I watched a great TedTalk the other day given by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie all about the dangers of living by a single story.
A quick synopsis of Chimamanda’s talk would be people are born and raised with single stories in mind about other people, genders, cultures, and communities. However, these single stories usually aren’t true and can actually be harmful.
As I was watching this I realized people can have more than one single story (I will explain in a minute) and your single story can change.
My single story has changed in the past 3 years and I also had more than one at a time.
When I moved to SF be with my then boyfriend people I had known for 10+ years assumed I was a gold digger because he made good money and I was a single mom living paycheck to paycheck.
When I first moved to SF as a 24-year-old woman with my then 1-year-old son most of the people I met assumed I was his nanny.
When people learned I was from Utah they assumed I was Mormon and, as anyone who’s Mormon or from Utah can attest, I got the “How many moms do you have?” question more than once.
At school, people have assumed I was a single parent because I was older than the average college student and have two kids.
I think you get the point, but it goes both ways as well. I have made assumptions about so many people in my life simply because of where they live, where they are from, their religion, etc. I have been working really hard the past year to change those thoughts and assumptions, but I am not going to lie, they still creep up sometimes. It is definitely a work in progress!
However, I know it’s not just me. It is so evident in our society today when it comes to race, gender, occupation, religion, ethnicity, etc. and it’s something I want to work on changing in my own life and in the lives of those around me.
What is your single story that people have gotten completely wrong? And more importantly, how are you changing their views and opinions of you and those in your community?
Go give both these talks a listen and let me know what you think. 🙂