The Struggles of an Oreo

Oreo-Barbie

I don’t like movies like State Property. Growing up somehow my black card was held in question because of statements like this because I couldn’t quote lines from those types of movies. So naturally my response or thoughts on issues like such was that you’re not cultured enough, that you must be ghetto or maybe you’re a basic black person.
An aspiring hoodlum

Back then, I quoted lines from movies like Parent Trap, She’s All That, Big Mama’s house and Nutty Professor, Pretty Woman, Drumline, Sister Act 1 and 2, Bad Boys and Rush Hour. Oh yea and I loved Mary-Kate and Ashley movies.  I know lines from the first and second Friday but I’m recalling a friend going thru my movie collection and commenting that I didn’t have any real “black” movies. Her brother chimed in like, “Yea yo DVD selections are like a white person tryna be black”. I guess they ignored the color of my skin but I must agree our life experiences are different which I can assume provides insight to what type of movies we will like.
I don’t like movies without any hope, like these thug movies or street movies. Sorry John Singleton but Boyz in the Hood is like that for me. Good movie but why did Ricky have to die?

This is a topic I’ve revisited over and over again but it just reoccurred because I couldn’t decide between watching The Barbershop or The Breakfast Club. I love Ice Cube, Eve, Cedric the entertainer and all the others but I also enjoy Molly Ringwald and I like the plot of breakfast club plus I haven’t seen it in a while. I probably should’ve picked breakfast club because I can quote lines from both Barbershops all day but somehow I felt as if I was slighting my own.

This feeling can also be stemming from a conversation held last night when I discovered I’m not up on my black writers like I thought I was. I am an English major with a concentration in African-American Literature. I chose this because I didn’t learn a lot about black authors, black culture and black history growing up so I wanted to study it and teach it to others in some shape form or fashion but anyway my friends, a graduate from Clark University, a current student at Florida A&M and I current student of North Carolina A&T are having a conversation about music. Tupac comes up first we talk about listening to a whole Tupac Album. They were telling me it was common more than it was uncommon. It just was more uncommon to me.  He’s a poet I’m a poet so they asked if I’ve ever read any poems or books by him and I’m like no. Then we go on to discuss films. My home girl from Clark graduated with her degree in Acting that’s a little background on her and how the film Sankofa became a subject. This was also something I had never watched.

At this point I was frustrated. I began to ask where they heard about these authors, films and books. Were they discussed in their home was it high school? I had similar feelings in class when almost everyone had read Beloved by Toni Morrison and/or seen /read Their Eyes were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. I wanted to know who I could blame for not exposing me to such things. My home girl went to a “black” high school. I’m like ok me too mine was majority black too (insert light bulb). No her high school was focused and even catered to Black history. They instilled a sense of Black Pride.

Since I attend college in the south and most of my classmates attended high school there, this is why their required reading had been such things. I come from the north (I guess technically Midwest but whatever) and have attended schools more for “Whites”. I’m gonna say that’s a major reason why I’ve only been exposed to the token blacks, like Toni Morrison and Maya Angelou (R.I.P.) because they’ve won something.
This is the reason why I had to wait until I took Black History class in college to learn about other authors besides Langston Hughes and Frederick Douglass. I got a chance to read some Richard Wright, Lorraine Hansberry, and Alain Locke and see what issue they felt so strong enough to write about.

I guess the conclusion of this is because my mom wanted to expose me to better opportunities I got left out of the “black” loop. It was confusing and sometimes uncomfortable because I can’t exactly relate to the majority which is white. I hated being in English classes where everyone was talking about: Stephen King, Moby Dick, F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Da Vinci Code, Mark Twain, J. K. Rowling, James Patterson, when teachers asked for favorite book or authors and not one black person was named. Yes most times in college English classrooms I was one of the only black persons there (before I switched institutions).I was always left [questioning myself] with do I pick Langston or Maya because I was sure Omar Tyree was unheard of and anyone else apart of the Urban fiction family.

In high school and somewhat after middle school I started reading Omar Tyree, Sista Soulja and Eric Jerome Dickey. I loved the stories because I was reading about people who looked like me and it wasn’t all shoot em up bang bang and gang violence like the movies that held my black card in question. Before that I was reading Goosebumps, the Sweet Valley Series and The Baby Sitters Club. I even read some books by V.C. Andrews. What a transition. Boy was I “Cultured”.

Anyway back to the conclusion my mom wanted me to have better opportunities. So she sent me places that were supposed to provide such things. I learned stuff. Now I’m learning a whole lot in my adult life that I feel like I should’ve known but hey… Now I know what they mean when they say I’m just a black man tryna make it in a white man’s world. There are two worlds and something about a patriarchal society. See how I included my Black English vernacular throughout this entry. Hooray for code meshing!
[End of Rant]