I Am A Young Black Man, Don't You Dare Call Me An "Oreo"

I am a young black man, don't You Dare call me an 'oreo'

I can still be called an "Oreo" in 2018, like being successful is synonymous with being white in America.

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I have always stuck out amongst my group of friends. I've never been able to really "fit in" with a friend group completely nor have I ever wanted to be a clone of my closest friends. As a young black man, I feel this way a lot, especially because of the lifestyle I choose to live.

Regardless of the fact that I sing opera, wear preppy clothes, or even enjoy acoustic or country music; do not call me an "Oreo." Not only is calling me and other black Americans an Oreo offensive, but it says a lot about how you, as an individual, view black people and black culture.

The media does a very good job of depicting black people as impoverished thugs, drug dealers, gangbangers, pimps, and strippers. However, when a black person is portrayed to being an "upstanding citizen" it's almost "newsworthy" because of the novelty of the idea that a person of color can live and behave outside of the stereotypical depiction of a group of people.

Believe it or not the average black family that I'm personally surrounded by does not act or raise their children to be something that the mainstream media enjoy conveying.

Never mind the Obamas, the Condoleezza Rices, the Laurence Brownlees and the Audra McDonalds of America. The "hidden figures" of Katherine Jonson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson recently depicted in an Oscar-nominated film (2016). The pursuing scientists, lawyers, politicians, and more that are coming up in areas like Baltimore and Chicago who happen to also be black.

The craziest part is that regardless of the many more successes than failures within the black community I can still be called an "Oreo" in 2018, like being successful is synonymous with being white in America. Black women are the most educated people in America according to the National Center for Education Statistics, but yet they have to face both the glass-ceiling of being a woman and prejudice for being black.

As I have gone through my time at Butler, people often don't believe me or take me seriously because of my behavior, lifestyle, and successes. Within the first week of being on campus a fellow student asked me in a class if I thought that I got into Butler via affirmative action — as if I was incapable of getting into Butler without assistance or leverage.

It's unbelievable that people still think that intellectually people of color are inferior to their classmates or colleagues. What's more unfortunate is that people are going to read this article and say "well that's just one person." That individual had to hear it from someone who believes that black people are inferior and/or disadvantaged. He had to have said it before without being checked or corrected, and if one person has an opinion 100 more people share the sentiment.

I have been judged and rejected because as a young black man I come across arrogant, overconfident, and pretentious because I know what I want, have worked hard for what I have, and am unapologetic for most of my decisions. Never mind the same behavior from a white male my age who may exhibit similar behavior, but "it comes across different."

Moreover, if you're being called an Oreo then you've also been called boujie. According to urbandictionary.com you're being described as "relating to or characteristic of a person who aspires to the upper middle class or a fancy lifestyle; haughty, elitist, snobbish."

God forbid the idea that black Americans hold themselves to higher standards and exceed the expectations of their peers. God forbid the idea of wanting more for yourself and wanting the opportunity to be treated the same way a white male is treated when walking into a building.

Preconceived notions of a person's character because of the color of one's skin is wrong. I am conscious of the fact, especially after attending a predominantly white institution, that I can not assume that everyone white person I talk to has mal-intentions or will be ignorant and prejudiced. As a matter of fact, some of my closest friends are white and I have learned and grown from them as I hope they have from me. However, what I will say is that I am tired of excusing white people who address any person of color with disrespect.

I am not an Oreo because I am simply a product of my environment, just like someone isn't "ghetto" simply because they are from a rougher neighborhood. Don't tell me I'm not "black enough" if you yourself are not black. If you are black don't compare my life to yours and assume that I am not in touch with heritage because I don't behave or act a certain way because it does neither of us any justice for our true character.

I addressed things in this article that may have pertained to certain people and certain interactions. Nobody is perfect, but there is always room for improvement. I am a strong believer in treating people the way YOU would want to be treated. I am not going to sugarcoat my articles, especially when I don't sugarcoat my conversations because I am passionate about the uplifting of black people of all backgrounds while also creating relationships with people that transcend race, and this topic for me falls under that umbrella.

Cover Image Credit:

Malachi White

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16 Things You Know To Be True If Your Name Is Emily

*Immediately sends to five other friends named Emily*
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Emily. The name of legends, great poets and just overall fabulous people. Emily has been ranked among one of the most popular girl's names for literally decades, so it's no secret that people named Emily definitely have a few things to bond over.

1. You have very specific preferences on being called Em, Emmy or Emmers.

And most likely only *some* people are given this privilege.

2. Every time you meet someone named Emily you instantly bond.

OMG, our parents were some of the most unoriginal people ever! Besties!

3. But secretly, you like to think of yourself as the better Emily.

Sorry not sorry.

4. Your middle name is probably Ann, Elizabeth or Marie.

Because your name is as basic as it gets.

5. You take great pride in knowing that you were the inspiration for names like Emma, Emmy and Emmaline.

And maybe you're a little jealous that your parents didn't at least try to do something a little more unique.

6. Whether it's work or school you always have to share your name with someone.

So you're probably used to attaching the first letter of your last name or broin' out and using your last name like some sort of athlete.

7. On the flip side, you were ALWAYS able to find your name on keychains growing up.


8. And unless your barista is feeling extra grouchy, it's impossible to get your name wrong on your Starbucks cup.

Unless you're one of those Emily's that spells it like Emmaleigh... *judging you*

9. Because at least you have a name no one has to ask how to spell.

Unless, well, see above.

10. You have spent hours perfecting the ideal "E" for your signature.

Do you make a backwards "3" or do you do a loopy lowercase "e?" The choice is yours.

11. And you definitely went through a phase where you dotted the "i" in hearts.

Because you just wanted to go for that extra ~GiRlY~ effect.

12. Your friends know better than to call your name in a public place.

Unless they want at least three people turning around.

13. Someone has texted you thinking they're talking to a different Emily.

Nope, nope. I'm Emily G., not Emily L.

14. You can appreciate that when you write the word Emily it's perfectly even on both sides.

15. And contains the perfect amount of loops.

16. Because while it might be super common, it's popular for a reason

Cover Image Credit: M Star News

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A Day In Immigration Court

"America is a nation founded by immigrants" could not be more true in this space.

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This past month, I started my summer internship with a local immigration attorney. Throughout the summer, I will be observing the day-to-day responsibilities of an immigration law office, which includes observing client appointments, compiling evidence and legal research for cases, and attending hearings at the federal immigration court in New York City. Immigration court is vastly different than anything I had ever experienced, and the harsh reality of the American immigration system manifests itself in the immigration courts themselves. Yet after only a couple of days witnessing various hearings in court, I want to look beyond the inefficiencies ingrained in our current immigration system and instead paint a picture so that you can understand the underlying effects of the American dream taking place.

There are two floors designated for the immigration courts in the federal building. After exiting the elevator, there is an overwhelming presence of individuals and family units awaiting their presence in court. One time I saw a woman holding a baby that was days old outside of the courtroom. Courtrooms are numbered and labeled with the last name of the immigration judge on the door, and individuals are expected to wait outside with either an attorney, accredited representation, or any other people accompanying the respondent before his or her trial.

Aside from the large conglomerate of immigrants on this floor, there are multiple signs taped to the walls contain directions in languages, including Spanish, Arabic, Mandarin, etc. While on these floors, you cannot help but be surrounded by different people, languages, and cultures. In its essence, this is the presence of the American "melting pot" at its finest. There is something inherently beautiful about intersecting cultures and ways of life, and being in the presence of such different people can allow yourself to open your eyes to such different perspectives. Is that not what America is about?

The popular saying, "America is a nation founded by immigrants" could not be more true in this space.

Since my first time at immigration court, I have witnessed individuals win and individuals lose their case. However, a loss does not have to be the end for some individuals. There is an option to appeal the decision from the immigration judge to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) within thirty days. In cases where the individual receives legal status, it feels as though a large burden is placed off of the individual's shoulders. No longer do they have to struggle through the American immigration system after years of perseverance, and in some cases, individuals can move towards becoming an American citizen.

It is almost funny to think that my presence in a government building could spark an inspirational motivator. However, I think my experience in immigration court is more humbling than anything. It puts into perspective the lengths that individuals take to make their case in front of a judge. For them, America is worth fighting for. Although there are various inefficiencies within the current immigration system, I am not trying to romanticize the reality of immigration court. Most of the time, the lines are long, interpreters are unavailable, and cases are more difficult than ever to win. However, instead of focusing on these points, I think it is important to re-focus on the bigger picture behind the immigration courts, realizing the positives amidst all of the negatives.

Although this is only the beginning of my internship, I am excited to see where this opportunity will lead me. I am excited to hear the stories of others, which showcase their determination against hardship and persecution. And I am determined to not only witness but also initiate change first-hand, one case at a time.


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