Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Danger of a Single Story

This is a wonderful speech told by an author who I am now very interested in reading.  Chimamanda Adichie talks in personal narratives about how a single story narrows a readers' mind, a nation's mind against others.  Adichie also shows how power and stories -- who writes them, who they are about, what they say -- intersect.  Writing is still so relevant.  Start a blog!  I invite you to check out my favorite blogs.  Three are news.  One is Angry Asian Man with whom I check to check my perception.  For example, when a newly published book slandered Richard Aoki, former Asian Black Panther, as an FBI snitch, I immediately went to Angry Asian Man and was comforted with his similar reaction, pissed, worried about the vulnerability of Richard's legacy since he died last year, and wondering what would happen.  Much to my relief, the Panthers stood by Richard.  Representatives responded by saying that these allegations have been leveled at many Panthers through the decades and is a tactic to break alliances.  Richard represents a cross cultural alliance.  The Panthers and APA community in Oakland held an event to make it more public.  I appreciated that, realizing it is not only the reputation of a good warrior, but it is the alliance of what we called Third World Peoples which was so precious to us.

Three of my favorite blogs are by people a good generation or two younger than I.  There is Racialicious, which is delicious discussions about race intersecting with pop culture written by many people.  "Latoya Peterson (DC) is the Owner and Editor (not the Founder!) of Racialicious, Arturo García (San Diego) is the Managing Editor, Andrea Plaid (NYC) is the Associate Editor. You can email us at The founders of Racialicious are Carmen Sognonvi and Jen Chau. They are no longer with the blog. Carmen now runs Urban Martial Arts with her husband and blogs about local business. Jen can still be found at Swirl or on her personal blog. "

Another blog is written by my young friend Marc Dadigan.  His parents are exactly my age.  I met Marc, in the MA program of creative writing and journalism at the UO.  When he graduated, he had no job, and had to get out of his apartment.  He embedded himself at the Winnemem Village in a little trailer, found a job working with mental health clients, and now is a great advocate for their human rights.  Not only that, he has become someone my friend Marcus Amerman calls a "super hero" -- an ordinary man who has unusual powers.  Marcus calls him "The Crusader."  That's because Marc's super power is his honesty in the face of the toughest challenges.  Crusader also suits him because he is fearless if the cause is justice.  He is writing a book about the Winnemem as well as what someone described as "carry water chop wood."  

The third blog which is new is by Monica Christoffels, a young Asian American woman, Filipina, who writes passionately, with such a true voice about taking action.  The first of her blog I've read is about her experience standing with those who are fighting tar sands in Toronto.  She takes the photos and writes the story so we can be right there with her -- this time with the powerful words of First Nations Women, always on the front lines for the Earth.

These two blogs have something in common.  They are told from the front lines, from the ground, from being there, from doing.  No armchair reporting.   I think that is why I am the most drawn to these blogs.

Grateful for the many stories people who show us the true picture of humanity, the true expression of real power.  As Chimamanda Adichie said, "A single story can break a person, but many stories can heal the break."  Read Marc Dadigan and Monica Christoffels and you will not pity the oppressed; you will embrace resistance!  It will take the veil from our eyes and make fire up our blood.

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"from Outside the Belly" was also known as "TBAsian" from 2008-2010. Thank you for reading.

from Outside the Monster's Belly

from Outside the Monster's Belly
. . . following Earth instead (Rakaia River, site of Salmon Ceremony, photo credit Ruth Koenig)


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Eugene, Oregon
I am a citizen of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe. I am a Nikkei descendant sansei (third generation);retired teacher, involved in the Winnemem tribal responsibility to Water, Salmon, and our belief that the Sacred is our Teacher. Working locally for human rights and supporting youth leadership.