Chimamanda Adichie: The danger of a single story (TEDtalks)

It is impossible to talk about the single story without talking about power. …How [stories] are told, who tells them, when they are told, how many stories are told, are really dependent on power. Power is not just the ability to tell the story of another person, but to make it the definitive story of that person.

Our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories. Novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice — and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding.

This is one of those profoundly important videos that in many ways speaks to more than the topic which it sets out to address. Although a commentary on one of the many results of Western imperialism and post-colonial cultural exchange and understanding, “the danger of a single story” is a concept which can be applied even to “Othered” groups within our own countries and with whom we have trouble understanding.


TEDxHampshireCollege – Jay Smooth – How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Discussing Race

“We are not good despite our imperfections; it is the connection that we maintain with our imperfections that allows us to be good.”

Jay Smooth is host of New York’s longest running hip-hop radio show, the Underground Railroad on WBAI 99.5 FM in NY, and is an acclaimed commentator on politics and culture.

In this talk, he discusses the sometimes thorny territory of how we discuss issues of race and racism, offering insightful and humorous suggestions for expanding our perception of the subject.