Chimimanda Ngozi Aditchie’s “The Danger of a Single Story”

It is human nature to generalize things from a small portion of data. Statistical methods emphasize the simplicity of analyzing more extensive information from a squeezed one to save time and the burden of investigating the whole set of data. Prominent philosophers have also argued that logic automatically develops when we make deductions from recurring experiences or society’s norm. For instance, we all know the sun rises from the east and sets on the west. It is absurd to counter-argue the fact. Generalization of ideas save us time and empowers people with knowledge that would other be impossible to assess. However, the problem is that some conclusions we draw from stereotyping are not necessarily authentic or a reflection of reality. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, in her classical work “The Danger of a Single Story,” emphasizes the danger of limiting and narrowing our thoughts from squeezed story perspectives. The author stresses the need for flexibility and open-mindedness to embrace the beauty of the world’s diversity. The author believes if we learn from broad stories, we will enlighten our vision of humanity and explore our power beyond our imaginations (Adichie). The essay aims to expand our thoughts to reality and overcome the drawbacks of stereotypes. The universe comprises fabulous cultures, people, and features that we should cherish without prejudice.

Adichie traces back her life in Nigeria, where she born in a middle-class family with her father being a professor and mother, an administrator. As a kid, she was an enthusiastic reader. She read British and American literature books that were readily available and pictured a single story of the foreign nations. From her readings, she knew that foreigners were intellects and well equipped with infrastructures. Adichie would compose writings with white protagonists with blue eyes because of her daily lessons. She also narrates a house worker’s story by the name of Fide, who she associated with poverty. Adichie’s mother had told her stories of how poor Fide’s family was, and she had one general outlook on Fide-a poor fellow that deserves pity. However, she did not know beautiful things about Fide, but she only knew the scarce from her mother’s story. As time passed and she was exposed to African articles, and her mentality transformed. Adichie began to voice and empower African heritage. She later goes to the United States for higher education, where she narrates an American roommate’s encounter. The roommate assumed she would not speak or understand English or use items from her experiences about Africa. The author explains that her comrade had acquired the attitude from single stories from Africa. Adichie also mentions how she was bewildered after visiting Mexico and had her stereotype idea transformed. She had generalized Mexicans and went by the word of them being immigrants and bandits. In her series of narrations, the author sheds light on how single stories lead to wrong interpretations. Influential people dictate the impact of information on people when they portray the negative side of a story and omit the light; the audience will have a one-sided account (Adichie).   

The authors target audiences are the stereotypes who are shallow minded and inflexible to changes. The precise audiences of the author are the stereotypes of Africa. The author is critical in correcting Africa’s general perception; she believes that there is more than what is known by stereotypes. The author depicts the attitude towards Africans of her roommate as natives that deserve “well-meaning pity.” African is described as a country “with beautiful landscapes with incomprehensive people fighting senseless wars.”  The author advocates for a free world from prejudice and universal humanity. The author emphasizes that if we change our perspective of entrusting limited sources, we will create an incredibly beautiful experience. The author hopes people will change their storytelling approach by using stories to empower the unprivileged and promoting humanity. As the author mentions, the information we hear about Mexican immigration, causing economic problems, can blind us from realizing that not all Mexicans are evil. Stereotyping robs us the opportunity to see the world as we should. The author intends to rectify the mentality of stereotyping by introducing a revolutionized style of storytelling (Salmon). 

I entirely agree with Adichie’s opinion of changing our culture of storytelling for the sake of humanity. I believe in equality; it does not matter whether one is black or white, rich or poor, literate, or illiterate what is of essence is that we are human beings. We all have feelings, we socialize, have faith in something, and feed. We have the power to enhance equality and also the authority to promote inequality. The world is comprised of immense beauty that we should not misuse by stereotyping. For instance, currently, China is associated with inflicting the Coronavirus in the universe. If I happen to encounter with a Chinese, I will probably keep distance and despise him/her courtesy of the Corona Virus scandal. What if we stopped pointing figures on each other and work jointly? I believe the universe would have discovered a cure to the virus and saved millions of lives. We would realize that China is scared like any other nation and that blaming does not repair any damages. The technology and infrastructure of the universe could tremendously improve. Sharing ideas across the universe would not create imbalance but rather promote humanity. The world should share knowledge and learn from different cultures without stereotyping.

A significant part of people would argue that we cannot be equals that the imbalance creates a competitive world. Naysayers believe that for growth, there must be a subject that must consequently suffer. Naysayers also believe that history remains the same regardless of anything that happens. For instance, some people believe Africa is resource enriched land with natives that are only suitable for manual work. However, there are Africans that have designed products and created artistic works that are worth appreciating. If we treat less-developed nations as equals, we will save the whole humanity for extinction. For instance, we blind ourselves when we set up production companies in less developed countries and release toxic air. Air currents eventually drift polluted air towards our land, and the climate changes and increases global warming. The universe should place happiness as a priority rather than material wealth. If we attach importance to human needs’ satisfaction, we will turn away from superiority and inferiority. 

In conclusion, if we embrace changes and open our minds to facts without stereotyping, we will receive a revelation of reality. The diversity of the world is incomprehensible for anyone to assume to understand by judging from a sample. Although stereotyping may be helpful in some circumstances, it can misguide human beings in embracing the beauty of the universe. As the author mentions,” 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.” If we create harmony in sharing ideas and appreciating different cultures, we will attain ultimate advancement in technology and humanity.

Works Cited

Adichie, Chimamanda N. “Transcript of “The Danger of a Single Story”.” TED: Ideas Worth Spreading, www.ted.com/talks/chimamanda_ngozi_adichie_the_danger_of_a_single_story/transcript?language=en#t-351994.

Salmon, Brittany. “An Analytical Critique of “ The Danger of a Single Story” Adichie, C. N. (2009).” Medium, 2 May 2017, medium.com/@brittanysalmon1/an-analytical-critique-of-the-danger-of-a-single-story-adichie-c-n-2009-734e435cc25b.

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