Adichie, Cimamanda Ngozi
Born in Enugu, Nigeria in 1977, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is an internationally acclaimed writer of novels, short fiction and nonfiction. The recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship along with many other awards, Adichie was educated in Nigeria and in the United States, and she lives and works in both countries. Her 2008 TED talk “The Danger of a Single Story” is one of the 25 most popular TED talks of all time. Adichie begins by describing herself as a child, reading British and American children’s books populated solely by Caucasian characters. She writes of these beloved stories, “They stirred my imagination. They opened up new worlds for me. But the unintended consequence was that I did not know that people like me could exist in literature.” Adichie goes on to explore the pitfalls of approaching the world in terms of any single narrative: for example, that Africa a continent defined by “catastrophe,” or that “poor people”—like the family of Fide, a boy who did domestic work for her middle-class parents—are defined solely by their poverty. Her talk raises provocative questions about power, identity, community, and how stories connect and divide us.
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What makes it possible for us to connect to others? What gets in the way?Why is connection important? What does it enable? What does it impede?How do we connect with those who are different from us?How do we learn to have dialogue across difference? What does it look like?How do we recognize sameness but acknowledge difference(s)?What assumptions do we make about others?What is power? How does it work?How does my race, culture or ethnicity shape who I am?What assumptions do we make about people from different races, ethnicities and cultures?What does it mean to have a voice?