Monday, June 2, 2014

The Danger of a Single Story

TED Talks Ideas Worth Spreading
 Last week when I addressed the medical wife stereotype, I got a lot of great responses. Most people had never heard of this stereotype before, but they shared the ones which have affected them before. Apparently, even though the word itself has such a negative connotation, stereotypes affect us all. They are a natural, though often misguided, response to the world around us.

After hearing these stories, I realized stereotypes are dangerous because they cause us to make assumptions which generally are not true. I am just as guilty of this as anyone. Not long ago, I watched a TED Talk in a meeting at work called "The Danger of a Single Story". Novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie talked about how only listening to one story causes us to misunderstand the world around us. I will link the video at the end of this post if you are interested in watching.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, via
This TED Talk is actually not the first time I have become aware of the stereotypes I face and the ones I buy into. When I was in high school, I went on a caroling trip with my church youth group one day close to Christmas. We were walking through a strip mall when I saw a homeless man smoking as he hunched against the wall. The acrid cigarette smoke and his appearance caused me to recoil.

In my naivety, I said to one of the youth group leaders, "ugh, look at that homeless man! He needs to get a job".

The youth group leader said, "you know Megan, Jesus died for him just like He died for you. Maybe we should give that man a chance before we jump to conclusions".

I was immediately humbled by her words. The Bible did not say Jesus only died for those of us with a job. It says He died for the whole world. Now that I have a better grasp of finances, who is to say that man didn't fall on bad times and lose his house? Maybe his family died in a terrible accident. Rather than understand his situation, I assigned him a role in my limited world, one which he probably didn't deserve.

I am fascinated with stereotypes right now, so bear with me as I explore this subject on the blog this week!

Can't view the video? Click here.

P.S. Hump Day Happenings opens TOMORROW at 8 p.m. CST! This week, bring any post you would like to share with our community. I look forward to seeing what you got : )