The Audacity of White Mediocrity

As a Black person, it was instilled in me as a young girl that being good in this world wasn’t good enough. For me to excel, I learned that it was required that I be one of the best, if not the best. Most black people were raised knowing just to get half of what white people had in this world, we would have to work twice as hard.

In the hit series, “Scandal,” Shonda Rhimes reminded the audience of this long instilled sentiment, when Olivia Pope’s father, Rowan Pope told her, “You have to be twice as good as them to get half of what they have.” Black people do not have the luxury of making it in this world by being mediocre.

Barack Obama would have never become the 44th president if he were just mediocre. In fact, he couldn’t even be good — he had to be exceptional. (I dare say Obama even had to be the right shade of “passing the brown paper bag test” black to win.)  Obama was a graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law School where he was the first black president of the Harvard Law Review. After graduating, he went on to become a civil rights attorney and a professor teaching constitutional law. He was a senator for the state of Illinois. Simultaneously, while Obama was working on his professional career, he married Michelle Robinson, a black woman who is distinguished in her own right; a graduate of both Princeton University and Harvard Law School. They went on to have two children — Malia and Sasha — who have, for the most part, managed to stay out of the media spotlight with any negative press and live their lives, becoming productive members of society. Barack Obama is a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and has continued life after his presidency starting the Obama Foundation with his wife, Michelle. His accomplishments and honors are by far too many to list. Barack knew that to get where he is today, mediocrity was never an option.

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As the stress from day in, day out activism piled up, the endless videos of #BBQ Beckys, mounted on top of police body cam footage released on social media showing the death of yet another black victim, I wondered, “How... Read More ›