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The Power of Stories

The problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are
incomplete. They make one story become the only story. This is a quote by
Chimamanda Adichie and it describes how society twists peoples stories, causing them
to think only one way, meaning single mindedly. The quote along with the ted talk by Elif
Shafak explains how identity politics affects the way stories are circulated, read and
reviewed by people around the world. The comparison and contrast between The
Danger of A Single Story by Chimamanda Adichie and The Politics Of Fiction by Elif
Shafak reveal the differences between certain perspectives and stories that relate to
division and classification in society. These two ted talks give examples of how the
media twists the way society interprets stories and why reading, writing, and oral
communication is so important for everyone to have and be able to understand.

Adichies the danger of a single story created the idea that people make
assumptions about other cultures and races based on the single story that they have
heard over their lifetime, and because of this form single opinions and judgments
towards that certain culture or race. This being very similar to an idea in Shafaks The
Politics of Fiction where she talks about the power of circles and how the walls around
people's social and cultural circles are built so high, that they can only ever think one
way. Around the world people do not know enough about each other and are
constricted by their cultural cocoons to think any other way then the people around them
do. Clusters are formed in society based on peoples similarities and then stereotypes
are produced toward other clusters of people. Communities of the like-minded are one
of the dangers of today's globalized world, because this is where a single story is
formed.

The media portrays events around the globe with a single story, view and
perspective, but unfortunately these factors never add up to the whole truth. Media
manipulates peoples minds to only see in one direction and to only think one way, so
when negative stories that take place in certain areas around the world are shown to the
public by media sources, entire races and nations are negatively impacted. Not only
does this classify certain countries and people in a destructive way in society, but it also
divides our world as a whole. The world is divided because people do not know enough
about one another, or the information that people do know has somehow been
manipulated along the way, giving people a singular opinion on a topic. These horrible
stories have a hold and power over human minds and the saddest thing about it is, it
would be easy to learn and to change these opinions, but not enough people in the
world are willing to try.
Not only are there large amounts of power within media because of how
persuasive it can be to viewers, there is also power in fiction storytelling, which is a
major topic that Shafak explains in her ted talk. Fiction is a positive influence on
peoples minds, and there are many unfortunate ways that jeopardizes this ability
because of identity politics. When people are bored with their lives, fiction comes into
play and it opens so many doors for imagination but when identity politics tries to put
labels on people, everyones freedom of imagination is in danger. The division in our
world when people having a single view on certain situations comes back to the idea
that everyone in society must have a status, class, or label. Fiction has the power to
create a positive escape for all the negativity that goes on in the world, people just need
the extra push to get to that state of mind, Identity politics are solid breaks, Fiction is
flowing water..

In a world without classification and division in society there wouldnt just be one
tory, there would be multiple stories, views on topics and interpretations. People need to
become more aware and realize the danger of a single story, how powerful it is, and not
only how it can affect peoples views on the world and the people they have to share it
with but how it can ultimately impact peoples lives. When only part of a story is
revealed it can ruin humans outlook on life and can even rob people of their dignity, this
is how stereotypes are created and why humans need to learn more about each other.
Unlike negative examples of media, stories have the ability and power to transcend
borders, people just have to learn how to use this power effectively.
References

Adichie, C. N. (n.d.). The danger of a single story. Retrieved October 10, 2017, from
https://www.ted.com/talks/chimamanda_adichie_the_danger_of_a_single_story

Shafak, E. (n.d.). The politics of fiction. Retrieved October 10, 2017, from
https://www.ted.com/talks/elif_shafak_the_politics_of_fiction#t-211520