The problem of the single story

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.

Such a great talk from TED about the problems of single stories. How they breed stereotypes and although stereotypes are not always bad, they are usually incomplete. I remember in Freedom writers, a good speech about how the Nazi's started printing cartoons of Jews in newspapers as a way to point out the differences between people. Its the undermining of people in stories which is the thing which holds us back.

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Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser. Can be found at, and