First impressions. We make them every day. How we dress, speak and act all play crucial roles. So does the color of our skin and where we came from. We wear it all, like a fresh suit of clothes. People make up their minds about us, and that narrative can sometimes be difficult to shake. When Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie first came to America as a teenager to study, she found herself battling an impression of what her life there must have been like. Had to been like. She calls it the “danger of a single story.” Quoting writer Alice Walker, Adiche says that "when we reject the single story, when we realize that there is never a single story about any place, we regain a kind of paradise."
Racial profiling is a dimension of the concerns that Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie talks about in her speech, “The danger of a single story.” It’s a controversial law enforcement tool that singles out people with certain characteristics, particularly minorities.
The Nigerian writer, Chimamanda Adiche, tells a simple truth: We are often prisoners of a “single story” about others, and that’s a dangerous thing.
We might have perfectly polished images of who people are and the lives they’ve led, based on what they look like, where they come from, how they act and speak. And we’re amazed, and even troubled, perhaps, when the image doesn’t match reality.
She grew up middle class in Africa, a continent, she noted dryly, that people, in her experience still refer to as a country, a place of wars, poverty and lawlessnesss. Yet, in the America for the first to attend college, Adiche’s roommate couldn’t believe that she could speak English, enjoyed Mariah Cary and even knew how to use a stove. Africa for her had only a single story.
Even Adiche was not immune. She grew up on British and American children’s books. So the people in her early stories, written in crayon, were all white and blue-eyed, played in the snow, the little girls wore pony tails and they all drank ginger beer.
“Never mind that I had no idea what ginger beer was, ” she said.
It’s not so much that stereotypes created by single stories are false, she said, ” they are incomplete…It robs people of our dignity.”