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Ijeoma Oluo

#blackhistoryProfilesFebruary 25, 2022

Born into a bi-racial family, Ijeoma Oluo’s insightful writings about race, feminism, inequality, including her New York Times bestseller So You Want to Talk About Race, have made her a leading voice in today’s social justice debate. 

A self-described “Black nerd,” she earned a political science degree from Western Washington University before starting a career in tech and digital marketing. But in 2012, shocked by the killing of Trayvon Martin by a white vigilante in Florida, the mother of two boys began publishing essays and articles in Jezebel, The Stranger, and the Guardian

Oluo’s incisive writing about race in America earned her great reviews and Seattle Magazine named her one of the city’s most influential people in 2015, the same year she published The Badass Feminist Coloring Book, a celebration of modern-day feminists. 

Her next book brought even more accolades. In each chapter of 2018’s So You Want to Talk About Race, Oluo dives into questions about race in the United States. The book became a bestseller following the death of George Floyd and has been heralded an important resource in the evolving conversation about equality.  

She followed that with Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America, where she gives a historical perspective on how white male mediocrity has become the country’s core ideology. 

Named to the 2021 TIME 100 Next list, Oluo continues to write about race, feminism, and social justice for a number of outlets and also serves as editor-at-large for the online, multimedia publication The Establishment

The author, speaker and self-described “internet yeller” dives into difficult, sobering themes that help advance the public’s broader understanding of things like race and privilege. 

“Being privileged doesn’t mean that you are always wrong and people without privilege are always right,” Oluo said. “It means that there is a good chance you are missing a few very important pieces of the puzzle.”

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