by Dolapo Adelana
Nigerian author Chimanda Ngozi-Adichie has said she actually finds it surprising that many people in America are surprised that racism is a problem in the country.
Adichie, who said this in an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour said racism is America’s “original sin”.
Chimamanda said, “I think that race is America’s original sin and it’s not surprising that it remains a problem. Actually, sometimes I find it surprising that some people find it surprising that it remains a problem. I do think though that the political leaders can set the tone that one uses to talk about race. I think that President Obama was wonderful at setting this tone in which racism did not disappear but it wasn’t overt.
“I think what’s happened with this administration is that they’ve set a tone in which casual racism has become ok in a way because you have the leader of a country, who himself sort of engages in a kind of casual racism. I think that’s the same for misogyny as well.
Speaking about a recent article she wrote for the New Yorker Magazine on Trump’s election, she said, “Because I grew up in Nigeria, having grown up there, political uncertainties are not unfamiliar to me. I grew up in the 1980s and we had coups.
“But the US hasn’t quite had to deal with the kind of political uncertainty that I think happened with the election of President Trump, and my essay was really about, it’s now time for people to find new ways to talk about politics, to push back, to stand up for what is true and what is right. It’s really not the time to make excuses or to hold on to do this idea of optimism. It’s time to maybe be a bit more realistic and also time to accept the difficulty is part of the reality of political life.”
On the issue of feminism and gender equality, she said, “I am angry and I think everyone should be angry about the state of gender, but I also want to persuade, I want to talk, I want to have conversations.
“I think that there is gender imbalance everywhere in the world, a lot of it is infuriating to me, because it’s about injustice, it’s so unjust, that so many people who make up half the world population don’t have the access and opportunities they deserve, but at the same time I don’t think it means that all men are evil or terrible. I think that privilege means that often one is blinded. I dream of a world where we no longer need feminism because it will be redundant.”
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Dolapo is a writer and journalist who works with YNaija. He has interests in Christianity, politics and sports.