Volume:9, Issue: 2

Sep. 30, 2017

Articles by #getArticle.ind_name#
Beyond the Single Story
Elder, Catherine J. [about]
The way we view the world is all too often based on our experiences and the stories, both written and told, that have been shared with us. They form our beliefs and shape our behaviors. The view of our world and the people who make up its diverse landscape are often developed in small circles by people who share our circles. This is how we can inadvertently view the world through a “single story.” In doing so, we naturally and naively create perceptions, stereotypes, beliefs and bias about those living outside our spheres. We grow and develop with a narrow lens and instinctively protect those that think and look as ourselves. We make heartfelt and thoughtful decisions on the wisdom of our narrowmindedness. I believe living this way as individuals denies oneself a richness of opportunity and experience. Living this way in democratic educational systems has long-term negative effects on all of humanity. Chimamanda Adichie, a Nigerian author, inspired my thoughts of this subject in her 2009“Danger of a Single Story,” TED Talk. In this talk, Adichie expresses how our limited stories and single perception of people can produce adverse results that are less than true. “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.” How is it that single stories have played out in my life and in my educational experience? Where are the opportunities for merging stories to come together so that the single story can be broadened and be a more complete depiction of humanity? Where in my “whiteness” have I been able to become more racially conscious? Borrowing the words of Adichie, “in this single story of mine, how was I to find the possibility of others to being similar to me in any way, how was I to find the possible feelings of a connection as human equals?”

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