O·re·o /ôrēˌō/ : an African-American who is seen, especially by other blacks, as wishing to be part of the white establishment (google definition).
Urban Dictionary definition: A stereotype created by blacks to be used for other blacks who are “black on the outside, white on the inside”. Black being their skin color, and white meaning to display characteristics of a “white” person, therefore “betraying their black roots”.
Being a black kid growing up, if you didn’t like some of the same things other black kids liked or even spoke more on the proper side, then you may have been called an oreo at some point in your life. I know I have. People would always call me an oreo, even my own family member sometimes, because I spoke a certain way or because I enjoyed “white music” even though my music taste included a mix of genres.
What these definitions, and many of the other Urban Dictionary definitions I came across, have in common is the acknowledgement that this term is a derogatory term. What’s worse is it’s a term that’s used by black people towards other black people.
What sparks black people to use this term towards their own kind? Well apparently there’s a rule book on how to be black. You don’t fit the “stereotypical” black person characteristics or personality. Instead, you fit those of a white person so now you’re deemed as black on the outside, but white on the inside. It’s funny, because the same people protesting about being put into these stereotypes will be the same ones judging others for not fitting those stereotypes. It’s like saying “I’m being put in a box but I’m going to judge this person for not being in that same box I’m trying to get out of.”
“the same people protesting about being put into these stereotypes will be the same ones judging others for not fitting those stereotypes.”
What causes people to call someone an oreo could go as far as their music taste, the way they dress, or how they speak. Being told I “sound white” had to be one of the dumbest things I experienced growing up. It wasn’t just from people at school, but also my family. That was the most annoying thing and it still angers me when I see or hear it being said either to me or someone else. Because I enunciate that means I’m white? I think that says a little bit more about what you think about the black community more than anything else. It’s like saying you don’t expect black people to be able to speak proper diction or to dress nicely.
Friends and family may use the term jokingly, but it can cause a lot of harm. Black people work so hard to be themselves and worry about being judged for it outside of the community. We shouldn’t have to worry so much about being accepted into our own community. There is no proper way to be black. Because I have different interests than you doesn’t make me any less black. What makes you black and part of the black community is having a mother, father, or both that are black. That’s it.
“There is no proper way to be black.”
Calling someone an oreo only makes you look uneducated, joking or not. Open your mind more before opening your mouth and realize black people are more than just slang and sagging jeans.
What are your thoughts on this topic? Have you ever been called an oreo? Have you ever called someone an oreo? Let’s discuss!