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Adichie: A Single Story Can Have Negative Impact

In his July 2009 Ted Talk, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie explores the negative impact that a single story can have (TED). Adichie argues that individual stories often arise from a misunderstanding or lack of knowledge about others. Such stories may have a malicious intent to suppress other groups of people because of prejudice. The fact is that the media often tells only one story, which causes people to generalize and make assumptions about other people. As for my cultural iceberg, my visible identities include race, gender, and age. My hidden identities include ability, religion, sexual orientation, beliefs, marital status, culture, and economic status. One of my identities that has a single story is religion. On more than one occasion, I encountered people of different religions being prejudiced against each other. I encountered prejudice in a Muslim country where I, as a Christian, was on vacation. I felt condemnation from Muslim women because they view Christian women as impudent because they do not wear the hijab. The lasting effect of this experience was that I am unlikely to ever go to that country again.

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My identity choices also correlate with a quote from Talos’ essay (4). This is because my hidden identities, such as religion and sexual orientation, often limit my freedom of behavior. Because of my religion, I am often expected to behave in stereotypical ways, like not eating meat during Lent. People judge me if I do not follow religious traditions for some reason. In addition to religion, a person’s culture also affects their mentality. Nicholas Geeraert says in his article that culture influences human mental processes through the commonality of traditions and beliefs (3). One of the mental processes cited in the article is groupthink. It is the one that best fits my personality and culture because I live in a society that practices active generalization.

Works Cited

“Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: The danger of a single story | TED”. YouTube, uploaded by TED, 2009.

Geeraert, Nicolas. “Many Cultures, One Psychology?”. American Scientist, 2018.

Thalos, Mariam. “More than having options, freedom is being true to yourself”. N.d.

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StudyCorgi. 2023. "Adichie: A Single Story Can Have Negative Impact." January 7, 2023. https://studycorgi.com/adichie-a-single-story-can-have-negative-impact/.

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StudyCorgi. (2023) 'Adichie: A Single Story Can Have Negative Impact'. 7 January.

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