Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on The Danger of a Single Story

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on The Danger of a Single Story

We always appreciate TED talks for inspiration, and we love this one from Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Quick summary: it’s about the danger of a single story. Adichie explains that if we only hear about a people, place or situation from one point of view, we risk accepting one experience as the whole truth.

“The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete,” Adichie says in the video. “They make one story become the only story.”

Instead, she explains, we must seek diverse perspectives — and in turn, writers must tell our own stories. Telling the stories that only we can tell, about our experiences, hopes and fears, helps break down the power of cliches and stereotypes.

You can watch the full TED talk here:

From her own childhood writing featuring only blue-eyed children frolicking in snow — because though she had never seen snow, all her books included it — to her American college roommate’s confusion that an African could speak English, Adichie explores the power of stories:

“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.”

Prefer to read this talk instead? Here’s the transcript for Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED talk.

This is an updated version of a story that was previously published. We update our posts as often as possible to ensure they’re useful for our readers.

Filed Under: Craft
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