8 Incredible Americanah Quotes

In honor of Americanah’s eighth publishing birthday, here are eight eye-opening quotes from the novel.

Black Voices Book Culture

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie tells the story of two Nigerians who immigrate to the US and UK raising “universal questions of race, belonging, the overseas experience for the African diaspora, and the search for identity and a home.” The novel came out in 2013 and has only grown in its importance with recent events and as a result, is becoming a staple in high school and college English classes. In honor of Americanah’s eighth publishing birthday, here are eight eye-opening quotes from the novel.

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“There are many different ways to be poor in the world but increasingly there seems to be one single way to be rich.”
― Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah

 

“I realized that if I ever have children, I don’t want them to have American childhoods. I don’t want them to say ‘Hi’ to adults I want them to say ‘Good morning’ and ‘Good afternoon’. I don’t want them to mumble ‘Good’ when someone says ‘How are you?’ to them. Or to raise five fingers when asked how old they are. I want them to say ‘I’m fine thank you’ and ‘I’m five years old’. I don’t want a child who feeds on praise and expects a star for effort and talks back to adults in the name of self-expression. Is that terribly conservative?”
― Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah

 

 

“If you’re telling a non-black person about something racist that happened to you, make sure you are not bitter. Don’t complain. Be forgiving. If possible, make it funny. Most of all, do not be angry. Black people are not supposed to be angry about racism. Otherwise you get no sympathy. This applies only for white liberals, by the way. Don’t even bother telling a white conservative about anything racist that happened to you. Because the conservative will tell you that YOU are the real racist and your mouth will hang open in confusion.”
― Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah

 

“Why did people ask “What is it about?” as if a novel had to be about only one thing.”
― Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah

“How easy it was to lie to strangers, to create with strangers the versions of our lives we imagined.”
― Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah

 

“If you don’t understand, ask questions. If you’re uncomfortable about asking questions, say you are uncomfortable about asking questions and then ask anyway. It’s easy to tell when a question is coming from a good place. Then listen some more. Sometimes people just want to feel heard. Here’s to possibilities of friendship and connection and understanding.”
― Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah

 

 

“Oppression Olympics is what smart liberal Americans say to make you feel stupid and to make you shut up. But there IS an oppression olympics going on. American racial minorities – blacks, Hispanics, Asians and Jews – all get shit from white folks, different kinds of shit but shit still. Each secretly believes that it gets the worst shit. So, no, there is no United League of the Oppressed. However, all the others think they’re better than blacks because, well, they’re not black.”
― Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah

 

“The only reason you say that race was not an issue is because you wish it was not. We all wish it was not. But it’s a lie.”
― Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah

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