Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Chimamanda Adichie: The danger of a single story

"Stories matter. Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign, but stories can also be used to empower and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people, but stories can also repair that broken dignity."
My art and this blog are my stories and the stories of those who look and love and live in ways similar to me. These stories may or may not be in direct opposition to how black Americans are portrayed in popular culture, but that is but one story. As Adichie said in the video, "the consequence of the single story is this: it robs people of dignity. It makes our recognition of our equal humanity difficult. It emphasizes how we are different rather than how we are similar."

An important distinction to make is that although we as people are similar, we--as members of various ethnicities and genders and sexual orientations, with various levels of ability--are not all on equal terms in society. She speaks in the video about a global scale; my perspective, though speaking of black Americans specifically, seems to be the same, though her thoughts seem a bit overly simplistic.
"The single story creates stereotypes. And the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story."


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