Thursday, October 29, 2009

Video: The danger of a single story

Please take 20 minutes to watch this video of Nigerian author Chimamanda Adichie talking about the danger of having your consciousness formed by a single story of a person, a group of people, or a place. There are a number of reasons why I think this is worth sharing. Partly it is just good sense. Partly it is very relevant to reflecting on the colonial history of Canada and any number of other historical processes of oppression and resistance. Partly it is very much connected to my own book project, which has a number of interrelated goals but which includes the goal of putting a dent in the dominant monolithic story of Canada through the sharing of stories of resistance to and in Canada from a wide range of people, eras, movements, and social locations that interview participants were generous enough to share with me. And partly it is good fodder for critical self-reflection -- Adichie's unflinching, matter-of-fact honesty about instances where she has been in the grip of a single story, usually a story produced by power about those who are in some way oppressed, is both a prompt for me towards greater political self-reflection and an example of how to engage in that self-reflection responsibly...for some reason I've been thinking a lot this last week about instances in the past when I have responded poorly to friends taking the risk to point out that I was in the grip of an oppressive, dominant story, and this video is useful in processing some of that.

(Link found via MC.)

1 comment:

thwap said...

listened, glad i did. thanks.