“The Palestinian poet Mourid Barghouti writes that if you want to dispossess a people, the simplest way to do it is to tell their story and to start with, “secondly.” Start the story with the arrows of the Native Americans, and not with the arrival of the British, and you have an entirely different story. Start the story with the failure of the African state, and not with the colonial creation of the African state, and you have an entirely different story.”
Now, I watch a least one TED talk a day, exchanging titles of ‘must-see TED talk TV’ with my best friend and boyfriend respectively. We all have powerful suggestions and discussions based on what resonated with us.
As a professional writer and storyteller (which I also do for free if we’re simply engaged in conversation long enough), this particular talk echoed so much of the sentiments I’ve had, and still have, as a writer of color competing in a Caucasian male dominated and centered field.
The ‘single story’ IS so dangerous, but it doesn’t have to be. I challenge all of you to never be content with it and it alone.
Remember, as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie so eloquently states the talk below, “Power is the ability not just to tell the story of another person, but to make it the definitive story of that person.”
Be careful of your words. Whether you realize it, you are a storyteller, too.