In Adopting Africans not the answer, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, argues against an appeal that Madonna has made on television: adopt an African child.
Her opinion is summarized as, “Madonna could have urged others to help solve the problems by empowering, not failed leaders, but the people.”
Adichie’s opinion can be categorized under both persuasion and deliberation. First, she expounds on what Madonna says on TV and then tries to persuade others to believe that Madonna, could have said something better.
Therefore, her goal is to clarify what Madonna has said, and make a resolution as to what Madonna could have said. In the process of doing this, she also simultaneously presents to her readers the situation for children in Africa and how the public can help.
As she narrates her African background and urges people to look more closely at Africa, and essentially, look far beyond what Madonna has said, she also deliberates on the better type of action between adopting a child in Africa, or sending a donation to check to malaria-eradication organizations. Adichie wants her readers to believe that the better thing to do is send donation.
My outlook on Adichie’s opinion is perhaps similar to her own opinion of Madonna – I wish Adichie could have focused on the fact that Africa needs donation, instead of going around in circles, telling a lot of things that could not strongly prove a point.
Adichie’s article was full of herself. She starts with her childhood, goes on to tell what she feels, and ends the article with what she would think, which is only a poor anticipation of a scenario that do not give enough kick to support her arguments.
Adichie could have been more straightforward, and started with what Madonna said on television. From there, she could have skipped some parts of her story and went straight to correct “the underlying notion that one helps Africa by adopting Africa’s children.” Instead, she dragged on and took Madonna’s adopted child’s biological father on the scene without empowering her opinion.
Yet, when Adichie needed to expound, she failed. She wrote, “I wish she (Madonna) had added that Africa cannot depend on aid alone, that aid is like salted peanuts: The more failed leaders get, the more they want. I wish she had said she was setting up an organization run by locals to use donations as micro-credit.”
Adichie could have directly compared the effects of helping a micro-credit and adopting a child in a bid to help Africa as a nation. But Adichie just carelessly went on without painting a clearer and crispier picture in the minds of her readers.
Towards the end of her argument, she peppers her words with a lot of “I wonder,” which made her arguments a lot weaker and immature than what it should be. She may gotten the message across that Madonna could have said something better; but she did give a lot of depth to her explanation for that. So after a while, her reader forgets about what Madonna has said, and what she herself has said.
It’s a shame because Adichie almost made a point – that Africa can be helped not just be adopting its children. But she merely touches on the “why” part of her article — where she was meant to strengthen her point and create an imprint in people’s minds — and clearly loses control of her argument. Overall, her article is doomed to be forgettable.
CHIMAMANDA, N.A. (2006). Adopting Africans not the answer. News Day.
Retrieved November 15, 2006, from
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