By Chimamanda Adichie
Why this all fuss about a “single story”? So what is a single story? Does this mean manipulation of ‘a single story’ by countless re-telling and thus creating an ‘entrenched’ view in our minds which we fail to challenge and investigate with a forward-looking vision?
No wonder, this leads to a lot of assumptions, half-truths and stereotypes when this story is passed on from one to another. For example a lot of people think that Australia is like the land of the kangaroos and there’s crocodile Dundee catching crocodiles in the Australian outback, but they do not acknowledge the cities, towns, suburbs, and the people who talk good English. These stories told by people represent who they are and where they’re from. It can be seen from many perspectives.
So when I watched this video on ted talks I was amazed like the other students were. Chimamanda Adichie is from Nigeria, Africa. She says that if you hear a single story about a person or a country we risk a critical understanding. She argues that if we focus on the bad things we flatten our experience and overlook many other good things. And she also argues that the single story deprives people’s dignity and every time she mentions the single story which is one of her key concepts she is referring to a stereotype an epic notion or any perception that we project on to someone or to a group of people or country as a whole.
And one thing I found interesting about her talk was that when she was young she was an early reader and an early writer, and when she wrote, her characters exhibited qualities of the things that she learnt as a child that is western literature and that her characters were white people with blue eyes and blonde hair and they were the stereotypical and personifications of the literatures that she read when she was a child. And she was confined to that single story of that characterization. Then as she started reading other