Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America by Ijeoma Oluo
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
"All we have is our struggle. And yet we are told that our struggle for inclusion and equity--and our celebration of even symbolic steps towards them--is divisive and threatening to those who have far greater access to everything else than we can dream of. If white men are finding that the overwhelmingly white-male-controlled system isn't meeting their needs, how did we end up being the problem?"
Ijeoma Oluo's second book tackles the legacy of white male supremacy by sharing the history behind white masculinity, higher education, white men in social justice movements, dependency on people of color, women in the workplace, women of color in politics, and sports activism. Oluo gracefully weaves these topics together through personal narrative and interviews. She explains that the purpose of this book is to look at the ways in which white masculinity has been detrimental to society as a whole, including white men themselves. Oluo asks the reader to imagine new ways of being white men today.
This book is essential. I held off on reading it because I was worried it would be depressing. It was not. It's validating, enlightening, and powerful. It was a struggle not to highlight almost the entire book! Oluo has a talent of breaking down every complex concept and story into easily understandable chapters with a logical flow between them.
So You Want To Talk About Race is a wonderful book but Mediocre should be a part of school curriculum throughout the U.S. I know I will be processing and thinking about this book for years to come.
I recommend it to everyone ages 12 and up.*
*If added to curriculum, it should be sandwiched between other contextual activities and readings connected to the topics like the Wild West, etc. and followed up with discussion.