“In this TED Talk, Nigerian author Adichie describes the problem, explaining, “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.”
Instead, she explains, we must seek diverse perspectives — and in turn, writers must tell our own stories. Telling the stories that only we can tell, about our experiences, hopes and fears, helps break down the power of cliches and stereotypes.
From her own childhood writing featuring only blue-eyed children frolicking in snow — because though she had never seen snow, all her books included it — to her American college roommate’s confusion that an African could speak English, Adichie explores the power of stories:
“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.”