Regaining a kind of paradise

Chimamanda Adichie has given what has to be one of my favorite TED talks of all time. In The Danger of a Single Story she discusses the problem with listening to just one story to the exclusion of all others.

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…

The consequence of the single story is this: it robs people of dignity. It makes our recognition of our equal humanity difficult. It emphasizes how we are different rather than how we are similar…

Stories matter. Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign, but stories can also be used to empower and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people, but stories can also repair that broken dignity…

When we reject the single story, when we realize that there is never a single story about any place, we regain a kind of paradise.

Those are the highlights of the talk, the phrases that struck me as I was listening to it. You’ll want to hear the whole thing, though, for the stories she weaves through the entire talk.

2 thoughts on “Regaining a kind of paradise

  1. This is a very fascinating argument that can be taken across different problem domains, thanks for pointing this out.

    I really do think the TED talks are some of the most important conferences around. I’m so very glad they make the videos publicly free and available.

    1. Andy,

      That’s exactly what I loved about her talk. I could immediately apply it to to several issues I’ve been thinking about, both at work and in my personal life.


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