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Thursday, August 05, 2021

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s feud with student: Here’s all you need to know

"What matters is not goodness but the appearance of goodness. We are no longer human beings. We are now angels jostling to out-angel one another," she wrote.

By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi |
June 18, 2021 6:30:39 pm
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie student, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie trans woman, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie transphobhia, indian express, indian express newsChimamanda Ngozi Adichie's essay is being shared widely. (Source: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie | Facebook)

Chimamanda Ngozi has written a new essay on social media, dissecting ‘cancel culture’ and the way young people react. Titled ‘It Is Obscene‘, the essay is being widely discussed, especially since she talks about a writer — whom she never names — and the way her relationship changed owing to some comments the author made on trans women.

“Take the case of a young woman who attended my Lagos writing workshop some years ago; she stood out because she was bright and interested in feminism,” the Nigerian writer wrote in the essay.

She detailed that her student criticised her back in 2017, for her stance that “a trans woman is a trans woman”. “Then I gave an interview in March 2017 in which I said that a trans woman is a trans woman, (the larger point of which was to say that we should be able to acknowledge difference while being fully inclusive, that in fact the whole premise of inclusiveness is difference.)”

Her student later took to social media to chastise her. And even though they were not in touch, the writer used Adichie’s name in the biography of the former’s work. When Adichie asked for her name to be removed, she was purportedly attacked further on social media.

“This person has asked followers to pick up machetes and attack me. This person began a narrative that I had sabotaged their career, a narrative that has been picked up and repeated by others,” she wrote.

Last year, non-binary writer Akwaeke Emezi had tweeted: “A reminder that several of your favorite cishet African women writers share similar opinions on trans people as She Who Must Not Be Named,” clearly alluding to JK Rowling’s comments on a similar topic.

“She edited and wrote an introduction to my work and I was over the moon. I couldn’t wait for her to read Freshwater. When she said those things and then doubled down and then mocked those of us who called her out (she called the response “trans-noise”), I was gutted,” she wrote further.

Adichie concluded her essay with a scathing attack on the cancel culture and the way it is stifling voice and opinions. “We have a generation of young people on social media so terrified of having the wrong opinions that they have robbed themselves of the opportunity to think and to learn and to grow. I have spoken to young people who tell me they are terrified to tweet anything, that they read and reread their tweets because they fear they will be attacked by their own. The assumption of good faith is dead. What matters is not goodness but the appearance of goodness. We are no longer human beings. We are now angels jostling to out-angel one another. God help us. It is obscene,” she wrote.

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