The Problem With Stereotypes

"Do you know xyz?"

A friend asked me recently, about a certain celebrity.

"Nope. First time I'm hearing of him. But then again I don't follow pop culture that much."

I already blurted that out before I realized the gravity of what I said, and what might be the repercussions.

You see, since I'm Nigerian and this person doesn't have that much encounter with Nigerians—I'm probably the only Nigerian she knows—there is a high chance that the next time she's talking to someone else about Nigeria, she could say "Oh Nigerians don't follow pop culture." And the only premise for such bold assertion would be my earlier response to her.

Whereas nothing could be further from the truth. Nigerians love pop culture; and there is a booming entertainment industry in Nigeria. Yet I as a person could not be less interested in pop culture. That's exactly why one person does not and can not define an entire group of people: be it race or tribe or nationality or religion.

Chimamanda Adichie once said, the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, it's that they are incomplete.

My story or anyone else's story is just one story; a single story.

I hope we would remember this the next time we are tempted to judge an entire group of people based on the actions of one person. I hope that from time to time, we all take a step back to check our prejudices, because we all have those.



P.S TGIT is back! It's been too long :)

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