Being Called an ‘Oreo’
The term “Oreo” is defined as a Black person who is regarded as having adopted the attitudes, values and behaviors thought to be characteristics of middle-class white society, often at the expense of his or her own heritage.
Although Black culture is part of what defines Black people, the idea that the culture is static is completely ludicrous. The term “Oreo” completely discounts the fact that no matter how different a Black person acts in comparison to racial stereotypical images, that can never change his or her skin. So that person still has to deal with the day-to-day racism or injustices that are geared toward Black people.
‘Why Do You Sound/Look White?’
This insult is closely related to the “Oreo” insult. Not only is it offensive for not realizing the dynamics of Black people, it goes a step further in perpetuating the myth that white people somehow have a monopoly on looking, sounding and being intelligent.
‘The Only Reason You Got Into a Good College is Because You’re Black’
This stems from a lack of understanding of how affirmative action works, and believing that it has something to do with filling quotas. The truth is that Black youths have to be quite exceptional to get into a good school, especially when compared to their white counterparts.
Ironically, as many as 15 percent of freshmen at America’s top schools are white students who failed to meet their university’s minimum standards for admission, according to Peter Schmidt, deputy editor of the Chronicle of Higher Education. These kids are “people with a long-standing relationship with the university,” or, in other words, the children of faculty, wealthy alumni and politicians.
According to Schmidt, these unqualified but privileged kids are nearly twice as common on top campuses as Black and Latino students who have benefited from affirmative action.
‘You’re So Articulate …’
This is the ultimate backhanded compliment. Often, the people uttering the phrase truly believe they’re being nice when saying this. However, it is quite an ignorant statement. First, it assumes that the average Black person is dumb and inarticulate, and that the person they’re “complimenting” is so rare it’s like they’ve come into contact with a unicorn. It also assumes that there’s only one acceptable way for smart people to talk.
‘You Look/Remind Me of Urkel/Carlton Banks’
Because of the gross misrepresentation of Black people in mainstream media, characters like Urkel from Family Matters and Carlton from The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air are the only archetypes many people have of a Black nerd. However, equating someone as being a Blerd for simply wearing large glasses and “preppy” clothes undervalues the intelligence of true Blerds
‘Being a Sellout’
This insult is particularly offensive because it usually comes from another Black person. While there are many people who have betrayed the Black community, being smart and successful does not automatically make you a “sellout”.