The Single Story

When the professor asked us to tell a story with five images. I first wondered what story did I want to tell. I struggled between empty thoughts and lost inspiration. So I turned and asked myself, How do I feel? And the answer was simple. I felt classified, labeled…like a single story.

I decided that I wanted to tell the story of how a person is more things than one and often times a million more the person we expect, especially if they are of color.  Too often we classify a person based on something that is unchangeable like the color of their skin, the texture of their hair, gender, sexuality, etc. Too few do we actually start to explore a person before their possibilities as a direct result of stereotypes. Through the series of photos I wanted to start  exploring the subject and who she was and end with how she is classified to signify that although we are so many things, we are often classified by the single story.

In the first photo the model stands still. Her eyes weary as if to look lost or misunderstood, yet confident. This picture is meant to signify how someone feels when entering in a room full of strangers and trying to identify what everyone else is thinking of you and somehow already knowing the answer,

The second photo she is looking out into different cultures and trying to compare their stories. This photo is meant to represent how although we may come from different cultures and different beliefs, at some point in the day we seem to all be more similar than different. This is also a yearning to be of a different culture where she will not feel antagonized as much.

In the third photo she is sitting in a room with a lot of objects surrounding her. To signify objects that make her who she is.

The fourth photo she is putting up post its. Each one begins with “I am” which for the most part are elements of her personality that are very general to all or things people would rarely expect from her. Although she is in fact Dominican she often feels more American (as well as myself), One of my favorite post it from this wall is the one that says “I am American-ized.” The exit sign featured, leads into the next photo A.K.A how she feels in the real world.

The last photo is her entire body being covered with the Dominican flag in an enclosed space. Here, this symbolizes that although she is everything and more from the previous photo, she is classified into the single story of what people think it means to be Dominican.

The problem with single stories is not that they are untrue, they are just incomplete and too many people forget that. One of my biggest pet peeve is when people say, “well you don’t act like it” or “you’re not a real Dominican” (because of the way I say my name in spanish).

I hope that this story came across. But most importantly I hope that each and every one of you were able to interpret the pictures in your own way based on past experiences or knowledge. If nothing else, I hope you allowed yourself to think and imagine.


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