Ijeoma Oluo

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Ijeoma Oluo
Lovett Or Leave It - Ijeoma Oluo 1.jpg
Born1980 (1980) (age 37)[1][2]
Denton, Texas, US[1][2]
NationalityAmerican
Other namesIjeoma Jacobson[3]
EducationBA political science (2007)[4]
Alma materWestern Washington University[5]
OccupationWriter
Spouse(s)Chad R. Jacobson (married 2001–05)[6][3]
Children2
RelativesAhamefule J. Oluo (brother)[7]
Lindy West (sister in-law)[8]

Ijeoma Oluo (born 1980) is an American writer. She is the author of So You Want to Talk About Race[9] and has written for The Guardian, Jezebel, The Stranger, Medium and The Establishment, where she is also an editor-at-large.[10][11][12][13][14]

Born in Denton, Texas and based in Seattle, Washington, in 2015 Oluo was named one of the most influential people in Seattle,[15] and in 2018, she was named one of the 50 most influential women in Seattle.[16] Her writing covers misogynoir, intersectionality, online harassment, the Black Lives Matter movement, race, economics, parenting, feminism and social justice.[9][17]

Many of her articles critiquing race and the invisibility of women's voices have gone viral, as exemplified in the coverage of her interview with Rachel Dolezal.[18][19][20]

Career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Ijeoma Oluo began her career in technology and digital marketing.[13] She turned to writing in her mid-30s[21] after the 2012 death of Trayvon Martin, who was at the same age of her son at the time.[13] Fearful for her son as well as her younger brother, a musician then traveling on tour, Oluo began sharing long-held concerns via a blog she'd previously devoted to food writing.[21] She has described these initial forays as a significant influence on her writing style, as she hoped that sharing personal stories would be a way to connect to and activate her predominantly white community in Seattle.[21] Oluo has said she was disappointed by the response she initially received, and that many of her existing friends "fell away" instead of engaging in the issues she had begun raising; however, many black women she hadn't previously known reached out to express appreciation and Oluo's profile as a writer grew, with publications asking to reprint work from her blog and eventually commissioning new writing.[21]

Journalism and commentary[edit]

Recording the Lovett or Leave It podcast on January 27, 2018 at the Moore Theatre in Seattle. Hosted by Jon Lovett (left) and Akilah Hughes (second from left), with guests Lindy West (second from right) and Ijeoma Oluo (right).[22]

Oluo's columns and news articles appeared in The Guardian and The Stranger newspapers from 2015 through 2017,[11] and she has also written for Jezebel, Medium and The Establishment, a publication based at Medium that Oluo helped launch;[23] she is an editor-at-large.[10][12][13][14] Her writing covers topics like misogynoir, intersectionality, online harassment, the Black Lives Matter movement, race, economics, parenting, feminism and social justice.[9][17]

Many of her articles have gone viral, owing to the significance of her critiques of race and the erasure of black women's voices in the United States, as exemplified in Oluo's April 2017 interview of Rachel Dolezel.[18][19][20]

Oluo stopped writing for The Stranger in July 2017; her reasons included the paper's decision to publish an article on detransitioning that Olou said was "written by a cis woman without the knowledge and language necessary to responsibly report on the subject in a way that would not feed into the narrative of anti-trans bigots. The piece quotes a doctor widely discredited for junk science, with a well-known anti-trans bias."[24] Though Oluo has taken strong stands on many social issues, she has also said fans should be comfortable criticizing and speaking honestly about errors such as expressions of sexism, racism, or classism by their favorite celebrities, without having to condemn or reject anyone as irredeemable, and that we ourselves generally share many of the same flaws we call out in others.[25] She wrote in 2015 that, "Being anti-racist doesn't mean that you are never racist, it means that you recognize and battle racism in yourself as hard as you battle it in others", and she expanded on this general theme of honest dialog about uncomfortable truths in her 2018 book, writing that, "This does not mean that you have to flog yourself for all eternity."[25][26]

Oluo wrote on her blog in November 2017 that USA Today had asked her to write an op-ed, but only on the condition that Oluo's article argue against the need for due process with regard to sexual misconduct allegations such as the high-profile cases associated with the Me Too movement, specifically that the editors "want a piece that says that you don't believe in due process and that if a few innocent men lose their jobs it's worth it to protect women." Oluo was willing to rebut the USA Today editorial that the accused are at great risk of their rights to due process being violated, but said she would not play the role of "their strawman", since she did in fact believe in everyone's right to due process.[27] After Oluo wrote about the USA Today offer, The Washington Post responded with an editorial by Christine Emba that shared Oluo's position that the greatest violations of due process had been against the rights of harassment victims who had been denied justice for many years, and that such protestations over due process were, in Olouo's words, "attempt to re-center the concerns of men".[28] Oluo had said that such apparent concern for due process was intended to, "stop women from coming forward before too many men are held accountable for their actions".[27]

Temporary Facebook suspension[edit]

Oluo's Facebook account was temporarily suspended in 2017. She had made a joke on Twitter that she felt uncomfortable around "white folk in cowboy hats" the first time she went in a Cracker Barrel. In response, she received hundreds of threats and racist messages on Twitter and to her Facebook account.[29][30] Twitter took down tweets and banned users who were breaking its terms of service, but Oluo said Facebook did nothing for three days.[30] Her account was suspended after Oluo posted screenshots of the messages, saying Facebook was not doing anything to help. Facebook later apologized and reactivated her account, saying the suspension had been a mistake. Oluo said the Facebook accounts of several other black activists have been suspended after publicly posting screenshots of threatening messages they had received, and each time Facebook said it was a mistake.[30][31]

Books[edit]

The Badass Feminist Coloring Book[edit]

In 2015, Oluo self-published The Badass Feminist Coloring Book using Amazon's CreateSpace.[32] The project began with Oluo sketching outlines of favorite feminists as a stress reliever; encouraged by friends, she launched a Kickstarter campaign to create a coloring book of 45 sketches and accompanying quotes.[33] Well before the deadline, the project raised more than double its goal.[34]

Feminists depicted in The Badass Feminist Coloring Book include Lindy West (Oluo's sister-in-law),[33] comedian Hari Kondabolu,[34] writer Feminista Jones[34] and musician Kimya Dawson (of The Moldy Peaches).[35]

So You Want to Talk About Race[edit]

Oluo's book So You Want to Talk about Race was published on January 16, 2018 by the Seal Press imprint of Perseus Books Group's Da Capo.[36][37][38][39][26][40] In its "New & Noteworthy" column, The New York Times described the book as "tak[ing] on the thorniest questions surrounding race, from police brutality to who can use the 'N' word."[41] Oluo began the project at the suggestion of her agent, who proposed Oluo write a guidebook to discussing the topics she was writing about regularly. Oluo was initially reluctant, feeling she already spent more time dealing with race than she wanted — speaking to Bitch magazine, she said, "Think about how much time you want to spend, as a Black woman, talking about race, and then dedicating a whole book to talking about race. It's tough for me."[21] But as she considered the idea, she found many people reached out with topics, and ultimately she decided that a book might save her from having to answer the same questions over and over; in particular she hoped a book's tangible form might reach people in a different way than online work did.[21]

Bustle named So You Want to Talk about Race to a list of 14 recommended debut books by women, praising Oluo's "no holds barred writing style",[42] as well as to a list of the 16 best non-fiction books of January 2018.[43] Harper's Bazaar also named it to a list of 10 best new books of 2018, saying "Oluo crafts a straightforward guidebook to the nuances of conversations surrounding race in America."[44]

Other projects[edit]

Oluo has also performed as a speaker, storyteller and standup comic.[45][46] Oluo was interviewed in the 2016 documentary short Oh, I Get It included in the Slamdance, Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival, and others, about her experiences as a queer stand-up comedian.[47][48]

Accolades[edit]

Seattle Met named Oluo one of the 50 most influential women in Seattle in 2018, and Seattle Magazine named her one the most influential people in Seattle in 2015, for her "incisive wit, remarkable humor and an appropriate magnitude of rage", and said she is "one of Seattle's strongest voices for social justice."[16][15] Bustle included Oluo among "13 Authors to Watch in 2018".[49]

Personal life[edit]

Ijeoma Oluo was born in Denton, Texas on (1980-12-30)December 30, 1980.[1][2] Her father, Samuel Lucky Onwuzip Oluo, is from Nigeria, and her mother, Susan Jane Hawley is from Kansas, and is white.[7] Oluo's younger brother is jazz musician Ahamefule J. Oluo, who is married to Seattle writer Lindy West.[8] Ijeoma Oluo was married to Chad R. Jacobson from 2001 to 2005, with whom the first of her two children was born.[6][3][50] She graduated from Western Washington University with a BA in political science in 2007.[4]

Works[edit]

Notable works by Ijeoma Oluo include:

  • "The Heart of Whiteness: Ijeoma Oluo Interviews Rachel Dolezal, the White Woman Who Identifies as Black", The Stranger, April 19, 2017
  • So You Want to Talk About Race, Da Capo Press, 2018, ISBN 9781580056786, OCLC 986970684
  • Article archive at The Stranger (2015–2017)
  • Column archive at The Guardian (2015–2017)
  • The badass feminist coloring book, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2015, ISBN 9781517268657, OCLC 941812206

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Oluo, Ijeoma (August 31, 2016), "How My White Mother Helped Me Find My Blackness", The Establishment
  2. ^ a b c Birth Index, 1903-1997; 1980 births, Texas Department of Health Bureau of Vital Statistics, p. 3437
  3. ^ a b c Department of Health, Divorce Index, 1969-2014 - Jacobson - Chad - R - Et Al., Olympia, Washington: Washington State Archives, archived from the original on 2018-02-05
  4. ^ a b Gallagher, Mary (2017), "Class Notes", Window: The Magazine of Western Washington University, vol. 9 no. 2, p. 44, archived from the original on 2018-02-03
  5. ^ WWU alumna Ijeoma Oluo to speak Feb. 23 on social change and politics, Western Washington University, February 15, 2017, archived from the original on February 3, 2018
  6. ^ a b Department of Health, Marriage Index, 1969-2014 - Jacobson - Chad - R - Et Al., Olympia, Washington: Washington State Archives, archived from the original on 2018-02-05
  7. ^ a b Oluo, Ahamefule J. (July 6, 2011), "My Father Is an African Immigrant and My Mother Is a White Girl from Kansas and I Am Not the President of the United States; Or, How to Disappoint Your Absent Father in 20 Words or Less", The Stranger, archived from the original on October 9, 2017
  8. ^ a b West, Lindy (July 3, 2017), "Roxane Gay: 'If I was conventionally hot and had a slammin' body, I would be president'", The Guardian, archived from the original on February 3, 2018
  9. ^ a b c Dubenko, Anna (April 21, 2017). "Right and Left: Partisan Writing You Shouldn't Miss". The New York Times. Archived from the original on October 7, 2017.
  10. ^ a b "Required reading: "So You Want to Talk About Race"". Salon. January 17, 2018. Archived from the original on February 2, 2018. Retrieved February 2, 2018.
  11. ^ a b "Ijeoma Oluo". the Guardian. Archived from the original on December 26, 2017. Retrieved January 12, 2018.
  12. ^ a b Oluo, Ijeoma (April 19, 2017). "The Heart of Whiteness: Ijeoma Oluo Interviews Rachel Dolezal, the White Woman Who Identifies as Black". The Stranger.
  13. ^ a b c d Sanders, Julia-Grace (May 18, 2016). "Ijeoma Oluo: The Making of One of Seattle's Most Influential Voices". The Seattle Lesbian. Archived from the original on September 9, 2017. Retrieved September 11, 2017.
  14. ^ a b Botton, Sari (March 20, 2017). "'You Can Help in Ways That I Cannot': Ijeoma Oluo on Putting Your White Privilege to Work Against Racism". Longreads. Archived from the original on December 22, 2017.
  15. ^ a b Lisa Wogan and Linda Morgan, "Seattle's Most Influential People of 2015" Archived 2017-09-09 at the Wayback Machine., Seattle Magazine, November 2015
  16. ^ a b Norimine, Hayat; et al. (January 31, 2018). "The 50 Most Influential Women in Seattle". Seattle Metropolitan. Archived from the original on February 4, 2018. Retrieved February 3, 2018.
  17. ^ a b Enjeti, Anjali (January 12, 2018). "'I Might as Well Start a Fire': Author and 'Internet Yeller' Ijeoma Oluo on Talking About Race". Rewire. Archived from the original on February 3, 2018. Retrieved February 2, 2018.
  18. ^ a b Hopper, Nate (April 20, 2017). "What Ijeoma Oluo's Interview With Rachel Dolezal Reveals About White Privilege". Time. Archived from the original on August 23, 2017. Retrieved September 11, 2017.
  19. ^ a b Adeshina, Emmanuel (July 27, 2017). "Woman's Viral Tweets Calls Out White Liberal Women's Use of This Racially Coded Word". ATTN:. Archived from the original on September 11, 2017. Retrieved September 11, 2017.
  20. ^ a b Radke, Bill; Al-Sadi, Amina. "Rachel Dolezal 'erases black women.' Ijeoma Oluo takes the conversation back". Archived from the original on October 2, 2017. Retrieved February 2, 2018.
  21. ^ a b c d e f Dionne, Evette (January 18, 2018). "Ijeoma Oluo Wants to Help You Talk About Race". Bitch. Archived from the original on February 4, 2018. Retrieved February 3, 2018.
  22. ^ Lovett, Jon (January 27, 2018), "The House Always Wynns", Crooked.com, archived from the original on February 8, 2018
  23. ^ Williams, Allison (January 31, 2018). "Ijeoma Oluo: Seattle, You're Not Mad Enough". Seattle Metropolitan. Archived from the original on February 5, 2018. Retrieved February 4, 2018.
  24. ^ Herzog, Katie (July 3, 2017), "A Response to the Uproar Over My Piece, "The Detransitioners"", The Stranger, archived from the original on August 8, 2017
  25. ^ a b Oluo, Ijeoma (March 31, 2015), "Admit It: Your Fave Is Problematic; Trevor Noah is the latest on the rack for blundering comments. But it's how we deal with our flaws that really matters", Medium, archived from the original on February 5, 2018
  26. ^ a b Beason, Tyrone (January 20, 2018). "Seattle author begins a crucial discussion in 'So You Want to Talk About Race'". The Seattle Times. Archived from the original on February 4, 2018. Retrieved February 3, 2018.
  27. ^ a b Olou, Ijeoma (November 30, 2017), "Due Process Is Needed For Sexual Harassment Accusations — But For Whom?", The Establishment, archived from the original on January 4, 2018
  28. ^ Emba, Christine (December 1, 2017), "We're misunderstanding due process", The Washington Post, archived from the original on February 5, 2018
  29. ^ Oluo, Ijeoma (August 2, 2017). "Facebook's Complicity in the Silencing of Black Women". Medium. Archived from the original on November 6, 2017. Retrieved January 11, 2018.
  30. ^ a b c Guynn, Jessica (August 3, 2017). "Facebook apologizes to black activist who was censored for calling out racism". USA Today. Archived from the original on January 12, 2018. Retrieved January 12, 2018.
  31. ^ Coldewey, Devin (August 2, 2017). "Another black activist, Ijeoma Oluo, is suspended by Facebook for posting about racism". TechCrunch. Archived from the original on September 9, 2017.
  32. ^ Groetzinger, Kate (August 14, 2015). "Never feel ashamed of coloring as an adult with this badass feminist coloring book". Quartz. Archived from the original on February 4, 2018. Retrieved February 3, 2018.
  33. ^ a b Frank, Priscilla (June 25, 2015). "A Badass Feminist Coloring Book For The Powerful Ladies In Your Life". Huffington Post. Archived from the original on October 23, 2017. Retrieved February 3, 2018.
  34. ^ a b c Mosthof, Mariella. "Three Words: Feminist Coloring Book". Bustle. Archived from the original on February 4, 2018. Retrieved February 3, 2018.
  35. ^ Badal, Kelly Phillips (July 8, 2015). "'Badass Feminist Coloring Book' Raises $16K on Kickstarter". Yahoo! News. Archived from the original on February 4, 2018. Retrieved February 3, 2018.
  36. ^ "Nonfiction Book Review: So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo. Seal, $27 (256p) ISBN 978-1-58005-677-9". Publishers Weekly. November 13, 2017. Archived from the original on February 4, 2018. Retrieved February 3, 2018.
  37. ^ Ferguson, Jenny (January 19, 2018). "So You Want to Talk About Race". Washington Independent Review of Books. Archived from the original on February 3, 2018. Retrieved February 3, 2018.
  38. ^ Harwood, John (January 14, 2018). "'So You Want To Talk About Race'". WBUR-FM. Archived from the original on February 3, 2018. Retrieved February 3, 2018.
  39. ^ Keane, Erin (January 17, 2018). "Required reading: "So You Want to Talk About Race"". Salon. Archived from the original on February 3, 2018. Retrieved February 3, 2018.
  40. ^ Bhatt, Jenny (February 1, 2018). "REVIEW: An Incisive Look at Race -- and How We Should Be Talking About It". The National Book Review. Archived from the original on February 7, 2018. Retrieved February 2, 2018.
  41. ^ "New & Noteworthy". The New York Times. January 18, 2018. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on February 3, 2018. Retrieved February 3, 2018.
  42. ^ Miller, E. Ce. "14 Books By First-Time Women Authors To Look Out For In 2018". Bustle. Archived from the original on February 3, 2018. Retrieved February 3, 2018.
  43. ^ Long, Stephanie Topacio. "The 16 Best Nonfiction Books Of January Will Prepare You To Fight Back". Bustle. Archived from the original on February 4, 2018. Retrieved February 3, 2018.
  44. ^ Hubbard, Lauren (November 30, 2017). "10 New Books to Add to Your Reading List in 2018". Harper's Bazaar. Archived from the original on February 4, 2018. Retrieved February 3, 2018.
  45. ^ Constant, Paul (May 17, 2017). "Your Week in Readings: The best literary events from May 17th - May 23rd". The Seattle Review of Books. Archived from the original on February 7, 2018. Retrieved February 2, 2018.
  46. ^ City Arts Staff (July 10, 2017). "'Fun Home' at the 5th, an exhibition of inflatable art, West Seattle Summerfest, a punk-rock private eye movie and more". City Arts Magazine. Archived from the original on February 7, 2018. Retrieved February 2, 2018.
  47. ^ "Seattle directors Sara McCaslin and Danny Tayara will premiere Oh, I Get It, a documentary exposing the challenges facing queer comedians in the world of stand-up comedy.", The Seattle Lesbian, January 17, 2016, archived from the original on February 5, 2018
  48. ^ Oh, I Get It 2016 documentary short film on IMDb
  49. ^ Miller, E. Ce. "13 Authors That Have Big Things Coming In 2018". Bustle. Archived from the original on February 7, 2018. Retrieved February 2, 2018.
  50. ^ Oluo, Ijeoma (August 14, 2015), "My Parenting Advice: Don't Kill Them", KUOW-FM, archived from the original on July 2, 2017

External links[edit]