‘It’s obscene’: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie writes a devastating essay against the social media cult

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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has written a detailed essay on the conduct of young people on social media “who suffocate with morality and lack compassion,” who she says are part of a generation “so terrified of having bad opinions. that they stole. the opportunity to think, learn and grow ”.

Entitled It Is Obscene, the essay was published Tuesday night by the Nigerian novelist and feminist on her website. It got so much attention that its website temporarily crashed.

The essay discusses her interactions with two anonymous writers who attended Adichie’s writing workshop in Lagos. The two then slammed her on social media for her comments on transgender people and feminism in a 2017 Channel 4 interview, claiming that “a trans woman is a trans woman.”

At the time, Adichie dismissed the claim that she didn’t believe trans women were women, saying, “Sure, they’re women, but speaking of feminism and gender and all that, it is important for us to recognize the differences in gender experience. . ”

Adichie was later named in the biography of the author of the first novel of one of the writers. Citing emails sent at the time, Adichie’s essay recounts how she asked for her name to be removed from the book, detailing further attacks on social media and how “this person started to tell that I had sabotaged his career “.

Last year, non-binary transgender author Akwaeke Emezi tweeted that that two days after the publication of their novel, Freshwater, “[Adichie] requested that his name be removed from my bio everywhere because of my online tweets. Most were about his transphobia.

Adichie writes in her essay that she was “very supportive of this writer” because she believed that “we need a wide range of African stories”.

“Asking that my name be removed from your biography does not sabotage your career. It’s about protecting my boundaries from what I consider acceptable in civilian human behavior, ”writes the author of Half of a Yellow Sun.

Emezi posted a video on Instagram on Wednesday that partially responded to Adichie’s essay. “I’m not going to read what the girl at home wrote and do a piecemeal rebuttal, because I’m not even going to read it. Because it doesn’t affect my life, ”they said. “I’m just going to poke my head around, remind us that we matter, that we matter, that our worlds are fucking bigger than anything these people can imagine and that we never need to be readable to them.” We don’t have to be validated by them.

The other writer Adichie mentioned was “welcome” to the novelist’s life, Adichie writes in her essay, but after criticizing Adichie’s comments, she “publicly insulted” Adichie on social media.

“It’s a simple story – you got close to a famous person, you publicly insulted the famous person to make you bigger, the famous person cut you off, you sent emails and texts that said been ignored, and then you decided to go on social media peddling lies, ”writes Adichie.

Adichie ends her essay with a critique of “certain young people today like these two from my writing workshop”, describing their “passionate performance of virtue which is well executed in public space” as “obscene”. of Twitter but not in the intimate space of Friendship ”.

“We have a generation of young people on social media so terrified of having bad opinions that they’ve denied themselves the opportunity to think, learn and grow,” Adichie wrote. “I have spoken to young people who tell me that they are terrified of tweeting anything, that they read and re-read their tweets because they fear being attacked by their own. The good faith assumption is dead. What matters is not goodness but the appearance of goodness. We are no longer human beings. We are now angels jostling each other to outdo each other. May God help us. It is obscene. “


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