Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Twinkies


I'm going to comment on this post:
What is yellow on the outside but white on the inside? If you guessed a "banana," though the inside appears more cream than white, you would be close. The answer is, a twinkie. Have you eaten one? They are fairly inexpensive and only about 135 calories. If you eat too many you might get a stomachache. There is definitely not enough sugar in these bite-size snacks to give you a significant energy boost like Red Bull or Starbucks coffee. Nevertheless, they are fairly tasty. Eat them. Yes! Use that term to describe people. No! 
In response to my brief blog post titled, "Listen Up White America," a dear friend responded to me by email. He described some of his experiences as a Korean Presbyterian pastor. He said that the black experience in Reformed and Presbyterian "churches are very similar to what I have experienced. The most interesting part of it is that those racial experiences didn't happen to me until I arrived at [said seminary] and entered the larger (i.e., outside of the Reformed Korean-American community) Reformed circles. [M]any people at [said seminary] assumed I didn't speak English. It was ridiculous."
He went on to say that he believes Asians, though he can intimately speak as a Korean, are seen either as twinkies (i.e., yellow on the outside, white on the inside) or non-English speaking asians," what he called, "F.O.B.," which means "fresh off the boat." He said, "Most would initially identify us as the latter. It's sad, but it's the truth…But I see changes... [Asians are] slowly shedding the image of kung-fu kicking Bruce Lee out of people's heads..."

Let's begin with some definitions. According to the Urban Dictionary:

OreoA racist slur and schoolyard name based on racist stereotypes wrongly assuming that intelligence, articulateness, dapperness, and manners are traits of whites and not blacks. Therefore, a black who possesses these traits is an oreo, white on the inside and black on the outside. A corollary slur is banana, yellow (Asian) on the outside and white on the inside.
twinkieAn asian person who is either adopted or living in a white community. Hence, yellow on the outside and white on the inside.
twinkyAn asian who acts like a white person, hangs out with white people, dresses like a white person, etc. Basicly, yellow on the outside, white on the inside. Used as an insult.
oreoA insulting termed often used by blacks to derogate other blacks as "Black on the outside, white on the inside." White on the inside meaning anything from speaking proper english, getting good grades, liking music that isn't hip hop, rap or R&B and having a diverse group of friends.
oreoTerm for African Americans that the black community is generally offended with for betraying their roots usually for dating caucasion girls, dressing too white, talking too white, etc. The term is branded OREO since they are "Black on the outside, White on the inside"
oreoA Black African American person who, because he/she has the desire to make a success of their life, has gained the wrath of foolish Black African Americans who have decided to make a shambles of their own. Often OREO's are educated, intelligent, and the respect of the business community. Thus, in the eyes of the dominant Black African American community, they are "guilty" of being "White" on the inside.
oreoA 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". 
These characteristics being (but not limited to), raised in an environment that's NOT the projects, speaking proper english/very limited use of slang, having an eclectic taste in music, having a diverse group of friends, being well-educated, being legitimately employed, not abusing the welfare system, being well-mannered and civilized, saves money for college instead of bling and cheap grills, and wearing nice clothes that are not Roca Wear, Sean Jean, Baby Phat and so on. 
Most blacks confuse the "oreo" stereotype to being "bourgie", which is a very rude, stuck-up black, who thinks they are more "high-class" than they really are. 
This stereotype is stupid, and apparently stems from the fear most nigg3rs have of success. Blacks believe that unless you are a talentless rapper, a professional athlete, or "gangsta", it is impossible to be successful without being an "oreo". 

Note is that "twinkle," "banana," and "oreo" are intraracial epithets.  This isn't, in the first place, how whites characterize certain blacks or Asians. Rather, this is in-group slang. How some members of a racial or ethnic group view fellow members of the same racial or ethnic group.

For some reason, Leon and his Korean friend turn the tables. They project this attitude onto whites. They imagine that when whites view black or Asian professionals, whites seem them as "twinkles" or "oreos." 

I'm curious as to why Leon and his friend make this assumption about what whites are thinking. Is this based on anecdotal conversations? Sociological polling data? 

ii) Why assume that whites in general even indulge in these comparisons? Why assume that if a white sees a black or Asian professional, his automatic reaction is to mentally compare that individual to whites? Why assume that whites in general are that racially self-conscious? Why assume whites in general spend a lot of time thinking about what it means to be white–in contrast to other ethnicities? 

iii) I'm curious as to what Leon and his Korean friend think it means to be "white on the inside" or act white. If Yo-Yo Ma plays Classical music, does that make him white on the inside? If so, from whose perspective? Do Asians think Yo-Yo Ma is a "twinkie"? If so, isn't that a problem within the Asian community?

iv) Classical music originates in England and Europe. So Yo-Yo Ma usually performs white composers.  

What about jazz? Is jazz a black art form? Many jazz musicians are Jewish. Are they Jewish on the outside, but black on the inside? 

v) What about something more abstract? Many great mathematicians are Caucasian. Does that make math a white thing? If a Chinese or Japanese mathematician is a math prof. at Harvard, Princeton, or MIT, is he acting white?

For that matter, many great mathematicians are Jewish.  Does that mean an Asian math prof. is acting Jewish? 

What about Srinivasa Ramanujan. From what I've read, he's typically considered to be the greatest natural mathematician. The most naturally gifted mathematician who ever lived. How would Leon classify him? Is he East Indian out the outside, but something else on the inside? Or is mathematical aptitude race-neutral in Leon's classification scheme?

vi) BTW, isn't Leon overgeneralizing about Asian pigmentation? What about South Asians? 

vii) To the extent that whites associate Asians with kung-fu, isn't that a case of racial self-stereotyping? Don't Asian actors and directors promote that image?

Moreover, that's not a negative image, is it? Isn't martial arts widely admired in segments of the white community? 

I've only read three things by Leon, but thus far it's almost the mirror image of how David Duke might divide up the world. All these racial boxes. Which box is the right box for you? 

In the coming months I hope to write a 6-part series on some of the issues surrounding ethnicity in (broadly speaking) Reformed and Presbyterian circles. On the one hand, I am fully aware that many people do not believe there are any problems. I normally receive this response from those in the majority. Though I overstate my case for the purposes of this illustration, to say there are no problems is like the slave owner telling the slave, "Everything is okay." The slave owner is not aware, or perhaps suppresses, the myriad of issues surrounding the establishment because he is the superior; he is the majority. From the slave's perspective, however, issues abound. I do not categorize whites in Reformed and Presbyterian Churches today as slave owners nor do I classify African-Americans (or non-whites) in the aforementioned circles as slaves. However, based on personal study, numerous conversations, and personal experience, I think it is clear that we look through a different lens much like the slave and slave owner.

Well, if he insists on framing the issue that way, it would be easy to recast it. Obama is Baby Doc Duvalier. Eric Holder, Susan Rice, Todd Jones, Valerie Jarrett, and Ayo Kimathi are the Tonton Macoutes.

7 comments:

  1. "In the coming months I hope to write a 6-part series on some of the issues surrounding ethnicity in (broadly speaking) Reformed and Presbyterian circles."

    Wonderful. Exactly what we need, another bitter black man with a victim mentality demonizing white people for their supposed "racism." And, of course he can't help but bring up the issue of slavery. Of course.

    Speaking as a white Christian, I for one am beyond tired of being blamed for everyone else's problems, real or imagined. The fact of the matter is Western nations have been, by far, the most racially tolerant countries of the last half-century. We're a "melting pot," a land of rich diversity and multiculturalism. Millions legally immigrate here yearly, most from non-white, third world countries; many millions more enter illegally and are rewarded for it with media sympathy, tax-payer funded government handouts and even amnesty. We have affirmative action for the "less privileged," and generous welfare programs for those too beat down by the imaginary oppression of the white majority to support themselves. We bend over backwards to try not to offend anyone an non-white hue. Truth takes a backseat to hurt feelings, righteousness loses out to "social justice," and facts and statistics are ignored because they're "hateful."

    What other people in world history have done more in vain attempt to achieving post-racial utopia?

    And yet is any of this good enough for the likes of the Leon Browns? Of course not. White people are still horrible, still "racist," bigoted and prejudiced, whether we're consciously aware of it or not; our shame, apparently, is everlasting.

    Here's an idea for the Korean pastor. If things are so horrible here, if your treatment at the hands of American whites is so bad, you can always leave. I hear Korea is a great, welcoming place for Koreans. Maybe you'll be happier there. Just a thought.

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  2. On the one hand Mr. Brown uses a master-slave analogy to describe the situation because they are similiar; on the other hand "I do not categorize whites in Reformed and Presbyterian Churches today as slave owners nor do I classify African-Americans (or non-whites) in the aforementioned circles as slaves."
    Then on the other hand, "I think it is clear that we look through a different lens much like the slave and slave owner."

    As an Asian American Calvinistic Christian, I think the slave analogy to describe the Asian American experience is over the top.

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    1. veritasdomain said:

      As an Asian American Calvinistic Christian, I think the slave analogy to describe the Asian American experience is over the top.

      I'm also "an Asian American Calvinistic Christian," and second what veritasdomain has said about the slave analogy (i.e. "we look through a different lens much like the slave and slave owner").

      It's not as if today is like how it was back in the 19th century with coolies, etc.

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  3. I'd add:

    1. Why categorize white people under a single homogenous heading? Do English, Welsh, Scottish, Irish, French, German, Italian, Scandinavian, Russian, etc. "white people" treat all Asians or blacks alike?

    2. Also, I've had "white people" ask me if I'm good at math and science, or if I know kung fu or karate (or sometimes simply assume I am or do). I've also had other races and etnicities like black and Hispanic people ask me the same (or sometimes simply assume I am or do). Would Leon or his Korean friend say this says the same about black or Hispanic people as it apparently does about "white people"?

    3. I think it's likewise important to note the vast majority who do ask, ask out of sincerity, not hostility or the like. At least that's been my experience. For instance, there's a way of asking a question out of genuine inquisitiveness and perhaps to correct one's own lack of knowledge vs asking the same question out of condescension or to put someone in their place. It seems like Leon and his Korean friend haven't bothered to make this simple but key distinction.

    4. Speaking for myself, I've never had a non-Asian person call me a banana or Twinkie. Only fellow Asians. Actually, I take that back, sort of. Sometimes I'll joke and call myself a banana or Twinkie among my non-Asian friends, and they'll joke right back with me. But that hardly counts as something derogatory.

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  4. BTW, some Asians and blacks have one Asian or black parent and one white parent. Others with one Asian and one black parent. Would Leon or his Korean friend likewise say white people also think of these children as (half) Twinkies or Oreos, etc.? How would that work?

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  5. My impression is Asians calling other Asians "Twinkie" or "banana" isn't analogous to blacks calling other blacks "Oreo." My impression is, generally speaking, a black person calling another black perosn "Oreo" carries a far more negative and serious connotation than an Asian person calling another Asian person a "Twinkie" or "banana."

    That is, "Twinkie" or "banana" said among Asians is something akin to calling someone a nerd or geek, I think. Negative, I suppose, and likely based on a kernel of truth, but by and large a lighter, shrug worthy affair. I've even known some Asians who wear the label "Twinkie" or "banana" with some pride. These Asians not only don't mind being called a "Twinkie" or "banana" by other Asians, but they in fact wish to be seen as more white.

    I can't say for sure about blacks since I'm not black, but when a black person calls another black person an "Oreo" it seems much harsher, if that's the right way to put it. More akin to calling them a sell out to their own race or ethnicity. Maybe closer to a modern day version of "Uncle Tom." Or so it seems to me.

    Again, these are just my impressions, so maybe I'm mistaken.

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  6. Wow the things I learn here. And I thought a "Twinkie" represented the normal amount of psychokinetic energy in the New York area.

    Seriously though I would wager that the majority of the Caucasians in the PCA (of which I am a member of both) have no idea of the latest in racial epithets intra or otherwise to even be able to project those on the racial minority of the moment. For the most part they are being beaten day by day over the head by the YRR crowd and the MTW over their racial insensitivity and rejection of the social gospel as illustrated by Leon's writings.

    (re)Framing the issue as Steve does at the end of the post sticks a dagger in what Leon and his ilk thinks and believes. I believe the people in Haiti "have seen "stuff" that will turn you white" and that might make you pray for the salvation of BO and if that be not God's plan bring an imprecatory Psalm upon him and his minions. Of course that prayer is not the one that I believe Leon is aiming for us to pray with him.

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