professornana (professornana) wrote,
professornana
professornana

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Danger of a single story

I watched a beautiful TED Talk by following a link from Facebook yesterday which reminds us all of the danger of ONE story as emblematic of all stories. Here is the link to the talk: http://www.ted.com/talks/chimamanda_adichie_the_danger_of_a_single_story?language=en. Take some time to view this remarkable talk from 2009.



Chimananda Ngozi Adichie reminds us of how what we read might affect how we write and tell stories. Her opening anecdote about how impressionable kids are, how what they read and hear is taken in as "real." She moves on to talk about how finding books about her own culture, country, physicality was eye-opening. Books, she asserts, saved her from thinking there is ONE story for us all. Single stories mean we could not possibly have connections with the "other." We always think of others as separate.

When I think about those who would keep books from kids and use the excuse, "we don't have kids who are ________________" (fill-in-the-blank with whatever comes to mind in terms of race, gender, ethnicity, sexual identity/reality, etc.). These censors (for even gatekeepers are censors), rationalize that certain books do not need to be in a collection since they do not reflect the reality of a particular community. Forget books as mirrors, we do not need them as windows or doors either.

And this talk also deals with how stories are told, about authenticity, about appropriation. The talk includes references to so many other issues we are facing today. All in the context of the STORY and the POWER of the story. There is much here to consider. But the bottom line is this: there is not a single story.
Tags: power, story
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