As people of color, we know that the accomplishments and plights of our community and other marginalized populations don't always get the spotlight they truly deserve. This level of invisibility permeated through political, humanitarian and pop culture spheres throughout all of 2016.
White mediocrity is a term used to describe the level at which white people (as a race and sometimes a culture) are praised or pardoned for unexceptional actions and performances in a way people of color are not.
It has manifested itself through the presidential election, insensitive comments about trauma and people of color, and lack of even acknowledging underrepresented people at all. The following people have been mediocre this year for the simple reason that they have either been praised for low-quality accomplishments or haven't owned responsibility for inexcusable actions.
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Despite being another one of Hollywood's "quirky" sweethearts, Lawrence has been under fire for her insensitive comments under the guise of "self-depricating humor" in the past and particularly this year. During an interview in early December, the subpar actress admitted to scratching her butt on sacred Hawaiian stones saying, "I dunno, they were ancestors, who knows — they were sacred." On top of that, once the internet exploded and came after her, she gave a half-hearted apology on her Facebook page.
Despite Cruz always looks perpetually upset and disappointed, there are plenty of other reasons why the former presidential candidate is a mediocre white (Latinx) man. Cruz lost the presidential election in the most pitiful way and was booed off stage at the RNC for not supporting the president-elect. Oh, and he's also a misogynist, xenophobic and transphobic bro, if you wanted to add those in as well.
If there has ever been a more false flag for feminism, its name would be Amy Schumer. Schumer repeatedly makes comments that are incredibly ignorant and insensitive to marginalized populations, including men of color and trans people. Pero like, she's already admitted she "likes" acting like an irreverant idiot, so I guess we're supposed to be okay with it. If none of this has steered you away from her, check out her extreeemely mediocre (and racist) cover of "Formation."
Our president-elect has been called many things this year — dangerous, ignorant, and xenophobic, to name a few. But he is undoubtedly mediocre for the mere fact that he has no political experience yet he is expected to run our country for four years. In conversation with President Barack Obama, the president-elect has admitted he underestimated how much work goes into being commander-in-chief. Can we say mediocrity at its most explicit?
The Girls star is another typical pillar for white feminism, but the damaging commentary that Dunham has made in the past is nothing but cringe-worthy. In a recent podcast episode about abortion, she said, "I still haven't had an abortion, but I wish I had." This comment (obviously) enraged millions of people, despite a lackluster apology on her part. But if you've been paying attention, this isn't the first insensitive comment Dunham has made. Between racially insensitive tweets and "comically" referring to herself as a sexual predator in her memoir, Dunham has done nothing but shown that she is the epitome of white mediocrity.
The actress has been one of the primary faces of the United Nations HeForShe campaign for gender equity since its inception in 2014. She has been criticized in the past for not being inclusive in her feminism, often omitting the narratives of people of color, LGBTQ+ people and other marginalized populations. She responded to this criticism on Twitter in 2015, saying she is aware of her privilege and how she can use her platform to give light to intersectional feminism. However, since this instance, she has not used her voice to elevate these populations at all. In fact, in her conversation with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about bringing young people into politics, there was no mention of how so much of the way Generation Z views feminism is through an intersectional lens.