The Danger of a Single Story

I have been meaning to put this on for a while because I think everyone will enjoy it!

“It is impossible to talk about the single story without talking about power. There is a word, an Igbo word, that I think about whenever I think about the power structures of the world, and it is “nkali.” It’s a noun that loosely translates to “to be greater than another.” Like our economic and political worlds, stories too are defined by the principle of nkali: How they are told, who tells them, when they’re told, how many stories are told, are really dependent on power.”

One thought on “The Danger of a Single Story

  1. suroora

    Thanks, Imran! This is a superb talk, full of sharp observation, wisdom and humour. It touches about something that is very relevant today–the dominance of one view, one story, about a people. It’s like a mosaic–from a distance you see a single image, but as you get closer, you see that it is actually a collection of small pieces, each important in its own right. Maybe that’s not the right metaphor, but you know what I mean. I just watched a documentary about Billy Joel’s tour to the Soviet Union during the Cold War. He said Americans thought of the Soviets as a warmongering people bent on destroying the US–that was the single story being told. When the band–and Joel’s wife and child–got there, they were greeted with so much affection. Both sides found so much in common on a human level. Another example of multiple stories versus a single one.

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