My writing about race and gender has made me a target for desperate white men who don’t want to change

Illustration: Alicia Tatone

The emails started coming in 2018, the same year my book So You Want to Talk About Race came out. They would usually arrive after I had posted an article on race or gender, but sometimes they would appear at random. I still remember the first one, which shook me.

“I know you think I should kill myself because I voted for Donald Trump, because I’m white, because I’m a male, so I’m just going to, since that is the only ethical conclusion.”

The email listed the various hardships the sender had endured. Poverty, mental illness, discrimination. But none of…


For almost two decades, I lived in a body that terrified me. That’s finally beginning to change.

A photo of an exhausted black women with her hands on her temples.
A photo of an exhausted black women with her hands on her temples.
Photo: fizkes/Getty Images

When I was 20 years old, I found out that my blood was poisonous. I remember opening up an official-looking letter informing me that the cord blood I had donated after giving birth to my son tested positive for hepatitis C. I was told to talk to my doctor for more information.

I would learn from my doctor and from countless books and web searches that I had a disease that attacked the liver. It was passed through blood — needles, unsanitary tattoos, childbirth, and blood transfusions (how I had contracted it). I learned that I would likely feel fine…


When I was 20 years old, I found out that my blood was poisonous. I remember opening up an official-looking letter, informing me that the cord-blood that I had donated after giving birth to my son had tested positive for Hepatitis C. I was told to talk to my doctor for more information.

I would learn from my doctor and from countless books and web searches that I had a disease that attacked the liver. It was passed through blood — needles, unsanitary tattoos, childbirth and blood transfusions (how I had contracted it). I learned that I would likely feel…


Many of you have read about what happened to my family a few weeks ago. In the culmination of weeks of escalating abuse from white supremacist trolls, our home was swatted, endangering my 17 year old son who was home alone at the time. In the weeks since the harassment of me and my family has continued fairly relentlessly, online and in person.

I’ve been told by advisors and law enforcement that it is in my best interest to stay quiet until this dies down. …


I was asked to give the keynote speech for King County’s Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration held today. For those who were unable to attend, below is the speech I gave.

“I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality.”

That is our theme for today’s event. As someone who lives in this county and has lived in the greater Seattle area for 36 years, I’ve been reflecting on these words and what they mean to me here, in this place and time.

But as I was reflecting on these words for this speech…


REUTERS/Carlos Vera

What are we going to do with this rage?

That was a question I asked on social media today as the Senate moved one step closer to confirming a man accused of sexual assault, a man who screamed and lied and laid bare his extreme partisanship with no shame instead of answering questions about the accusations of sexual assault, to a lifetime appointment as a Supreme Court judge.

Some of the answers I got to this question were in sad jest. “Drink.” A few people said. Some were the same answers we’ve been hearing for every problem this horrific administration…


Justice Anthony Kennedy just announced his retirement and I’m gutted. I knew it was coming, this final “fuck you” to those of us who like having basic rights and protections, but I’m still just gutted. History books — if we are lucky enough to have them — will remember Kennedy as a piece of shit who helped lock in generations of conservative hate and bigotry into our highest offices.

And if we are lucky enough to have history books, they will remember the millions of white Americans who pretended that they voted for Trump for anything other than protecting their…


As the entirety of the internet seems to be discussing Kanye West’s most recent asshattery and all of black twitter seems to be heartily enjoying #IfSlaveryWasAChoice shenanegans, you, a concerned non-black person may be wondering…how do I join in this discussion?

Maybe you were a big fan of Kanye’s music and now you feel personally let down by how hard he’s trying to be the absolute worst.

Maybe you are a decent human who recognizes that Trump and his administration are hateful trashmonsters working diligently to make marginalized populations (and like, half of the global population) more unsafe and you…


I’ve gotten a lot of questions from everyday people and from reporters and journalists about the recent controversy that Starbucks has found itself in after a patron recorded on her cell phone footage of two black men being handcuffed and taken to jail for the crime of sitting in a Starbucks while black.

These two men were doing what many people do in coffee shops, which is to say, nothing much. They were waiting for a friend to arrive, so that they could presumably drink coffee together and try to conduct a business conversation over the loud hiss of milk…


I’m reading an email from a white man. It is about 15 paragraphs of poorly written vitriol, telling me in far too many words about how wrong I am. About everything. I’m wrong about feminism. It’s unnecessary. And by the way, the wage gap doesn’t exist. I’m even more wrong about racism. There is no more racism. It’s been over a very long time and maybe if people like me would just get over the past we’d be motivated to get off of our asses and get real jobs. As proof of how wrong I am, he’s included links to…

Ijeoma Oluo

Come for the feminist rants..stay for the selfies and kid quotes. Inclusive feminism here.

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