On Single Stories and Master Narratives

In this Blog post, I want you to practice “reading between the lines” by analyzing crucial, controversial material that is NOT found in a particular story of your choosing.  Specifically, you are to write 2 paragraphs of careful, in-depth analysis on the dangers of “single stories” (to borrow pointedly from Chimamanda Adichie’s TED talk), OR two paragraphs on the related issue of “master narratives” (as outlined by Derrick Aldridge in the article assigned for this dat). 

For your topic, then, I want you to respond to either the TedTalk by Adichie, OR the article by Aldridge.  So, you will either present an alternative “single story”, or a different “master narrative” told by historians about notable figures such as Martin Luther King, Jr. (the focus of Aldridge’s article).  If you want to respond to Adichie, 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.  If you want to respond to Aldridge, you should locate an account of a notable historical figure, and then see how that figure is shaped, framed, limited, or idealized into a simplified “master narrative.” 

Because the goal is to use and build on the ideas of (one of) these writers,
you might very well quote them and use their ideas in your analysis, as you
explore the ways in that historical and cultural stories often create “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” (as Adichie mentions in
her lecture).  So, in looking at your chosen “single story” or “master
narrative”, 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, political idea, or
historical personage 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 may well 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.

39 thoughts on “On Single Stories and Master Narratives

  1. Single sided stories are very dangerous for our society as a whole. They lead to ignorance about other places and races in the word as well as lead to prejudice thoughts because of our lack of knowledge. In the ted talk the woman from Nigeria talks about how when she would write it would only be about Europeans and stuff that represented them. This was due to her only being exposed to foreign writers. This made here lose here identity in her writing because she thought people only want to hear about white people. The single sided story dates back to John Locke and how he said that all Africans were animals who don’t live in civilized society. Locke changed the way the rest of the world views Africa from his single story. This has a negative impact because this is far from the truth and before you make a conclusion its always good to hear another point of view.
    The speaker talks about her roommate who assumed that she didn’t know how to speak English just because she was from Africa. Her white roommate only heard single sided stories about Africa which led her to form ideas about what people are like from there even though what she said wasn’t true at all. If we keep believing single stories alone then the assumptions will never stop. In order to grow as a society we must go to multiple sources and talk to people who have been through it before making any opinions.

  2. In the ted talk that Adichie presented to us, she talks about how single stories are dangerous for society. Single stories can be described as stereotypes about locations and races that are created by people who have never experienced or seen anything different. Adichie described how as a child she only read English books and in the books she read all the characters drank ginger beer and that’s the only influence she had knowledge of in other parts of the world. When she began to write, all her characters were white and drank ginger beer, despite her not even knowing what ginger beer was. All of her characters were white because that’s what she read about and believed that she had to make them white and different from her because that’s all she read about.
    When she moved to the United States to go to a university, she met her roommate. Her roommate by default felt bad for Adichie and was surprised she could even speak English because of her race and the fact that she grew up in Nigeria. From her roommates perspective in America, she talked about how she would have seen Africa and Nigeria as being poor countries that had beautiful landscapes and suffering people who were dying from diseases like AIDS. Single stories create incomplete stories that aren’t entirely true. While some people and places in Africa are bad, not everyone is unhappy and dying in Africa. Single stories aren’t the whole story and stereotypes never tell the full story about an entire country or race of people.

    • Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a African storyteller that talks about the danger of single side story. She explains how the only book she read as a kid was foreign books. She stereotype writers such as British and American writers. When she became a writer she wrote about things she recognized. One of the things she recognized was that women of color can be writers too and not just British and American women.

      Single side story is dangerous because it manipulate people to believe something that’s not fully true. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie also talks about a guy named Fide. Her mom only told her that Fide family was poor, if she didn’t finish eating she quoted “finish your food don’t you know people like Fide have nothing”. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and her family went to his house and Fide mom showed them a pattern basket. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie single side story was that Fide family is poor and didn’t know how to do anything else. That’s a great example on why stereotype and single sins story is dangerous. She stereotype writers and explained how because she hasn’t seen different she stereotype American and British women writers. Finally she explained single stories is basically stereotype of race, places that’s being manipulated by people that never experienced that specific thing.

  3. It is easy to identify and classify individuals with generalizations and stereotypes that society has classified them with. In the ted talk video given by Chimanda Ngozi Adichie, she explains her experience coming to the United States for her college at the age of 19. She goes into detail how her roommate felt sorry for her because she believed she would struggle with English, adapting to a new environment, and not fit into society. In the video she said, ” She asked where I had learned to speak English so well, and was confused when I said that Nigeria happened to have English as its official language” (Ngozi Adichie 4:04). This shows the generalization and stereotypes people have concluded on other cultures believing that they will not understand and speak English as their first language, not to say that English is not the official language in America.
    It is highly important to know the background of others rather than generalizing them into a category that does not fit and misjudge them from it. Society has a bigger role in this because people base off the stereotypes from what they see on the bigger platform. For example, social media may categorize foreign people something based off of a news they heard like categorizing people from the Middle East as terrorists and Africans as slaves because of the history time period of slavery in the US. Rather than doing the research and learning about an individuals culture, people rather to stereotype or generalize them from what they heard from others.

  4. The TED talk by Adichie discusses the problems of listening to single sided stories and how sometimes people would generally believe it. She talks about how single sided stories impacted her life ever since she was a child. When she was younger, she read a lot of foreign books from America and England because finding books from Africa was difficult to find until later on in her life. It made her feel good that she was finally able to relate to someone who understands her culture made her have a mental shift. At the age of eight, her parents got a house boy in which she knew about him was that his family was really poor according to her mother and made her feel bad. Later on, they went to visit the home of the chore boy and his mother made her a beautiful basket and astonished her because she just thought that were poor and were not able to do any unique hobbies.
    Another event from her life that interested me was when she went to an American university and her roommate thought that since she was African, she had tribe rituals and did not expect to speak English well. Her roommate believed that African people had their own type of language and their own type of tribal music. She proceeded to show her roommate to Mariah Carey and not anything from Africa. People use single sided stories because when you first hear about the topic from someone, the media, or on television, then they would get an idea that this what they are like and people do not really think outside the box. Adichie herself believed that Mexicans were just people who,”people were fleecing the health care system and sneaking across the border,” when she first went to Mexico. However, as she was there, she realized that they were just normal who do the same activities as anyone else would. This video made me realize that there is more to it than just listening to what someone says and just believing it.

  5. The source I chose was the TED Talk by Adichie. She starts off by telling us how she grew up and how she wrote her own stories based off of british stories that she had read as a child. She talks about writing the main characters as “white with blue eyes,” because this is what she thought was the ‘normal’ book character as a child. She had only read one type of book, so she was under the impression that that was what a book character should be. She thought that books “had to have foreigners in them and had to be about things with which I could not personally identify.” She grew older and realized there were books with character of the same color as her. She later points out that she loved the english books, but they hid her from the fact that people “like her” could be in literature.
    She starts to talk about a boy who worked for her family. Her family had told her that the boy and his family were very poor and that was the only way she looked at him. It wasn’t until she went to visit the family that she saw that the brother of the boy had made something. She says that “it had not occurred to me that anybody in his family could actually make something. All I had heard about them was how poor they were , so that it had become impossible for me to see them as anything else but poor. That poverty was my single story of them.”
    At the end she reviews what could have happened if she or her roommate in college had known about all the other sides of people. How that could have changed the way that they looked at her, or how she looked at people.

  6. In the TED Talk that was performed by Ngozi Adichie, she talks about how single sided stories about foreign countries can potentially be dangerous and can have negative impacts on how the human race perceives each other. Single stories are similar to stereotypes but usually relate to a country’s beliefs, race, or culture. Adichie exemplifies the term “single story” by stating about when she was a child, she would love to write stories and create her own characters, however whenever she would create her characters, they would always be white and did the same things. She did this because in the stories she would read, those what the characters always were, they were white and always doing the same thing such as drinking ginger beer.
    When she grew up, she went to the United States to attend university at age 19. She had an American roommate who would constantly say how much she feels bad for Adichie because of her childhood. The roommate also said how she was surprised Adichie could speak the English language because she was from a different continent. The roommate was making these claims because she probably grew up learning the “single story” about Africa, how it is constantly publicized as a low-income, multi-cultural place. Single stories are detrimental towards human perspectives. They create incomplete and biased opinions. They never tell the true story behind a group of people or country.

  7. Single sided stories affect society and the world around it. Not only does it alter people’s perspectives of the truth but draws false conclusions for many others. By not telling the full story or having all the correct information about the topic, it creates controversy on what’s being told. If people are not entirely educated on the situation at hand then it leads to bias outlooks. For example, in the TedTalk by Adichie, she elaborates that stories matter but in order for them to be correct, they need to be told from a neutral viewpoint.
    Entitlement to power is a vital role in single sided stories. Many people believe what higher order people say without reasoning. Depending on who, how, and when a person is telling a story can greatly impact situations. For example, Adichie states how when she went to college in the U.S., her white roommate automatically assumed that since she was an African who came from Africa, that she was living in poverty due to how society portrays their lifestyle. Despite her roommate making false assumptions, she understood where she was coming from. She realized that she had been in her shoes before when she believed her own single sided story told by her parents about their house boy, Fide. She was told that he came from a poor family, and assumed that they weren’t capable of much. Later on, when she visited their family, she discovered that they were very skillful and were capable of much more than what her mother told her.

  8. Just as Chimamanda Adichie states, “ 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.” That is portrayed in the children’s book called, What Is America?; written by Michelle Medlock Adams. It gives children ideals about America, and that it is the land of the free. It is where people make their dreams come true. This is one of America’s stereotypes, because it doesn’t show the complete story. America has struggles just as other places do; yet it is portrayed to be the most amazing place. America has: hardships, disasters, political fights, money issues, and economic unbalance.Some stories that don’t make it in the books can involve: that America is in debt, scandals within the presidential office, homes being destroyed by weather, and that making it in the “business” is difficult. However, apparently it is the place to live!
    What Is America?, is an example of an oversimplified topic. Even though the book is not wrong in regarding to having democracy and big statues; it is an incomplete story with hidden secrets. Children’s books tend to leave out parts that aren’t happy, and usually leave out the truth. The book’s format is based on, “ Whimsical artwork and rhyming verse will capture children’s imaginations as they explore what America means to them.” It is attached to the controversy that involves the decision to tell young children the truth about such things. The author includes the word imagination into the book; which helps children make believe of what America is based off this book. In a way it only highlights the happy parts of America, but doesn’t display the work that goes into making this country as good as it can be. The danger that this story can bring is children’s ideals about the wonderful place called America, and grow up thinking it is a magical place.

  9. The Ted Talk by Adichie discusses the importance in why single sided stories can cause major problems in our society. Single stories are misconceptions that are not necessarily true. She explains how single stories are created by what others may think instead of it being factual and the truth. When she opens up her argument she spoke about all the British stores she has read. In the stories the author discusses how the character has blue eyes. As she was reading this she thought of drinking ginger and seeing the weather change. When in fact, In Africa there was no weather change. The readings set up a image on what’s considered normal because of society and what they are used to seeing. She felt like no one in this world looked like her just by the way these stories were potraying people.
    She talks about immigrants and how Mexicans are looked at a certain way. She continues to say Mexicans are the ones who sneak over the borders and come to this country for their health benefits. When in fact that isn’t the case at all. Media plays a role in this too. Media creates stores of things people may want to see instead of folding the truth. When in fact in everything we see there is a bigger picture. In the end, she expresses and tells her audience if people listened to both stories, there would be better understandings.

  10. In the ted talk that Adichie had said , she talks about how single stories are dangerous for society. Single stories can be known as stereotypes of people, places or things. Single stories change the way people view each other and how you view the world. There is always a misunderstanding on the single story because you want to view the story as you see It and not how It is told. As Adichie tells her story she explains how she grew up and how she learned throughout the years where she lived. She said that people devalued education and how It is taught to others in the American society. The problem with stereotypes is they make the one story, other stories. She said the stories she told shaped her life and how she lives today. She also points out that stereotypes are always incomplete. Adichie exclaims that people that live in America think of the low class countries as something that they shouldn’t care about and she says that she never knew how to talk to someone that wasn’t like her and engage in a conversation because they never knew what she was going through.
    In her ending statement she says that the single story has one meaning and that is that It robs people of their dignity. It shows that people are different rather than how we are similar to each other. At its core, this talk encourages us to recognize how much stories matter. And that by giving space to hear stories ,we can help to empower and humanize others. Adichie believes that stories matter, but that all too often in our lives we operate from the perspective of hearing and knowing a single story about a person, a situation, or perhaps a conflict. And that we go from the perspective of the single story unconsciously. I hope you’ll find this talk as a eye opener and maybe change the way you think of the world. It helps remind me of the importance of openness to others’ lived experiences.

  11. When Chimamanda Adichie presents her ted talk she talks about single stories and how dangerous they are for society. Single stories are when the same story gets told multiple times about a person or place that people do not know about first-hand. Plus they can also be described as a specific stereotype including locations, races, personalities, and conversations that are made up by the writer. In this ted talk, Chimamanda Adichie also talks about when she was a child and read American and French stories; while reading these books she believed that if she created a book that all the characters had to have light hair, blue eyes, and white skin color. She also brings up how these characters in the French stories all drink ginger beer, this limits her knowledge about people from/in France and other parts of the world. When beginning to do more than just describe characters in her small stories she started to add more details; giving them things to do like drinking the ginger beer. Even though Chimamanda Adichie had no idea what ginger beer was she still wrote about it because she believed that it was normal.
    An event that happens in her life is when she moves to the United States to go to college and meets her roommate; who ended up putting Chimamanda Adichie into her own simple story that she knew. The story was that all “Africans” are poor and do not speak English well. The reason why her roommate was surprised Chimamanda Adichie did not fit into her single story was because she was colored, spoke English well and could afford to go to college in the states. Her roommate had a skewed view on how life is lived in other places since she grew up in America and mostly saw the negative side. She never saw the beautiful landscapes she only saw the dirt and gravel road with no terrain in the back. Chimamanda Adichie’s roommate never saw the beautiful designs and fabric that helped make their clothes she only saw the dusty filled rags and were ripped and torn falling off their bodies. What is more eye-opening is that she never saw the healthy lives of colored people she only saw and believed that they had AIDS and were dying right on the side of the road. Single stories like the one Chimamanda Adichie’s roommate came up with creating partial stories that are not always true since the whole story is not there. Plus being exposed to one side of everything is not enough in today’s world because there are always two sides to every story.
    Although some places around the world are as bad as they seem, it is usually not the whole country and just parts of it. As stated in the paragraphs above single stories are when the same story gets told multiple times about a person or place that people do not know about first-hand. Also, simple stories are just stereotypes learned from one point of view about a specific topic. One of the most important gaps that is left out in the story of Chimamanda Adichie’s roommate is why she thought these things and where she learned them from. This is an obvious gap in her knowledge because at the age of eighteen she should have already broadened her horizons about the world. She perceived these stories to be the reality of the world since the community and area around her believed the same thing. What is not seen in this story is her roommate’s opinion after learning and experiencing life with Chimamanda Adichie. This is important because learning more about how she feels after experiencing other stories and other points of view does her opinion change and do her horizons expand about the world.

  12. I chose to watch the TED Talk presentation given by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. In this presentation, Adichie begins to speak about her past and related it to the writings and illustrations she would create. Because she was first exposed to American and British readings, she created a “single sided story”. The speaker defines a “single sided story” as a story told repetitively that gives some type of characteristic to a certain group of people. When she is then exposed to Nigerian readings, her perspective is morphed. Now that she has added another kind of culture into her knowledge of books, she is able to see a broader view of perspectives. The speaker uses her example and many other situations to justify her opinion on “single sided stories”. She states that viewing one perspective and only one perspective can have significant effects. Because one opinion may be told several times, society may make it into a fact. As the speaker states, “single sided stories” form “stereotypes, or incomplete truths”. We start to view people or places as one thing, which can either be positive, but in most situations are negative. We may avoid certain people or places or think poorly of them. This can mask our judgements. I agree with Adichie, because there are many incidents where people may make certain decisions on a situation that are based on single sided stories, but because it has been normalized in society, the decisions made may seem like a reasonable one. I think that Adichie’s story on her roommate is a great instance where a single sided story is presented. Her roommate had a limited amount of knowledge on Africa and was surprised that Adichie shared similar characteristics and like as her. Adichie says that her roommate thought that because she came from Africa, Adichie would be poor, speak poor English, did not know how to read, and listened to only Nigerian music. The speaker comes back to this situation several times throughout her presentation, exaggerating her view on how important it is to avoid telling a single sided story. The moral of her lesson is for us to learn how to view the variety of perspectives in a story; there is never only one view to a story.

  13. In the Ted Talk discussion by Adichie, she talks about single sided stories can be problematic in our society. She goes over how single sided stories are created by people’s perspectives whether they are true or not. When she was a child, she always read the same stories about white people that are “blonde with blue eyes.” When it was her time to write, she wrote about the white people because she thought that was the normal thing to do. She speaks about how when she was a child, her family helped another family because they were poor. When Adichie went to go visit them, she saw that they were actually hardworking people. In the Ted Talk she said that she felt ashamed because she had stereotyped these people. Then she goes onto college and her roommate feels bad for her because she is from Africa and she assumes that Adichie doesn’t know any English. She thinks this because many people believe that Africa is just very poor.

    Single sided stories can cause huge controversies. It is always important to know the background information first, other than blurting out biased things and misjudging people. This changes the way people think and then it creates a controversy. In Adichie’s Ted Talk, she says that in stories, she believes that whatever the author says is normal. For example, she mentions that she wrote about ginger beer, but she admits she has no clue what it is. She still writes about it because to her, all of that is normal.

    • In the Ted talk by Adichie, she claims the danger of a single story. She states that a single story can be viewed as a stereotype for people, places, and things. She talks about reading different types of American books which have saved her from having a single story on what books are. Although she was able to view books differently, She talked about a moment in her life where she notices she was using a single story. The example she gave was with her experience with Fide. The only thing her mom told her about Fide was how poor he was and how her mom had to send yams, rice, and old clothes to his family. The only perspective she had on Fide’s family was how poor they were. Until one day, she went over his house and she got to see a beautiful pattern basket made by his brother. She was surprised to know that someone in his family could make something like that. Their poverty was her single story on Fide’s family. When she went off to school her roommate had a single story of Africa. Her roommate was shocked to hear her English, and how she even knew how to use the stove. Her roommate could not believe that Adichie was very similar to her. She only viewed Africa as a single story of catastrophe. She gives examples in her life where she experiences a single story and the impact a single story has on a person.
      She wants people to understand that we must always look at the bigger picture. People only focus on the little details that they are told about and never worry about having more information. People only view the story as it is shown but not what it is telling. All single stories are always incomplete. She shared experiences where they believed she wasn’t capable of understanding because she was from Africa. Her ending statement states “ when we reject the single-story, when we realize that there is never a single story about any place, we regain a kind of paradise” (Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie). She said that we must realize to never look at anything in a single story so we can see the true picture. It is important to see the true aspect of every person. We can never just focus on the outside but rather see what’s inside. Overall, this talk makes people realize the danger of a single story. We must realize that stories do matter. Adichie believes that stories are very important, but single perspectives are what creates a conflict for each person. People satisfy themselves with what they see and hear but never focus to realize that there is so much more to look into. This talk has helped me to stop and think when I have a single story. Sometimes we use it so often and never realize that we only see things as a single story. It helped me reflect on times that I use it and to learn to see the true meaning in every situation.

  14. the source I chose was the TED talk by Chimanda Ngorzi Adichie. In her story she explained how it was like growing up where she was from. She talked about how when she was younger she drew pictures of characters but every time she made them with blue eyes and white. because she thought that’s what “normal people looked like.” when she grew up she then discovered other books where there were people who looked like her, and she told her audience that she loved English books but they led her to believe that “people like her” couldn’t be in books. And she explained her experience in coming to The United States of America at the age of nineteen.she explained how it was to quickly adapt to an environment and not fit into society. She shared how she had a roommate who said she would struggle with learn the English language. But she was confused because English is the official language in Nigeria.Then she goes on about Mexican immigrants and how sneak over the boarder for their health benefits. When in fact that isn’t the case, when the case is that media is the way that we see things. And we all know that they twist up the story to make it interesting so that people can watch and make up more lies about the story that was already played with. At the end she then tells everyone that if they truly listen to both sides of the stories they would have a much better understanding of what actually happened.

  15. Single Stories
    Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a novelist originally from Nigeria, cautions her listeners of the dangers of single stories through her TED Talk. Adichie starts off her talk with an example from her childhood while growing up in Nigeria. While growing up, Adichie started out by reading strictly European literature, resulting in her writing taking on the characters, themes, and motifs she read about. After believing that only white Europeans who indulged in ginger beer could be written about, Adichie was finally exposed to African literature. At this time, Adichie came to realize that she was victimized by a single story. Although Adichie admits that she loved European books and that they broadened her horizons, she was more than content to realize that their were people of her culture inside of books and that she could write about things familiar to her.

    In this example, Adichie did not hurt anyone besides herself by falling victim to a single story. The true dangers she warns her listeners of comes in her next example. Adichie explains that a boy named Fide frequently received yams and rice from her family because of his family’s poor economic status, but other than this story, she knew nothing about his family. While visiting his village, Adichie was shown “a beautifully patterned basket,” made by Fide’s brother. Adichie was taken back because she had only heard of Fide’s struggle and had not thought that there was anything else to him besides the single story she had heard. Adichie says, “The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete.” Since she had only heard of Fide’s poverty, it never occurred to her that there were members of his family who possessed great talents. Adichie hastily regretted her judgement of Fide, but it is the danger that comes with hearing a single story and creating assumptions.

  16. Chimamanda Adichie tells us about how single short stories are dangerous for today in our society in her ted talk. some of these said stories can develop and contain stereotypes that are put upon to races and different places in the world. she began by telling us about her background and how she wrote stories of her own through her life. in her life, she had only read one book with a character that had blue eyes, was white, and was blonde. she used this as a basis for all of her characters in those stories at the time.

    eventually, she had moved to the united states to attend a university. her roommate was shocked that she did not fit into her own stories because of her race, and never realized that she didn’t have much knowledge of how people see the world. In her ending statement, Adichie explains that single stories have a single meaning in how It robs many people of their dignity; showing that people are rather different even though we think we are similar to another. In backbone of her message, this ted talk encourages us to recognize how these short stories truly matter.

  17. Chimamanda Adichie’s TED talk was a perfect example of a single story. From other countries like America, Nigeria or Africa as a whole is looked at as an overall non wealthy country. This intelligent woman that grew up with Nigerian customs and has always read British and English books that only have a certain stereotype of living. The characters she constantly read about were white and had blue eyes, not to mention the characters did activities that she never participated in. As Adiche grew up, she attended college in the United States. Her roommate assumed things about her and her background that were far from true. Adichie states within her TED talk, “She asked if she could listen to what she called my ‘tribal music,’ and was consequently very disappointed when I produced my tape of Mariah Carey” (Adichie 4:41). The roommate was also surprised by the fact that English is her first language. The danger of how general information about other countries from books or movies are perceived are mostly false. This demonstrates the fact that single stories are a danger to society.
    An example of the danger to single stories is the country of Italy because it is always looked at as one of the most beautiful with great food and fashion, yet that is not the entire picture. The book “My Brilliant Friend” symbolizes the changes within the 60s and 70s. There were many changes within the country between those times and even today. People constantly are going to Italy to see the culture and experience the food. The people within Italy probably do not see the same stereotypes as the rest of the world for Italy. The danger of the country’s stereotypes was that millions of tourists see the beautiful spots of the country, but they do not truly see what the citizens of Italy witness everyday. The main idea of both TED and the example of Italy citizens shows how the danger of the single side story can be detrimental to the people or the country itself.

  18. From the TED talk I saw how Chimamanda Adichie was affected by single stories. Adichie talks about her childhood in Nigeria and how ever since she was young she always liked to read and create stories. Adichie was affected by a single story herself when her college roommate made assumptions about her since she is from Nigeria. Adichie made an assumption about a boy named Fide in a village nearby when she was young and still in Nigeria, she was surprised when she went to go see Fide and his family because his mother showed them a basket that was made by Fide’s brother. Adichie assumed that nobody in Fide’s family could make something because the only thing that her mother told her was that Fide was poor. In the TED talk Adichie makes the point of how we should see more diverse perspectives and how we need to tell our own stories.

    While at college in the United States Adichie experienced another single story that affected her, she wrote a novel and her professor said to her that her novel wasn’t “authentically African”. Adichie’s professor then proceeded to tell her that her characters in her novel were “too much like himself” and they were educated middle-class man, that drove cars but they were not starving and her professor said they not “authentically African” because her professor made assumptions about where she was from. The point that Adichie is trying to get across is that single stories create stereotypes in our heads and stereotypes are not always true and accurate. Adichie then goes on to say that what if her roommate knew what her life was like in Nigeria and knew about Adichie’s childhood would she have thought of her differently?

  19. In the TED Talk that was performed by Ngozi Adichie, she discusses how single-sided tales about remote nations can conceivably be hazardous and can impact affect how people see one another. Single stories are like staryotypeing however normally identify with a nation’s convictions, race, or culture. Adichie states the expression “single story” by expressing about when she was a kid, she couldn’t want anything thing more than to compose stories and create her own characters, they would be white and blue eyes and did other things. She did this on the grounds that in the narratives she would peruse, those what the characters consistently were, they were white and blue eyes because that’s all she read where America and England books.
    Adichie explained that people who live in America believe that the lower-class nations as something that people shouldn’t care about. Toward the end of her statement, she states that the single-story has one meaning and that is that it robs people of their dignity. This discusses encourages us to understand how a good deal of memories matter. And giving us the time to hear her stories, we can help one another to empower and humanize each other.

  20. This Ted Talk was eye opening for me. When I was a kid, I could only remember being taught only stereotypes about each culture from my friends and family. The woman’s story/message made me think back to those times and realize that most of my life have been based on stereotype. When she said that her roommate was shocked that she could speak english properly and that she also knew how to use a stove, it got me thinking about how we learned that Africa was mainly poor and uneducated.
    When most people read an article or story online or in a book/magazine, they assume that it is one hundred percent true even if it isn’t. This is the danger that she talks about in the Ted Talk like when she read the American and British books. Since she read those books, they swayed her view on the world making her assumptions based of the books that she has read. She also assumed from her parents that their houseboy’s family was really poor. When she went and visited she realized that they could do things that she never thought they could do. I can relate this to my contemporary America class last year in high school when we did research about terrorism. I found out in my research that back in the day, everyone thought that muslims were all terrorists, when in fact they are not. That stereotype stirs up controversy between country, which can be terrible for different perspectives.

  21. In the Ted Talk presented by Adichie , she talks about how single stories are dangerous in our world and how they can become stereotypical to readers. She became a young writer at the age of 7 and would write stories in pencil with a drawing and write about white men drinking ginger beer, having no idea what ginger beer is. All of her books she read were accustomed to American and British literature. Single stories are stories told over and over again.
    Adichie states that she went through “a mental shift in her perception of literature,” when she discovered Chinua Achebe and Camara Lave. When she moved to the United States, she attended college and her roommate was in disbelief that all of her stories are the same; nothing different. That’s how she viewed our world. Adichie doesn’t know that what she reads and writes about is different from reality and what people witness. The danger of single stories is that they create stereotypes and that could damage how we view our world today.

  22. All through life, humans are very focused on their life and the things they hear. Humans tend to not see the other side of someone’s story, especially if they are foreign to them. In a TED talk spoken by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, she addresses how people today are easily susceptible to “single stories”. Adichie suggests that, “ What this demonstrates, I think, is how impressionable and vulnerable we are in the face of a story,” (Adichie 1:44). The author wants to show how today, especially in America we are prone to only listening to what is heard on the news and people never wonder what is going on on the other side of the world. One prime example, that even Adichie explains, is Mexicans and the United States. Americans tend to be rude or have certain view of Mexicans because they only believe that they are trying to immigrate into the United States. In the TED talk it states, “ I remember around on my first day in Guadalajara, watching the people going to work… smoking laughing. And then, I was overwhelmed with shame. I realized that I had been so immersed in media coverage of Mexicans,” (Adichie 8:54). People today, even the speaker, easily make assumptions of people out of country, on how they think they should be acting and how they actually do.
    Adichie continues to write about her own experiences with those who have asked her many questions about her personal life solely because she was from Nigeria. She writes, “She had felt sorry for me even before she even say me. Her default position toward me, as an African, was a kind of patronizing, well-meaning pity,” (Adichie 4:49). In today’s world, African women are still looking for reform all over. Many American people do not seem to understand that just because they may not have the same life as Americans, does not mean that they do not enjoy their life. An article, from an african lady, on African Culture writes on how African women typically have a hard life, however enjoy that reform is coming and they will end up in better places. The article states, “ She is the twenty something lawyer, doctor, teacher, engineer or journalist who will not settle for an apologetic approach to women’s rights. She is assertive, vocal and ready to fearlessly defend the progress that brought her this far. She is the woman who, during the demonstration against the stripping of women by vigilante men in Uganda, held up a placard with a bold message to the ethics minister,” (African Arguments). The idea of “single story” happens to people each and every day without even knowing it. The only way to make sure a view is not only based on a single story, an article should be from both sides. For example, a story about African women written by an American writer should also be read, on the same topic, read by an African citizen or women as well. In conclusion, we must reject the single story ideas because there is never one side to any story.

  23. Adichie starts off her TED talk with light humor but also some stories about her early life. She was an early writer and reader.She states how impressionable and vulnerable we are in the face of a story especially when we are young because that’s all we are known to do is read books and look at pictures. She then realized that people of color like her could also exist in literature. What I don’t understand is why did she then just realize and not had realized any sooner? Adichie only finds out that people like her can exist in literature as she beings to read more and more African literature allowing her to change her perception. African writers saved her from having a single story of what books are. She has a point but out whole world is always subsided and different stories help to change someone’s perspective of things just as it did with Adichie. Adichie then goes on to explain how she comes from a middle class family and in her lived a new boy named Fide. His family was very poor and her family would always send food to the family. One day she went to visit and his mother showed a beautiful basket that Fide’s mother had made. It never occurred to her that because he was still so poor it doesn’t mean they weren’t able to make something. Because she was only told one story that he was poor it was hard for her to see anything but poor. See, that’s the problem with stories. It’s all a matter of perspective and how one person perceives things. If someone is basing their information off one story and one source then that’s what’s wrong with society today. This is why when someone is doing research they are asked to find at least three different sources to back up the theory. Because finding only one source is somewhat not that reliable and that’s only one perspective in the mind. Throughout the rest of the TED talk Adichie tells a few more stores like her time in college and how her roommate expected her to speak a different language and have a certain music taste according to her culture. The only reason this roommate assumed everything was because those are only one sides of things shes been taught. This is the problem and hatred in this world there’s always going to be stories and we all go through the one sided stories that rush to our brains and dictate what we think. It is an evil thing and should be avoided.

  24. Chimammanda Ngozi Adichie ted talk “The Danger of a Single Story,” is about how in todays society we tell stories in different sterotypes . In the ted talk, she talks about how as an early reader, she read American and British books. When becoming an early reader, she also became an early writer, she started her stories in pencil and in crayon, she made her characters white with blue eyes. In the book, it talks about the weather because she has never been outside of Nigeria. In Nigeria, it was always sunny and hot, they didn’t have snow. Reading the British books, she believed in a lot of things, she believed that her characters have to be white, and her stories needed to have to have foreigners.
    A few years past, she discover African books. What the African books did for her was it saved her from having a single story of what books are. Reading the African books, it gave her a different perspective, it gave her a perspective of people like her, dark brown, kinky hair, exist in the literature world. People in today’s world think people of color can’t do what non-color can do, but we can. People like to talk bad, and down on us because they think we are not smart like them, but in reality we can.

  25. The TED talk by Aldridge was the most interesting Ted talk I have ever heard. Aldridge made her life a prime example of a common misconception due to false storytelling. Throughout the talk she discussed many people’s false assumptions on Africans and their culture. She expressed many things such as her roommate in college assuming she listened to things such as “tribal music.” Aldridge also mentioned how her roommate did not expect her to be as educated as she was. Aldridge was surprised her roommate was surprised, this is because her life was normal to her but told different from the people who were not African. People seem to see Africans as poor and sick, which was what Aldridge was trying to elaborate on. She explained that she began to see Mexicans the way people saw Africa, false. She revealed that when she went to Mexico and saw everyone happy and healthy, she was ashamed that she thought any different of them.
    When trying to find articles on different cultures and misconceptions of them, I found nothing on the topic. This is because everyone already has their mind set on what they think of them. If one where to look up Africans, some of the first things that pop up is how they need education or water. If one were to look up Mexicans, the first things that would pop up is immigration. This is a prime example of what Aldridge was trying to discuss. Many articles discuss how Africans are very uneducated and in need of help. When given information such as this, it is hard to believe Africa has any education at all. Listening to one story or in other words, “single stories” is dangerous because it can lead to feeding the reader false information. Feeding half of the truth is the reason why many people still believe Christopher Columbus found America. Single stories result in single perspectives, which leave to misconceptions of people and history. When it comes to information, people should be told everything including the bad parts of the truth. They should not be told only certain parts to reserve their feelings.

  26. In the ted talk Adichie talked on how she started writing books based off what she has read in other books. She says that all her character were white with blue eyes and played in the snow and ate apples. She knew nothing about the outside world, she could only make conclusions like that because of the books she read. She’s never been outside of Nigeria so she couldn’t have a viewpoint on something she didn’t know. She was convinced that books by their nature had to have foreigners in them because of the books she read. She had a stereotypical mindset without really calling it that. She came to the conclusion that the white people had blue eyes,played in the snow, drank ginger beer but none of that was really true. When she met her roommate in college she had a different perspective of who Adichie was. She had the stereotype that she couldn’t speak English, didn’t know how to work a stove because of the single story she had been told or shown. They show Nigeria as not having everything a regular middle class person has. Everybody has a single story on something and they need to just explore and stop believing the stereotypes that are told to them.

  27. A Ted Talk, performed by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, called The Danger of a Single Story tells how single stories can affect our perception of the world around us. Adichie, an African storyteller, talks about how us as humans have a tendency to look at one side of the story and run with it. As an example, she talks about her love for literature as a child and how it shaped her perception of the world. The books Adichie read only contained stories of people and places she hadn’t yet seen or experienced.. This made her believe that all books did not talk about the people and places she was familiar with. After coming across African novels, she came to the realization that the stories she read about foreigners gave her a one sided perception of literature.
    During the Ted Talk, Chimamanda Adichie further explains the dangers of a single story by using an example of a trip she took to Mexico. Before her trip, all Adichie knew of the Mexican people were the stories of them cheating the healthcare system and illegally crossing the border. To her, immigration corresponded with being Mexican. She explained how she felt ashamed after allowing the media coverage of Mexicans make them become one single thing in her mind.
    According to Adichie, The problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story. This quote reflects on the mistake most people make everyday: being satisfied with only one side of the story. Most people lack knowledge because they don’t question and analyze each side of something .

  28. In the Ted Talk, Adichie explains how single-sided stories are dangerous for human beings. Single-sided stories are thinking with only your eyes and not your mind. You believe only what you see hear rather than question the possibilities of a different outcome. You only question on what has been presented to you. Adichie tells various stories of her childhood during the Ted Talk. She tells us how as a child, she grew up in a considerably wealthy family in Nigeria. She grew up reading American and French children novels and in those novels featured only children with blue eyes and white skin. She had never read a story about where she came from or a character with the color of her skin. She thought that all Americans and French people had blue eyes, played in the snow, drank ginger beer, but none of it was really true. She as well thought with only her eyes. She had never thought of the possibilities that there could be another truth to the stories. When Adichie turned 19, she left Nigeria and came to America for college. When she first met her American roommate she said how her roommate felt sorry. She didn’t understand why she felt sorry for her. Her roommate asked if she can hear some of her tribal music and would be shocked to hear her track of Mariah Carey. Her roommate had a single sided- story and assumption of Adichie. The possibility that Adichie was a well educated Nigerian woman who spoke English perfectly never occurred too her. She made assumptions based off only what she read about and saw rather than questioned the possibilities of another ending to the stories. As Adichie got older she had discovered African books. She said that those books saved her from having a single story of what books really are. Those African books opened up a whole new world for her. They gave her different perspectives on people of her color and her descent. She was able to see that people like her can read and write and that Africans we’re capable of understanding literature. Adichie explained in the beginning of her lecture that when she was growing up, a house maid boy named Fide was introduced into her family. Her mom had explained to her that Fide came from a very poor family, so that’s all she saw when she looked at him. But one day Adichie and her family went to Fides village to visit and she discovered a basket that his brother had made. Adichie was shocked when she saw the beautiful basket. She had thought that Fides family was poor and nothing more. She possibility that they could be creatively innovated never occurred to her. At that time she had started to realize that there are two sides to each story. You should never believe what one person tells you, or what one article states as true, or what you hear on the news. You should always question the possibility that there may be a different side to a story and a different outcome.

  29. In the TED talk performed by Ngozi Adichie, she talks about how single stories are making a big impact on humans perspectives in a negative way. She mentions that single stories can be dangerous and eventually become stereotypical to readers. In the world today you here so many different stories on what happened on a specific event. Single stories are when the same story gets told multiple times about a person or place and the thing is the people didn’t hear it from the first hand. By hearing it from different people they could be changing the story and you never know the true story of the person or country. This is dangerous since if you hear the story not from first hand you don’t know if that’s really what happened and it causes people to make incomplete biased opinions. When I would watch tv and they show a bad thing that happened in a certain country I would always be like “I’m not going to that country ever again”. Then my dad would tell me on tv there just showing one bad thing that happened you need to be able to think about all the other positives and not that one bad story. She mentions that when she was little she would love to write stories and create her characters. When she did that all her characters would be white and do the same things The reason behind that is she only read one type of book and that made her feel that her character that she created was normal and what a book character should be. By her reading one story she got the impression that’s the only normal character in the world. Single stories are dangerous to the world since it makes humans think one way about a certain subject when they haven’t either heard the whole story or the truth from the primary source.

  30. In the TED Talk, Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche from Nigeria talks about “the danger of the single story.” She tries to explain how one-sided stories can build or alter our perspectives, which would have been different if we knew the whole story. She explains how she has grown by learning single stories.
    In the video, she talks about how she used to think all story characters’ should be foreigners because she used to read only foreign stories in her childhood. But as she was growing up she learned about African literature, which shifted her thinking. She also talks about Fide. A boy from a very poor family. Adiche says, whenever she didn’t finish her food her mother would say, “Finish your food! Don’t you know? People like Fide’s family have nothing.” For that, she thought Fide’s family is nothing but poor. Once she visited Fide’s family she found out Fide’s family is not only poor but they’re hardworking. In conclusion, single-sided stories never give us a full visual of the whole situation. Because it is just the viewpoint of only one person. To understand the whole situation, you have to know the story of each person who was in the story.

  31. In the ted talk Adiche talks about how single sided stories have been impactful for her. She also expresses a idea that single sides stories can alter and change someones perspective. She also discusses the books she read as a child about the other places around the earth. Places she had not traveled to at the time.
    Eventually when she moved to the United States she was shocked that her roommate was surprised she spoke english. Adichie’s roommate could not believe that she was a well spoken and educated Nigerian woman. In conclusion single sided stories can comepletely ruin a story and the perspectives of those reading it.

  32. During the TED Talk given by Adiche, she discusses single sided stories and how they had an impact on her life. Adiche is from Nigeria and always loved reading foreign writings. Im this TED talk she refers to a story from Mexico. Adiche used this story which is known as a single sided story. A single sided story is basically a story that you hear but not from the main source. When a story is not told from the person who was there at that time, it can be changed. A story not told from a person that was not there may add more detail or leave out detail. Overall she states the fact that stories could be ruined if told from a single story perspective.

  33. The dangers of a “single story” in society are very important to understand and interpret. Single stories, while typically very useful and informative, can also be very biased, which is concerning to anyone uneducated of other perspectives that may conclude a story as a whole. For example, in Chimamanda Adichie’s ted talk on “single stories,” she discusses a few of her own that shaped her life. Chimamanda—raised in Nigeria, for most of her life— in her youth age, only had access to very limited texts. Although, her growth mindset allowed for the search for other perspectives. A common misconception and humans tend to form stereotypes based on very little information. Chimamanda’s interpretation; “Stories can break the dignity of a people, but stories can also repair that broken dignity.” and so, her understanding of American culture, for the most part, was misinterpreted. She only understood a very small portion of true reality. Which raises the question, is everything we see true?
    This topic is most important for anyone to understand. We are faced with tons of information on a daily basis and try to pick out what we find is most important in order to help us conceptualize the world. Consequently, people tend to form stereotypes all the time, this helps us process information faster. With that being said, Chimamanda faced this issue for her whole childhood, which I find most interesting as it relates to most of us as children, we pick information we tend to like; information that seems most reasonable and pleasing to us. Although, these forms snap judgments and misconceptions of the world around us. Our understandings become limited due to our lack of interest to understand a different side of something. Unfortunately, this issue lives in politics and some of our lives and needs to understand by more people. We cannot progress as a unity without understanding individual stories first.

  34. Single story, or what we should say a biased story isn’t always wrong but there’s always something missing from it. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a very distinct author who talked in the ted talk about how single story affects peoples perception of others in general. People doesn’t intend to see things as one but they ended up being like that anyways because somehow, a lot of people are biased in their own ways. I like how she used her roommate as an example, who thought that she is not a non-native English speaker and does not know how to use a stove. Adichie also used the example when she spoke at a university and a student said, “that it was such a shame that Nigerian men were physical abusers like the father character in my novel” and she responded saying, ” I had just read a novel called “American Psycho” and that it was such a shame that young Americans were serial murderers”. The point is that we can’t just see others on how they are perceived. People do not need sympathy, we need to know how to empathize. We have to look into different views of them, or better yet see through their own perspective in order to empathize with the people we want to connect to.

  35. I am choosing the single story TED Talk given by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. She is speaking about single stories, and the danger of them. Throughout single stories, their is many things that are missing from them. Most of the stories she was reading the characters were white. Single stories affect peoples perception of others. A lot of people, are now based due to this. She didn’t know people like her could exist in literature. She came from middle class nigerian family. Her family was very poor, and she felt pity for another family. She gave an example, how her American room mate was shocked she can speak english so well. Her room mate, had felt sorry for her before she even saw her. She has actually shocked, how she even knew how to use the stove. In her roomies single story about Africa, their was about no possibilities to do much. We automically learn about things, and just tend to believe about all the good things so to say. The novel she wrote, her professor tried saying she didn’t write it write, because what she wrote about wasn’t authentically African. Even herself, she had one single though about Mexicans “immigrants”. If you see people as one thing, and continue to think they are then thats what they tend to become. When people read a novel, they see people as one thing, and then think all people are like those people.

  36. Single stories are always more biased and missing something critical. While not being completely wrong and not useful, there is always another side to it. Adichie stated how it effects the way people are viewed and how it often influences misconceptions. Although the intentions may not to be one-sided, they tend to come out that way. In the TED talk she talked about how as she spoke at a university and a guy tried to compare Nigerian men to something he had read in a book. She did the same thing with American’s to prove the point that not everything you read is true. You can not assume that just because you read something it will always be true, or information will not be missing. You must look at all perspectives and deeply analyze the topic at hand.

  37. In Adichie’s Ted Talk, she discusses Single Stories and the dangers of them. A single story can be biased, and are overlapping stories that can change someone’s perspective. She also discusses how it may have an effect on someone’s way of thinking, and can influence someone’s misconception. She explains how single stories can change someone else’s perspective, and how that chain reaction will continue. This Ted Talk is simply Adichie telling the story of how she found her cultural voice and warns us that if we hear one single sided story and stick to that story and continue the chain, we risk a misunderstanding with the outside world.

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