Half of a Yellow Sun: Media, Nationalism, Women, & Love

Media

Chapter 30 addresses the role of bias in Western media.

I think the bias that stands out most is the viewing of black lives as inferior to white lives and the lack of respect of other nation’s constructions of nationality.

“Thousands of Biafrans were dead, and this man wanted to know if there was anything new about one dead white man…the rule of Western journalism: One hundred dead black people equal one dead white person,” (pg.462).

This moment is constructed by Adichie in a unique way: there are three white Western males with polar ideas about East-West, black-white political relationships.

Adichie places Richard in this scene as the “representative” of Biafra instead of Odenigbo. What kind of commentary does Richard’s presence make that Odenigbo’s would not?

Beyond the political, the scene gets personal as Richard feels compelled to speak about Kainene. Then the redhead said, “I had an English friend at college who really went for colored girls,” (pg.463). Continue reading “Half of a Yellow Sun: Media, Nationalism, Women, & Love”

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Consumers Criticize East/West Binary in Fall Marketing

The Victoria’s Secret “Go East” line disappeared from its website last week after negative online comments. The collection included “Sexy Little Geisha” lingerie featuring chopsticks, obi belt and bow, matching fan and chopsticks, and imported nylon/spandex. The description: “Your ticket to an exotic adventure…teddy with flirty cutouts and Eastern-inspired florals. Sexy little fantasies  there’s one for every sexy you.” Who is this “you”? This reeks of orientalism (as described in the Edward Said excerpt) and the casting of “Eastern” women into an exoticized one-dimensional inauthentic stereotype. It appears that fashion seeks to use very antiquated terms to appeal to the American audience. Continue reading “Consumers Criticize East/West Binary in Fall Marketing”

Half of a Yellow Sun & NY Times Article: Democracy v. National-Global Economic Advantage

In the New York Times article, “In Arab Spring, Obama Finds A Sharp Test,” published September 25, 2012, I found the dilemma that the article asserted that President Obama faces, an uncertainty on how to support foreign protest situations or the current leadership of that nation, as related to the issues outlined in the part I of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel, Half of a Yellow Sun, set in the early 1960s.

In the following part II of Half of a Yellow Sun it will be interesting to find out if Britain will side with the leadership of Nigeria or with the protesting sector of Nigeria that seems to be forming with the “revolutionary lover” Odenigbo.  Also, as the reader, I find that the form that Adichie uses with the point of view switching between those who view revolution and status quo differently, for instance the presentation of Olana’s opinions and the presentation of Kainene’s mocking opinions, I am placed like a foreign entity to root for one ideology or the other. Who should I support and what are my interests? Continue reading “Half of a Yellow Sun & NY Times Article: Democracy v. National-Global Economic Advantage”

Students’ Agency and Education: Nervous Conditions and the Chicago Teachers Union Strike

Reading about the Chicago Teachers Union strike in the New York Times and on the Chicago Tribune website, I realized that the education of the students was foregrounded often by parents and politicians who were against the strike, but also by teachers and supporters of the strike. The lack of self-agency that students have within the education system became apparent to me and reminded me of Tambu’s lack of agency in Nervous Conditions.

The particular connection was the issue of access to quality education for children of low income families.In Nervous Conditions, were it not for the influence and the money of Babamukuru, Tambu would not have been able to go to the mission and if not for the excellent educational environment of Babamukuru’s house, Nyasha’s book cache, and the mission’s training she would not have been able to go to Sacred Heart. Although, in the United States today, integrated pre-K-12 education is available for all children – male or female, black or white, rich or poor, the quality of education still varies in the way of exclusive access to high quality education reminiscent of Nervous Conditions. Children who would be in situations like Tambu’s (impoverished) in the U.S. are not guaranteed the best education and cannot attend most private schools due to high tuition costs and rarity of scholarships. Now that states face budget cuts, schools are actually becoming very unequal places.

A central issue of the Chicago strike according to the Chicago Tribune article (linked here) is that public schools, due to the limited budget of the Chicago government, are not receiving enough funding. Because of this, teachers are being laid off with no guarantee of rehire and the school day was lengthened without a significant raise for teachers. I heard from those for and against the strike, that the heart of the matter was about supporting the best interest of the students. What is that best interest?

There were no interviews with students in the articles and Continue reading “Students’ Agency and Education: Nervous Conditions and the Chicago Teachers Union Strike”