On the Dangers of “Single Stories”

For this Blog post, I want to build on our work from last class by “reading between the lines” and working to analyze and examine crucial, controversial material that is NOT found in a particular story of your choosing.  Specifically, you are to write 2-3 paragraphs of careful, in-depth analysis on the dangers of “single stories” (to borrow deliberately from Chimamanda Adichie’s well-known TED talk).  In general, the goals here are for you to:  Use your critical thinking skills to build upon Adichie’s ideas from her popular lecture; and practice your skills in critically reading a notable historical or political story – skills of the very kind you will be using for your final writing assignment of the semester.

With these goals in mind, here’s what I would like for you to do in your Blog post:

-For your topic, I want you to pick out a significant narrative “text” that is either written BY someone from another culture, or written ABOUT some person or occurrence from another place.  You might, therefore, select a literary story or some other form of media narrative that deals with important historical or political ideas (a feature news story or even photograph would qualify here).  OR, as an alternative here, if you would like to address a problematic “story” that has emerged in the wake of the controversial 2016 presidential election, that would be acceptable as well.

-Because the goal is to use and build on Adichie’s ideas as a way “in” to some other “single story”, you should quote her talk and use her specific words and ideas in your discussion.

-As Adichie says, the truth is that “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.”  So, in looking at your chosen story, you might ask/answer the following questions (in some way):  What other stories are there but do not get told?  What are some of the most important gaps or omissions in your chosen story, and how can you tell?  Perhaps more importantly, what are the ramifications of these gaps for what the reader perceives to be the “reality” of the situation, the “truth” of the society or political idea in question?  Putting things even more simply, if you “read between the lines” and deconstruct the narrative (in terms of what is seen but also NOT seen), what do you find – and why is this so important??  To answer these questions will likely require a bit of research, and the key is to bring some intellectual nuance to an overly-simplified “story” that will, in the process, allow your reader to more fully see the “big picture” in regards to the situation in question.

20 thoughts on “On the Dangers of “Single Stories”

  1. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a woman who grew up in Nigeria reading British and American books. She came to realize that all the characters were light skinned with blue eyes. The characters would typically play in the snow, eat apples, and talk about the weather. When she began to write stories of her own, she wrote about the characters which she would read about. She wrote these stories despite the fact that she lived in Nigeria where she did not experience snow, ate mangos instead of apples and did not speak of the weather. Her story displays how vulnerable we are at the face of a “single story”. In essence, people tend to believe only what they are directly exposed to and tend to not “read between the lines” of a story to find a meaning that isn’t direct but is still there.
    A prime example of the dangers of a single story is the ongoing protesting against the president elect, Donald Trump. I believe that comparing Donald Trump to Hitler is an extreme form of a “single story” and not reading between the lines. An unwritten rule in higher level policy debate is, he or she that resorts to a Nazi Germany or Hitler comparison loses the argument. This is because there is nothing that can compare to the diabolical actions of Hitler. The comparisons to Hitler and the Holocaust are so irresponsible. If you find Donald Trump’s comments a form of hate speech, it is just as hateful to compare him with Hitler. This is where I think a single story being so dangerous comes into play. While some of Donald Trump’s comments should not be excused, making a comparison to Hitler does not seem accurate. If you read between the lines maybe you interpret his comments while noting the fact that he is a successful businessman and yes his public speaking is not the best. The reality of the situations is that Donald Trump is not very much like Hitler, some similarities during his campaign could have fueled this assumption if you decided to interpret it in that way. But, just because candidates such as Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, Bernie Sanders and president elect Donald Trump engage in an over-the-top jeremiad does not place them in the same category as a deranged man who took the lead in torturing and placing human beings in death camps. All in all, not reading between the lines can be dangerous. The situation can be something as simple as thinking all of your characters have to take part in eating apples, talking about the weather and playing in the snow or something as complicated as comparing many political figures to Hitler.

  2. Adichie comes from Nigeria where she studied a British literature and read american stories. Where she decided her path in life of becoming an author; that was her true passion and she stuck to that.But as she began to study the literature she narrowed everything down and picked everything apart; to the idea that we tend to believe what we do and not what others go through. For example the snow she talks about with her characters; she never had the opportunity to experience because of the location in which she grew up; Nigeria never had snow and she was not able to relate. But as humans not just while reading we do not tend to read between the lines; look in depth on things. We always look at what we can relate to instead of opening our minds. And simply this is something we need to do to grow as people. But her idea can relate to today because after this past election people have decided to compare the new president of the United States (Donald Trump) to Nazi leader and sociopath Adolph Hitler. Because of racist comments and derogatory comments he has made in the past. That obviously cannot be over looked because he has said some awful things; but we have to look beyond and look between the lines. Trumps goal is to make the United States the better than what it has been; and Hitlers goal was to take over a country and make them what he wanted it to be. Trump is not just looking at himself and is actually looking at america; are there some things he should have not said? Yes but that is the past and now it is his job to make america great again. So the idea of him being “Hitler” is not relevant for the fact that he is not going to be killing millions of people and is not trying to become a dictatorship as maybe it doesn’t look his goal is to simply make america great again. People who voted for Hilary Clinton or any other candidate now have to look beyond their opinions and thoughts and have to open their minds and have faith in trump because he is now the leader and there is no changing that; those same people have to read between the lines and see some good in Trump as there is not all bad in him.

  3. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a women who grew up in Nigeria and tells her story in the TED Talk, “The Danger of a Single Story.” She studied British literature and read American stories and this was the start of her lifelong dream of being the author that she has become. Through the fact that Adichie grew up in Nigeria, meant that she was limited to the different aspects of the world like, the weather and different foods people ate, however she wrote the types of books she read with characters being the typical white and blue-eyed, played in the snow, and ate apples. Adichie had the skill of “reading in between the lines” and focused many of her stories based on that simple line. People are told one story which makes them think that’s the only possible meaning to the story. Her story demonstrates how vulnerable we are at the face of a “single story” usually as children and only believe stories we hear first without “reading in between the lines.”
    The idea of dangers in a single story can be relatable to the present day riots because of the recent election of Donald Trump becoming President. He is being compared to Adolph Hitler, which is a form of a “single story” in the way that people aren’t looking at this observation in any other way. Comparing Trump to Hitler is a very close minded thing to do and displays “single stories” to the max and shows how dangerous they can be. It’s not right to riot against Donald Trump’s speeches when you haven’t looked at every side of it. Jumping to conclusion is not the right thing to do in this situation or in any situation for that matter and I feel this has a lot to do with the danger in a “single story.” Yes Trump has said some very awful comments, but people should try looking past that and realizing what a successful business man he is and how he is going to change our country for the better one way or another. It’s wrong for people to make these horrible assumptions about him when he hasn’t taken office yet, no one knows for sure how or what he will do and just because of things he has said shouldn’t determine whether you hate him or love him. He especially should not be compared to former sociopath Adolph Hitler, that’s reaching a new low. If one was to “read in between the lines” of Trumps story they would realize how successful he is and our country needs a person like so. People need to get past all the so called “hate speeches” and stop making their own as to comparing him to Hitler.

  4. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie who was born in Nigeria and comes from a middle class family. In her TED Talk her talk is about “The Danger of a Single Story”. The danger of a single story refers to the development of preconceived knowledge on a group of people from a source such as a book, television, our another person without meeting or experiencing it first hand. She experiences this multiple times in her life, when she was younger and would read books on people who were from other countries and continents such as Europe. From the books she developed this single story that the people in the books were how people from these countries acted normally. She had no one to bring doubt to this idea because she was on a different continent from them. Another experience she had was when she went to college. Her roommate was surprised when she was able to speak fluent language and listen to the similar music such as Mariah Carey. Her roommate had developed preconceived knowledge of people from African countries over her life by the way the news and school had talked about them. The news only displaces the bad things that happen in these countries she over time you start to believe that all countries in Africa are like this.
    The dangers of a single story can be related to the way people see gay people. In movies and TV shows gay people are portrayed as flamboyant, and talk a certain way. But in reality that is not the truth. When my older brother came out everyone in my family was completely shocked because he never talked that certain way and never acted in ways we had seen gays in movies and TV shows. My family and I had developed the single story belief that all gays acted that way and for the most part you would be able to tell who was gay by the way they talked and acted. From that point on I started to talk everything I saw on the TV or movies less literal because not everything is going to be right and accurate. The result of my brother coming out was I got to see that anyone could be gay you do not have to act or talk in any certain way. It also helped me see that believing in a single story can skew the way you see all kinds of people in today’s world.

  5. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was born in Nigeria and came from a middle class family, who had a house servant. In her TED Talk about “The Danger of a Single Story”, she describes what it means to have a single story. At a young age Adichie began reading American children’s books, from reading these books she began to think that all books had to involve white people. And things that she had never truly encountered in real life. Having a lack of literature in Nigeria, written by Africans she just began to see literature only as having white characters and ideas. After coming to the United States Adichie went to visit Mexico on a trip. Using the Single Story concept, she went down there believing that Mexicans were trying to ‘flee over the border”. She said that immigration became a word that was linked with Mexico, and before she arrived there that’s the only story that she saw. After living going to college in the United States she say Africa in a different way than she did before, which allowed her to she multiple stories to one idea.
    Take the most recent Presidential election for example, millions of people in the United States truly believe that Donald Trump is a racist. The things that Trump is saying, is always being shape shifted into something less appealing by the media. It’s the media’s job to find topics that will become huge headlines. And a huge headline would be that one of the Presidential candidates was heard saying racial remarks. People see these headlines and right away they believe that its true. Sometimes the media isn’t always right and they are trying to make Trump out to be a very bad person. You can’t jump to conclusions with anyone in life these days because you don’t truly know what they’ve been through and what their like deep down. Everyone knows that Trump is a businessman and that he has the tendency to say things that aren’t really appropriate. Most people in America see Donald Trump in one story, they don’t even think about what a different view could do for them. If you look past the comments that he has made that make you aggravated, then you may be able to see that he really loves America and is trying to do everything that he can to make it an outstanding country.

  6. From watching Chimamanda Adichie’s well-known TED talk, I came to an understanding that people have different perceptives on what life is supposed to be like. Chimamanda Adichie grew up reading primarily white literature from the United States and The United Kingdom. Reading these stories, she feels as if the stories should only have white characters and it should resemble certain characteristics as well. Her story unfolds the truth in our society back then and even today on how people view things without even noticing that is has a single story behind it.

    Last week I watched a very insightful documentary on Netflix called, “13th”. This documentary in a nut shell told a single story on how African Americans have been targeted since slavery. During that era in history, African American’s were looked down upon from their color of their skin. Years and years after slavery ended, there were still serious problems in America that led to the Civil Rights Movement. As we all know, the media plays a big part in people’s opinions and in some ways, the media could also be used to antagonize people’s perspectives on certain conflicts. During the Civil Rights Movement, the media portrayed African Americans as being a threat to people and even dangerous. The media twisted people’s opinions on African Americans from being less than the white race and changed it to being a race of individuals that have no right to be in America. In essence, this effected African Americans still till this day. They still have stereotypes as being dangerous, criminals, robbers, gang members and so on but is any of those words true about African Americans? It could possibly be true about certain individuals, but those words do not resemble a whole race. Those words can resemble anyone who are dangerous or who are criminals regardless of skin color. Still today, I talk to people that say prejudice things such as those words above and it bothers me. Not every person in any race is a bad person, they are people just like all of us. Living and growing up in a generation that has a better understanding of these issues is better for the next generation to come so they do not have to live in a society of racism anymore.

  7. As of the beginning of this school year I have been involved in one of Stockton’s clubs, The Global Health Team. This club is a group of people who are all interested in helping and raising money for third world countries or developing countries with medicine and health related care. Last year, they took a trip to Guatemala and taught children how to wash their hands and gave out pills to kill the parasites that everyone had from the drinking water. We have meetings every other week and during them, we talk about the problems that are happening right now, such as the places in Haiti that were affected by the hurricane and do not have the proper health aid. In two of the meetings, we have met “experts” on these kind of missions, Natalie Jesionka and Pippa Biddle. Basically, they taught us that we need to be completely educated before making any moves towards “saving a county.” Jesionka mentioned a story about how she went on a mission trip with the plan in mind that they were going to build the villagers a library. The money was spent on a library and that is all they could really do when they got there. The villagers said, that in fact they did not need a library, but a cow for the farms. There was nothing that the visitors could do, so they built it anyway. These villagers could not read and therefore, within a year, the library was made into a chicken coup.
    I find this to be relevant to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED Talk because the people on the mission trip heard one story. “This struggling village does not have a library and we have the money and equipment to give them one.” Yes this sounds like a good thing, but we need to be educated. Another town in this country may have really benefitted from a library but this one in particular simply needed a cow.
    We have all heard someone say, “Finish your food, there are starving kids in Africa.” Though, there are families in Africa that are saying the same thing about other people. Adichie is from Africa and she told a story about how her mother said, “Finish your food! Don’t you know? People like Fide’s family have nothing.” We cannot just assume that an entire country in drowning in famine and needs our help. We need to inform ourselves on the truth before making any assumptions.
    Adichie’s roommate fell under this flaw. She was surprised that Adichie spoke English so well and assumed she listened to tribal music. “She assumed I did not know how to use a stove.” We are all guilty of this sort of thing because sometimes this is in fact the only story we have heard about Africa. “Africa needs help.” But as we can see from Adichie’s stories along with Jesionka and Pippa Biddle, we cannot categorize an entire country under this.

  8. In Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s speech on TED-TALK she states that“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.” The danger of a single story can be very impactful and can shape your view on certain people. Even in her life she grew up reading American literature and began to see the irrational stories being developed about certain races, groups, genders, etc. But we must use our critical thinking skills to properly “read between the lines” to find true meanings.
    In recent news there has been a movement from the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus trying to sell “all white people are racist” sweatshirts. They are inciting it from recent police altercations with minorities. It is concluding that “all” whites are racist which is obviously not true. The people that made these conclusions based on a single experience that occurred. Then assumptions are made to categorize the whole race itself to be racist. People are naive to believe this is true because it’s what they see on the media. The media depicts all the bad stories because it’s what people are interested in. They twist stories for the interest of viewers to grown their company. You can’t hate on them doing them because it is a business trying to make money. But when you are so influential on the society today you must broadcast all views of topics. Not just the bad show the people the good so they won’t think of a certain to group to be one thing. Just as Adichie says that some African-Americans are poor and living in harsh conditions. On the other side their are wealthy well-known Africans that influenced the society greatly. Some white people are in fact racist but the majority of them aren’t. People categorize people in result of a person experience they encountered with them. To conclude, one story should not shape our understanding for the whole group itself.

  9. As Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie said in her TED talk while she was growing she read British and American Children books. She also said in her TED talk that even though growing up Nigeria she never left outside of Nigeria. While reading the British and American Children books she says that white people were portrayed as pretty much perfect being described with blue eyes, how they played in the snow, and ate apples. She also said that the stories she read influenced her to write and all of her stories included these qualities previously stated for white people and how they would all drink ginger beer in her stories even though she had no idea what is actually was. After realizing what she read and what influenced her a child she said this all demonstrates how vulnerable we are in the face of a story as a child. This is a very true statement because all children believe anything that they hear, see, or read. We need to influence children that they should not be vulnerable and believe everything because as Chimamanda said this eventually cause us to believe in stereotypes. She also talks about how all the books she read were about foreign people and how she was convinced by their nature that all books had to have all foreigners in them.
    As she continued to read more books she soon realized that people like her could also exist in literature and she began to write about the things she recognized. The consequence she faced after reading all these American and British books was that she did not know people like her could exist in literature.
    The readings she read and how it made her thing differently about literature kind of reminds me of the textbooks and the pieces of literature we learn about today. I feel as if all the textbooks and literature we learn about is the things people want us to hear. For example all white people were portrayed as perfect in the literature she read but what is didn’t show is the bad things. Having someone wanting to hear what you want them to hear plays a huge part in today’s literature and media. All the bad things you don’t want people hearing are always in very small print or not stated at all. This shows that you should not follow single sided stories as they can mislead you by not showing you the bad side. To wrap it up I feel as if we should we learn the bad side and not the good side of the literature we read, the textbooks we read, and also what we are taught on a daily basis.

  10. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie gave a TED talk called “The Danger of a Single Story.” It tells her story and shines a light on what happens when humans are faced with a complex situation and the only way they can comprehend it is by reducing it to a single narrative. She talks about her own account of being African, being put in the category of being poor and living in tribes. When in reality she’s a well-educated woman who is a writer. People are surprised with how well her English is after learning that she’s from Nigeria yet they do not know that English is the national language. Her roommate in college was excited to hear her tribal music when in reality she listens to Mariah Carey. These are stereotypes that people put in place because they don’t understand fully where these people come from. They don’t know what that person’s history is and sometimes they don’t care. When meeting someone it’s easier to put these people into these categories, instead of actually seeing them for what they are. It’s easier to dismiss someone just because they are put into a category.
    In this past election we saw this happen a lot, Donald Trump basically ran his entire campaign on stereotypes and how people buy into the single story ideology. Putting all Mexican immigrants into the bin of them being drug dealers and rapists. He also played with the stereotype of all Muslims being terrorist, advocating a ban on all Muslims. Hillary Clinton also faced this in her being a Women as well as a seasoned politician. People looks at her as weak and could be over emotional because she’s a woman, but question why she doesn’t smile enough. The single story of her being a politician, in being the first lady she was seen as letting her husband get away with scandal. She wasn’t looked at for all the good she did as the first lady. Also, she is penalized for being a politician for so long, the single story that all politicians are corrupt liars and that she’s been doing it for so long so she must be. Yet, as a politician, she has done so much good. The single story concept is what is wrong with humanity. It divides us in so many ways which created bias as well as stigmas.

  11. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was born in Nigeria and came to the United States when she was 19 years old for college. In her recent segment on TED talk “The Danger of a Single Story” she talks about her life growing up in Nigeria and when she came to the United States. She started reading and writing at young age. She would read British and English literature books and would write about things she read about which is all the characters she would read about were white and had blue eyes. She then goes on to talk about how she would never talk about the weather because she is from Nigeria, ate mangos, and would drink ginger beer because the people in her books that she read would drink ginger beer. Adichie talks about what it means to tell a “single story” when she had an 8 year old boy house boy all adichies parents ever told her about this little boy is that his family was poor nothing else besides that. Adichie’s story tells the truth in our society back then and how we view certain things without even noticing that it has a single story behind it. That is why Adichie says “read between the lines” and try to find that hidden meaning.

    I think a significant controversy in our society today is that Donald Trump is the new president elect. Some people are either terrified or happy there is no in between. The reason most people are terrified of Donald Trump being the new President of the United States is that some will say he is a racist, sexist, and a radical republican. Most people who believe that get their information from either Twitter, Instagram, and/or Facebook which are not the most reliable resources to follow in my opinion. It is those same people who have never done any research about Donald Trump besides what other people have told them. That is Trump’s “Single Story” that everyone portrays about him. When Adichie was growing up she has an 8 year old boy help them around the house. Adichie’s parents said the only thing that her parents said about the boy is that his family was poor that is it nothing else. That is the same thing with Donald Trump everyone thinking he is all those negative things when that is just what they were told and believe it now. It goes to show how the danger of a single story can really change your perspective of someone you do not know much about.

  12. Through Chiamando Adichie’s TED talk, she discussed how powerful single stories can have a dramatic positive or negative effect on a person. In her TED talk, she explained that there are many single stories about African Americans that reflect negatively towards them and through these stories people have a negative attitude or feeling towards the African American. To the contrary, African Americans actually bring many positive aspects to America. Someone who has been recently greatly affected by single stories is Donald Trump. During the 2016 election there have been many accusations and single stories that tell Americans that Donald Trump is a racist, sexist, and many other negative traits. These scandals and single stories have generated a tremendous amount of controversy surrounding Donald Trump. At the onset of these stories it always appears that he is a horrible, hateful person. However, I feel that some of these allegations are false and misleading. Some of these alligations are the sexual harassment charges against Donald Trump.
    The women who have come forward have stories that purport a lot of controversy and shows that these women have a lot to gain from the publicity and seeing him be taken down. When reading one story on this scandal I found that it favored the women being affected rather than Donald Trump. While reading another article, it slanted towards Trump and how Trump is wrongly accused. In addition there was another story that said he respected women and placed them in important positions in his business. This comparison shows that you cannot rely solely on one story for the facts. It also shows you that there are two sides to every story. The facts from one story are not enough to determine whether someone or some group of people are good or not. In order to ascertain the validity of a person you have to evaluate many articles. Even after reading many articles you still don’t know what to believe, but you will have a better understanding of that person. Chiamando Adichie showed me that you truly don’t know what to believe until you have witnessed it in the first person. In choosing this scandal I have found that this is true and that you truly cannot find out whether or not those accusations are true or not.

  13. Chimamanda Adichie tells about “The Danger of a single story”. She tells the story of how when she discovered African books and how before she discovered the African books she believed that the only people who could exist in literature are the type of people in American and British books. As she says in her Ted talk “So what the discovery of African writers did for me was this: It saved me from having a single story of what books are.” She then goes on to give an example of when she came to a university in the United States and how her roommate’s judgment of her was formed before she even met Adichie due to the single story of how Africans are typically viewed in America. “My roommate had a single story of Africa: a single story of catastrophe.” as she states in her Ted talk.
    One example I can think of the dangers of a single story is the all too common police brutality stories. For a good amount of time a large amount of police shootings were becoming viral and caused a lot of problems for law enforcement. Some people went on to believe that the reason for the shootings were just as simple as “oh cops are racist so that’s why they shoot minorities!” They were not looking at the officers side of the story on why he/she pulled the trigger. They never looked at if the officers life was threatened and if the officer was scared for his or her life. They acted like the officer has no guilt, pain, or regret for killing a person. The biggest danger of the single story in this situation is that some people are using violence against people who support the police and innocent police officers are getting shot because of the bad press the police get all based on the single story.

  14. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a famous Nigerian novelist. She was on TED talk giving her input on “The Dangers of Short Stories”. On TED talk Adichie really gives people something think about. She speaks about hearing different stories, different sides of a story to give us a new outlook. There are many dangers of hearing a single story. There could also be positive outcomes to a short story but not many. Adichie speaks about the tragic short stories that negatively impact African Americans all throughout the world. Adichie overcomes many of the stereotypes that African Americans go through, like speaking good english or even going to college. One story of one person or group of people from Africa skewed everyone’s belief of everyone in Africa.

    One of the dangers of hearing a single story is that that one story can shape our entire perspective on that specific topic. One single story that really shaped our perspective on Muslims is 9/11. On September 11th, 2001 a Muslim group called Al-Qaeda flew planes into the Twin Towers and killed many people while doing it. Ever since then many people think that all Muslims are terrorists. Our airport security now keeps a closer eye on people who look like they are from the Middle East. It’s a shame that one tragic event like that puts a label on people of that culture. I think that because of this event more and more people are going to put a label on Muslim people. Another example with the Muslim population being targeted from this event is what our new president Donald Trump has said. Trump has come at people of the Muslim culture saying how they basically shouldn’t be allowed in our country because of terroristic threats. It’s bad that even our own president is labeling these people because of one tragic incident. Yes, there are terrorist groups that are Muslim, but there can be terrorists all over the world with different types of people. This ties into what Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie speaks about on TED talk with “The Dangers of Short Stories” because with a short story comes a label and than all people feed into that label whether it’s true or not

  15. In Chimamanda Adichie’s segment on TED’s talk, she presents some significant points on the perspectives others have taken on about history or culture, which she interprets as a single story. In this segment, Adichie expresses what a’ single story’ is and her experience that brought her to the realization of this ‘single story.’ Adichie insists that these single stories take on stereotypes that are truthful but incomplete. They are incomplete because the human being allows for one’s experience or interactions with someone perhaps, not of the same color, gender, etc. to be the prime example of all. Or they are incomplete because there is only one interpretation of a situation, and or experience, for example, history taught in America. The history taught in America is very one sided, and what we would call a “single story.” From my experience with learning American history, African Americans aren’t really recognized.
    The hardships African Americans have faced in history aren’t accounted for. In my opinion, I feel slavery has been and is overlooked. Also, American history does not really commend African Americans for their service to this country. Many do not know African Americans fought in the civil war with courage through all the corrupt behavior America has displayed. According to History.com, “black soldiers had fought in the Revolutionary War and–unofficially– in the War of 1812.” Fortunately, I had the opportunity in high school to learn this in a black experience class. Unfortunately, all school’s don’t have classes such as these which makes them ignorant to history and wide open to the single story of a “white man’s war.” There were African Americans on the front line, but they are excluded in history. Led to believe that white men only fought for their country. Why is our history so one sided? It should be noted that there were colored people fighting with white people with the same intentions. However, some may not believe that African Americans fought battles. They may only believe what mainstream history tells them or don’t believe the reports of history at all. The dangers of a single story leave people ignorant and close-minded. For the truth is, no one today could possibly witness it with their own eyes, but only through historical documents.

  16. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie explains how “single stories” can result in stereotypes and many assumptions. When you grow up being taught specific things about a particular group of people, it sticks to you and you have no choice but to believe it because that is all you know. You’ll see a particular person and based off the single stories, you already make so many presumptions about them. Adichie’s story is that she was a girl who grew up in Nigeria. But she grew up reading english books with english stories, giving her an idea of what English people looked and acted like. However, she wasn’t the only one with the idea that certain people looked and acted certain ways. Many Americans believe that all Africans are the same; Dark, not fluent in the English language, and aggressive. When Adichie came to the United States for college her roommate assumed that she wouldn’t understand the language, let alone speak it to properly. All because when Americans hear or see africans they assume that they cannot speak properly or understand.

    One single story that has a bad affect on some people are the ones on people from Trenton, New Jersey. People say all the time that all people from Trenton are hopeless and have no ambition to be better. They all will eventually sell or take drugs, they don’t care for school so they don’t need support. Before people from Trenton can even try to ask for help they are denied because people assume that they are trash and no hope. So if no stores will hire residents from Trenton, what other way will they survive? So they turn to selling drugs and give up. Top colleges won’t even look at college applications from students from trenton, no matter their GPA because they assume that the student is trouble, or they won’t work in school and they are going to just fail because that is the name society gave Trenton students. People believe that people from Trenton do not deserve assistance because of the high act of violence but not realizing Trenton turned like this because people gave up on them. Back then Trenton was one of the most popular places in NJ, no violence no crime, but people payed less attention and Trenton as they knew went down and kept going down ever since. However, not all Trenton student or people are “dangerous” or “uneducated” many of us would like to prove people wrong. For example, me, I grew up in Trenton and I’ve always been told things would be so hard for me because of that, people won’t believe in me or invest their time to help me. So I always had to work hard for me personally and to prove a point. Being in college right now is a blessing because most of us don’t make it here. However, people fail to realize that we don’t make it because of those “single stories”. That is exactly what Adichie is trying to explain, single stories cause more negatives than it ever did positives. It is something that should really be resolved by people just learning more information on different situations.

  17. Chimamanda was a girl that was born and raised in Nigeria. Chimamanda is a very smart girl. She started reading at a age of 3-4 and started writing at a age of 7. When she started writing, she saw a pattern to all her characters. They were all white and had very stereotypical characteristics. This is because she was influenced by single stories and therefore in her brain, she ended up drawing characters that are only white. In her TED talk, she talked about the dangers of a single story. Single story is basing someone and their personality through one thing you might have heard about them or their race. This can be very dangerous because it causes a lot of judgement. She experienced single story when she came here for college. Her roommate had assumed that Chimamanda does not speak very good english and does not even know how to work the stove only because she is from Africa. She was very shocked to find that Chimamanda was very good at english and was not any less than her roommate.

    A real life example of single story is the 2016 election. America tried to avoid single stories but unfortunately, they were triggered again in this election. Donald Trump has called Mexicans rapists and Muslims terrorists. This is an assumption based on single stories and does not apply to the entire race. Once people understand that, they will have a new story.

  18. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was born in Nigeria and came from a middle class family, who had a house servant. During her TED talk, Adichie said she started reading and writing at a young age. She shared that she only read British and American children books and “wrote exactly the type of stories she was reading.” The “danger of a single story” refers to the development of preconceived knowledge on a group of people from a source such as a book, television, our another person without meeting or experiencing it firsthand. People are told one story which makes them think that’s the only possible meaning to the story.

    An example of this is our recent presidential election. Many things were said about the candidates that were made to be not true or just a mix up of words. The audience just heard what they wanted to hear from the candidates. There have been many post on social media comparing Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler. Of course the people who are comparing the two of them don’t really know that much about Adolf Hitler besides whatever they were taught in school. Some comparisons of the two are: both proposed mass deportations, anti-Jew/Muslim fascist, and thinks Jews/Muslims should wear special IDs. Clearly this little bit of information cannot compare the two at all, but some Americans will do whatever it takes to avoid seeing what is right in front of them. Trump is not a great person, but he’s not Hitler. These are the effects of a single story because people know so little about Trump and Hitler.

  19. In Chimamanda Nogozi Adichie’s TED talk she explains how she was raised in Nigeria and hoe she never left Nigeria. She talks about the books she read when she was younger, and how it made all of the cultures seem different from hers. She saw white people as more privileged almost as if they were perfect and had everything. The literature stereotyped everything, and she felt as though women couldn’t be the main character or that many were more privileged then her. In Hollywood and social media, they make Africa seem like a horrible place with horrible people, but it is a beautiful country with very kind people. She would read British and American books she realized that the characters with light skin, blue eyes, played in the snow, an ate apples. She eventually began to write her own stories about the characters she read about, even though she didn’t play in the snow, and she ate mangos instead of apples. She showed her reads how dangerous the single story can be. People believe anything they read or see in the media, but we shouldn’t because the media portrays things in negative ways. She wants us to open our minds in realizing the way that literature, or TV, or any type of media can be wring in the way the portray things.
    This reminds me of how the LGBTQ community is portrayed. Gays on TV they are seen as flamboyant, many believe they are pedophiles. Bi sexual, and transgenders are portrayed as wrong, and something that is not “acceptable”, who is to say if that is acceptable or not. I have two bosses and work who are both gay, and they are the nicest and funniest people you will ever meet. If you just met them for the first time, and didn’t know them, you would never know they are gay. My best friend was bi sexual, and it was only a phase until he came out, but when he was bi sexual there was nothing weird about him he was still the same person I’ve known my whole life. I feel as though transgenders get most of the hate. They are trying to be their true self; they finally feel like they are the person they are meant to be. They get beat up, judges, and made fun of for this, all because the media shows them as wrong, and people grew up learning that, that is wrong. The LGBTQ community has a whole is viewed as some freak show, like a group of people that don’t belong. If we follow Adichie’s talk about opening our minds, and how the single story is dangerous, we will realize that they are great people, people just like us, but they have different likes and interests.

  20. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a women who grew up in Nigeria, and tells her story in the TED Talk, “The Danger of a Single Story.” Adichie tells us that a “single story” is the focus to any one side of a story so much, that it ultimately becomes the story to believe in. This tricks readers of a story to believe what is presented in front of them as “fact”, but none the less is actually a small piece to a larger puzzle. Learning over and over again, stereotypes, bias views, and lies, till it becomes a “real” image in ones head. Growing up, Adichie read english books, to give her a stronger idea of what English people look and act like. In doing so, she found how English people viewed Africans. A stereotype too well known in American culture, and a story too one sided for a positive image. It becomes hard to see any African American as a well educated and healthy individual, especially if almost every source tells you other wise. However, if one was to look deeper into a story and not just believe in one side, they would see that these stereotypes aren’t all that true.

    A great example of a “single story”, and a bias views, is the Middle East. The current war on terror is, in my opinion the largest “single story” as of present day. As an American I learned and read about news updates regarding the war in Syria, troops fighting ISIS, and cities being destroyed. Seems that every time when searching about a country in the Middle East, a bombardment of bombings and killings pop up. Infinite articles swarm the web about how terrifying the war is, but target Arabs in the attack on terror. So by only covering the negatives, many Arabs have been victim to stereotypes. The fear that every Arab is a terrorist ready to cause harm, is the news being fed to Americans. Fear tactics became the normal in America, we see it in articles, news reports, and even during the presidential election. People who tend to believe what they first are told, can spread hate among the current conflict involved in the Middle East. These people can influence important decisions that should be looked at more carefully, and not just jumped into conclusion. However, since they have been taught that the image of an Arab is a terrorist, they blinding agree to make quick assumptions. This has led to wrongful occupation, millions of innocent civilians effected, and a continuing war. As this is a more foreign issue, we see stereotypes of Arabs in America. Putting a label on a person, because of what they are isn’t a civilized act, it’s racism. Even if one is taught that it’s the norm or that it is “right”, should take account for how they are viewed in another’s eye. A person can only change a “single story” by educating the views of the people who make these “single stories”. Until then it’s being fed to the readers as fact, and manipulating important views.

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