Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The danger of a single story

One thing that I enjoyed about watching this TedTalk by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is how she starts off by saying, “I am a story teller” Luckily for me I was already familiar with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. For one, Beyoncé sampled a speech by her in her song “Flawless”. Her input in that song is perfect. And secondly, in my Creative Writing class, we have actually read a couple of stories written by her. They were all amazing because of the way she conveys a story. In her writings, the same things she discusses in her TedTalk, were revealed. Like she says, she wrote about what was familiar to her. And I think because of her experiences and her ability to share stories, she freed herself from that single story life style.

When I try to connect the idea of having a single story with my life, I think about certain things growing, basically stereotypes that I have learned about. I think the one thing I can think about is like, stereotypes based on me. I think people have single story of not me, but African Americans or black people in general. Just the same, how there are stereotypes about White Americans., etc. I have mentioned before how for the most part I feel as though I didn’t get the typical response of “all black people are loud, ghetto, etc.” For me it was true that people had this mind framed, but they viewed me as the opposite of that stereotype. These people still had that single story mind set.

Honestly growing up, I wasn’t instilled with different stereotypes about people and races or different places that I can say I shaped into a single story. And as I continued to grow, I took the time to understand more about the differences in people so that I wouldn’t be prejudice or as I am learning, a single story mind set. And just like Chimamanda Ngozi says, the stories we hear aren’t necessarily false, they are just incomplete. There is always more than one story to DEFINE someone. And I like how Chimamanda explains this and reveals this with her own experiences. One thing that Chimamanda Ngozi said that stuck out to me however was this:

“All I have heard about them was how poor they were, so that it had come impossible for me see them as anything else but poor…so poverty was my single story of them”

Chimamanda Ngozi says she wishes they were revealed as “poor and hardworking”. Therefore poverty wouldn’t be the single story of them. Now that I think about this, I think, well hmm, did I hear something about someone and think well that is all that they are; that is all that makes them, them. I feel like everyone has something they heard about youth, about different places, about other people, and we use that small piece of information, and map it into its "single story". As humans I believe we unconsciously, all do this. And now we realize…we can’t do this. This is the dangers of a single story.

Below is the link to a prose poem by Chimamanda Ngozi if you want to read it! And it definitely goes along with the theme of "single stories".

My mother, the Crazy African


  1. I like how you took the time growing up to understand the differences in people rather than listening to the stories you were told. One way to keep yourself from developing prejudices is to educate yourself. Great post!

  2. Loved your post, and loved the poem you attached, it was a great read!!

  3. Your post is certainly very organized. It was helpful to see that you are already familiar with Chimamanda and that you were able to relate her other work to the TED talk. Awesome post!

  4. nicely put Danai. i see your a fan of Chimamanda and you seem to share a love of writing with her. I like the way you organized and thought this blog out. qouting the video. I glad your able to see what seeing a single story of person is about which is prejudging.

  5. I like how you referenced Chimamanda's other work within your blog. I never realized that was her in Flawless. I, too, like that part of the song and think that she makes valid points!