Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Reflections on the Single Story, part 2

Chimananda Adichie said other interesting things about the Single Story in the youtube video that was linked here Friday. She said at the 9:23 mark that it was "impossible to talk about the single story without talking about power."

She said, in effect, that it is the powerful who are able to control to story, not just to tell it but to make it definitive. It is the powerful that have the control to make the single story the defining and conclusive story.

She gave the example of herself stating that she had many stories of America and knew that America was not limited to a single story like her own country and continent.

She also stated at the 13:10 mark that "The single story creates stereotypes, not that they are untrue but they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story."
Chimananda listed three things that the single story does:
~It robs people of dignity
~It makes recognition of equal humanity difficult
~It emphasizes how we are different rather than how we similar.

Near her conclusion, Chimananda said that stories have been used to dispossess and malign. but that they can also be used to empower and humanize. She said that stories can break the dignity of a people and also to repair broken dignity.

If it sounds like I'm just rehashing what she has said, forgive me. I simply wanted Chimananda's words in print to refer back to for when we explore her concept of the single story and how it relates to the powerful and how they disempower and marginalize those that they want to control using religion and other means.

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