Tech Task numero tres: Chimamanda Adichie: The danger of a single story

22 Jan The Danger of a single story.

Chimanda is an author who grew up in Nigeria. Her twenty minute video shows her discusing the dangers of a single story. That is, giving one side of every story leaves too much to the imagination of others.  She grew up reading British and other foreign books. Thus, she also began writing stories to mirror those stories and not of any that pertained to her, or her culture.  Her realization of a single story came to light when she was introduced to her family’s new house boy. Her mother had only ever told her that he and his family were poor, and that was all that had ever occurred to her to think about him. They visited her house boys’ village and found beautiful pieces of art that he and his brothers had created and Chimanda found herself disheartened that she had never thought of him a anything but poor…to her that was his single story. The video goes on to describe other scenarios like this, that involve her, especially when she heads to America to attend university. Her American roomate can not believe that she has a CD of Mariah Carey because she is from Nigeria, for example.

The reason I chose this video is because it peaked a huge interest in me. One of the major reasons I travel is to see what a place is like, not just from hearing about it through the media. Each and every time I go somewhere new, and especially places that have been portrayed as unsafe or negative, I come away with a whole new perspective, and not just a single story. I hear too many people talk about places, places they’ve never even been, and places they will probably never go, just because of what they think of that place. It’s quite disappointing to say the least. For example, had I listened to many people I used to work with and not went to Bolivia, iwould have never experienced life changing things like camping in the amazon, 4 x4 ing in the Bolivian salt flats with flamingos and volcanoes, or racing down the death road high in the Andes mountains.

I completely agree with Chimanda and her idea of a single story. Too many prejudices are formed from one single idea. This is an important perspective to remember when teaching, as all students have mulit faceted stories and we can not judge them by hearing or seeing only one.  Keeping an open mind and not judging at all, is really what we need to learn.

(Chimanda Adichie)

(Death Road: La Paz Bolivia)

(Bolivian Salt Flats)


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