Thursday, October 07, 2010

The Single Story - Leading to Bias and Sterotypes

There is so much to the old saying, "Variety is the spice of life." Exposing oneself to variety of any kind allows him or her to see the world in multiple ways. Possibilities to compare and contrast, to learn, to experience, and to react exist when one expands their knowledge of the world. But so many individuals do not take the time to go out of their way to expose themselves to variety in any aspect of life. When this happens, and individuals only experience one way of doing something or one way of thinking about something, that is, only see one story, then any variety that may exist escapes their view and cannot influence their thoughts and feelings in any way. Without such variety, it is easy to fall into the very human traps of bias and stereotypes.

Nigerian-born author Chimamanda Adichie does a beautiful job of capturing the essence of the single story, and the dangers in thought it presents. A lack of exposure to new ideas, new cultures, trips to locations never before traveled, new stories, and variety in any way, restricts thought and the notion of other possibilities. Too often bias and prejudice are the results due to a mindset that prevents one from making a realization that 'one size does NOT fit all.' Adichie offers personal stories to make such a case, and I find her story compelling and thought-provoking, as well as convincing. I recommend watching her presentation, and keeping an open mind that variety exists in all areas of life.

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