Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Danger of a Single Story

As we cross borders to read with children, let's heed this warning issued by novelist Chimamanda Adichie about the dangers of listening to only one story about another culture. I especially appreciated her thoughts on power and storytelling.





In the comments, Pittsburgh librarian Sarah Louise posed some great questions as a follow-up to this video:
What is YOUR single story? What is the one *facepalm* question you get asked again and again because of the color of your skin, your accent, the state you are from, the country you are from, the school you went to?

How can your writing, or teaching, or suggestion of books to read, change someone's single story into a faceted story?

5 comments:

Vonna said...

Thanks for posting this fantastic video. Everything she says is so true. By far the best way to see others and see how others view us is through travel, not tourism, but real travel where we spend time getting to know the residents. Unfortunately, travel is beyond the means of so many, so it is up to writers and other artists to bring their world to those who cannot visit physically.

lizard said...

Chimamanda Adichie's TED talk is a wake up call as I write my stories. I will pay attention and not become complacent as a writer and reader. Mil gracias!

Sarah Louise said...

Darn, I was hoping you blogged about it as well!! (But great that you posted it.) As the child of a diplomat, people's single story of someone who lives overseas as a child is either "oh, were your parents missionaries?" or "oh, was your dad in the military?"

I'd love to pose the question to your readers: what is YOUR single story? What is the one *facepalm* question you get asked again and again because of the color of your skin, your accent, the state you are from, the country you are from, the school you went to?

How can your writing, or teaching, or suggestion of books to read, change someone's single story into a faceted story?

xo,
SL

Mitali Perkins said...

I love that question! I'm going to add it to the post.

Jacket Whys said...

Thank you so much for linking me to this very moving TED talk.
I thought for some time about the question... and can think of no question asked over and over because of the color of my (white) skin, my (Yankee) accent, my state (Connecticut), my country. As a WASP child, growing up in a community where there were many first and second generation Americans, I felt the absence of tradition and cultural connection, and was fascinated by cultures I witnessed, read about. After hearing this talk, I will remind myself never to fall into the thinking that any one story is representative of all stories.

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