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The Danger of a Single Story

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The Danger of a Single Story – A speech that was said by Chimamanda Adichie that inspired me to write this report.

Chimamanda Adichie began talking about this thing she liked to call “a single story.” The Danger of a Single Story is about having a one sided perspective on different cultures and countries. She explains that she originally had a single story of writing because as a kid, all she had read were children’s books from America or England and all the characters in these books were stereotypical white children. Adichie said that this one and only perspective she had of books reflected on her personal writing as a kid because all of the characters in her stories were stereotypical white children. She goes on to give other examples of single stories or single perspectives and how they can influence people’s thoughts of a culture of a country.’

I can agree with Adichie when she says a single story is a quick way to misinterpret someone, or someone’s culture or country. I know I, myself, do that along with everyone else in this world and maybe this is the reason for so many differences within our culture; people being too quick to judge. From this video, I learned to not have just a single story: to not believe the one perspective I have seen or heard. We need to see other people’s stories before we make a conclusion on a single story. All in all, believing a single story could indeed mean danger. We cannot have a “single story”, or a single thought of anyone because if we do, we will never see the “paradise”, or the good things that is alive behind that single thought.

I think the intended audience for this video is Stereotypical Americans who believe Africa is a place of disease, poverty, and nothing good. This video serves for an audience who are stereotype towards any group of people or society. As above, the danger of a single story is that we will not see that there is more to people than we think. We will lose the opportunity to learn something new from someone else or widen our way of thinking and expand our view points. This video really opened my eyes.

Chimamanda even added that even she is guilty of believing in a single story. A few years ago; she visited Mexico, she was a little surprised in what she saw there. At the time of her trip, there were a lot of stories about people sneaking across the border and being arrested. But when she got there, she saw that the people in Mexico acted the same way people did back home. She elaborates with a story about coming to the United States, as a middle class daughter of a professor and an administrator, and meeting her college room-mate. Adichie says that her roommate’s “default position toward me, as an African, was a kind of patronizing, well-meaning pity. My room-mate had a single story of Africa; a single story of catastrophe”. Adichie also tells how growing up in Nigeria reading only American and English children’s books made her deaf to her authentic voice. As a child, she wrote about such things as blue-eyed white children easting apples, thinking brown skin and mangos had no place in Literature.

That changed as she discovered African writers. I believe that if we, as students were exposed to both viewpoints of controversial and important issues that occur, and then we would be able to make a more accurate judgment of what is actually happing in the world. If the media continues to poison us with twisted information, we may end up making wrong assumptions about important issues in our society. The truth is that we are all human, and we make mistakes. If American, or every nation for that matter, told their story as honestly as possible, without trying to put themselves in a good light… our world would be completely changed. We would not have just a single story, but an excess of them, so we would be able to make accurate judgments concerning the state of our world. As humans, we are always influenced by what we hear, read, what we tell one another, then sometimes without realizing, we take that, then we make it our own opinion. We create our view based on what the society says or the media. What about the other side of it all? The stories of the other people involved? On TV, we sell all the negative aspects of certain situations happening in certain places, yet what about the positive sides of those? Everything in this world: situations, people, and even things, have a light and dark side. You can’t have one without the other. Ever.

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