The Danger of a Single Story ReflectionOn August 31, 2018 by Carley Grace
The danger of a single story is miscommunication and ignorance. How am I supposed know what happens in a story if I’m only given one of the chapters? Similarly, how am I supposed to figure out what is going on in the world when all of my primary education and news sources are so heavily filtered? Is it better to have half the knowledge or none of it?
When I was a sophomore in high school, I took a class called Human Geography. It was essentially the study of how people and cultures are spread around the world. We discussed religion, language, politics, and traditions and pretty much everything else that comes in a standard conversation about cultures. We were also taught that Western culture and globalization are a scourge and a plague to indigenous cultures. That Western influence is making culture monotonous and stagnate. That we should be ashamed and embarrassed to be part of a society that is causing the death of culture. For years I believed this. I made it abundantly clear that Western civilization was disgusting and wrong and harmful to our planet. Then I read Kwame Appiah’s “The Case for Contamination” and had an epiphany.
I had been completely brainwashed. Culture is not dying. It is thriving. Granted, it is changing, but it certainly is not dying. I liked to think I knew the dangers of bias and preconceived notions, but it is still humbling to know that not everything operates the way you think it does and that the same experiences can be viewed through a different lens.
People are able to communicate and do business with one another. There is a greater access to technology, medicine, clean water, and food. There is more information available than people know what to do with. Music, food, dance, and fashion have become more eclectic and diverse. People are being exposed to new and exciting trends from other cultures. The thing about culture is that it is always changing. We make changes and developments to hopefully leave the world in a better place than when we found it.