This morning I finally watched The Danger of a Single Story. This talk, by Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Adichie, discusses how dangerous a single story can be.
By single story, Chimamanda means a one-sided story. A story that leaves out important information. It got me thinking about a lot of single stories that have been taught to me.
The single story of Christopher Columbus.
The single story of Thanksgiving.
The single story of feminism.
The single story of socialism/communism.
All of the above narratives are given a single story. Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue and found this beautiful world, but what gets left out is the genocide and enslavement of indigenous people. Thanksgiving was a time of shared wealth and food, but what gets left out is the beginning of the genocide of hundreds of Native American tribes. Feminism started as a movement for equality long before the Women’s Suffrage movement, before images of women burning bras, yet we associate feminism with ugly, hairy women who hate men. Socialism/communism is professed as the major ill of the world, yet there is no conversation about capitalism and the death and devastation that it has produced.
So, all sides of a story must be discussed in order to come to a sound conclusion. If we are not given all the information, from all sides, then we are doomed to live in the shadows of ignorance.