My name is Taiwo and I’m a Nigerian book and lifestyle blogger. When Fadwa mentioned that she was resuming #DiverseBookBloggersDiscuss, I was so excited to participate! I’m a very private person and I never write discussion posts but I am really happy to be included in this one because I need to write about this; not just for other people but mainly for me, and the young girl who grew up to shun her heritage.
I’ve always loved reading. I can’t remember a time I wasn’t reading. I’ve got pictures of 5-year-old me happily reading instead of playing. However, all the books I was reading were written by white authors, featuring white characters and written for white readers.
So, books by white authors became the default for me. I would walk into a bookstore, bypass all the Nigerian books and go straight to the “real books” (by white authors). I began seeing white books as “well-written” and books by Nigerian authors as “bad”..
It never occurred to me that this behaviour was bad or wrong until I started blogging. Thankfully, I joined the book community at a time when diverse books were gaining more clout. I saw book bloggers, booktubers and bookstagrammers advocating for books that represented them. I saw fellow Nigerian bloggers like Etinosa @ Uwadis Reads and Chinelo @ Booked Unicorn writing posts centred on Nigerian literature and I began realizing that something was very wrong with the way I viewed books. Why did I think Nigerian (and other black) authors wrote trash while white authors were the real deal?
A sub-conscious part of me began seeing my internalized racism but it wasn’t until the Year of the Asian Reading Challenge that I faced it head-on. Seeing Asian readers chatting happily about own-voices Asian books made me realise how little I was talking about (or even reading) Nigerian books.
It’s taken me a while to see and accept how I’ve gone wrong but I’m glad it has happened. I believe it’s not too late to correct my mistakes and I’m so excited for the many many Nigerian books I intend to read (and rave about) this year!
If you’ve ever found it hard to accept a part of yourself, I hope this post helps you realize that you’re not alone and I hope it nudges you towards acceptance ❤
Book Blogger @A Lifestyle Nerd
#DiverseBookBloggersDiscuss is a way to boost diverse bloggers who are brilliant, have a lot to say and deserve to be heard loud and clear. What this is, is basically a guest post feature where every Sunday, one blogger from a minority will discuss things they are passionate about on my blog.