Americanah

6 04 2015

americanah

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a story about a Nigerian woman – Ifemelu, who has immigrated to America for higher studies and then after more than a decade stay, goes back to her country. I first came across the author through her TED talk on Feminism. I was impressed by her confident voice and her firm stand on gender related things.Ā  As I was reading Americanah, I saw her in her protagonist- Ifemelu. This novel mostly talks about racism and raises many important questions. Ifemelu says that she discovered race only once she is in America. That makes complete sense and shouldn’t be a surprise at all given the multi-cultural and multi-racial population of America, in my opinion. Back in her country, where there is only one predominant race, there is no question of racism. I believe that discrimination is at all levels and everywhere, Be it based on gender, or race, or economic status.

We, as human race, are social beings and operate in groups in order to increase our chances at survival. I believe that each of us identify with one group, in a given context. Maybe our primal instinct is to beware of anything or anyone different from us/our group. Every time we encounter someone, we assess whether he/she is an opportunity or a threat. We need to know and understand our place with respect to our surroundings. We need hierarchies. If the other is different from us in anyway, we want to be clear about whether we are superior or inferior to them. I think it’s related to our innate nature to seek patterns and order even in randomness; our fear of unknown and our compelling need to make sense of things. I wonder about how the exact hierarchies came into place with respect to race and color as to which is superior or which is inferior. I’m in no way condoning discrimination but only making an observation that may be given our natures, it’s inevitable.

We have come a long way from our wild, primal existence.; long way from the jungle law in which success and thereby survival favors the more powerful and/or more intelligent. Of course, we still see that now to some degree but we don’t live our day-to-day lives worrying about protecting ourselves and our loved ones from the more powerful neighbors. We have built societies and systems that would provide basic needs and safety. Of course, we are far from perfect but I truly believe that I feel much safer now than if I would have lived in the past. But that could be because I’m in denial. šŸ˜‰

We have made so much progress so far to get over our differences and truly perceive each one of our species as same that I believe that we should continue our efforts in that direction. We need not be limited by anything. I like to believe that we are evolving. šŸ˜‰

The novel is honest and the writing is impressive.

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