WHITNEY CAIN, PHD

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Time Warp Tuesday: Rejecting the Single Story

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This blog is based on one originally posted on October 30, 2015.  Let's go again!

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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is one of my favorite writers.  Her books, Americanah and Purple Hibiscus among them, are so gorgeous I can hardly stand it.  She is also a gifted speaker; see for yourself by clicking the link below to her Ted Talk, “The Danger of the Single Story.”  In her talk, she says, “. . . when we reject the single story, when we realize that there is never a single story about any place, we regain a kind of paradise.” Her focus is on place, but I find the lesson equally as important for recognizing peoples’ stories.

It’s so easy, though, to accept the single story.  Amidst the sound bites and the “busyness” of this life, the time it takes to consider an alterative story – let alone several – seems too hard.  But that surmise is just our brains playing tricks on us.  It’s not hard to balance the possibility of multiple narratives. 

What’s hard is to shortchange ourselves and others by accepting one lonely story about who we are and who we might be.  That lonely story is too confining to offer any type of ease.   The ease is in Adichie’s paradise where there’s time and space enough to reject the single story.  Each of us deserves all the possibilities, caveats, and narratives we and those around us can imagine.

So, here’s to all of our stories.  May we be able to see the possibility of all the stories people and places hold.  May our stories be lessons, cause to connect, and – at least eventually – windows to writing new stories together.

Resources & References

Link to Adichie’s Ted Talk, “The Dangers of the Single Story”:  http://www.ted.com/talks/chimamanda_adichie_the_danger_of_a_single_story

Photo Credit: Chris Boland. (April 2013).  Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.   www.christopherinessex.co.uk

Whitney Cain