I mean, in Nigeria, as all countries of the world, you only have to look at the history of a country or the people and inevitably, you will learn about when they can push back.

All Rights Reserved. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie at TEDxEuston. I mean, white Americans didn’t choose to be born white, they just happened to be. And she went on to tell me what to write in the sequel. You are in the position to do this. The Palestinian poet Mourid Barghouti writes that if you want to dispossess a people, the simplest way to do it is to tell their story and to start with, “secondly.” Start the story with the arrows of the Native Americans, and not with the arrival of the British, and you have an entirely different story. The English woman who was to introduce me had written my name phonetically on a piece of paper. I also do think that America can do better and do more about racism.

I would like to end with this thought: That when we reject the single story, when we realize that there is never a single story about any place, we regain a kind of paradise. JSTOR®, the JSTOR logo, and ITHAKA® are registered trademarks of ITHAKA. I grew up in Nigeria through military dictatorship and through incipient democracies and America always felt aspirational when yet another absurd thing happened politically we would say, this can never happen in America. And when I didn't finish my dinner, my mother would say, “Finish your food! Maybe in the past, but not now.”.

We hear the word, “Criminal” and the first thing…, interview, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED Talk “The Danger of a Single Story”, Adichie speaks about the time she where she was harshly thought of in college. We’ve seen all of these studies about teachers who say to the black kids, “Oh, you can’t aspire to this thing; you can only do so much.”.

Of course a lot of these was tongue-in-cheek, but that word feminist is so heavy with baggage, negative baggage. And each time I tried to read those books called “the feminist classics” I’d get bored and I really struggled to finish them.

But I also think that the answer is to widen the number of voices on the stage, so to speak. I spoke to Adichie on the phone and asked her what sexism looks like in Nigeria, whether the current feminist movement leaves out black women, and other topics. Above all else do not lie. I think that there is a small and very quiet Saudi feminism. But the truth is she did try very hard. But the truth is that you cannot create anything of value without both self-doubt and self-belief.

You won’t get them until tomorrow.

I was of course absolutely mortified that day but I have come to respect what that writer’s wife had, a fantastic bullshit detector and now that I have the good fortune of being an established writer, one who does not like to miss an opportunity to wallow in praise, by the way, I can sense when a person is saying empty words and it feels much worse than they had said nothing at all, so have a good bullshit detector. And my parents are here today. My brother Chuks and my best friend Ike are part of the organizing team, and so when they ask me to come, I couldn’t say no. I’m actually thinking of starting a society of esteemed procrastinators and I suspect many of you would probably sign up. Even if you want to oppress women, what you’re also doing is you’re oppressing the opportunities of your country, right? I’m not telling you to tell the truth because it will always work out, but because you will sleep well at night.

And most of all, a kind of normalized political fear invaded our lives. Of course, Africa is a continent full of catastrophes: There are immense ones, such as the horrific rapes in Congo and depressing ones, such as the fact that 5,000 people apply for one job vacancy in Nigeria.

My characters also drank a lot of ginger beer, because the characters in the British books I read drank ginger beer.

There were other things she wanted to do with her life before getting married.

As a child growing up in a university campus in eastern Nigeria, Adichie loved reading and writing.

I remember, for example, going to the store years ago.

And I had come from a country where black achievement is absolutely normal. I think, also, that we live in a culture where people don’t actually listen to one another and people don’t actually hear one another.


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