Personal Learning Network
The Danger of a Single Story by Chimanda Adichie
During my undergraduate career, one of my favorite professors introduced me to anthologies: books that are a compilation of several real life short stories and recollections of a variety of different people. I immediately fell in love with the structure of these books and was fascinated by how different individual stories differed on the same subject matter. As my undergraduate career progressed I would seek out anthologies in every subject I was learning and now, I seek out anthologies in every subject I teach. It is important to show students that there are different sides to every story.
This idea is what Chimanda Adichie's talk focuses on, the danger of a single story. She presents several stories of her own experiences in dealing with a single story. She presents the fact that many people make assumptions or immediate judgments simply based on how someone looks or where they came from. Her point is this: all people are different and all people come from different backgrounds, cultures, and upbringings. If you automatically assign a single story to a person, you are taking away their freedom of choice and making the life smaller. You are not granting them the chance to show who they really are.
I showed this video to my students in class during a lesson about the Harlem Renaissance. I wanted them to tell me if they thought that those who participated in the Harlem Renaissance were trying to change the singe story of African Americans in the US. I wanted them to tell me if they had ever experienced a single story, but not to say it out loud, but instead to think about it and to write about it. I wanted them to tell me if they thought the single story was still relevant. I then shared my personal experience with the single story and how I am stereotyped on a daily basis. In sharing my own experience, my students were engaged and later shared great detail about their own single stories in their writing. ALL of my students claimed that the single story is still extremely relevant and most argued that both the single story and stereotypes need to be diminished. I found Adichie's video very powerful and was extremely proud and excited to see that my students too found it powerful.
Adichie, C. (7, October 2009) The Danger of a Single Story [Video file]. Retrieved from: https://youtu.be/D9Ihs241zeg?list=PLbRLdW37G3oMquOaC-HeUIt6CWk-FzaGp
Teacher candidate at CSU, San Marcos.
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