The Danger In A Single Story
Stories fire up our imaginations. Stories let us jump the often wide divide of a country border. Stories also let us reach deep into our collective past, crossing vast barriers of time. Stories describe us as individuals. Stories allow us to experience the similarities between diverse cultures. Stories provide a dangerous experience from non-dangerous surroundings, without fear of actual physical attack or harm. From stores we experience the many similarities between us and our brethren the world over. We are all Bozos on this same bus called Earth. Getting to know each other should involve many stories, as many stories as there are brothers all. Not just a single story.
Novelist, and most excellent writer, Chimamanda Adichie tells the story above on stage at TED about how she found her authentic cultural voice — and warns that if we hear only a single story, one side, over and over again about another country or person, we are at a great risk of participating in a critical misunderstanding. We get caught a spider’s web of cultural confusion, and don’t even know it. Adichie points out how we need to constantly stay vigilant to observe with an open mind, and to recognize when a single story viewpoint is what drives our own thinking, often causing the conflicts experienced in our own daily reality and interactions with others.
In life, the truth of a situation is always clear for those who have eyes to see it. Reality is often hard enough to deal with when you see it clearly. It can be impossible to deal with if all you see is a fantasy created in your own mind from a single story.
Chimamanda Adichie’s web site: http://chimamanda.com
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