In Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel Americanah, her protagonist, Ifemelu, starts a blog about race in America from her perspective as a Nigerian immigrant. The blog, called “Raceteenth or Various Observations About American Blacks (Those Formerly Known as Negroes) by a Non-American Black,” is funny as well as insightful. After the book came out, Adichie started a real blog, in Ifemelu’s voice, called “The Small Redemptions of Lagos,” and kept up the commentary.
“The blog in Americanah—I wanted it to be funny. I wanted to poke fun, because I think many of the ways race manifests itself in this country are actually quite funny so I hoped that people would laugh,” Adichie said Wednesday at the Washington Ideas Forum, an event produced by The Aspen Institute and The Atlantic.
Her interviewer, Mary Louise Kelly, a contributing editor at The Atlantic, asked what Ifemelu might say about racial issues in America today.
“I think what’s going on now just doesn’t give me room for humor,” Adichie said, referring to the continual reports of black people killed by police. “I think that I’m so emotionally exhausted by the murders that I don’t think I could find any space to wrap humor around what’s been happening in the past one year, two years.”