Watch this TED Talk – The Danger of the Single Story

As a teacher of Writing Workshop, I was very moved by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TEDtalk. I plan to show it to my students as a reminder of HOW IMPORTANT it is for them to always tell THEIR stories. They have stories that only they can tell. They MUST write their story to ensure that others understand exactly WHO they are. They MUST write their story to avoid sterotypes and as a celebration of diversity.

TED Talk Introduction: Our lives, our culture, are composed of many overlapping stories. Novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice – and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding.

Quotes from the TEDTalk:

“At about the age of seven…I wrote exactly the kinds of stories I was reading: All the characters were white and blue-eyes, they played in the snow, they ate apples, and they talked a lot about the weather: how lovely it was that the sun had come out. This despite the fact that I lived in NIgeria; we didn’t have snow, we ate mangos, and we never talked about the weather, because there was no need to.”

As a teacher, this makes me even more want to ensure that the students in my room are reading books where they can see themselves in the books and are writing the stories that only THEY can write – small moment personal narratives, the absolutely true stories of their lives!

“My college roommate asked if she could listen to what she called my ‘tribal music’ and was consequently very disappointed when I produced my tape of Mariah Carey”

Again, as a teacher I need to ensure that I expose my students to all kinds of people and places and situations. They shouldn’t have to wait until college to be exposed to a bigger world.

“The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story.”

Finally, as a teacher, I must ensure that ALL sides of an issue are presented and discussed. All viewpoints needs to be the norm and not the exception.