The Oreo: two delightful layers of chocolate cookie separated by a cream-filled center, all working together indulgently to create milk’s favorite cookie. Sweet momentary joy for acquired taste buds. A subject quite difficult to provide a negative connotation for, that is, unless the treat’s name repeatedly whirls around the crevices of your mind, haunting your present being of memories past, encasing the otherwise wonderful childhood you were brought up in.
“She’s black on the outside and white on the inside.” Get it? Like an Oreo.
Amidst other similar ridicule I experienced, this was the most clever and thoughtful, yet seemingly physiologically impossible.
Growing up, numerous factors specific to us as individuals sculpt tirelessly at the person we ultimately become in this world. The morals and values of those close to you reviewed as important, created an infrastructure for what you decided was right. The demographics that surrounded you daily, displayed routines you adopted and molded to better attribute your other traits, and even the way you were brought up as a child, and then on until you left the nest (if you have left the nest yet) as the proper way things were done.
My father was a Nigerian immigrant, prideful in his journey, cold in his style of parenting. Hell bent on making sure his children spoke the way Americans were supposed to speak, he would pull my ear every time I uttered ‘improper English.’ Needless to say, I made few errors. At the predominantly white school I attended for elementary, I expectantly looked to the rare few that shared my complexion hue as possible allies, though I found no struggle in befriending diversely since colors were merely colors to a second grader and race was not an existing concept in my world yet. What truly behooved me, though, was that where I looked for allies, at times, I found the opposite of such. The way I spoke and carried myself was not foreign to them but resembled what the world around them associated with the Caucasian race. Therefore, I was mocked. As a person speaking as near to English class taught us to, and contemporary literature depicted, I was mocked. At such an impressionable age, it confused me. What was I supposed to be if not simply me? The me that my father had helped me diligently in becoming.
The African-American race is a prideful, competitive and complex race, which stems from the extenuating circumstances I feel, by now, we should all know well enough. Prideful in how far we have come and competitive simply to keep progressing down a path of equality some say is there already and some say will never come. At times we tear each other down because the society to which we attempt in many aspects to assimilate pits us against each other, not intentionally (hopefully) but through certain similar differences that promote higher or lower status in America socially.
That being said, “proper English” is not a “white thing.”
In all honesty, it is not even the proper thing. It is wholly the most popular thing. It is a qualification of professionalism and evidence of education. With both these things, as the people they were created on this Earth for, we must realize they were created with a slant to the first and the consistent majority. They have been built upon for ages to promote solidarity in a United Nation as well as to preserve tradition. Often it is of grave irritation to me that one is unjustly knocked solely for the differences they possess, and the way a person speaks happens to be a common target.
So, please stop. Put your egocentric views aside momentarily and consider the following: Your way is not the ‘proper’ way, hell the way you see most prevalent is not the ‘proper’ way. There are many ways of which to go about the various aspects of life, whether it be the aspect of speech or… The way you would eat an Oreo. What I mean truly is just that, it is your choice to be a part of the masses … or nah. To each its own! The world is yours, be the change you would like to see in it, or whatever.