Ifemelu Discrimination In America

1307 Words 6 Pages
In 2017, during a time of uncertainty and chaos, the top headlines on the news are commonly about immigration. While Americans discuss the economic and social effects that immigration has on our country, hardly, does the conversation ever consider the individual lives of these immigrants. Behind the words of news headlines, are real people, who are simply trying to find a place to be accepted. The process of immigrating to a country is harder now than ever. Often, those involved not only face economic hardships but also endure emotional strife. In Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Americanah, Adichie depicts the coming of age of a Nigerian immigrant named Ifemelu. During her teenage years in Nigeria, Ifemelu fantasizes about traveling abroad. …show more content…
After being let down by the conditions of America, Ifemelu still had partial hope for her experience in college. She was “ready to take on the real America” and had “frisson of expectations” that yielded “an eagerness to discover America.” (144)(130) However, when her friend Ginika came to pick her up, her eagerness was soon suppressed when Ginika warned her that “there’s some shit you’ll get from white people.” (151) Soon after, when she attended the student orientation at her university, she was discriminated against by an orientation leader who questioned “her ability to speak English,” which made her feel as “a small child, lazy-limbed, and drooling.” (163) Later, Ifemelu would be told “you speak such good English. How bad is AIDS in your country? It’s so sad that people live on less than a dollar a day in Africa.” (170) Ultimately, these experiences with prejudice lead her to join “meetings with the ASA” that included Africans from various countries. The ASA was the only place where she “she didn’t feel the need to explain herself”, a sense of comfort that she was unaware of when she lived in Nigeria. (171) One day, after listening to a group talk about “how far [America] has come since [the Civil War],” she refuted “the only reason you say that race was not an issue is that you wish it was not.” (359) Ifemelu knows this because she “came from a country where race was not an issue” and she “did not think of my[herself] as black and only became black when [she] came to America.” (359) Ifemelu’s speech released the tension of her confliction with race in America. While she is a non-American black, she still experiences the discrimination on a day to day basis. Ultimately, racism

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