Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a Nigerian writer with many commendable works under her belt, making her a prominent figure in diasporic African literature. Therefore, in 2009, Adichie was invited to deliver her TED Talk entitled “The Danger of a Single Story.” She explained that a single story is a small, usually negative, aspect of a people that misstates their culture in its entirety.
While reminiscing the time she fell prey to a single story, Adichie said, “‘I remember walking around on my first day in Guadalajara, watching the people going to work, rolling up tortillas in the marketplace, smoking, laughing. I remember first feeling slight surprise. And then, I was overwhelmed with shame. I realized that I had been so immersed in the media coverage of Mexicans that they had become one thing in my mind, the abject immigrant,'” (Adichie). Adichie’s anecdote also shows what makes a single story dangerous: its ability to cultivate stereotypes. Defining anything based on a single factor harms one by providing them with only a cursory understanding of their environment, thus coloring their views.
Furthermore, prejudices drive rifts between people, making them see differences, rather than similarities. To take a deeper, and slightly dire, turn, a single story obliterates one’s perception of human equality. In summary, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie relayed some profound concepts in her talk, resonating with her enormous audience of over 16 million.