And The Crab Mentality Thickens
Anyone seeing a trend here? If you have no idea what I’m talking about, click here and read part 1. Going back to the depths of slavery and running straight through to the present, there has been division intra-racially based on opportunities and advantages that a black person could be afforded, or not, based solely on the amount of melanin in their skin. And when you mix envy with jealousy, with just a dash of hypocrisy, you get an us vs. them mentality that begins to form. The darker slaves relegated to the fields not only were envious of the lighter skinned slaves who got the advantage of house duty, they plain didn’t trust them. What all were they doing to keep favor with the masters and mistresses? These accusatory thoughts and misgivings would only be magnified when at times they were proven to be true. After all, as a loyal act to their masters/mistresses, the house slave would rat out some wrong-doings of the field hands. It seems based on my research that the opposite was true, and they were more likely, if they could, to try and help their brethren in the fields however they could, but as is usual we remember the bad times much more easily, and we tend to overgeneralize them.
Let’s not forget, of course, the fact that a select few slaves were given the privilege of being the overseer. That means that, rather than toiling in the fields picking the cotton, they got to be the ones with the whip. And regardless of how much they would want to use it or not, regardless of whether or not they thought it necessary, they would have absolutely no choice in the matter: use that whip, appear to be a hard ass, or we’re taking this job away from you and back to the fields you go. Would you really say no if given those options? Nobody would. But at the same time, imagine how much worse it felt, emotionally and mentally, to be whipped by the man that, maybe just last month or last year, held you close one night while you were crying and promised to keep you safe. Imagine how angry and betrayed you would feel, and yet at the same time how desperately jealous you were, how deeply you were craving, to have the opportunity to switch places with him. So now, you can’t trust the lighter-skinned house slave, and you can’t trust the darker field slaves who get promoted. And you can’t trust your friend next to you, because quite frankly you know if you get the chance, he’d be right up there whipping your ass too.
So in a nutshell: If you get to move up a level or two from where you started, you must punish, betray, and look down upon the people you left behind. If you’re one of the people left behind, you should fear, distrust, and envy the ones who got the hell outta the muck, on the same blood, sweat and tears that you shed. You’re doing your best, and your best just wasn’t good enough, but his was? Then suddenly it all becomes clear and you know exactly why…because he was up on the white man’s jock, and you weren’t willing to compromise yourself. He wants to be just like Massa.
Add that built-in mistrust to the post slavery times, when darker skinned people got to see some “passers” get all the advantages in life they are working their asses off in vain for, and the lighter-skinned black folk always get the advantage of the better jobs and salaries because they just happened to be born with fairer skin, and soon the attitude becomes less of a “how come I can’t be so lucky?” to “THEY screw this up for the rest of us and make it unfair. Probably on purpose!” mentality. And when a dark skinned man or woman gets the chance to move up, gets to rise above the average, he/she already has this built in complex that it must be because he/she is somehow better than the pack, which means that they are inferior. And to the average, he must have somehow betrayed his brothers and sisters to have gotten that chance. And soon, any black person who separates from the pack by taking some action or purpose that was once found unacceptable but is now a desired thing by the white men in power, like getting an education, and learning proper diction and grammar, has now become just another “Uncle Tom”. And the crab mentality kicks in.
But What About The Oreo?
Fast forward to the 21st century and the term Uncle Tom doesn’t apply so much, now does it? You don’t have to run around saying “yes Massa, yessss Maassaa!!” either literally or figuratively anymore in order to succeed in this society. However, if you have the nerve to be born to an educated family, in an at least middle-class neighborhood, you’re starting out the gate as being a form of traitor to your race. I mean seriously, how DARE you not worship gangsta rap and speak in slang or with some form of West-Indian accent??? Who do you think you are, trying to be all white and focus on your education? “Doctor?? Why you trying to be all stuck up for, what do you think you are, white or something? What’s wrong with a Nurse, Nurses ain’t good enough for you anymore?? You think you’re better than the black on your skin????” Frigging Oreo’s, black on the outside, white on the inside. Ugh.
Now, for those of you who really don’t know, or think that you do know what the term Oreo was coined for, and what its definition really means, I found an extremely accurate definition for y’all.
Oreo:1. To much of the public, an Oreo is simply a black cookie sandwich with white cream filling...however 2. In the African-American community, an Oreo is used as a racial slur to insult blacks who "act white" or identify as such. The racial name Oreo is controversial because many blacks recount being called the racial term for doing well in school or speaking proper English, not because they didn't identify as black. In short, these African Americans were singled out as sellouts simply for excelling academically and in other areas. Many blacks find this term hurtful, for they are proud of their African-American heritage.
Definition taken from racerelations.about.com
To give you an idea of how many random, and often completely erratic and ridiculous, ways that this slur is now being defined, check out the following list on Urban Dictionary
Great. We’ve now gotten through all the technical stuff, and the entire history lesson. So now you’ve been informed on exactly what’s what. Now’s the time for my favourite part. So listen up, and I want you all to really pay really close attention. Black on the outside and white on the inside. That is the one part of this definition we need to focus on and make damned clear, because I’ve had it with hearing a bunch of self-hating or just plain ignorant supposedly-proud black people saying that positive traits, or partaking in any positive experience that our ancestors died for our right to have, like a great education and the ability and knowledge to learn how to speak, read, and write in grammatically correct English makes someone a sellout “white on the inside” person.
I’m not saying, on any level, that there aren’t people in this world who could qualify for Oreo status. But trust me when I say it isn’t due these back-assward concepts the misguided youth of today have been perpetuating. Because, you see, that Oreo could have grown up speaking with the “acceptable” black vernacular and accent, be born and raised in the so-called “black-approved” neighborhood, with the hard-knock-life upbringing. None of that matters, my friends: it’s who and what they are on the inside, what they take pride in, what they reject, and why.
Because despite meeting all of those “qualifications” they have a genuine hate for black people, look down on black people –their own family included- and would never lower themselves to live in a black neighbourhood with all the “hoodlums” (by hoodlums they mean anyone with melanin in their skin). All that “spicy ethnic food” gives them heartburn, their children will NOT be allowed with those ruffian pickaninnies at daycare, they wouldn’t be caught dead in a black establishment, and when you ask them where they are from they say they are actually one eight Italian…and leave it at that. They REJECT any notion that they are black, and they despise anything that is blackness, and would burn it off of their skin if they had a choice. All that they are, all that they have is despite this terrible burden of being saddled with “those people” to be compared to. That, my friends, is an Oreo.
The fact that you reject every single opportunity, every single door that is now open to you, desecrate the memory of the people who worked so damned hard so that one day you could have just those things, let them all have died in vain, because you still have so much self-hate and self-prejudice rolling around in your gut that you don’t even realize that every single door is now open to ANY of us who are willing to work hard enough for it, is just despicable. Learn something about what “being black” really means, and then learn something about what is something to be proud of as an achievement, and something that is just a childish, silly, follow-fashion waste of time because you’re so busy trying to be cool and impress somebody, that you have so very little self-value, that you never take the time to really evaluate the person you’re trying to impress and see if there’s anything within or about them that would even be worth that kind of effort.
Stop defining us by your poor, low standards for yourself. You know who the real Uncle Tom’s in society are? YOU. Cause you’re still stuck way back when in that slave mentality where they told you that you were less than nothing, and that’s all that you could be, and to achieve even a fraction of something was more than you could hope for. You’re still stuck in that slave mentality where you believe that is true. So you might as well go right back to calling every white man you see Massa, and using black-only establishments and bathrooms…Cause really, who do you REALLY see as the sellout at this point? The ones who, through success stick it to those racist bigots in the worst way, or your silly ass who is still busy running around being less than, just like they said you are?
Think about that.
As yesterdays Slam Sunday poet so eloquently packaged into a neat little bow, f*** I look like? Seriously.
Please stop making an entire race of an ethnically diverse and phenomenal people, ones who have even been called, after careful analysis, a boon to Canadian Society, look so damn foolish that those on the outside honestly think we aspire to the gutter, and if we weren’t born in it, by DAMN we’ll make it there by death!
Ok. I’m glad I finally got to address Oreo in the complete way it deserved to be. What do you guys think of this “oreo” term? Is there such a thing as trying to “be/act/talk” white, and if so, what’s the line you draw in the sand on that one?
Sorry it was a little delayed y’all. Happy Monday!