The Danger of a Single Story

988669_10152882434160652_1893030052_nWelcome to another Tuesday with TED. This week we’re watching novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie who talks about how our lives and cultures are composed of many overlapping stories. Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice — and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding.

Inspired by Nigerian history and tragedies all but forgotten by recent generations of westerners, Adichie’s novels and stories are jewels in the crown of diasporan literature. Her novel Half of a Yellow Sun has helped inspire new, cross-generational communication in her native Nigeria about the Biafran war. Her newest book, The Thing Around Your Neck, is a brilliant collection of stories about Nigerians struggling to cope with corruption in their country as well as the Nigerian immigrant experience. She seeks to instill dignity into the finest details of each character, whether poor, middle class, or rich, exposing along the way the deep scars of colonialism in the African landscape.

I found this TEDTalk fascinating, and I think you will too. Enjoy!

Did this talk change how you view Africa and other foreign cultures? What are the single stories that you tell yourself? How might you change this story?

Until next time,
Cynthia Patton

About Cynthia J. Patton

Writer, Editor, Advocate, Speaker, Special Needs Attorney, and Autism Mom. Also the Founder and Chairperson of Autism A to Z, a nonprofit providing resources and solutions for life on the spectrum.
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