“What If People Could Tell Their Own Stories?”


At Design.blog, nonprofit founder and former magazine journalist Lisa Katayama writes about the power of stories in an increasingly complex world.

Photo credit: Tomo Saito

As an adult, my first chosen career was as a magazine journalist. I learned that the public always has an appetite for a good human story, and that—if you dig deep enough—everybody has a story worth sharing. I also realized that it’s always better if people can tell their own stories, rather than having others tell it for them.

Identity is complex. Each and every one of us experiences being human so differently. We use categories like age, race, gender, ethnicity, and nationality to define, protect, to create a sense of belonging—but no single category is useful for telling anyone’s full story.

In her popular TEDTalk, Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie talks about the danger of a single story. “The single story creates stereotypes…

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