The Danger Of A Single Story
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The Danger Of A Single Story

One word from a person's mouth immediately creates opinions and/or stereotypes.

The Danger Of A Single Story
lexi kinkaid

In today's world, people are so quick to judge, so quick to decide something about someone based off their looks, where they live, what they do, and even who they surround themselves with. One word from a person's mouth immediately creates opinions and/or stereotypes.

In the Ted Talk "The Danger of a Single Story", Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi beautifully addresses this problem while speaking from her own experiences. By the end of the speech, I realized that the danger of a single story is a genuine issue in society, that even I am plagued with.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi starts off with an anecdote about the way she used to write stories as a young child and her fascination with English literature. She mentions how she only had access to English literature that mainly featured white, blonde, blue-eyed characters. In saying that, her own writing she did only consisted of those types of characters. Adichi then says how she was unaware that there were stories that included people who looked like her.

Bottom line, Adichi was blinded from her own culture within her own community.

Adichi goes on to recount a time when a boy came to live with her family because his family was poor and needed money--so they sent their son to work with her family. When Adichi went to visit his hometown, she was shocked to find out that they could produce something when the boy's mother handed her a beautifully woven basket.

Adichi only had heard about how poor they were. She only had the single story of their poverty.

For me as a listener, this established a sense of trust in me to her. Adichi was recounting a time when ever she was "single storying". This proved to me that she wasn't trying to persuade or tell us how wrong we are for doing this, Adichi is trying to make us more aware.

Throughout the talk Adichi discusses a time in college. She was writing an essay and the professor told her it wasn't "authentically African" enough. Adichi explains how she wasn't sure what that term meant. Her professor stereotyped her culture through her writing. Adichi grew up in a middle-class home in Africa, and didn't realize what most people thought Africa was, was different from what she thought Africa was.

As the talk comes to an end, Adichi ends with this thought, "I would like to end with this thought: That when we reject the single story, when we realize that there is never a single story about any place, we regain a kind of paradise."

"The Danger of a Single Story", in my opinion, doesn't force Adichi's thoughts onto the listener. I don't think Adichi wants to persuade, I truly think she wants to open the eyes of the listener, and help address the problem of the single story. This Ted Talk was beautifully put together, and really makes the listener think.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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