Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie TED Talk About The Danger Of A Single Story To Judge People

 Written by Joseph Nyamache

| Updated on November 5, 2019

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie TED talk is a thought-provoking speech about the danger of a single story and the repercussions of taking a single source as an accurate representation of people or our culture

Novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie TED Talk

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie TED talk points out about the dangers of using a single story to judge people, cultures, and places without taking the precaution of checking other reputable sources.

There is a tendency where people read novels and watch news outlets about a given place or race, and they assume the single-story describes the people adequately.

For example, Africa is portrayed in many novels as a place where people are affected by extreme poverty. In her speech, she gives examples of her life.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie speech starts by describing how they used to live in a neighborhood where people were poor and her mother used to tell her why she should eat food and finish rather than wasting because other people can’t afford to buy food.

The other person the mother was referring to was her friend’s family. One day they visited the family with her mother to discover there were traditional items in the poor family homestead that she found to be attractive but were not in their home.

She remembers how she used to read a lot when she was young and how the novels she read kept portraying the west as a place where they drink ginger beer and good things.

Later on, she went to the United States of America for further education where her roommate was surprised to discover she was able to speak fluent English.

Her roommate was even surprised further to discover that English was the official national language in Nigeria. The novels used to portray Africa as a place with people who can’t speak English and the roommate had judged her based on a single story.

To further illustrate her point about the dangers of a single story, she narrates how American media used to portray Mexicans as people who commit crimes by migrating illegally to the United States.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s speech concludes by saying that even if a place is portrayed in a negative way, there are several good things that can be realized out of place. Judging people based on a single story is wrong.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie TED Talk | The Danger Of A Single Story To Judge People

3 Lessons From Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s “The Danger of a Single Story”
1. A shared, universal experience
Chimamanda’s purpose is not to scold her audience for a lack of knowledge, but rather to explain that these misunderstandings and limited perspective are universal.

By opening with her own admission in the tale about Fide and his family’s poverty, she opens herself to the criticism of this talk. It makes her a more human narrator, and also adds humor to the story in a way that helps the audience feel like she is a close friend, not merely a lecturer. Read at 3 Lessons From Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s

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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Speech

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