One of the seminars we had about school culture in the last days of last term featured this TED Talk by Chimamanda Adichie called the danger of the single story.
In it she recounts her own experiences talking to people whose only impressions of Africa included starving orphans in mud huts, and the dissonance that caused with her own African life. She talks about how her own writing began in homage to her own reading, and that her childhood involved few stories written in Africa.
But as she she was talking of the danger of the single story, it was something a little closer to home that was going through my mind.
I had recently put “Aspley” into the Nottingham Post website to find a story there about a proposed and rejected 20MPH zone on a main road in what used to be my ward. If you do that you get a slew of horrible stories about bad things that have happened. Violence, theft, murder. Smoking, burglaries, tragic death of motorcyclist.
You have to do quite a lot of paging down to find even neutral stories, let alone any of the positive things that are happening in that part of the world.
And there are plenty. The Aspley SuperWarmZone. Fundraising for Motor Neurone Syndrome. The fab solar panel programme that got a photo in The Sun.
Pull the focus out just a little bit and you get Nottingham’s reputation, undeserved, for higher than average gun crime. Things you think are going away a bit until some idiot who should know better brings them all up again.