At this point in the text, Ifemelu is analyzing how Americanahs who move back to Lagos view their home country. Many of them often have nothing nice to say, but pick out every imperfection within their home country. This is simply because they have adapted to American culture and society that anything other than America seems “wrong”. Luckily Ifemelu states that she is self- aware of this hypocrisy but she cannot help but point out every flaw. In my opinion, it seems to be a very conflicting way to view and live life. As Ifemelu states many come home wanting to make their home country better with businesses and new ideas. This reminds me of a concept discussed in Theory of Knowledge. What is it with people always wanting to change other societies. I often think of the quote “if it isn’t broke don’t fix it”. Now granted there may be a multitude of problems with Lagos or other developing countries in general. But one should not be able to force their ideals and values upon others if everyone else is content. I will end with what Ifemelu said, “get over yourselves and realize that the way of life here is just that, assorted“. You cannot go through life fixing other people and things to fit your perception of “perfect”
laIfemelu makes a post about the women in Lagos and they magically can afford expensive things even though their lifestyle clearly can not afford it. Ifemelus post suggests that the women of Lagos use men to help pave their wave, they become dependent on what a man can give them. They become so dependent that they lose themselves in that person. She says “crippled by their culture of dependency”, which suggest that in that culture it is quite common and you are taught that you can use your body and get something in return, you are taught that you need a man with cash to survive. This is worrisome because what becomes of those women when that source of income decides to leave? You are left with nothing, you do not know how to make it on your on. On to the next man right? Desperation. Desperation and fear make people do stupid things, sacrifice happiness for security. No one wants to live the poor life, the lonely life. That is understandable, the problem is how you go about it. Of course, it is easy for me to talk because I have not yet had the unfortunate feeling of literally needing someone to survive, but does that make my words and Ifemelus words any less true? I may not be from that culture but we can all recognize relationships that are not built on the purity of love but the give and take. It is so easy to fall into that mentality society has conditioned one to believe, when you can not make it on your own, you fall back onto what you are used to. So what is one to do? How can we fix this problem? Is it even possible to fix this?
Ifemelu makes a very detailed well thought out post on what Non-Black Americans should and should not do or say when it comes to speaking to Black Americans. Many other POC just like Whites often make the same ignorant remarks. “It’s not really race, it’s class”. Like Ifem says, trust and believe us Black folk really don’t want things to be about race, but it unfortunately is. We would certainly love to sing Kumbaya with everyone while holding hands, but that just isn’t the case. Racism is very prominent and if you cannot see that then it is time to take off your patriotic goggles and recognize the problem. Ifemelu speaks on the struggle of all people. Just because your people struggled (Mexicans, Italians, Irish) does not mean you can discredit the American Black struggle because there has always been a hierarchy. White people have at one point in time mistreated all of us (I guess it’s just in their blood I don’t know), but the struggle for Black Americans is still real. Ifemelus post suggests that in America when you are black you take on the baggage of Jim Crow, slavery, discrimination from the 1960s (which was only 50+ years ago,) and much much more. Lastly, please stop saying “Black people are racist too” I cannot tell you how many times I have heard annoying, White people especially say this exact phrase. As stated in her post all people can be prejudice, but Black people do not have the power to express racism. This post can go on and on forever, but the point of Ifems statement is to say… try listening for a change. Please do not be so quick to get defensive. When there is something you do not understand ask questions, read a book, become educated. When you become educated that means there is one less ignorant person in the world ignoring the problem.
Ifemelu talks about how this professor was stopped by the police because they thought he had drugs. They racially profiled him because he was black. He is an Ivy League Professor, but did that matter? No. Point is, there is a notion that you are supposed to look a certain way to be something. No one would think this black guy is actually an Ivy League Professor since he did not look the part, meaning he was black. He is not good enough to look like an Ivy League professor but he does fit the profile of a person on drugs. Ifemelu then talks about how her baby pushed himself to do well in school just to prove a white teacher wrong. The statement the teacher made suggest that certain races are good at certain things and lack the ability to do other things. In this case, black people are supposed to be athletic, and whites are supposed to be to the intellectual, there is nothing bad about it, it is as natural as gravity. There were already prospective notions made from the day you were born. These two events mean that based on how you look or who you are, you are expected to act a certain way. Ifemelu said she could not identify with wanting to do well to prove a point. Ifemelu is from Nigerian, does that have some significance in why she can not identify with this? Is it a cultural thing? I think it means that because she is from a place full of people that look like her, there was no need to prove yourself to a different race.
Based on the life I lead I can most certainly relate to wanting to prove white people wrong and wanting to eradicate certain notion made about us made. I want to represent the smart black women, not the one going outside wearing a scarf on their head with flip flops and see through leggings. I want to not be embarrassed around white people when I see black people acting a fool. I want to not fit the profile. Perhaps I can if you get to know me, but what about the people that make snap judgments of me purely because of my race? Is there a way to really change that? For one, television can stop portraying black people in a negative light, such as on the news, reality television shows. Another big thing that needs to change is rap music. You know the kind I am talking about. There is so much that needs to change from within our own culture before we can even think about changing someone else mind.
Ifemelu makes a post about a friend of a friend making a book about traveling while black. The premise behind this is that there are guidebooks for all types of things, even being gay or a woman in the country, but what they neglect to mention is what it is like to travel while black. Not just any black, though, recognizably black, which means that despite what you are mixed with, someone can look at you and automatically assume you are black. The man Ifemelu is quoting then goes on to explain the different places the receive you as being recognizably black. Everywhere they seem to look at you as if you are different, not all of it is filled with malice, but nevertheless, they still look. The suggestion is that across some places of the world there is a race problem, or race continues to take the forefront in cultures. Not every place is as severe as the next but race plays a role in how people will perceive you. I agree with what the man Ifemelu is quoting is saying because even before her post, prior knowledge tells me that race is an issue, even in countries that contain majority black people. There always seems to be levels to race, in Latin America, there is a racial caste system, much like in America and guess what? The Negro is at the bottom. A statement was made that I did not quite understand, it was the suggestion that “Native blacks are always treated worse than Non-Native Blacks everywhere in the world,” I have never heard this claim before and I tried looking it up, but no such luck. If you could answer this for me to bring me clarity it would be appreciated.
We’ve all had or know of that one white person who is woke! And I don’t mean woke as in aware and silent. I mean woke as in calling out all BS. Thanks to White privilege as I have stated before, that White friend can pretty much get away with saying anything they want. Put that white friend to use my fellow brothers and sisters. Our brown skin does not permit us to say how we feel whenever we want to. We have to constantly be politically correct and quiet. Luckily that pale pasty skin does not hold the same standards. That brown skin symbolizes aggression, poverty, illiteracy, and many more negative connotations to White America. When Iemelus is retelling the story about her father, the main reason he could not vote or go to a good school was because of his skin color. Everything we are shunned for now is all thanks to what White people did back in the day. What is most interesting about Ifemelus post is the end. She wrote on if people think racism is over. Unsurprisingly, many white people said yes while Black people said no. This represents White privilege itself. Since White people cannot experience racism they think it is no longer a problem.
And to those silent White people I mentioned earlier, please speak up. Your silence is only worsening the problem of the divide in America. When you don’t speak up it signifies that you do not care. You can take the White privilege that you have and use it for good. Do not let the illogical racist buffoons with loud mouths win. Many of those loud mouths often think that Black people are always “playing the race card” like Ifem states. They do not want to come to terms that racism is actually a tremendous problem. They do not see the history behind the oppression of minorities. Just like the job qualifications example Ifem mentioned, Black people have been turned away for years when they have the same if not better qualifications of their White counterparts. It is all because of what we look like. Who would have thought when the world was created something so minuscule as the color of one’s skin would divide humanity.
1.) Ifemelu suggests that in America people hate to talk about race when the topic comes up there are things you can say to shut it down because it makes you uncomfortable. Everyone likes to think that they are pro-black and have no problem with black people being equal but when it comes right down to it they are pretenders. They do not mind black people working, as long as they are not the boss of you. They do not mind black people being free, as long as they do not live next to you. It is racist, pure and simple, yet they like to deny that they have these prejudices because they are not being outwardly racist. I agree with Ifemelus post because America is most uncomfortable with calling a spade a spade. Why are we so uncomfortable with calling it like it is? It is like the elephant in the room, it is always there, but you do not mention it because acknowledging its presence out loud will make you even more uncomfortable and real. Everyone likes to seem forward thinking but all of sudden it is a freaking problem when they have to personally help out or be associated with a black person. Just like the people who like to tweet and cry injustice but yet do nothing about it. The only time when you want to associate is when you need a black man home to upset Daddy.
2.a) Ifemelus post suggest that Diversity has a different meaning to different people because of they are used to. Such as White people considering a place diverse when they have a speckling of black people, but as long as they are not the majority. Black people consider a place diverse when they see 40%, black people. This is very interesting because it suggests that black people are so surprised to see other black people that it then becomes diverse even though it is their own race. When it is not an overwhelming amount of white people, then it is diverse. But for white people, who come and dominate areas are so use of white faces that the faintest amount of color makes a place diverse.
2.b) Diversity is supposed to mean a wide array of people of different ethnicities in a certain area. But that is not the case depending on the race. Diversity is what you see and the lack thereof Ifemelu said that diversity for white people is seeing black people, but diversity for black people is seeing other black people. When you think about it, this statement rings true, because in a world where white people are taking over and gentrifying “urban areas” (aka predominantly black) it is considered diverse to even have someone of your own skin color.
3.a) Ifemelu suggest that America likes to sugarcoat things, make it seem softer than the gritty truth of the matter. There is always a softer word for something that is harsh, but in a sense not even harsh, just the truth. Which suggest that America does not like to call things like they are, which is why there are so many issues that have still go unaddressed.
3.b) Which is true, nobody wants to offend anyone, or not be politically correct. God forbid we offend anyone or make them uncomfortable with speaking the truth about something. Say what everyone is thinking instead of dancing around the matter at hand. Everyone is spending their time thinking up ways to rephrase something so it does not offend when in reality if you need to do that then you might as well say it because it what you meant in the first place, some things just need to be said in its rawest form in order for people to truly understand.