Posts Tagged ‘Stereotypes’

  • Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, “The Danger of a Single Story,” TED Talk, 2009.

    Date: 2018.09.08 | Category: Words of Wisdom | Response: 0

     

    “The single story creates stereotypes and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue but that they are incomplete.  They make one story become the only story.”

    “The consequence of a single story is this: it robs people of dignity. It emphasizes how we are different rather than how we are similar.”

    “Stories matter.”

    –Chimamanda Adichie

     

  • INVISIBLE

    Date: 2017.01.30 | Category: GIFTS OF RESISTANCE 2017: creative writing | Response: 0

     

     

    I am fair skinned, with blue eyes and curly hair. I live in a city of 50,000 in a predominately rural area of Southern Minnesota.  Few Jews live here, maybe 10 or 15.  Even so, there are lots of opinions about us.  Here are two snapshots.

     

    1.  At a community meeting, thirty-five people sat around on coaches and chairs in the lounge of a one-story office building.  A respected businessman mentioned the seed company, a few blocks away that had recently burned down.  He ends his sentence with “Jewish torch.” I snapped to attention.  At the end of the meeting I asked what he meant by “Jewish torch.”

     

    “Well, you know, it’s when Jews burn down a company to get the insurance money.”   “I am surprised to hear you speak like this.” For a flickering second, there was understanding in his eyes.  Then quickly regaining composure he said: “Everyone around here says this.”  “That doesn’t make it right. I hope the next time you hear someone say this, you tell them it is not okay.”  

     

    1.  When Somali families began moving to Mankato, a couple hundred professionals attended a presentation entitled: “Get to know your Muslim neighbors.”  I learned new things from the articulate Muslim speaker.  I was stunned when in response to a question about peace, he immediately replied: “If there weren’t Jews in the world, there would be peace.”  After this comment, there was not even an uncomfortable silence.  I felt invisible.

     

    At the end of the presentation, I approached the speaker, repeated his comment and calmly asked him to tell me more about this.  He looked at me: “Oh, you must be Jewish,” and started to make small talk, about Minnesota weather.  If he could have been more honest or reflective about his feelings, we might both have learned something.  

     

    While we are all different in how we look, think, and respond to things; we are not a binary “us” and “them.”  There is just “us.”  

    Copyright Marilyn (Mira) Frank

Artist Statement

Sherry Quan Lee approaches writing as a community resource and as culturally based art of an ordinary everyday practical aesthetic. Lee is a Community Instructor at Metropolitan State University (Intro to Creative Writing, Advanced Creative Writing), and has taught at Intermedia Arts, and the Loft Literary Center. She is the author of A Little Mixed Up, Guild Press, 1982 (second printing), Chinese Blackbird, a memoir in verse, published 2002 by the Asian American Renaissance, republished 2008 by Loving Healing Press, and How to Write a Suicide Note: serial essays that saved a woman’s life, Loving Healing Press, 2008.

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