“The single story” is an idea that, until last week, I had never even taken the time to consider. I have always been a pretty open-minded person – I have never really taken issue with someone over their race, religion, socioeconomic class, etc. I’ve always been a proud adherent of the idea that all people are just that – People – and although each one of us is diverse and unique we are all, at the end of the day, human. However, after watching this video I came to the sudden realization that even though I have always been accepting of other people, I have also built up certain stereotypes and generalizations about people groups from around the world that have characterized them unjustly.
For example, I have always believed blindly that all people in the Middle-East practiced some form of Islam – which sounds completely absurd as I am writing it out. This generalization isn’t quite as extreme as some that I have heard tossed around in conversation such as, “all Muslims are terrorists”, but it is still a severe over-generalization that is by no means correct. It is impossible to categorize all people living in one region, especially one as massive as the Middle-East, for the simple reason that all people are so hugely unique and multifaceted that it is nearly impossible to make a good generalization about any people group with discrediting each individual’s diversity. however, growing up in the United States I have become so accustomed to western-centric thinking that it is difficult to see past the generalizations made by society about other parts of the world.
I guess what I’m saying is that, overcoming the “single-story” isn’t just going to happen. Overcoming our deep seeded stereotypes and generalizations is going to have to be a conscious effort of trying to see the world from different perspectives and view people as more than middle class, or African American, or Muslim…you get the picture. Instead of focusing on our differences – although they are many – it is time that we take a look at how similar we are in despite of them.