Having finished “Americanah” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, I can’t help but feel completely disconnected from her main character, Ifemelu. In all honesty, I have come to highly dislike this self righteous, unconcerned, narcissistic woman she has created. I have also come to dislike this life she led in America, because it feels far from my reality.
Ifemelu had her life on point when she first arrived in America, with the alienation and depression that constantly threatened to overwhelm her at a moment’s notice. However, her flashy blond haired ridiculously rich boyfriend and her ability to cheat without a moment’s notice was somewhat far fetched. No, I do not believe African women like me can snatch up ridiculously blond haired, blue eyed looking men with that kind of attitude. Judge me or don’t. Feel free to disagree. And also understand that yes there may be exceptions. And neither do I believe that, like Ifemelu, I can glide through life with everyone forgiving me because of my apparent wittiness displayed through my blog (my friend Tobi explains this well).
In terms of American men, my observations are pretty simple. The white men cease to see me, figuratively. They may talk to me, they may laugh with me, but they fail to see me as a romantic interest that may ever be an option. It is not a racist meaning (or may be it is) or a direct form of discrimination, but more like an embedded blindness towards women of color. Like I said, there are always exceptions. In terms of African American men, I do not really interact with them and the few times I have, I feel more disconnected from them than I do from a white man. But at least, they see me. And I guess that may sometimes feel a bit better.