The TED talk by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Nigerian novelist, about “The Danger of a Single Story” hit a chord with me. Please watch this inspiring talk here:
It got me thinking… Many of us are quick to stereotype people (and entire countries) and put them in boxes. Almost like it’s easier to pass instant judgement than to see them for the multi-faceted person they are. Do the environment and influences we grow up in shape our way of thinking – either expanding or shrinking the windows to our mind? I don’t think there are too many of us that have escaped the claws of prejudice and stereotyping. Sure sometimes stereotypes may be funny and perhaps there’s an element of truth to it but that is only one aspect, one page or a sentence in the book that makes up the human story, where each of us as individuals are so different and unique.
I grew up in a part of the world with many different ethnic groups with diverse traditions and languages and belonging to different socio-economic groups, so I had a diverse group of friends with so many different world views. But even so, I regret to say that there have been times as a teenager where I’ve looked at the world through prejudiced eyes. I wish I knew then what I know now. Looking back I realize it was a lack of insight and wisdom. But as an adult I’ve learned to educate myself and ask questions instead of coming to my own conclusions based on my very small knowledge of people, culture, traditions etc.
When we look at the world without blinders on, our perceptions are broadened and our minds are opened to new facets of the human persona and our world and we are introduced to a new way of thinking. Every country has it’s rich and poor, it’s saints and sinners, it’s trials and tribulations, at the core we’re not that different from each other. Therein lies the secret.