Single Stories

People are influenced everyday by their experiences, whether that means the people they’re surrounded by, the country they live in, or the societal norms and standards. As a child, you are constantly surrounded by your parents, which can cause their values and beliefs to be projected onto you. So, from a young age, we tend to believe in solely what we have been taught by others, such as Santa Clause or the Easter Bunny. But at what point does that change? As you are growing up, you become curious about everything. Why is the sky blue? Why do the leaves change in the fall? Why is my skin lighter than my best friend’s? These questions are answered by individuals, such as your parents or your teachers. But because everyone has their own values and beliefs, the answers you receive from each different person can vary. To be able to get a complete answer, and not a single story, you need to know how to view things from different perspectives. Obviously, you can’t obtain everyone’s life experiences. However, you can put yourself in other people’s shoes, and try to see life through their tinted glasses. This would be an ideal situation. But unfortunately, a lot of people are too stubborn to consider that their perspectives are anything except ‘the right way of thinking’. This is why stereotypes and biases are formed; because people are too stubborn to consider other ideas, beliefs and values. “Show people as one thing, as only one thing, over and over again, and that is what they become.” To begin to reject this idea of a single story, and that people can simply fit into boxes, we need to have an open mind. We need to share our perspectives without imposing them on others, and we need to be able to look at points of views that seem completely opposite to ours. We can never obtain every perspective. But in order to embrace our differences, we need to see the most complete story we can get.

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