As the persecution of immigrants continues in our nation, “A Day Without Immigrants”, has quickly risen to popularity and encourages all to support migrants in these testing times. The protest calls for immigrants, whether naturalized citizens or undocumented, to stay home from work or school, close their businesses and not spend any money, as a way to protest the Trump administration’s stance on immigrants. The purpose is to show the economic power of immigrants in our nation and how we should support them and not push them way.
The Atlantic has been at the forefront of a number of important topics over recent years. With Ta-Nehisi Coates being their national correspondent, they have constantly been able to deliver a perspective and knowledge on topics that has continually outclassed many other publications as a thought leader on important issues. They were able to curate a group of senators, police commissioners, professors, activists, and more to talk about the state of law enforcement in this country.
“Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is the celebrated Nigerian author of Half of a Yellow Sunand The Thing Around Your Neck. Her new book, Americanah, like its predecessors, it’s a thrilling and risky piece of writing that takes on taboos, shatters pieties, and combines forthright prose, subversive humor, and a ripping good story. The fifth of sixth children, Adichie grew up in Nsukka, a university town in Nigeria, in a house once occupied by the celebrated Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe, who became a great influence on her.
In Americanah, Adichie fearlessly takes on what is so euphemistically called “American race relations.” Our heroine, Ifemelu, a Nigerian transplant to the United States, writes a blog, the tartly titled “Raceteenth or Various Observations about American Blacks (Those Formerly Known as Negroes) by a Non-American Black,” in which she scrutinizes Obamamania, white privilege, the politics of black hair care, interracial relationships, and the allure and savagery of America.”
PS: Ifemelu is the “Americanah” of the title, yes? Can you unpack this term a bit?
CNA: It’s a Nigerian (actually, perhaps more regional than national, it’s more often used in the southeast, where I am from) way of referring to a person who affects Americanness in speech or manner, or a person who is (genuinely) Americanized, or a person who insists on her Americanness. It’s not exactly a polite word, but it isn’t derogatory either. It’s playful.
PS: Let’s stay on love a moment more. Ifemelu writes on her blog that the solution to the problem of race in America is romantic love: “real deep romantic love, the kind that twists you and wrings you out and makes you breathe through the nostrils of your beloved. And because that real deep romantic love is so rare, and because American society is set up to make it even rarer between American Black and American White, the problem of race in America will never be solved.” Now, I find Ifemelu utterly persuasive and charming and—sometimes, I must confess—a bit of a bully. For all these reasons, I’m inclined to agree with her. Do you?
CNA: I have been told that I am a benevolent bully, so I suppose Ifemelu gets that from me. I do agree with her, very much. I completely believe in the power of love. I think that race, as it has been constructed in America, makes it almost impossible for people of different races to have a real conversation about race, let alone understand how the other person feels. Storytelling helps. Storytelling can be an entry point.
PS: But why are we at such an impasse?
CNA: Race is, I think, the subject that Americans are most uncomfortable with. (Gender, class, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion are not as uncomfortable.) This is an American generation raised with the mantra: DO NOT OFFEND. And often honesty about race becomes synonymous with offending someone.
PS: You give Ifemelu a similar line: “How many other people had become black in America?” Was it a specific moment for you? Did you resent it? Embrace it?
CNA: At first I resented it. A few weeks into my stay in the U.S., an African American man in Brooklyn called me “sister,” and I recoiled. I did not want to be mistaken for African American. I hadn’t been long in the U.S., but I had already bought into the stereotypes associated with blackness. I didn’t want to be black. I didn’t yet realize that I really didn’t have a choice. Then my resentment turned to acceptance. I read a lot of African American history. And if I had to choose a group of people whose collective story I most admire today, then it would be African Americans. The resilience and grace that many African Americans brought to a brutal and dehumanizing history is very moving to me. Sometimes race enrages me, sometimes it amuses me, sometimes it puzzles me. I’m now happily black and now don’t mind being called a sister, but I do think that there are many ways of being black. And when I am in Nigeria, I never think of myself as black.
The book is out now, you can buy it on Amazon.
The Pew Research Center just launched a new website Global Religious Future that “analyzes religious change and its impact on societies around the world”. Their latest data comes from an impressive survey they did of Islam and its values across the world “– which involved more than 38,000 face-to-face interviews in 80-plus languages with Muslims across Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa –” The results were also compared to previous data they had concerning Muslims in America and were released in three phases:
Tolerance and Tension: Islam and Christianity in Sub-Saharan Africa (released April 15, 2010)
The World’s Muslims: Unity and Diversity (released Aug. 9, 2012)
The World’s Muslims: Religion, Politics and Society (released April 30, 2013)
Here are a few standout points:
At least half of Muslims in most countries surveyed say they are concerned about religious extremist groups in their country, including two-thirds or more of Muslims in Egypt (67%), Tunisia (67%), Iraq (68%), Guinea Bissau (72%) and Indonesia (78%). On balance, more are worried about Islamic extremists than about Christian extremists.
Muslims around the world overwhelmingly view certain behaviors – including prostitution, homosexuality, suicide, abortion, euthanasia and consumption of alcohol – as immoral. But attitudes toward polygamy, divorce and birth control are more varied.
Relatively few Muslims say that tensions between more religiously observant and less observant Muslims are a very big problem in their country.
In most countries where a question about so-called “honor” killings was asked, majorities of Muslims say such killings are never justified.
Support for making sharia the official law of the land tends to be higher in countries like Pakistan (84%) and Morocco (83%) where the constitution or basic laws favor Islam over other religions.
Muslims in the U.S. are about as likely as Muslims in other countries to view science and religion as fully compatible. In the U.S., 59% of Muslims say there generally is not a conflict between science and religion, compared with a median of 54% globally among Muslims. However, American Muslims are somewhat less likely to believe in evolution than are Muslims in other parts of the world (45% vs. global median of 53%). Indeed, when it comes to evolution, U.S. Muslims are closer to U.S. Christians (46% of whom say they believe in evolution) than they are to fellow Muslims elsewhere in the world.
In our last post we published the result of a survey by an Asian-American author (on Asian-american methods of parenting) and we saw that by changing the Eurocentric profiles to create new ones “fit better the style of the East-Asian families” she achieved more satisfying results. How would that survey be if it was conducted by a Turkish organization for instance?
For awesome info-graphics, hit the link after the jump.
Africans could be the big losers as the United States reforms its immigration laws and eliminates the green card lottery, of which Africans are the main beneficiaries.
Half of the 50,000 residence permits handed out at random each year are earmarked for Africans. It is a hugely popular program that has allowed hundreds of thousands of Africans to settle in America since the mid 1990s.
Between 2010 and 2012, one in five Africans who came to the United States to stay did so through the lottery. That made it the third most common method, at 21 percent of the total, after family reunification (43%) and refugee status or asylum seekers (23%). By comparison, in the same period only 10 percent of Europeans who became permanent residents and 3% of Asians did so through the lottery.
Yesterday we ran a story on the fact that Mississippi finally banned slavery in their state just last week. Now John Fugelsang weighs in during a segment of “WTF, America?” Hit the jump to watch. Read More
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Chances are, the jeans you’re wearing were made in Bangladesh. And this week when a fire started in a pile of clothes at a factory in Bangladesh, the alarms went off. But managers Read More
Balenciaga started from a Basque Spanish designer to later become owned by French multinational company PPR, and now it is ready to make a large splash with Alexander Wang. Wang, an Asian-American, Read More