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The Atlantic Washington Ideas Forum at the Harman Center, Tuesday, September 27 - Thursday, September 29, 2016, Washington, DC. (Photo by Max Taylor)

The Atlantic Washington Ideas Forum at the Harman Center, Tuesday, September 27 – Thursday, September 29, 2016, Washington, DC. (Photo by Max Taylor)

Chimamanda Adichie was interviewed during the Washington Ideas Forum last week. Ifemelu’s blogposts on race in America came up. The interviewer wanted to know how Ifemelu, one of Adichie’s most iconic fictional characters, would respond to the heightening racial tension in American society due, in part, to the recent cases of police killings.

Adichie uses the question as an occasion to reflect more generally on the recent tragedies.

“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.”

“It’s not just that you shoot a man who’s unarmed, it’s that you handcuff him when he’s clearly dying.”

“There’s something about it that’s so unforgivably inhumane and to think that his race is part of the reason … I really do think that one of the terrible things about racism in this country, is there’s a sense that blackness isn’t really seen as fully human in many quarters. I think that’s why these things happen. I think that’s why a man who is dying is handcuffed, that’s why a boy who is dead is left on the street for hours. It makes me wonder: What’s happened to that part of us that is good?”

Read the full coverage of the interview HERE.

 

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Post image via The Atlantic

 

 

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Ainehi Edoro is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she teaches African literature. She received her doctorate at Duke University. She is the founder and editor of Brittle Paper and series editor of Ohio University Press’s Modern African Writer’s imprint.

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