Tuesday, March 7, 2017

A Single Story

What if we heard more than one story?  What if we heard stories from more than one participant?

I've always felt that it is impossible to engage properly with a place or a person without engaging with all of the stories of that place and that person. The consequence of the single story is this: It robs people of dignity. It makes our recognition of our equal humanity difficult. It emphasizes how we are different rather than how we are similar.

So what if before my Mexican trip, I had followed the immigration debate from both sides, the U.S. and the Mexican?

Stories matter. Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign, but stories can also be used to empower and to humanise. Stories can break the dignity of a people, but stories can also repair that broken dignity.

As we discovered when the cold war ended and the wall came down, the folks on the other side were just like us.  Their hopes for the future and for their children were the same as ours.  It was power players and politicians on both sides who had bent things so badly, and that 'official' version was the only story that we'd heard.

Liberal and conservative stories might be a good starting place.  When you remove the power players, the goals of the two groups are virtually identical.