church I currently attend. It is in an urban setting, and I have a lot of friends there.
I feel safe among the people, but there is still the distant rumbling of disapproval, flashes in the distance, kind of like what you experience when a storm is approaching.
What do I mean? Simply that the notion of “selling out” rears its ugly head once more.
Some of my friends at the church say this is what I am Kevin White doing by not living in an urban community, which includes the one in which my church is located.
But these are places I would not want to be after dark. If I hear one more person ask me why I am living in a White neighborhood, why I don’t live amongst my “brothers,” I’m going to hyperventilate!
Of course, living in a White neighborhood also contributes to our angst because the Oreo is never good enough for either Whites or Blacks.
Unless you can assimilate better than I have, there will be criticism from both groups; not only for what you are, but also for what you are not! It’s crazy.
We truly are like a sandwich, with us being the middle, and we all know what happens with things that are in the middle—they get squashed!!
We are squeezed out by rejection, and this rejection of Oreos in social settings is a serious problem. The battle leaves psychological scars that I think are deeper than we realize.
How then does an Oreo survive in such a dichotomous world where so few people accept us for who we are? You’ll find my answer to that question in the next chapter.
Listen to my Conservative Business Journal Podcast with John Di Lemme where I dig into these issues even more plus hear just why Barack Obama wasn’t really our first “black” president…
Go here now to get my book, “Growing Up White: An Oreo’s Guide to Fitting In”…