Bias Starts With A Single Story


I was going through my blog list and happened on the following presentation on Siditty Angry and Black Since 1976 blog about a Nigerian writer presenting on the topic of a single story. The link is attached:

http://www.ted.com/talks/chimamanda_adichie_the_danger_of_a_single_story.html

Her point was and still is true for every individual. We create an impression of a person, culture, or groups of people by a singular account. That singular account can come from the media, books, someone’s perception or experience and so-called historical writings. As humans, we tend to judge people by rumors or stories rather than facts or personal interactions.
  I have had one such experience when someone asked me if ‘we build our houses in trees.’ I am from Jamaica a very touristy island that is advertised for great get- aways and honeymoons; so, I was surprised by such a question. Needless to say, I pointed out the person’s stupidity because I was very annoyed and insulted by the ignorance.
  Here are some biases from single stories:
-American blacks are poor and has limited education (perception on tv). There was a book called the Bell Curve which stipulated why blacks and other minorities needs to be dominated because of lower IQ to their Caucasian counterpart. Needless to say there were a number of flaws and cultural biases that led to such a conclusion.
-Native Indians’ culture is destroyed by alcohol. Also, in the early portrayal they were all savages who raped and scalped the innocent (perception on tv and early writings)
-Southern Caucasians are all racist and is affiliated with the KKK. (I still have reservations about travelling to certain states)
-Not sure who started these but: Black men are hung like horses while Asian men have very small penises (this is the perception on tv and is accepted as truth)
  The Truth About the Above Biases:
-No, Jamaican’s do not build houses in trees. We have real buildings (schools, businesses, hotels, hospitals) along with shacks in the poor areas.
-Native Americans do have problems with alcoholism along with severe poverty. However, they have a rich culture and anyone who has every participated in an NA ceremony would understand this.  Furthermore, there are different tribes with different traditions and practices.
-I as a black woman have met very nice, welcoming southerners who are mingled amongst those who are racist or has such affiliations
-Last but certainly not least: Men come in all shade, shape and sizes no matter the racial origin.
  I recognized that I too have formed bad impression of things from only a singular point of view. The single story, as the writer points out, is not the only side to a story. This discovery is something that each person has to seek out for him/herself.

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