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The danger of a single story | Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

58218 ratings | 4285832 views
http://www.ted.com Our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories. Novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice -- and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding. TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world's leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes. Featured speakers have included Al Gore on climate change, Philippe Starck on design, Jill Bolte Taylor on observing her own stroke, Nicholas Negroponte on One Laptop per Child, Jane Goodall on chimpanzees, Bill Gates on malaria and mosquitoes, Pattie Maes on the "Sixth Sense" wearable tech, and "Lost" producer JJ Abrams on the allure of mystery. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design, and TEDTalks cover these topics as well as science, business, development and the arts. Closed captions and translated subtitles in a variety of languages are now available on TED.com, at http://www.ted.com/translate. Watch a highlight reel of the Top 10 TEDTalks at http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/top10
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Text Comments (2638)
Alex Muir (18 hours ago)
Love your talk.. living in Gambia since 2007. Gambians have as many misconceptions about a white man as americams of Africans. You can't understand a culture from another continent. Especially before the internet.
Alex Muir (18 hours ago)
And to be clear i was referring to tv shows and movies that are representative of modern Africa. Clearly history is covered widely and major events but its like the characters often have only little details about culture. The complexity is impossible to grasp in a 2 hr moveor even 100 2 hour movies.
Alex Muir (18 hours ago)
When i first arrived in Gambia in 2004 i was like baby.. learning the tribes greetings, the names of trees and fruit, mangeh dem fi, toubab, monfingo. What is clear is Africans do a poor job of creating media that is interestimg for a North American audience perhaps because many haven't visited and can't grasp the requirements while of course many are visiting and do create great content and some without the visit. Generally though its the musicians that are making north Americans fall in love with Africa and we can't hear the words. But tv ahows or movies produced in africa not so much visibility across the ocean.
Christabel Mhariwa (20 hours ago)
This woman inspires me so much. I would love to meet her and tell my Literature students that i finally met my role model.
fredrika27 (21 hours ago)
Just came across this speech and was blown away! Her narrative is like many minorities in the US who don't represent the narrative the country has written for them!
trishaana Sewa (1 day ago)
Never thought a single stories can be this harmless to ones perception.
Falalongkornz (1 day ago)
The ironic thing here is that she gives us only a single story of her roommate.
DIGIT2 (1 day ago)
TU Wien any1?
Vale Viganò (3 days ago)
Altinay and I (4 days ago)
Were watching this in Libary?
Alex White (4 days ago)
i hate my teacher
Gifty Praisy (5 days ago)
Good very Good
Alby Nana Cady (5 days ago)
As to why I feel emotional watching this, I guess I will understand ONE DAY. Until then, I must say this is one of the best speeches I've ever come across. I'm a proud Ghanaian.
The Minish (5 days ago)
F A N T A S T I C ! The whole world should stop for a moment and watch that
abstractartist23 (5 days ago)
This is the girl from Beyoncé- Flawless
Kamila Sousa (6 days ago)
Brown Moscato (7 days ago)
5K Nigerian for one job vacancy 😭
William Rops (7 days ago)
Does anyone know where she spoke this speech? I would really appreciate if someone could find this because I cannot anywhere. Thanks.
Everyone has a story. I think the world would be a better place if we took the time and listened to them
Bizzγ (9 days ago)
She has such a beautiful accent
Enzo Seven (10 days ago)
RESPECT! #enzoseven
Moritz Steiner (10 days ago)
your mom gay
Dear maskphobia (11 days ago)
I'm going to fail my exam for this speech
Daniel Kwon (11 days ago)
So beautiful. Inspiring. Elegant.
Life with Minkie (12 days ago)
Phenomenal woman 💕
FlappyCat2000 (12 days ago)
Does this mean we can take over Russia in the Winter?
Chinonyelum Osakwe (15 days ago)
I adore you ma, you are truly a gift from God!
Ce Herre (15 days ago)
Love it ♥️
Zoey (16 days ago)
PHI Bonacci (20 days ago)
Vai cair no PAS
Jaguar Expert (21 days ago)
I can't believe she believed in the Mexican stereotypes. I thought she was a good person
FlappyCat2000 (12 days ago)
She's a good person, not omniscient. She's wise because of her experiences, and the whole point is that it's easy to buy into the single story. Not that anyone who buys into the single story is racist.
Jemima Uche (14 days ago)
Lol you missed the whole point of what she was talking about
Two Hamsters (21 days ago)
I wish there was more women in America like you beautiful and intelligent
Miss Moxie (22 days ago)
I came here on the suggestion of my Nigerian coworker This is an amazing viewpoint and an excellent point
MarksmanGPBR (23 days ago)
So smart, so eloquent, so intelligent, so cultured and yet so humble. A beautiful woman both inside and outside doing what she does best: Telling stories. There's never one truth, and truth is a matter of view. Love from Brazil. Thanks for the insight (and good humour).
Mariam (24 days ago)
G Ibrahim (28 days ago)
I absolutely loved this. And her.
Amidou Badiane (28 days ago)
Joe Salamone (29 days ago)
Love her! My Role Model!!
nahir lopez (29 days ago)
5:56 to 6:28. i just love her.
Anli Qi (29 days ago)
When she says something funny nobody reacts.
F I (1 month ago)
One of the best TED Talks I’ve ever listened to. Very evocative and thought-provoking
josie abby (1 month ago)
wow, just wow. could listen to her and what she has to say forever. definitely gonna read her book!
Tim Goodrich (1 month ago)
She is in America giving a lecture in a heavy accent, about our culture? Well sweetie, why are you here? Go somewhere else and cry about your inequality.
O faithful (24 days ago)
People like you are the reason why amerikkka is an evil terrible place. The torment you feel when a beautiful intelligent African woman clearly elucidates the sheer stupidity of ignorant hateful ameriKKKans!!
Pokemon Ash (1 month ago)
I was sooooo late to hear this wonderful speech, if I could see her it would be wonderful
Mojache (1 month ago)
her accent is amaazing i just finished reading purple hibiscus. it was soo good
Medjison Thelus (1 month ago)
watching this at f*cking night school
Tania Pennetti (1 month ago)
Left me nodding in agreement...paradise sounds better. Bravo!
Karen Koutsoumbaris (1 month ago)
You are amazing and I love your books 📚
Hannah JNope (1 month ago)
Wow inspirational!! Thank you very much
amy laker (1 month ago)
Wow this gave me hope and has taught me alot of things of how i hear and precieve stories
prettybrowneyesqq (1 month ago)
This is a beautiful woman who is an incredible speaker. I was assigned this video for a paper last yr for a college Psych class. The message here is so true and she explains it wonderfully. How easy it is for ppl to believe something as truth just because its the story theyve always been fed. Im glad to see comments by some in Jr High school & High school saying this was a required assignment. If more people at younger ages hear this message perhaps the future generations will have more open minds than what some of us older generations have experienced.
Matari Sambia (1 month ago)
** I am so proud of you young sister.**
Jitendra. Thacker. (1 month ago)
Brilliant video. Well articulated.
Saritha Satheesan (1 month ago)
I'm from India ,Kerala I like it Thank you for giving this message THE DANGER OF SINGLE STORY
JELC (1 month ago)
i'm zambian and honeslty nollywood is what many kids grew up on in my days..
JELC (1 month ago)
you can take chimamanda out of nigeria, but you can't take nigerian accent out of chimamanda..
Thoriso Molefe (1 month ago)
"Nolywood ... despite technical odds". That reminds me of a gunshot that sounded like a toddler slapping someone😂😂😂.
Thoriso Molefe (1 month ago)
"Africa,India and other countries". I go die o! 😂😂😂😂😂
ewere oyeze (1 month ago)
This makes sense, I love this. I respect this. Can you please, not concern yourself with feminism, you fail there.
Hudson Shilalia (1 month ago)
Chimamanda,I want to grow up and make Africa proud like you.Iam swelling with pride right now,oui oui keep suis Africain
Eguolo Anita Etefe (1 month ago)
I love this woman!!! 👏👏👏
MrQaaciye (1 month ago)
Great writer, even better speaker! As a Somali native I remembered when school classmates in Ohio asked if I was involved in piracy and made captain jokes from Captain Philips.
Kobie Smith (1 month ago)
African immigrants to America need to listen to this lecture before forming their opinion about the Black-American community as a whole. Too often, a single story (lazy akatas, uneducated, ghetto, violent, criminal, etc) of our condition becomes our ONLY story and the totality of 45,000,000 people.
It's a pretty huge demand for anyone to tell the complete story of anything and no matter how hard one may try, the most trivial omission may have the most damaging consequences.
Laura chera (1 month ago)
WapajeaWalksOnWater (1 month ago)
She is the bomb.com, I absolutely love her.
Declan-Kayode Keegan (1 month ago)
I have the highest admiration of her. As a fellow Nigerian who has almost exactly similar background to her, who now lives in the UK, I absolutely understand what she's saying.
Otis The Cow (1 month ago)
Anyone else here because of AP human geography homework ? 👀
Matilda reid (1 month ago)
I love this. Thank you!
Emily Knight (1 month ago)
Hands down, best TED Talk ever. She is an amazing speaker.
Optyc Illusion (1 month ago)
ENG 170 Madeleine Dickinson Today's media commonly portrays the single story in regards to opposing sides of political dialog. It is often used as a strategy to demonize certain sects of people that others will know little about- be it immigration or poverty or the hot seat marijuana issue. You hear one story of each of these things- they'll steal american jobs, they are uneducated, or it will prompt you to take harder drugs.
Ginger Cooks (1 month ago)
What if your roommate knew that the first successful heart transplant was done in South Africa, Cape Town.
Brianna Steele (1 month ago)
ENGL 170 Brianna Steele The "single story" refers to how easily persuaded someone may be about specific stories and things. For example she talks about writing about ginger beer even though she had never tasted it before. The concept of the "single story" is found largely in media today. The media is able to twist stories to make people believe certain things about other people, ideas, or countries. Due to the large use of media information like this can spread like wildfire and soon everyone is persuaded that something will happen/happened a specific way. Because one side of the story is all we may hear the information is morphed into a completely different story. Personally, I think the idea of a "single story" is interesting. It was interesting to hear how someone can be so easily affected by this just based on what they see and hear.
UGO AWA (1 month ago)
A single story she may have left out is the rancorous way foreigners see and address an ambitious set of Africans from Nigeria, who feel unbearably chocked by a lack of an adequate base at home to showcase their class and hence have to abscond to foreign lands.. We mean no harm. We want the same things u want which is to excel in a world were humans would literarily someday be able to board a shuttle to Mars with ease. (Smiles)
Best Rock Singer (1 month ago)
This woman is an amazing
Best Rock Singer (1 month ago)
Simply *The Best* Articulated Truth
Best Rock Singer (1 month ago)
Excellent Speech
AndrewTheinfowarror (1 month ago)
nshs gang
acajudi100 (1 month ago)
https://youtu.be/A86qH9sdyaI https://youtu.be/7a7_c-fMqyM https://youtu.be/7a7_c-fMqyM https://youtu.be/cjwBzI-f0lo
K H (1 month ago)
I remember watching clips of this in high school!! The love and nostalgia I had back then for this speech has never left me, even now
Rotem Nimtsovich (1 month ago)
What’s the name of the book she is talking about?
acajudi100 (1 month ago)
Much respect, Thank you. Many Africans coming to the USA have been super nasty in their hatred for brown Americans. I did not raise our.Daughter to try and NOT disrespect people as a guest of their country, or your own. I also read Baldwin, etc.
ringo ai (1 month ago)
自分用です。失礼します。 3:00
Nalubega Harriet (1 month ago)
So much inspiring,I love your story tales.
CC R0ckphiLLy (1 month ago)
She is stunningly beautiful
Selvaprakas Prakas (1 month ago)
Wonderful speach
langston terry (1 month ago)
This was great
sphamandla mashalaba (1 month ago)
Adnan Mk (1 month ago)
I am from India and studying in10 ,we have this speech to study. In our English text book
Brenell Hornsby (1 month ago)
Her presence and extraordiinary beauty are unreal!
Brenell Hornsby (1 month ago)
Her visit to Mexico revealed issues that have not changed one little bit from those issues of today! This world is insane!
Judy Frishman (2 months ago)
Dutchsinse earthquake
Okot Ray (2 months ago)
The grand daughter of the late Prof Chinua Achebe, right? Great then.
Randi Ewain (2 months ago)
We had to listen to this in English class, funny enough and we had to spend about a month on it followed by an essay on it and what it actually means which definitely opened my eyes
Eric Liu (2 months ago)
FORD LONGRUN (2 months ago)
I Love Drawing (2 months ago)
Wow I actually liked this ted talk although it was my 10 th Grade english homework.
Kurtlane (2 months ago)
So why are we in the West endlessly told that all Western civilization ever did was evil, that Israel is an apartheid-fascist-oppressive-occupationist-supremacist-evil state (I've been there, so I saw how much it is a lie), that white males are losers, that people from Mexico and other continents (joke) are all absolutely wonderful, that every Western country is run by racists, etc. etc.? Why do we have on college campuses every sort of diversity except the diversity of views and opinions and stories, and anyone who says anything different will be at best demonized and at worst unemployable for life? She too is not innocent here. She too is questioning only what is PC to question, carefully avoiding anything that will make her leftist / liberal audiences uncomfortable. She says exactly what the audience expects, so she reaps the adulation. This is an echo chamber. This is how "Great Leaders" are made. This is how Hitler and Stalin rose. Yes, a single story is dangerous. Especially when It's false. There should be many stories. Not just one leftist narrative.
Kurtlane (12 days ago)
+FlappyCat2000 , well, that's the problem! I was born and lived the first 16 years of my life in the Soviet Union, which was a police state. And now I feel more and more like I am returning to it.
FlappyCat2000 (12 days ago)
+Kurtlane She could stay that stuff, but that's not the point. Saying stuff about that wouldn't add to the message she's trying to get our. Angering the SJWs couldn't accomplish anything either, remember she's not making some YouTube video from home she's at a TED Talk so there's certain things she can't say
Kurtlane (12 days ago)
+FlappyCat2000 , well, I just brought up a ton of stuff. Think of how many stories could be made out of it.
FlappyCat2000 (12 days ago)
What are you talking about? What should she have brought up?
7DStripe (2 months ago)
This speech is beyond Excellent, it's quite captivating. Just beautiful
Tareq Shahwan (2 months ago)
She is a great and raises important points that warrant reflection and discussion!

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