RECLAIMING AFRICAN RESISTACE: CHIMAMANDA SPEAKS TRUTH TO POWER
Reclaiming African Resistance: Chimamanda Speaks Truth to Power by Adanna Eke
So most of you have already seen the viral video, where Chimamanda Adichie shuts down her white male cohost on the topic of racism and white privilege. Her BBC co-host (he who shall not be named) was discussing DJT and completely denying any ounce of evidence/reality that he had said anything that was even the slightest bit racist or inflammatory during the course of his campaign.
WATCH VIDEO BELOW:
Adichie handled the situation with the upmost poise, intelligence and grace along with a fabulous eye roll. She quickly stated in no mixed terms with all the receipts in hand, incidences of racism and racially biased language that was used by DJT throughout the course of his 18-month long campaign. But more importantly, as a Nigerian woman, she positioned herself to speak truth to power and publicly spoke out against racism and white supremacy.
We often don’t see African women from the continent in popular culture openly take “radical” political positions. I think so often Africans, especially those of us who are still located on the continent, find it difficult to identify with and align ourselves within black liberation movements that are going on across the diaspora. When much of the framework in these movements is provided for those who are direct decedents of the transatlantic slave trade, there often is a lack of language on how the African experience is both different and connected. As Africans there is very little literature on how the effects of colonization (forced nationhood, religious and linguistic indoctrination) still reverberates on a physical, emotional, psychological, political and economic level. As Africans we don’t examine this reality in our schools or even in our homes, thus leading to disconnect as we begin to see the rest of the diaspora engaging in the struggle for liberation (i.e. #blacklivesmatter).
As a Nigerian American woman, I didn’t grow up learning about my own people as having a legacy of colonial resistance, much of what I learned regarding liberation was regarding African Americans which at the time growing up was both liberating to see people who looked like me take strong stances, but at the same time distancing, because I knew this wasn’t exactly “my” history. This is why Adichie’s viral moment strikes a particular core with me. Her inserting herself as an African woman in the fight against white supremacy/racism is particularly inspiring and I hope gives more Africans, especially African women on the continent, have the courage to become vocal resisting oppression. We don’t need to be divided by country or history as Black people we are all here collectively experiencing an injustice that is rooted in resource extraction, colonization, exploitation and slavery that still exist on the continent and across the diaspora. So thank you again Chimamanda for being fearless, for speaking truth to power and for being unapologetically black.
Adanna Eke (@a.a.eke) is a health justice advocate, she currently is the Creative Director of The ARISE Africa Foundation (@theariseafricafoundation), which seeks to destigmatize the conversation around sex and sexual health in Nigeria and increase the amount of STD/ STI testing in the country. She is also a self proclaimed "Afro-futurist" and certified “Top Oga” behind the Love & -Isms blog (loveandisms.wordpress.com).
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(**VIDEO SOURCE: BBC YOUTUBE**)
Note: Chimamanda released a statement after this panel discussion explaining her position further and the BBC's inability to inform her about this panel discussion beforehand.