Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Dangers of a Single Story

After watching the Ted Talk this week I immediately went back and thought about all of the children's books that I read while I was growing up. I tried to think of an example of there being a story that I read that included a same sex relationship or gay/lesbian character and I came up BLANK. Growing up as a lesbian, I think I struggled with the fact that there was not really a literary role model for me.

I think that this connects to the point made in the Ted Talk that not seeing yourself in literature can lead to the "unintended consequence of not knowing that people like me could exist in literature."

The definition of a single story is showing someone as one thing over and over again, and eventually that is what they will become. The point made about the media portraying Africa as a place of horrible wars and people who cannot speak for themselves and images of extreme poverty has created a single story for Africa.

I think that the idea of a single story is really relevant, especially in today's age of paying extreme attention to social media and what is portrayed in the media. I think that the media shows things that create single stories, whether or not it is intentional.

Something that stood out to me from the Ted Talk was the idea of single stories creating stereotypes. There was a quote that said "the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete." I think that this is very well put! I agree that stereotypes are viewed as the whole story, when in fact they are a single story!

I think that interning at Youth in Action has really given me the opportunity to see the "other side of the story." Due to the fact that YIA is youth led, the youth are put in leadership positions and are able to share their whole stories, rather than a single story being told about them. Youth having the chance to be in a leadership role and being able to take charge and identify their story and then also have the opportunity to share it and tell it how they want it to be told is SO important.


  1. Great blog, love the pics. I just wonder, do you feel as though growing up lesbian that people had a single story mind frame about you as a person?

    And one of my favorite books is called Far From Xanadu..if you can find it,, it's a good read. Read it in back in high school.

  2. Hi Kate,

    I wanted to start off that the quote you pulled from the film about stereotypes "the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete."
    was a quote that I pulled out from the video and even brought it up in my blog. I agree that stereotypes are viewed as the whole story and that can be very destructive to youth.

    Great post!