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Chimamanda and the Single Story

We have all heard stories before. When we think of places unknown it is easy for us to revert to only what we have been told. Sometimes what we have been told merely describes only one shade of the vast colors in a landscape. We could not know otherwise and therefore we have fallen victim of a Single Story. A landscape of people and places go misunderstood with a palette incomplete. The danger of the single story is what Chimamanda Adichie spoke about at the TED convention in 2009.

A Nigerian native, Adichie is a novelist who warns of the misunderstandings that come when limited information is known about a people or place. Adichie has been victim to both sides of the single story. She tells of the undeniable shame felt when realizing that her conception has been wildly incomplete at times when the single story engulfed her view. Conversely, the same narrow mind, single-colored palette, she used on others was the very same used to illustrate her. For Africa is full of color, people, ideas, ambition, and life but some of us only see a dark shade of catastrophe, poverty and disease.


I have felt the shame of which Adichie spoke. It has been easy to hear and believe just one idea. The challenge is to believe that there is more to know, accept ignorance and have an open mind. Adichie’s speech inspires me to take on that challenge. The great stories are often the ones that teach and inspire us. Chimamanda Adichie is a storyteller who has done just that. I am often eager to learn more of people and places that I have previously known little for I do not want to continue as another victim of the single story.


Take a minute to listen to the story that has inspired me.



This post first appeared on The Hertzblog, please read the originial post: here

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Chimamanda and the Single Story

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