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Many Stories, Many Truths

This video is about The Danger of a Single Story, a TED Talk by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Watch the video for yourself right here. It’s really great.

Craig explains how good meetings guard against the danger of a single story and help us make good group decisions.


This video has captions. To see them, click CC on the video screen.

Here’s what Craig says in the video

Hi everybody! Hey it’s Craig Freshley here.

It’s really easy to make up a single-story or a single truth about a person or a whole group of people. I might learn one thing about a person and based on that one thing I know, or based on that one thing I see, I make up all kinds of stuff about them. I pretend to know what their whole story is.

I might meet one person from a group of people — a black person, a woman, a person from New York City — and I make up all kinds of stuff about all people who are black, female or from New York City. And when I say things or do things based on that single-story or single truth, I’m apt to make mistakes. In fact, I’m guaranteed to be wrong because in reality there is no single-story, or no single truth.

There’s a woman named Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, she’s made a wonderful video available on YouTube. It’s a TED talk video. Here’s the link. And she has a speech called, “The Danger of a Single Story.” And she tells of a woman who saw all African people as the same. This white woman in America had a single story about African people: African people are poor, African people are uneducated, African people dance really well. But of course not every African person is those three things and even a single African person or a single any kind of person is never poor in all ways or uneducated on all things or a really good dancer to all beats. There is never a single way to describe a person or class of people. We know this but we forget this.

I am here to remind us of this and remind us of the magic of group decision-making. That’s the magic of meetings! When we get to bring together multiple stories, multiple truths. We tell our perspectives about how things have been, give our opinions on how things should be, and we have a much better chance of making a good decision that’s going to be right and helpful for a lot more people than if we make a bad decision based on a single story or a single truth.

Thanks for listening everybody.

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