Tuesday, February 04, 2014
While on my blogging hiatus, which is what I've taken to calling my four weeks away from this space, I watched more than a handful of Ted Talks. Not from any desire to watch the Ted Talk back catalogue in it's entirety, or to find a specific meaning in the chaos that often feels like my mind - those Ted Talkers can be so inspirational, right? Mostly my watching came about from absentminded internet wandering, where one finds oneself wandering down paths and up alleyways and through historic buildings - all virtual of course.
It was one such virtual wander that led me to this talk by Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, about the danger of the single story. Adichie speaks about this danger, making references to her childhood reading and story telling and her experience as a young black woman attending an American university.
It stayed with me for a number of reasons. Not least because I love stories, but also because the idea that when we take a single story as gospel, we make assumptions and contribute to stereotypes that are simply not reflective of a society, a people, a county or a continent seems incredibly relevant in the world we live in.
By accepting these single stories, not unlike those accepted by Adichie's college roommate, we miss out on so many other stories - both good and bad. And not just that, by accepting single stories we stifle our our minds, we limit our ability to learn and we fail to comprehend our world in a meaningful way.
Watch it, it's twenty minutes of your life, and tell me what you think.