This is a signed/numbered print of an original metaphorical painting by Rachel Dolezal. This unique still life painting conjures themes of identity, rejection, belonging, and group acceptance boundaries in America. Most commonly known for this, the Oreo is a slur that suggests a person who might visibly appear to belong to the Black Community is “white on the inside” and isn’t fully claimed by the community. The apple is a similar slur for Native Americans (red on the outside, white on the inside), as is the banana for Asians (yellow on the outside, white on the inside). The brown paper bag was historically used as an oppressive test to gauge whether a Black person was light enough to gain acceptance into certain fraternities, jobs, etc. In some instances today, a person’s label as “Black” is questioned if they don’t at least appear as dark as a brown paper bag. Whether shaming someone for their level of melanin, their parentage, or their mannerisms and cultural preferences, rejection hurts – like someone has taken a bite out of you. The artist took a bite out of the cookie, apple and banana before staging them on the bag and fabric to paint this still life. Rachel’s own experience with rejection adds meaning to this piece being conceived and created by her.
(Sidenote: the black fabric behind the brown paper bag covers over the white canvas, which is one final layer of symbolism).