Summary: Chapter 39

At school, Dike faces racist stereotyping. His principal accuses him of hacking into the school’s computer system although he is not computer savvy. Students ask Dike for marijuana, and even the church pastor uses an approximation of AAVE when speaking to him.

Finally, Blaine returns Ifemelu’s calls. They tensely cook coconut rice together, realizing how divided they’ve become.

Ifemelu’s blog post accompanying this chapter focuses on American discomfort with race and how the language surrounding race is coded.

Summary: Chapter 40

Ifemelu now admires Blaine more than she loves him. Ifemelu reads Barack Obama’s memoir, Dreams From My Father, and finds it inspiring. Blaine is shocked by their shared belief in Obama, which rekindles their passion. Even their friends argue less because they are caught up in Obama’s spell. Ifemelu gets the Princeton fellowship, but promises Blaine not to move until after the election. When Obama wins the nomination, they finally have sex again.

They watch Obama’s speech on race. Blaine finds it immoral that Obama equates black anger and white fear. Ifemelu reminds him that Obama will not get elected if he tells the truth, but Blaine is hurt.

Shan has a nervous breakdown because her book isn’t selling well. Ifemelu attempts to discuss the election, hoping Obama will make conversation easy, but Shan is ignoring the election. Ifemelu recommends Obama’s book. Shan counters that she wishes people would read her book.