Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America (Hardcover)
Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
From the author of the New York Times bestseller So You Want to Talk About Race, a subversive history of white male American identity.
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 color, instead of by actual accomplishments?
Through the last 150 years of American history -- from the post-reconstruction South and the mythic stories of cowboys in the West, to the present-day controversy over NFL protests and the backlash against the rise of women in politics -- Ijeoma Oluo exposes the devastating consequences of white male supremacy on women, people of color, and white men themselves. Mediocre investigates the real costs of this phenomenon in order to imagine a new white male identity, one free from racism and sexism.
As provocative as it is essential, this book will upend everything you thought you knew about American identity and offers a bold new vision of American greatness.
About the Author
Ijeoma Oluo is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller So You Want to Talk About Race. Her work on race has been featured in the New York Times and the Washington Post. She has twice been named to the Root 100, and she received the 2018 Feminist Humanist Award from the American Humanist Association. She lives in Seattle, Washington.
"Oluo masterfully diagnoses the pervasive plague of white mediocrity. Mediocre serves as a call to action for every person, regardless of race or gender, to actively resist white male mediocrity's hold."
—Kimberlé Crenshaw, Executive Director, African American Policy Forum, and Professor, UCLA and Columbia Law Schools
"Oluo is one of our great voices and Mediocre not only educates us, but it inspires us all to act and change the world for the better. But first, I need to read this book again. It's just that damn good."
—Phoebe Robinson, New York Times bestselling author of You Can't Touch My Hair
"Mediocre offers profound truth in service of liberation. It cuts to the heart of white male supremacy, a system that is life-destroying for people of color and even for white men ourselves."
—Matt McGorry, Actor, How To Get Away With Murder and Orange is the New Black, Activist, and Co-Founder of Inspire Justice
"In her illuminating new book, Ijeoma Oluo unpacks how 'mediocrity' is a privilege created and perpetuated by our obsession with white male superiority. Oluo deftly balances the cultural history of white western male myth-making with contemporary cultural criticism of the aggrieved white American man. It is a deft and thought-provoking book that contextualizes public discourse on race, class, and gender in America."
—Tressie Mcmillan Cottom, author of the National Book Award Finalist Thick
"Once again, Ijeoma Oluo uses her elegant voice to speak directly to the root issues at the core of the United States' seeming inability to reconcile who we have been with who we had hoped to be. This book goes beyond how we got here, and digs into where we are, what we're going to do about it, and what's at stake if the people with the most power refuse to do better."
—Ashley C. Ford, writer
"Nuanced, uncomfortable, and illuminating."
"Ijeoma Oluo's sharp yet accessible writing about the American racial landscape made her 2018 book, So You Want to Talk About Race, an invaluable resource for anyone looking to understand and dismantle racist structures. Her new book, Mediocre, builds on this exemplary work, homing in on the role of white patriarchy in creating and upholding a system built to disenfranchise anyone who isn't a white male."
"Ijeoma's revelatory and visionary new book confronts disturbing hidden histories that vibrate throughout our institutions and communities today. The connections and insights in Mediocre make it an essential read."
—Austin Channing Brown, New York Times bestselling author of I'm Still Here
"There is no one more adept at parsing the toxic effects of white male privilege and systemic oppression than the immensely talented Ijeoma Oluo. Her brilliant book is a master class in understanding how systems of domination working relentlessly in the service of white male patriarchy not only harm all women and people of color, but ultimately hinder white men themselves from reaching greatness."
—Michael Eric Dyson, New York Times bestselling author of Long Time Coming
"Ripped, tragically, from yet another and another and another set of headlines, Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America breaks ground and forces a bold, startling, and necessary conversation about the implications of institutional supremacy, and its crushing impact on people of color and women."
—Patrisse Khan Cullors, Co-founder Black Lives Matter, New York Times bestselling author of When They Call You a Terrorist, Joint recipient of The Sydney Peace Prize
"Mediocre is urgent, powerful, and laced with an acidity that forces us to contend with our own complicity in a culture that systematically oppresses women, people of color, and especially, women of color. America is a nation that aspires to greatness, but refuses to acknowledge how its laws and conventions instead protect white male mediocrity. Both So You Want to Talk About Race and Mediocre are necessary reads, because few writers are as vital to understanding our present moment as Oluo."
—Jeff Yang, author, CNN contributor and cohost of the podcast They Call Us Bruce