I’ve been thinking a lot about superiority and judgement and how we can be so quick to criticise an individual or a community when things don’t conform to our own personal behavioural norms, beliefs or cultural expectations. How we uncritically absorb the door-stop news spins of political leaders and others without so much as thinking to check for facts or additional elements of the story. How we gravitate towards views that validate us, often at the expense of other human beings.
I’m reading a list of books curated by Patti Digh for the 37 Days Book Club. This month’s book is Half of a Yellow Sun the second novel of Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. It’s a novel set in the 1960s with a background of the birth and demise of Biafra as a nation.
In 2009, Chimamanda Adichie gave this talk at TED where she spoke about The Danger of a Single Story.
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. Chimamanda Adichie