Sunday, February 27, 2011

Danger of a Single Story

A few weeks ago, Bring Change 2 Mind blogger Marc Peters posted a video from TED talks by Chimamanda Adichie. I wanted to share this video and more importantly the message the video presents to our readers. Chimamanda Adichia is a novelist and MacArthur Fellow. Her work is inspired by events in her native Nigeria. In the TED talk Chimamanda discusses the danger of the single story. Her discussion of the single story relates very closely to the experiences of the mentally ill. Chimamanda’s messages is that a single story about a person or culture creates stereotypes. And the problem with stereotypes is NOT that they are untrue but that they are incomplete and make one story the ONLY story. A single story shows a group of people as only one thing over and over again and that in turn is what they become. We risk a critical misunderstanding when we only hear a single story about a person or a culture.
So when we only have a single story about mental illness that is what the mentally ill become. If we only know mental illness as violence than every mentally ill individual is perceived as violent. This in turn leads to more stigma associated with mental illness. This is why we also must share our stories about mental illness. Please share your story on our blog. Or if you don’t feel comfortable sharing on the blog then email Becca and I at Keep Reading. Keep Learning. Keep Advocating.

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