Ifemelu’s blog starts to get very popular suddenly, and she is overwhelmed. She sets up a link for donations, and gets a huge contribution from one anonymous donor each month. She wonders if it’s from Curt, and wonders what he thinks of being called “The Hot White Ex” in the blog. Ifemelu then gets offers from advertisers, and she starts getting invited to speak at schools and conferences.
Ifemelu had wondered if other women like her felt alone and silenced, and it turns out she was right, as she suddenly finds a large community of readers for her blog. She discusses serious issues but also humorous ones, and uses a comic, casual tone in her writing.
Ifemelu and her blog keep getting more famous, and she decides to give her first “diversity talk” at a small company in Ohio. All her listeners are white. She gives a carefully prepared speech about racism, and at the end everyone seems shocked. Later she gets an angry email calling her a racist and saying “you should be grateful we let you into this country.” Ifemelu then realizes that the point of these “diversity workshops” isn’t to effect real change, but to make people feel good about themselves.
She is writing about racial issues, but Ifemelu learns an important lesson here, which allows Adichie to deliver a searing point: many white people want to talk about diversity and equality, but they don’t like to feel any personal guilt or pressure to change. This is similar to the observation of Americans who criticize America but don’t like foreigners to do so.
After that, Ifemelu always gives the kinds of talk expected of her, while in her blog she remains blunt and critical, saying things like “Racism should never have happened and so you don’t get a cookie for reducing it.” She hires a student intern to do research and moderate the comments. Ifemelu buys a condominium, and is surprised and frightened to find that she is now a real “homeowner.” Soon Ifemelu feels “subsumed by her blog,” obsessed with her readers’ opinions and judgments. The chapter ends with a short post inviting all the “Zipped-Up Negroes” to open up and share whatever they want.
Ifemelu remains blunt and unrelenting in her blog, but she recognizes that she has to give the kinds of talks expected of her or she won’t get more invitations. She sees that the audience for her blog is receptive to the harsh reality and real calls for change, while the audience for her talks just wants to feel satisfied with themselves. Ifemelu’s blog suddenly becomes a huge part of her identity, and allows her to thrive in America apart from anyone else’s help.