Change your stories, challenge your stereotypes [TED talk]

In a TED talk, novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells her story of growing up in middle-class Nigeria and confronting her own stereotypes. She talks about how the “stories” she grew up with impacted her perception of the world and how she’s seen similar biases in people and cultures around the world.

Her story challenged me to expand my own story collection and examine my stereotypes. Too often, the media bombards us with a single perspective that begins to form a picture of a country or people group that is lopsided. Recently my church launched an initiative called “Greater Things.” Part of this initiative is to launch the Hope Partnership to partner our church with four organizations that are targeting the issues of HIV/AIDS and the plight of orphans and widows in the countries of Zambia, Malawi, and Kenya. This is a beautiful and admirable goal and I’m excited to see the impact it has.

Yet, as with many other stories of Africa, this continues to reinforce my image of that continent as one plagued with poverty, disease, and destitution. Yet there is so much more to Africa than just those in dire straits!

In fact, I’m challenged by my public school education and its focus on an Americentric/Eurocentric take on world history. As my wife and I homeschool our kids, we’re purposefully seeking out resources and curriculum that provide a more balanced view of history and the events that have shaped the world.

Chimamanda’s talk is engaging, humorous, and often convicting. Enjoy!

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