March is women’s history month. February was black history month. Someone asked me recently why we still needed black history month. The question had me flummoxed, not because I agreed that the month was unnecessary but because I couldn’t understand why we wouldn’t still celebrate the month. These dedicated days or months get determined for a reason — generally because some aspect of our society is under appreciated or insufficiently discussed and some organization decides it’s important to highlight it and call attention to it.
Growing up in the United States, going to school, learning the lessons we’re taught as children, most of us get a very specific view of our nation’s and the world’s histories. But the truth is that there are many points of view, many different stories out there, and in order to live in this world and get along with all of its varied populations, it’s important to widen our grasp of what constitutes the truth. Everyone’s experiences are valid, and not all of them are similar.
There are many stories being told right now, socially, in the news, politically, through science, and in the arts. Publishing is just one corner of the world, one arena where we can exercise our right to tell and explore those different stories.
I posted this TED talk previously, but I think it’s so important and so spot on in talking about why it’s important to embrace those different stories that I’m posting it again. In it, writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie talks about the dangers of only having a single story.