Donald Trump ran a campaign that spoke to the frustrations of white rural America and in the process, scapegoated women and communities of color. In the wake of his election victory, Trump promised to be a "president for all Americans," but many are skeptical of his vow to unite the country, considering the alarming, bigoted rhetoric he spouted during his run. During a discussion on BBC Newsnight, feminist author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie put into words a concern held by many.
The interview with Adichie and R. Emmett Tyrrell, the editor-in-chief of the conservative magazine American Spectator and an avowed Trump supporter, took a heated turn when reporter Emily Maitlis pointed out that the first black president was to be succeeded by a man endorsed by the KKK. Tyrrell, in turn, called it "inappropriate" to discuss the white supremacist group in the same sentence as Trump or any other GOP politician.
Tyrrell's denials that Trump's rhetoric was racist were cut down by Adichie. "If you're a white man, you don't get to define what racism is," Adichie said. "You don't get to sit there and say that he hasn't been racist when objectively, he has. And it's not about your opinion... Racism is an objective reality and Donald Trump has inhabited that reality."
Trump's startling victory sent shockwaves through the country and beyond, as Americans reckon with bridging the deep divide among themselves and the international community scrambles to make sense of how to best deal with a President Trump. Adichie's pointed observation about his provocative rhetoric during his campaign, however, is a reminder that Trump has a long journey ahead to unite the country, should he choose to.
The celebrated Nigerian author, known for her powerful literary work, has been around for a while now. But she propelled to mainstream fame when Beyoncé used excerpts from her speech, "We Should All Be Feminists" in her song Flawless.
And her latest interview on BBC highlights what many people of color have taken pains to point out: instead of telling marginalized communities that their opinions are wrong, sometimes it's better to just listen with an open mind.