Implications of Having One Story


Now more than ever it is important to be properly informed when it comes to the world and its people. In a Ted Talk from 2009 by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, she explains the dangers of only having one story to represent an entire group of people.

Being from Nigeria, Adichie grew up with a certain perceptive when it came to Americans and British people based on literature she had read as a child; with blue-eyed, white, snow playing children, which shaped how she perceived herself and those in her own culture. It was not until she discovered writers from within her own culture that she began to see that what she had believed her entire life up until that point was only one perspective, one story to represent two entire cultures.

She learned an important lesson that she now wants to pass on to others that by only having one source of information and only having one side of a culture can lead to a narrow minded and an ignorance toward others in the world.

Later in life Adichie fell victim to this line of thinking when it came to the Mexican people. After having visited Mexico from the United States of America she realized that the debates going on it the United States was portraying the population of Mexico in an inflated negative manner. “I remember first feeling slight surprise. And the I was overwhelmed with shame. I realized that I had been so immersed in the media coverage of Mexicans that they had become one thing in my mind: the abject immigrant,”said Adichie. Showing that even someone that understands the implications of having one story can get caught up in the ideas showed in that one story.

These examples show us that we as the next generation we need to bridge the gap of social ignorance; we as students of a diverse student population should understand that just because someone is different we need to understand that we are actually not so different. So in turn it is time to get past old ideas and go out of our comfort zones to form truly educated opinions of others.

Through these examples and several more from her life Adichie shows that the dangers of having only one story of a group of people can lead to narrow-minded opinion of others; which hinders our ability to fully comprehend the complexity of others, the struggles of others and even the true nature of others. By only having one story we have limited our ability to understand those in other cultures; by only having one story we have formed a set vision of others and it has become unfathomable for us to comprehend that the worlds people do not always conform to our beliefs of them. In its entirety her message is to show us that we need to change our ways because having one story does not allow us to understand our world for it’s true nature. To show that we heard her message go out seek more stories.