June 26, 2010

The danger of a single story

Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Adichie talks about “the danger of a single story:” what happens when a single narrative about a people or place dominates our imagination.  For Adichie, it meant she was greeted on arrival in the United States for college with disbelief that the middle class professor’s daughter was authentically African—she was not tribal enough, and was neither starving nor HIV-ridden.

“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.”

Thanks to Michael Paone of the New York City Coalition against Hunger for passing it on.

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