Danger of a Single Story

Topics: Africa, Nigeria, African Union Pages: 4 (1137 words) Published: April 29, 2013
Danger of a Single Story
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED Talk on ‘The danger of a single story’ capitalized on one key principle. This was that if there was only one perspective of people and the stereotypes then there will be misconceptions because of this misrepresentation. The problem is not that the stereotypes are untrue, but that they are incomplete. According to Adichie, a single story only shows a single perspective, one that does not give any indication that there are other stories of events and ideas.

This principal idea can be applied to her short stories from her compilation ‘The Thing around Your Neck’. Throughout her short stories, there is a breaking of the ‘norm’, simply that the stereotypical view of an impoverished Africa is simply not there. Instead, the short stories are of middle-class Nigerians. These stories are quite similar to what we would expect in a conventional story; cars, TVs, Christianity, just to name a few examples of characteristic of the Western society. In the short stories, there is still a presence of common stereotypes that are linked to Africa, such as theft, but there is also a mix of modern ideas that aren’t normally associated with poorer nations. Cell One

The first thing that should jump out is the fact that the story begins by describing a typical Nigerian household, and it is important to note that most of the items present are defined as ‘Western’ products. The TV and VCR is a great example of a normal American household good, and it is quite surprising that in Africa (using the term loosely) these things exist. There is no mention of a great famine that is dominating the persona’s life, which plays a part in breaking the ‘single story’ concept of Africa.

However, even though there is mention of such products part of the Nigerian commonplace, it is important to notice that there are major differences between the Western and African cultures. For example, it would be considered normal if...
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