Stereotypes caused by a lack of stories

Chimamanda Adichie, a novelist from Nigeria, discusses her life as a developing story writer, and how she was influenced when she was young by the lack of multiple stories.

Adichie was raised on a university campus in Nigeria and as a result had access to children’s books, which all came from England. Thus when she began to write stories her characters did the same things as in the English books, she didn’t realize that characters in books could do things that she and others did in Nigeria.

That changed when she read Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, a Nigerian literary giant. It was as she read the story about the colonization of the Igbo by the British that she realized the power of one story.

“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.” She suggests that colonization is perpetuated by the stories that are told around the world, and that we must begin to tell our own stories so that there is not just one.

Click here to watch the video on the TED website

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