“The Dangers Of a Single Story” is a speech narrated by a Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in a Ted series. She talks about the negative effects of people learning only one story they have been told about another country, culture, beliefs and basing their own interpretations of the story and therefore, attaching stereotypical identities to others. She explains many individuals view things as they have been told or taught. Chimamanda shares a story about herself when she was younger, reading stories that were British and American books. She had this stereotypical view of how the british and American lives were. The characters she drew when she was young were white and had blue eyes. however , this hindered her from learning her own identity, her own culture and stories. She later began reading African stories, where she discovered that people like her exist in literature.
She tells us another scenario whereby, her American roommate felt sympathy for her even before seeing her and just knowing that she was from Africa. Her roommate did not believe that Adichie had lived a similar life as hers. She immediately assumed that Adichie did not know how to use the stove or listen to songs that Americans listen such as Mariah Carey. However, Adichie does not blame her roommate for not believing that she had a similar life to that of her roommate because that is the picture that had been painted by what individuals call “African Literature” in America. On her trip to Guadalajara she was surprised due to the fact that Mexicans were not the image Americans had painted them to be in concerns of immigration.
However, Adichie does not have the intention to scold her audience for lack of knowledge or rather believing a single story that was told to them. She gives an example of herself when she believed a single story. It was when she was young, her family had a male servant called Fide. Her mother would tell her that Fide was a poor kid from a poor family. All she saw in Fide was that he was poor kid and nothing more till she visited his village and discovered amazing things about him and his family. She opened up and wanted to learn more. Nowadays, social media plays an important role in how we create and learn those stereotypes in the first place. We only see and hear what we are told through media lenses.
I agree with Chimamanda Adichie in her concept of a single story. I agree to the fact that there are more ways of seeing things than been told one thing. Stereotypes are everywhere. As a Muslim girl there has been stories on the media how bad Muslims are, there are often associated with the attack that happened in 9/11. There is misunderstanding how my hijab is viewed as. It’s often viewed as something bad such as terrorism. However, just like Adichie I don’t blame them, I blame the media for not telling the story as it is. Telling the world how beautiful Islam is and how it spread peace and not war. Therefore, we should learn more before we judge or stereotype people depending on that one story we heard.