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Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America

4.51  ·  Rating details ·  5,183 ratings  ·  920 reviews
From the author of the New York Times bestseller So You Want to Talk About Race, a history of white male America and a scathing indictment of what it has cost us socially, economically, and politically

After the election of Donald Trump, and the escalation of white male rage and increased hostility toward immigrants that came with him, New York Times-bestselling author Ijeo
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published December 1st 2020 by Seal Press
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The Artisan Geek
Nov 29, 2019 marked it as to-read
Really really want to read this book!!

That title though!

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Julie Ehlers
It's as if when we continuously pass up the opportunity to listen to those most affected by the shortcomings of our systems, and instead continue to reward those who benefit most from those systems, we end up making no progress at all.

Mediocre is that rare book that overdelivers on what it promises. In our current moment, it's easy to be frustrated by struggling working-class white men who blame people of color for their problems rather than the generations of (mostly white, male, and privileged
Maja  - BibliophiliaDK ✨

If you'll ask me to label myself, I would definitely use the words feminist and academic early on. Those are two of the labels that really describe me and define me. And these two sides of me were at war when it came to this book. Because as a feminist I really sympathized with Oluo's struggles and I loved and appreciated learning more about the race aspect of feminism, something that is (for obvious reasons) new and unknown to me. But as
Elyse  Walters
Dec 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It’s a very appropriate time to read Ijeoma Oluo’s new book, ‘Mediocre’, Nigerian-American author of the outstanding-‘must read’
book called “So You Want To Talk About Race”...
“What happens to a country that tells generation after generation of white men that they deserve power? What happens when success is defined by status over women and people of colour, instead of actual accomplishments?”....
Well.....let’s look at today: Twelve million Americans are unemployed...
‘Some’ relief
Whew child. This was a heck of read. And in my personal opinion it definitely hits a little harder considering what has been happening in America with the election. It really changes the perspectives of the legacies that White men have left behind and how they continue to impact our country.

I'm not familiar with all of the work by Ijeoma Oluo. It has been my intention to read So You Want to Talk About Race; however, when I saw that this was available at my library for checkout I decided to read
Dec 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing

Why you may not like this book: You don't think white supremacy is an issue in this country and confronting the reality of white, male mediocrity will hurt your feelings.

Why I loved this book: Oluo has such a way of broaching subjects clearly. Her writing is effective and accessible, and I just find that it exudes a kind of care and patience. The basis of her argument and exploration is that white supremacy hurts everyone, including those white men who have been sold the lie that if they don't
Oct 16, 2020 rated it did not like it
So it's perfectly fine to be racist, just so long as it's against white people. Trump won b/c of racist bullshit like this. God forbid someone write a book just like this, but about anyone brown... ...more
Aug 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
An intense and satisfying read--I love nonfiction like this. Sociopolitical analysis and examining societal issues through a specific lens is like food for my brain. Now, I went in agreeing with the thesis, so this went down easy for me. This will be a frustrating, uncomfortable read for those who don't like the central idea: that white supremacy, specifically the mediocrity of white men, has lead to a legacy of oppressive and pervasive systems as well as many of our societal failures.

But I lik
Traci at The Stacks
Nov 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
I mostly liked this book a lot. Really loved Oluo’s writing and voice. Incredibly well done mixing the history with the modern day examples with her authors personal experiences. A good crash course in systemic racism in The US. The first few chapters were stellar. White men have created a toxic country in many respects and this book drives that point home. The ending isn’t as strong as I would’ve liked. The thesis got lost toward the end.
Dec 05, 2020 marked it as to-read
Shelves: nonfiction, non-ya
don't mind me, just...adding the hell out of this ...more
Dec 23, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: politics, usa, black
I want my brain cells back. 😒
Oluo is just another “woke grifter” to emerge and profit from the delusion that the rot of American politics started January 20th, 2017 despite ALL the evidence to the contrary. Instead of taking a macro view and criticizing the corruption that plagues BOTH major parties, the mediocrity that plagues American politicians of ALL races and the propaganda that is promulgated by the hyper-partisan “fake news” outlets, Oluo and her kind are only interested in amplifying “m
Tucker  (TuckerTheReader)
Jun 11, 2020 marked it as not-released-tbr
I read read So You Want to Talk About Race and it was extremely eye opening so I am super excited to see what Ijeoma coming next.

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Margaret Kelly
Jun 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I want to clarify that this rating is in response to the rando that was clearly triggered by the title and gave it 3 stars, and not because I've read this book yet. Can't wait to read it when it's published, however, and I'm sure the 5 stars will stay that way!

EDIT 12/25/20: Alright I have now had the privilege of reading Ijeoma Oluo’s new book. She does a fantastic job of weaving together the seemingly disparate institutions in America and showing how ultimately entwined they are due to their u
Jessica Jeffers
This was fantastic.
Tomes And Textiles
Jan 26, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I have a lot to say about this book that I will get to soon, but, for now, just know that this is the book of the moment. EVERYONE needs to read it and get it into their friends and families hands.

Full review now up on TOMES AND TEXTILES.

Do you ever read a book and think it’s a think piece article written in the past few weeks? @ijeomaoluo’s MEDIOCRE: THE DANGEROUS LEGACY OF WHITE MALE AMERICA felt like it had been written as the storming of the capital was taking place o
Dec 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
I was a huge fan of Ijeoma Oluo's previous novel "So You Had to Talk About Race" so I was glad to read another book of hers early! This book was great however at the same time it is more history rather than personal experiences (which I was hoping more for personal experiences). That's not the books fault, more of a preference on my part but I thought it was still interesting! I would recommend this to anyone and I thought that the cover was just extremely clever. I will admit this did take me a ...more
Jan 05, 2021 rated it really liked it
I was drawn to this book because of the title, and even though I enjoyed it, it wasn't exactly what I thought it would be. For some reason, I assumed it would focus more on what white male mediocrity is, how it came to be, and how it impacts different social spaces, all of which to be presented in the manner of academic research. To be fair, that's on me, as I should have read the description more carefully, as it literally states that the book features the 'personal writing for which she is cel ...more
Jan 24, 2021 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books
Interesting premise, poor execution. Author Ijeoma Oluo takes on a monster topic and fails in my opinion to make a coherent case that while males have systemically damaged America. The first 2-3 chapters are dreadful. Wild Bill Cody scalping native Americans and slaughtering almost the entire population of American Buffaloes? Not a good basis for condemning all. The following few chapters are thoughtful criticism in my view, with substantiation, including the chapter on education. It seems to me ...more
Carlos HS
Mediocrijeoma's latest book is a part fiction and part temper tantrum work of ... profound woke scholarship and semi-insights. It is a book so good that everyone who has not read it will praise it in public forums :)

Readers (those who are used to reading more than Twits and are also capable of comprehending more than Teen Vogue editorials) will easily recognize the ideas in the book as well as the polemic writing style as typical of a fresh kindergarten graduate.

What is the target audience for t
Casey the Reader
Nov 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, essays
Thanks to Seal Press for the free advance copy of this book.

MEDIOCRE is one of those books that makes the reader feel like they've put on a new pair of glasses and everything is clearer. So much of what Oluo dissects in this book are ideas that I've seen half-formed in many places, but she really expands on them and places them into the larger social context in a way that made lightbulbs go off all over the place for me. 📚

The thesis of this book is that American men have been told the world is
Ivonne Rovira
Sep 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I would not have believed that I could enjoy another book by Ijeoma Olou as much as I did the excellent So You Want to Talk About Race — and yet Mediocre is so much better.

A political science major in college and an avid reader, I know more than most people about history, including our shameful history with non-white people and women. Yet, Olou revealed so much that I didn’t know. Although this is heresy, I find Mediocre to surpass even Ibram X. Kendi’s How to Be an Antiracist and rival Carol A
David Wineberg
Sep 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Ijeoma Oluo has put together a seemingly endless string of situations where women and people of color have their lives battered and twisted out of shape by white male supremacy. By the end of Mediocre, the feelings of oppression, suppression and anarchic violence become overwhelming. This is life for minorities in America. Generation after generation. It’s essentially an impossible life. The abuse is stunningly widespread, omnipresent and intractable. It is ingrained and seemingly innate. The so ...more
Gary Moreau
Dec 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In the first 100 pages of “Mediocre” the book felt very different from Oluo’s acclaimed “So You Want to Talk About Race.”

Oh, Ijeoma Oluo’s prose is still terrific (Why do I feel like Barney Fife in writing the word terrific?) Some will surely say it is in your face, but if her first book didn’t convince you of the need to be, or recent events haven’t made you yearn for her brand of indignation, well, I’m not sure what to tell you.

Her prose energizes me at this point and I am an old white, former
Jan 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: physical-tbr
Thank you to the publisher for giving me a free copy of this book! All opinions are my own.

“Ours is a society where white culture is normalized and universalized, while cultures of color are demonized, exotified, or erased.”

In MEDIOCRE, Oluo writes about the dangers of white male supremacy. She demonstrates how it’s a system that benefits a select few, and does harm to a great number of people, especially women and people of color. She also shows how ingrained it is in our society through variou
It feels like a decade has passed since I read Ijeoma Oluo's first book, "So You Want To Talk About Race". That was a mere two years ago, nearly exactly. It also feels like a decade since I actually finished THIS book, and that was only a few days ago. Covid time is funny like that. The days fly by but the weeks drag on for eternity, and there are 500 years in every month.

ANYWAY, I mention "So You Want To Talk About Race" because it is still my go-to recommendation for people who want to start
Jul 01, 2020 marked it as to-read
Oh boy.
Kara Babcock
When I heard Ijeoma Oluo had written another book, there was no question in my mind that I would run, not walk, to NetGalley to request it. Publisher Seal Press made it happen! Medicore: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America is a formidable follow-up to So You Want to Talk About Race . In her first book, Oluo outlines all the ways that white people can move past ignorance and fragility to have authentic dialogue about race and racism. In this book, Oluo explains how white supremacy (part ...more
Oct 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars. oh, man.

i’m not going to say too much, but let me just say that I don’t regret being up this late to finish this book (it’s almost 3 am), even though I know that I have a work-related call in the morning. to be completely honest, I did appreciate some sections/stylistic choices much more than others. regardless, they didn’t deter from the moments that I did love. this book maintains a perfect balance between personal narrative and social history, and I am very happy to witness the jo
Jan 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I was just finishing this book when there was an attempted coup on our government. It was so timely. But would have been timely at any time during the past 200 years Oluo covers in this book.

From the image and nostalgia of the "Wild West" to the Malheur takeover, Ivy League education and other overall higher education, women in the workplace (and removed from the workplace), Black women and women of color in politics and how they are framed by white men and how white men are always cen
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Ijeoma Oluo is a Seattle-based writer, speaker, and Internet Yeller. She’s the author of the New York Times Best-Seller So You Want to Talk about Race, published in January by Seal Press. Named one of the The Root’s 100 Most Influential African Americans in 2017, one of the Most Influential People in Seattle by Seattle Magazine, one of the 50 Most Influential Women in Seattle by Seattle Met, and ...more

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“Let us remember: One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world.” That’s Malala Yousafzai, Pakistani human rights...
65 likes · 20 comments
“How often have you heard the argument that we have to slowly implement gender and racial equality in order to not “shock” society? Who is the “society” that people are talking about? I can guarantee that women would be able to handle equal pay or a harassment-free work environment right now, with no ramp-up. I’m certain that people of color would be able to deal with equal political representation and economic opportunity if they were made available today. So for whose benefit do we need to go so slowly? How can white men be our born leaders and at the same time so fragile that they cannot handle social progress?” 18 likes
“Perhaps one of the most brutal of white male privileges is the opportunity to live long enough to regret the carnage you have brought upon others.” 7 likes
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