Rejecting the Single Story

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie delightfully entertains listeners in one of my favorite TED talks, "The Danger of a Single Story". In it this is what she says: “The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story.” And that, of course, is what is dangerous.

This collection of poems is a delicious rejection of the single story. Highschool students, many of whom have recently entered the United States, and for whom the English language is not their first, give you a glimpse of their thoughts. I think you'll enjoy them.

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I am poem

I am a good person and good student.

I wonder why there is so much violence.

I hear music in my home.

I see beautiful girls in Brazil.

I want to be a mechanic.

I am a good person and good student.

I pretend to speak more language.

I feel scared when I see the trooper.

I touch the sand of the sea.

I worry about my family and school.

I cry when my grandparents die.

I am a good person and good student.

I understand your dreams.

I say something intelligent in my life.

I dream when I am drawing.

I try when I can not do.

I hope to get better every day. I am a good person and good student.

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  “I AM POEM”

I Am a good person, And I think intelligent?

I wonder about how is the country of Colombia

I hear about a band concert

I see being the best goalkeeper in this country

I want to be rich

I Am a good person, And I think intelligent?

I pretend to be a good person

I feel weird when my “Father” hugs me

I touch the soccer ball

I worry when I’m losing a soccer match

I cry when I think who is my father?

I Am a good person, And I think Intelligent?

I understand that this life is not easy

I say that God is everything to us

I dream about getting to know my Father

I try to be better everyday in this life

I hope to graduate from High School

I Am a good person, And I think intelligent?

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I Am Poem

I am kindhearted and Artistic

I wonder if all the people in Mongolia were in New York City

I hear that I am going to be successful in life

I see my goal

I want to Graduate

I am really friendly

I pretend to be smart when I am really not

I feel that all my goals are going to bright like the stars

I touch my artistic side and design clothes

I worry that I might not get to see my best friends one day

I worry that sometimes I am not going to have a better life

I cry everytime that I see the movie the Fault in Our Stars

I am a great person

I understand if I won’t make my dreams come true

I say that one day I will get to see the sea with my own eyes

I dream of going to college, have a career get married and have a beautiful family.

I try my best of being a good student and have good grades

I hope that one day i get to explore and just be who I am by myself

I am a Person who likes to hear Music and likes a lot of drawings.

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I Am Poem

I am a unique happy person

I wonder how is it like living in Spain

I hear myself stomping my own feet

I want to graduate from high school

I am a unique happy person

I pretend to look mad so that no one will mess with me

I feel that i see myself going to college

I touch my heart to feel if i still believe in myself

I worry that i might not overcome my fears

I cry when it comes to graduating

I am a unique happy person

I understand i am the first one to graduate from high school

I say to myself “show the world what you are made of”

I dream about helping my mom out

I try to work hard in school

I hope i get into the military

I am a unique happy person

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  I am a special person in my life

I wonder about my life in the future

I hear a unicorn’s cry

I see in my life a good person

I want to graduate from high school

I am special person for myself

I pretend to meet new people and places

I feel an angel’s wings

I touch My family

I worry about violence in my country

I cry for my gram

I am a special person in my life

I understand your love for me

I say I can do anything

I dream I succeed in my school work

I try to do my best

I hope to be triumphant in school

I am a special person for my mom

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“I Am Poem”

I am patient and respectful.

I wonder how life is in Spain?

I hear my mom calling my name.

I see me as a successful person in the future.

I want to be a great soccer player.

I am patient and respectful.

I pretend to be rich.

I feel happy when I am with “her”!

I touch the soccer ball all the time.

I worry when I am losing a soccer match.

I cry when I think of my parents.

I am patient and respectful.

I understand that I have a great opportunity.

I say “Never Give Up”!

I dream of achieving all my goals.

I try to do my best everyday!

I hope to graduate from high school!

I am patient and respectful.

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POEM:  “I AM”

I am a good person and hard working guy that likes to play sports.

I wonder how to visit my family in Dominican Republic.

I hear that there will be soccer tryouts this summer in my school.

I see people that don’t do their work at school.

I want to be better in life.

I am pretty sure that I will be on the soccer team.

I pretend to become a professional on what I want to become.

I feel trust from people that I know.

I worry if will do something bad in life that will affect my family.

I cry when I am sad. I understand that life is not easy.

I say that you to give your best always.

I dream to get a beautiful family in the future.

I try not to fall into bad habits.

I hope I will graduate from High School.

I am a better player than I was.

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  I Am poem

I am sometimes happy and i try to be good student

I wonder about airplanes and how they fly

I hear piano music

I see beach waves

I want to be an airplane pilot

I am sometimes happy and i try to be good student

I pretend to study

I feel sad and happy

I touch the keys on the piano

I worry about everything at school

I cry when I am sad

I am sometimes happy and I try to be good student

I understand something in English

I say that my life have to be fun

I dream to study the career I want

I try and know that my life is hard

I hope my family will be happy

I am sometimes happy and I try to be good student.

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   I Am Poem

I am a good person

I wonder how is the life in United States

I hear my father call me

I see me as a soccer player

I want to be a great soccer player

I am a good person

I feel happy when I passed a class I do not understand

I touch the soccer ball

I worry when I have a bad day.

I cry when I think about my grandparents who are in El Salvador

I am a good person

I understand that life is not easy

I say that life is opportunity

I dream that someday i’ll be someone important

I try to be better every day

I hope one day I can see my grandparents again

I am a good person

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I Am Poem

I am from Guatemala and I want to be a nurse

I wonder why the beach is very big

I hear birds singing in the rainbow

I see beautiful landscapes

I want a very fun life

I am from Guatemala and I want to be a nurse

I pretend to be a very intelligent student

I feel very sad

I touch the guitar

I worry about everything in my life

I cry because my life is very sad

I am from Guatemala and I want to be a nurse

I understand that life is very cruel

I say that life it has to be fun

I dream that my life would be like before

I try but my life is hard

I hope my life will be the same like before

I am from Guatemala

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  I am Hardworking and a better cricket player.

I wonder what will my future be like.

I hear people talk about their life not others

I see all that racies no one is stopping.

I want more opportunities and better education.

I am Hardworking and a better cricket player.

I pretend something is not happen.

I feel something is better.

I touch something new.

I worry about my family.

I cry about myself.

I am hardworking and a better cricket better.

I understand new culture and new stuff.

I say everyone is equal.

I dream for something better.

I try to improve myself.

I hope I can do better.

I am hardworking and a better cricket player.

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I Am Poem

I am from Mexico and I am happy

I wonder about my life

I hear romantic music in my mind

I see a great future

I want to be a special person

I am from Mexico and I am happy

I pretend to learn about life

I feel happy when I see him

I touch one flower

I worry about my family

I cry for my freedom

I am from Mexico and I am happy

I understand that life is not easy

I say everyday “Yolo”

I dream about a good life

I try different flavors

I hope to understand

I am from Mexico and I am happy.

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I Am Poem
I am happy and cheerful
I wonder why god is very special for me
I hear sweet sound in my heart
I see many birds singing a sweet melody
I want to be next to my beloved
I am happy and cheerful
I pretend that I always make my girlfriend happy
I feel happy when I’m with you
I touch your hands soft and white snow
I worry when I see you sad
I cry silently thanking god for your love
I am happy and cheerful
I understand that my love for you is big
I say that I love you very much
I dream of you all night
I try to give a bit of my love
I hope your and your family are beautiful

I am happy and cheerful.

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I AM POEM

I am a nice guy

I wonder about my future family

I hear new news about tanki online

I see myself as a good drums player

I want to finish high school

I am latino

I pretend to be nice to everyone

I feel my future will be good

I touch my heart not to be hard

I worry about myself in the future

I cry when I feel bad for something

I am SALVADORENO

I understand my problems

I say what i can do

I dream about my future cars and house

I try my best

I hope to do better in life

I am special for my family

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And that's just a sampling. These are some pretty incredible kids, with backgrounds to belie their optimism. Do us a favor--never judge another person if you don't know them. Talk to them, and above all, believe in their goodness.
What have you got to lose?

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