The TED Talk by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in July 2009 focuses on the dangers of the “single storey” and locates the origin of these stories. Adichie thinks that single stories start from basic misconceptions or a lack of awareness of others, but these stories may also be used maliciously to discriminate against other communities (Adichie). Even as children, people are impressionable and vulnerable to individual stories (Adichie 01:43). Adichie states that the media and literature readily available to the public tell only one story, leading to stereotypes and generalisations.
“In particular, she explains why generalisations are made.” Coupled with the idea that everyone from Africa comes from a poor, suffering background, her college roommate had a “default posture” of “well-meaning sympathy” towards her (04:49). Adichie also obviously blames herself for falling prey to the “one tale” craze, much like others. Because of the extensive media emphasis on Mexican immigration, she has absorbed the idea that all Mexicans are immigrants (Adichie 08:53). However, just one storey can not characterise a whole group of individuals.
Political and cultural powers have an impact on storytelling as well.Story-spreading power holds ideas over time as well. “Managing ‘how stories are told, who tells them, when they’re told, and how many stories are told’ can be exploited for malintent” (09:25). Adichie’s journey to Mexico is a good representation of how power is often utilised to mislead people about others. And, moreover, important western stories have contributed to the marginalisation of people like Adichie, as foreigners are not part of their experiences. Adichie uses the first story she wrote to portray people of all races enjoying playing in the snow (Adichie 00:39). “When she came across African writers, that freed her from having a singular story of what books are and from being another victim of biased literature” (02:36).
To give an overall summary, Adichie simply says that “you portray people as one thing, as only one thing, and that is what they eventually become” (09:25). Her conclusion asserts that propagating a variety of stories against promoting one narrative is vital. She maintains that rejecting single-story phenomena is necessary to perceive humans as more than just an incomplete idea. (Adichie 18:17).