Narrating Both Sides of A Story
Each story, each history has two sides. Unfortunately, only one side is usually told, and one is never revealed. People have a common weakness of believing a single account. They mostly forget that a second narrative exists, but they dismiss it on the belief that what they heard first was the truth. It only until a personal matter strikes an individual, when one learns the significance of telling or listening to both sides of the story. The paper seeks to discuss the importance of understanding all sides of history or stories and explaining how knowing all the sides change our view of history and the people in it.
If history was specific with specific components such as names, locations, and dates, then there would be no need to critique it from different perspectives. Dates, locations and names are hard facts of history that will never change no matter what happens. However, historical events are not only made up of facts of the people involved, the place the happenings and events took place, the time it happened but, it also tries to provide reasons why the event happened. The bone of contention that leads this study mainly fall in this part that provides an explanation of whys the historical event or the story happened. People normally come up with a myriad of reasons which in one way may be factual or not. It is therefore important to delve into the necessity of getting the two sides of history or the story.
A single perspective can taint history. Different people have different interpretations of a historical cause. In an example, the studies in the American civil war may be referred to as the northern aggression war by different people. This study has specifications that do not need argumentation. The participants of the war, the dates the war took place and the location of the war is not questionable and cannot change. But the cause of the war and why it happened has a myriad of perspectives. Hence in order for an individual to get the full facts of the war and avoid misconceptions about what happened, it is important to look at the different perspectives. If a person does not examine the perspectives, the person may end up getting a partial picture of the event.
Chimamanda Ngozi In her talk says” I have always felt it is impossible to engage properly with a place or a person without engaging with all of the stories of that place and that person,” she continues by saying, “the consequence of a single story is this: it robs people dignity. It makes our recognition of our equal humanity difficult. It emphasizes how we are different rather than how we are similar.” Consequently, listening to the different perspectives of a story will provide an opportunity for dignity by making it easier to understand and recognize equality in humanity. It will help people to get the clear concepts of how similar we are. Furthermore, people will appreciate the sense that they belong to one another. People should not only seek diverse perspectives, rather they should also present their own stories which will present their own experiences. Telling different perspectives of the story can be one of the best ways to reflect how the world can be since stories help us focus on the future in a different way.
Reliance on a single story can lead to creation of stereotypes. One of the issues that affect the stereotypes is that they do not have completeness; once the stereotypes listen to a single story for a long period of the time, they tend to believe that it is the only true story. This happens to be applicable concerning Africa. Often, there is a cliché that goes saying, Africa is the poorest country worldwide with people living in terror with the world animals. It is often treated as one country and yet Africa is a nation. A single story has had an impact even to the graduates who have stereotyped Africa and sometimes refer it to a language. This is one of the dangers of a single story which is line with one of the American writers Alvin Toffler who quotes: “the illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write but those who cannot learn, unlearn and unlearn” therefore, to unlearn the perpetuated stereotypes, it is necessary for them to learn the necessity of listening to different perspectives of stories before clinging to a single understanding for a long time about the African narrative.
Additionally, understanding both sides of a story strengthens one’s argument because it allows a person to face all facts whether favorable or not. This generally revolves around the issues of passion of an individual. For one to be taken seriously when developing an argument it is necessary for one to be informed on both sides of the issue that is being argued upon. One should not always be on the internet to find a basis for an argument. Having clear concepts on the sides of the story can help an individual modify the argument in clear way since there is awareness of the existing facts. It is extremely dangerous to read or listen to articles that have a biased speaker; it increases the chances of being fed with information that is biased. Going ahead and using the information from the articles may reduce an individual’s credibility in supporting his own argument and the argument of other people as well.
In changing our views on history, two perspectives of a story play a major role. In many circumstances, people have a tendency of listening to a single side of the story. It may not be truthful and may inflict feelings of despair and hatred for others. Learning to listen to both perspectives of a story can enable individuals to accept the truth and work towards healing. Annete Gordon-reed, one of the legal and historian scholars has changed the course of Jefferson scholarship by investigating the American president and reexamining the relationship between Jefferson and Sally Hermings. While the relationship had been widely alleged for a longer period in time, the allegations were dismissed. The truth was hence found and Gordon-Reed has continued to shape and enrich the American history of the founding families with interracial bloodlines.
By having the two perspectives of the story, one can avoid making inappropriate decisions or complicating the situation further. It is easier to acknowledge the past mistake done and work out for ways on which future similar mistakes can be avoided. People are guilty in perpetuation of stereotypes who create a single story either intentionally or not. Chimamanda in her story puts it in the best way by saying, “show people as one thing over another again and that’s what they become” in this TED, the author provides warning of the cultural misunderstanding risk by forgetting that the lives of people are formulated by a variety of stories.
In conclusion Humans are capable of becoming better individuals. They only need to embrace change and begin listening to both sides of the story and history because not only does it influence their personal lives, but makes them better citizens. The TED “The Danger of a Single Story” provides a lesson that is significant to the current issues affecting the world at large. It is also relevant to the media as it covers pertinent issues that affect the society at large. It also considers the critical issues that consider the sources and efforts in seeing different perspectives of the story.
NBC News. “New Orleans Mayor: We Must Recognize Significance of Removing Confederate.” YouTube, 2017, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j81MkNgnXuY
TED. “The Danger of a Single Story, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.” YouTube, 2009, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D9Ihs241zeg