Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Danger of a Single Story

I'm taking a class on authenticity in multi-cultural childrens literature and came across this fascinating video clip on the Ted Talks website.  The TED website is so cool you can waste hours browsing talks by fascinating, famous people with new ideas to expand your mind.  In this case, a Nigerian author, Chimamanda Adichie gives a talk on, "The Danger of a Single Story."  She describes in personal ways how other's beliefs about her culture were fostered by a narrow knowledge of Nigeria and therefore, her.  She also describes her own learning about how we all need to develop the desire and ability to learn more stories about others.  She quotes the Palestinian poet Mourid Batghouti, "If you want to dispossess a people start with "secondly".   Start the story with arrows of the Native Americans,  and not with the arrival of the British and you have an entirely different story."  She underscores the power inherint in storytelling and influencing beliefs about other cultures.   "Stories can also be used to empower and to humanize.  Stories  can break the dignity of a people, but stories can also repair that broken dignity."  So - take a moment to check out this thought provoking piece and think about the stories you've read about other cultures.  What did they tell you?  What more do you need to know?

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