Chimamanda Adichie on the Danger of a Single Story

Introduction

“… and that is what people become…when they realize there is never a single story about any place, we regain a kind of paradise” (Sarah Para 9). It is surprising to learn the high capacity of human being exposing themselves to the dangers of trusting and believing in one-sided single story formats. The ability to believe in single-sided stories emanates from their minute and restricted capability to broaden their perspective in thinking.

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In one way or another, the environment proves a major contributor to this weakness of thought. Particularly, this comes in when one hears stories that he/she treats them as naked truth without posing even a single interrogative, verification of the provided information, or even giving a little bit of some effort to conduct some research to unveil the originality of the information and its intended meaning. Sad to note, some stories may afflict people so negatively that they invoke tremendous internal fights within themselves hence exuberating hatred towards some race or ethnic group. Later the aggrieved party learns that the stories were just free expressions of ideas without the intention to foster contempt, negligence, or demeaning of an individual’s cultural or ethnic subscriptions.

However, this does not serve to eliminate the possibilities of truth being tied within some stories. What it really means is that single-sided stories can alter an individual’s way of thinking, which through agitated reactions, makes the stories appear truthful. If not true, why then feel offended? Our cultures and lives are evidently comprised of enormously fascinating and overlapping stories. Chimamanda in the video Single Story confirms these expositions as she narrates how she came to the recognition of authentic cultural capacity to voice out her concerns. She cautions that by listening to single-sided stories about a country or a person, people expose themselves to risks or dangers of critical misunderstanding. By reacting violently to some stories conceived as false, gives the perpetrator a more competitive ground to support his or her deceits.

Response to Single Story Video

Bravo! Chimamanda Adichie’s video is a must-watch wonderful piece of educational information. Growing up in Nigeria but later at 18 relocating to America in academic pursuit missions, Chimamanda poses an amicable share of exposure to both the western and African cultures: which she reflects in a big way in the video. Chimamanda does not advocate for any of the cultures: whether the African perceptions and stories about the west or the west stories about Africa are right.

She does not either criticize the weakness of the cultures. Should people believe and use the stories told about African culture and ways of life as weapons to judge them or a fundamental basis for understanding them fully? Think of a white person who has never been to Africa or has never been into any encounter with the Negro community, leave alone visiting Africa. To him or her, how does he/she perceive a black man? Such questions would ponder much imagination drawing fascinating mental creative images.

To some level, even the freethinking being, would largely draw such mental imaginations from the wild stories he or she has heard about Africa and its inhabitants. By speculation, most likely the most vivid mental images would be possessed by those who have only heard one-sided stories about the continent. To some, on mentioning ‘Africa’, ugly images of people languishing in poverty, horrific rape scenarios during warring times, thousands of people applying for single job vacancy among others appear in full glare.

To bring things closer, a great perception of the geographical demarcation of Nigeria exists. It would seem almost impossible to convince somebody that a northern Nigerian, can serve as a Christian. The general story is that a northern Nigerian resident has to be a ‘Hausa’ and thus a Muslim. I believe that the manner in which tales are told is of great significance. Stories about ‘Hausas’ focused on calling people to avoid Hausas as they are too dangerous or dirty. On the other hand, the stories about Igbo depict them as money lovers who can do anything to have it. Within a given tribe, alarms are raised to caution people on the way they should relate with their fellow tribe members to distance themselves from curses or being befallen by bad omens.

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No matter the story told about any country or content, there is always another side of the story; what we should always demand to hear. Many of these stories may seem like history. Narrating or hearing them is not the problem, the problem is letting them alter and influence the manner in which we relate with people at large.

Bringing media into a dimension for instance if one believes absolutely in what it talks about or shows, it becomes so easy to fall into being a culprit of a single-sided story believer: something that is objected to Chimamanda’s Single Story video message. There are so many people with different aspirations across the globe. Simply because one comes from a certain place does not warrant him/her to think that he/she is somewhat different from that other person born and brought up in a different place.

The reality is that all people are similar. The major drawback of the realization of this truth has been because people have over a long time oversubscribed to beliefs based on single-sided story perspectives. Personally, I had no idea of whether I believed in a single-story but when I watched this video, I realized that I was one of the victims. It intrigues to contemplate a scenario where Chimamanda’s professor believes that her paper had a substantial element missing: African authenticity. Interestingly, the professor believed in a single story. In contrast, if at all Chimamanda had to understand the professor’s comments about her paper, she had to be explained what ‘African authenticity’ was.

On visiting Mexico, she found that the residents had one defined way of doing things; the way people do things back at home. Through this encounter, she admitted guiltiness much later for falling into being a victim of believing in a single story. She had anticipated Mexico to be immensely dominated by immigrants caught up at the borders and cheating on the health care systems. Nevertheless, this was not the reality on the ground. Tantamount to Chimamanda, I think people should all feel ashamed of their beliefs on single stories and openly admit the guilt. The video changes the way one thinks about other people, countries, and the world at large.

I think Chimamanda is right. People should do their best to ensure that they learn much about other people’s sides of stories to distance themselves from their stereotypes and anticipations from other people rooted in them. They should give other people opportunities to portray themselves as not being monsters or the dreadful ogres with long horns. This way, one can be sure not to return home housed in caskets upon visiting these ogres’ home grounds so believed in some single-sided story in some parts of the globe as maniacs rigidly welded with machine guns. The video reminds people that even though every person at some point in life must encounter single-sided stories, pragmatic strategies can be taken to render the situation mild.

In particular, she points out how “reading books in childhood on how other people in other parts of the world have different conceptions of another side of the world” (Sarah Para 4). According to Chimamanda, “… sometimes expressing that patronizing well-meaning pity comes across as judgmental and disrespectful of others…” (Sarah Para 7). Every person, as a result, should be conferred with the power to make his or her own story and should not be judged with respect to this story.

Conclusion

In the light existence of vulnerability of one to fall culprit of subjectivity to single-story perceptions and beliefs of what you know about people, a person, a circumstance, or even places, amicable steps should be taken to curb its fosters. Some of these factors include educational level, biases. Stereotypic subscriptions are directly or indirectly acquired from the environment. Unfortunately what you may perceive to be true (your side of the story) might turn out to be completely reverse of the truth.

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Simply because sources extrinsic from you such as the way media tells you about a given story, appeals as limitation of your capability to reason eloquently since many times one subscribes to issues or rather fantasy stories that one doesn’t have a clue about. To amicably permit people to hear the other side of your story, then you deserve to take up the role of control proactively over your own environment.

Works Cited

Sarah, Caxton. Chimamanda Adichie: The Danger of a Single Story. 2010. Web.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, April 9). Chimamanda Adichie on the Danger of a Single Story. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/chimamanda-adichie-on-the-danger-of-a-single-story/

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"Chimamanda Adichie on the Danger of a Single Story." StudyCorgi, 9 Apr. 2021, studycorgi.com/chimamanda-adichie-on-the-danger-of-a-single-story/.

1. StudyCorgi. "Chimamanda Adichie on the Danger of a Single Story." April 9, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/chimamanda-adichie-on-the-danger-of-a-single-story/.


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StudyCorgi. "Chimamanda Adichie on the Danger of a Single Story." April 9, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/chimamanda-adichie-on-the-danger-of-a-single-story/.

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StudyCorgi. 2021. "Chimamanda Adichie on the Danger of a Single Story." April 9, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/chimamanda-adichie-on-the-danger-of-a-single-story/.

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StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Chimamanda Adichie on the Danger of a Single Story'. 9 April.

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