Do African-American Studies Departments Need to be Revamped?

Writer John McWhorter proposes a new plan for Black Studies departments. Novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie discusses the strained relationship between South Africans and Nigerians. And more lit-related news.

A round up of lit-related questions.

South Africans Vs. Nigerians?

Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie discusses what she considers a strained relationship between Nigerians and South Africans in an essay for The Guardian. The piece comes on the heels of the news that Nigerian officials are fighting to ban the movie District 9 from playing in theaters because of it’s portrayal of Nigerians living in South Africa.

Adichie writes:

South Africans and Nigerians (and indeed other African immigrant groups) have simply not had the time or the neutral space to grow an organic understanding of each other. The Nigerians arrive with their different, more distant colonial experience, with their mercantile spirit, with none of the conditioning of the South African menial wage-earning experience and – yes – with that swagger. They arrive in a vulnerable country where the legacy of institutional exclusion still thrives. They create spaces for themselves in whatever way they can and, of course, they arouse resentment.

And these are people who, like me, grew up in a Nigeria that was fiercely anti-apartheid. We all sang Free Mandela. In primary school, we collected money to free the brothers in South Africa. Perhaps this is the reason I found South Africa a disconcerting place to visit, in the end. I felt incapable of truly understanding it, ill-equipped to grasp meaning and nuance, in a way that I have not experienced anywhere else in sub-Saharan Africa. It cracked my pan-African idealism.

What do you think about Adichie’s thoughts? Sad? True?

Do African-American Studies Departments Need to be Revamped?

Conservative writer John McWhorter proposes changes to Black Studies departments in his blog for The New Republic.