I don’t blog (outside of Dead Inside, that is). It never occurred to me to go online and rant about my opinions, to give strangers access to these opinions. It’s not that I had anything against it, I just never considered ever doing it. I love to write, I love to talk, why did I never think to combine the two? It’s probably because I didn’t know anything about blogging. Sure, I’d skimmed through random blog posts that had appeared in the midst of my research on things like episode recaps or news stories. But other than that, I don’t actively read blogs. I never have.
I’m bringing this up because I recently finished Americanah and I was considering social media and the Internet’s influence on the story being told. One unique aspect of the story is Ifemelu’s blogging, something I was immediately interested in upon hearing about because I don’t know much about blogging (which I’m sure is evident if you’ve read any of my earlier posts). I also don’t know a lot about race and racism from the perspective of an African woman moving in and out of the United States. Isn’t that one of the main purposes to read? To bring yourself out of your own shoes and try someone else’s on for a while, look at things from their perspective and learn from that?
And that’s why I commend Adichie on including this facet of Ifemelu’s personality because through it we are not only able to understand more about the blogging community and blogging professionally, but we’re also subject to Ifemelu’s opinions on bigger topics in an easy to comprehend way. What better way to hear her comments on racism in America than to read them word for word how she would write them? By putting these opinions in blog format, Adichie is able to focus on other portions of the story rather than finding a way to work Ifemelu’s opinions into dialogue and the storytelling. Also, the blog is a perfect window into who Ifemelu is as a character because it’s written with her voice and there’s a distinct difference between how Adichie writes and how Adichie writes as Ifemelu. Her character is fully on display in a more explicit sense which rounds her out a bit more when partnered with the internal thoughts and reactions we get from the narration.
Blogging, in general, is seen to allow for mature discussions on huge issues as well as further awareness brought to those issues and Adichie highlights that by demonstrating this to the readers of Americanah. I wouldn’t be here voicing my opinions about the ideas presented in Americanah without the nudge from Adichie. Race is a topic that is intensely avoided in Western society, most specifically in a conversational format, and with blogging, the topic of race is able to be discussed without (much) backlash from others who feel it needs to be quieted. You’re not forced to listen to opinions you don’t agree with, you can choose who you listen to. And because of the nature of the Internent, distance no longer becomes an issue when discussing things. Anyone can access conversations on different topics and because of this they can heighten their knowledge as well as become more comfortable with voicing their opinions. And because of that, blogging becomes the perfect medium, not only for Ifemelu but also for anyone else who wants to speak. So, thank you Adichie for opening me up to that.
That’s it for now