12/4/13

Are You an Oreo, Twinkie, Sno Ball? Ethnic Slur Nicknames

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Oreo. Twinkie. Sno Ball. These may sound like innocent delicious sweet treats, but when used in the context of race, they’re ethnic slurs. 

In a derogatory manner, they imply how they perceive a person is physically different outside versus how he identifies with himself inside. These are exchanged not only between different races, but sometimes even within the same ones.

Well known examples include:

  • Oreo - Black on the outside, White on the inside
  • Sno Ball:  Pink or White on the outside, Black on the inside
  • Twinkie: Yellow on the outside, White on the inside
  • Banana: Yellow on the outside, White on the inside
  • Egg: White on the outside, Yellow in the inside
  • Coconut: Brown on the outside, White on the inside
  • Apple: Red on the outside, White on the inside,

In college, a fellow Asian American student called me a Twinkie because I was dating a White guy. At the time I chuckled because it just sounded ridiculous to be compared to a sponge cake. But it’s actually a contemptuous statement as it implied I was a sellout to my ethnicity and was not proud of my culture. The premise this statement was faulty as it identified dating life as the single factor that determined cultural and ethnic pride. Talk about viewing things through a silo. Our self-identities are really more than just our dating lives.

Comparing races to food is just odd, too. It’s like skin color labels such as red, yellow, brown, black and olive. Isn’t it all just kind of silly? How about not judging others and letting people live their lives. And lose the ethnic slur food labels.


Photo: flickr/roberthuffstutter

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