- Politics and Social Issues
More Than One Story
So often, we have stereotyped images of people who are not like us – and that’s all the story we know about them. We see things the way we want them, very often in black and white. I listened to a talk the other day by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a writer from Nigeria and what she had to stay made me stop and think, really hard. What she has to say is this: we need more than a single story about others before we can make up our minds about them. And yet, we so easily tend to fall into the trap of believing and judging from just one story. So often, we let that one story shape our perception,our opinions.
I must confess that I suffered from the one-story syndrome too when I was younger. Much of it was to do with the American Consulate in Bombay, where I lived. To get a visa, one had to stand in a queue from 4 am in the morning. I know people who picked out their shoes so they would be as comfortable as they could, knowing full well that they could be there for hours. What was worse, they very often could not get in - only a stipulated number was allowed in - and they had to go back the next day. For me, that was enough to judge and I must admit I judged quite harshly. Call it pride, call it sheer laziness, call it cussedness – I just refused to go. For me, anyone who made it so difficult for someone to get into their country wasn’t going to make me beg to get in, least of all, stand around waiting for hours before it even came to the begging stage. I was very content to travel to any of the wonderful places east of the Atlantic.
This carried on even to my working years – if ever there was a seminar in the US, my juniors went. That was one of the reasons they loved working for me! So there I was, stuck with one story. All because getting a visa was so tough. Then things changed, became more liberal, visas could be got making an appointment. So we went and we were out in five minutes! The one story stopped being so rigid but it wasn’t till I traveled through America that I realized how wrong my perceptions had been. Warm, friendly people, always smiling and what impressed me most of all – so, so honest. The one story faded to be replaced with a much more balanced view. One in which a country’s policy didn’t really mean its people – the two could be two different worlds.
It’s taken me a while to get to this point when I have to write my 100th hub and I wondered what on earth I was going to write about. When I viewed this video, I knew this was it because what the writer talks about is taking place right here on HubPages. Most of us come to a community with preconceived notions about people and our perceptions have at best, in most cases, been woefully lacking. It’s amazing how interaction tends to make our one story grow to a balance of many stories. Writing opens the doors to help us see better, judge better, gauge better. Yes, there will always be a few with rigid viewpoints who refuse to see beyond the blinkers they wear but for most of us, it’s an opening up of minds, of hearts, of new stories being written for a better and more balanced picture.
So I’d like to say Thank You to all of you who have made my one story multiply to many. Here are one hundred hubbers who have made my stay at HubPages truly enjoyable!