Subscribe to Newsletter
Monthly Newsletter: Join more than 5,000 African literature enthusiasts!
Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our "Guide to African Novels."

22029122702_b2c6bf9066_k (1)

Wole Soyinka was featured on The Atlantic recently. In an essay, titled “A Nigerian Nobel Winner Exits Trump’s America,” Uri Friedman reopened Soyinka’s decision to interrupt his current legal status in the United States.

Soyinka who had been a legal resident since the ’90s decided to make his Green Card “inoperable,” by which he meant that anytime he went to the United States, he would apply for a visa like everyone else.

In the course of exploring the logic behind Soyinka’s decision to perform this “private” and individual act of resistance against the rise of Donald Trump as the President of United States, Friedman shares some of Soyinka’s comments on the current political climate in America.

Speaking from decades-long experience with fighting for social justice, Soyinka calls attention to what he sees as a threat to inclusion and racial justice.

On Trump’s Followers:

“What horrified me was not so much the individual demagogue, but to watch … [the] swelling numbers of his followers—to expect, for instance, that listening to that kind of rhetoric [from] a would-be leader of peoples, that crowds would diminish. But they did not. … It’s like seeing a people in a different light for the first time.”

On Divisive Politics

“Once you create outsiders, you enlarge the colony of outsiders,” Soyinka continued. “You don’t have enough within the original catchment area, [so] you then begin to include others, not merely on the grounds of religion, but on the grounds of race, tendencies. The minorities become social targets, whether directly or indirectly.”

On Regressive Racial Discourse

“I witnessed the assertion of the black peoples. And one was encouraged by that beginning transformation, which attained its apogee with the election of the first black president of the United States, and [the first American president with] African [heritage] for that matter. One didn’t thereby imagine that racism would die or anything of the sort. But I think that that temporary summit of black equality, this symbolic ascendancy of Obama, [suggested] that social consciousness in a progressive way would be the norm. Mr. Trump’s campaign was a sharp, deliberate reversal, almost as if Barack Obama had just been tolerated all along.”

On Political Opportunism

“this is a critical period globally, with extreme violent, brutish religious fundamentalism, which of course must be fought to a standstill…But with a situation like this you also need a large mind which is capable of distinguishing, which is capable of plodding [its] way through, the nuances of this violent, oppositional situation, not somebody who will use the excuse of the solidarity of hatred for these religious extremists as an opportunity to rope in, to have a blanket attitude towards, those who, for instance, profess the Muslim faith.”

You can read the full article here.

 

*************

Post image by Jodie C via Flickr.

Facebook link image by Jacob Creswick via uplash.com

Tags: , ,

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.

One Response to “Wole Soyinka on Race, Divisive Rhetoric, and the American Political Climate” Subscribe

  1. Quotes Guru February 22, 2017 at 11:33 pm #

    This piece of writing is in fact a good one it assists new internet people, who are wishing in favor of
    blogging.

Leave a Reply

Welcome to Brittle Paper, your go-to site for African writing and literary culture. We bring you all the latest news and juicy updates on publications, authors, events, prizes, and lifestyle. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram (@brittlepaper) and sign up for our "I love African Literature" newsletter.

Monthly Newsletter!

Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our
"Guide to African Novels."

Archives

Down River Road, a New Print & Online Magazine Exploring the Alternative in Literature, Music, & Visual Art, Calls for Submissions to Second Issue

down river road journal

A new Nairobi-based print and online magazine, down river road, is exploring the margins, the shifting centers, and the new […]

Dr Stella Nyanzi Wins Appeal at Ugandan Court, Regains Freedom, But Is Possibly Re-arrested

stella nyanzi - graph - kampala dispatch

Dr Stella Nyanzi is free. The academic, feminist and queer rights advocate has been in prison for criticising Uganda’s long-serving […]

Apply for This Fully-funded Creative Writing Scholarship at the University of East Anglia, Sponsored by the Miles Morland Foundation

UEA - Literature@UEA Twitter

The Miles Morland Foundation African Writers’ Scholarship is currently accepting accepting applications for its 2020 program. It is an initiative […]

Chinelo Okparanta Recalls Her First Teenage Crush

chinelo okparanta - bucknell university

“I was 16 years old, nearly 17, when a boy first expressed interest in me. Or, maybe it was that […]

Namwali Serpell, Maaza Mengiste & Marlon James Are Finalists for Los Angeles Times Book Prizes

Namwali Serpell

Finalists for the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes have been announced. The Ethiopian novelist Maaza Mengiste is nominated in the […]

Romeo Oriogun Shares Heartfelt, Powerful Personal Story as Anticipation Peaks for His Debut Poetry Collection, Sacrament of Bodies

Romeo Oriogun - main

Romeo Oriogun’s debut poetry collection Sacrament of Bodies is still some 12 days away from its March 1 publication date […]

Thanks for signing up!

Never miss out on new posts. Subscribe to a digest, too:

No thanks, I only want the monthly newsletter.