Cicely Wise, first-year global business major, has struggled with her identity. She used to be praised for her intelligence, but for all of the wrong reasons. As she stated, “Most people see a black face, but hear a white voice.” For instance, people have associated articulating your words as being white. They sometimes say, “You talk white,” or “You’re like an Oreo.” She said, going through this obstacle has “helped force me to be who I think I should be, instead of listening to the judgments of others.”
She offered advice to others: “When you think you’re the only person who has gone through this obstacle, think again. There are many others who feel the same way, but you just need the support to get you through it.”
Her aspirations in life are to become a successful businesswoman and positively influence others, so they will know they can do anything they set their mind to.
The Life of an Oreo
Society sought to define me by my outer layer.
Society’s preconceived notions suggested
Black people could not uphold the intellectual standards,
Like I didn’t fit in the pack.
I articulated my words
And somehow that made me intelligent.
I knew I was intelligent,
But for none of the reasons they suggested.
Society deemed it easier to just call me white for pronouncing words correctly.
“They saw a black face,
But heard a white voice.”
My brain offered more,
And I wanted to be known for more.
Society found it cleaver to call me an Oreo—
You know, dumb on the outside,
But smart on the inside.
Society insisted that this black cookie would crumble
Without that white filling to hold it together.
I am not the snack you eat,
But don’t forget to drown in ignorant thoughts.
Oh, I guess you call that milk.
I do not wish to fit inside your package anymore.
I do not “talk white.”
I am not your Oreo.