danger of single story

Stories help us view the world and portray a certain meaning and idea into the things we see. But what happens when the story only paints half the picture, only shows one side of the coin, or gives us the wrong information? In Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED Talk, we see how she has firsthand experience with the danger of a single story. The idea that a story can drastically change our perception and our understanding of the world. During the TED Talk, I learned that it is often important to collect information from a myriad of sources before synthesizing it into a picture that you base further discoveries upon. When Chimamanda says “their poverty was the only story I had of them,” she hadn’t realized that Fide’s family could be something more than poor. Chimamanda had limited her perception of Fide’s family to poverty and nothing else due to the ‘single story’ she heard from her mother about how poor his family was. When Chimamanda says “I didn’t know there could be people like me in story books,” she expresses a newfound understanding that the characters in books didn’t always have to be blue-eyed. Chimamanda’s understanding of literature was limited to blue-eyed characters who talk about the weather because that was the only type of book she had read. When Chimamanda reads her first “African book,” she learns about a whole new side of literature that was out of her understanding. This shows how we should always explore all sides of the story before consolidating your knowledge into your perspective. I believe the way to combat the danger of a single story is to search for more information from the topic and coagulate all sides of the story together. It should not be a single story, but instead multiple stories which contribute to your understanding of the subject.

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