Every Sunday, in between watching football, and baseball, I start searching for a topic that might be interesting enough to create a blog post about.  It often takes me until around midnight to find something. 

Today I got lucky.  As soon as I listened to the following talk, by Nigerian writer Chimamanda Adichie, about the danger of turning a country, culture, or any group of people into a single story, I know I had found an important topic to post about. 

Stereotyping is something I have been guilty.  Chimamanda reminds us of how damaging it can be to paint the people of a country with one brush stroke. We base government polices on stereotyping.  Many of our foreign policy mistakes are a result of stereotyping.

Chimamanda Adicihie’s bio from Wikipedia:

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (born September 15,1977) is an acclaimed Nigerian writer. She comes from Abba in Anambra State, southeast Nigeria. Her family is of lgbo descent.

She was born in the town of Enugu but grew up in the university town of Nsukka in south-eastern Nigeria, where the University of Nigeria is situated. While she was growing up, her father was a professor of statistics at the University, and her mother was also employed there as the university registrar. At the age of 19, she left Nigeria and moved to the United States. After studying at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Chimamanda transferred to Eastern Connecticut State University to live closer to her sister; who had a medical practice in Coventry (now in Mansfield, CT),  and to continue studying communications and political science. She got her university degree  from Eastern, where she graduated summa cum laude in 2001. She recently completed a master’s degree  in creative writing at John’s Hopkins University in Baltimore. She is now pursuing an MA in African Studies at Yale University. Chimamanda is a 2008 MacArthur Fellow. She was a Visiting Writer at Wesleyan University, in 2008, and participated in Wesleyan’s Distinguished Writers Series.

  • Her first novel, Purple Hibiscus, was published in 2003 and won the Best First Book award in the 2005 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize.
  • Her second novel, Half of a Yellow Sun, named after the flag of the short-lived Biafran nation, is set before and during the Biafran War. It was published  by Knopf/Anchor in 2006 and was awarded the 2007 Orange Prize For Fiction.
  • Her third book is a collection of short stories titled The Thing Around Your Neck and was published in April 2009 by Fourth Estate in the UK, and Knopf in the US.