The Danger Of A Single Story: Reflection

From my perspective, the concept of the Single Story is terrifying both in its nature and prevalence. Unfortunately, most of the examples given by Adichie (2009) are too close to reality, and one can recognize the behavior of acquaintances and one’s thoughts in them. Misunderstandings caused by a person’s exposure to only one side of the culture are widespread. Most people are unwilling to delve deeply into the heart of a problem. A crude and superficial description of difficulties with Mexican immigrants, as in Adichie’s (2009) case, is enough to create a persistent negative image of an entire nationality. One of the most frightening factors for me is that no one is immune to this line of thought.

The materials I have read have further expanded and deepened my understanding of this issue. I am now convinced that virtually anyone can become a victim of Single Story. Even education is not an escape, as a study of college students shows because it does not compensate for a lack of empathy for the poor and oppressed (Tesfaye, 2017). From my perspective, this is one of the things that defines this problem and the possible ways to solve it. A person with sufficiently well-developed empathy, faced with cultural misunderstanding, will be able to recognize it. Consequently, they can change their attitude in light of new experiences.

Another essential point, I believe, is the origin of such cultural misunderstandings. Adichie (2009) demonstrated that the Single Story had influenced her since she was a child, as it was a distorted view of the world. Although she was fortunate later to learn a more complicated truth about the world, many children in a similar position could maintain their views through adulthood. Research shows that lifestyles and cultural traits embedded in childhood can manifest even years later, leaving their mark on an individual’s mind (Mollborn et al., 2014). Consequently, as these examples show, many cultural misunderstandings come from childhood from distorted stories. Considering a lack of nurturing in the context of empathy for those in need, such a child can grow into an adult who is convinced of the Single Story they have learned. Adichie (2009) has demonstrated that such an approach is directly related to oppression and cultural erasure. Therefore, this issue is one of the most critical societal concerns for many populations that must be addressed from a very young age.


Adichie, C. N. (2009). The danger of a single story [Video]. TED. Web.

Mollborn, S., James-Hawkins, L., Lawrence, E., & Fomby, P. (2014). Healthy lifestyles in early childhood. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 55(4), 386-402.

Tesfaye, S. (2017). New study: White people lack empathy across the socioeconomic spectrum. Salon. Web.