Editorial: Telling Our Own Stories

Together we can combat the single narrative

If you’re in the upper school, you’ve seen the TED talk on “The Danger of a Single Story,” likely multiple times. In her talk, author Chimamande Ngozi Adichie focuses on the pitfalls of presenting only one narrative, either of cultures or of individuals. She states that receiving a single-story closes out the possibility of understanding the nuances of that culture or individual and creates a one-dimensional image of them.

There is a single story in the greater Memphis community about St. George’s right now. We have felt the effect of outside judgment in recent months, with the Commercial Appeal reporting on racially charged incidents occurring on our campus within the past year, most recently, with a story on Rev. Thomas Momberg’s controversial chapel talk, which used articles published by the Lodge as sources.

In recent weeks, outsiders to our community have passed, and will likely continue to pass, judgment on our school and on the stories that have an effect on everyday life here. Sometimes they may be right. Sometimes they may be wrong.

Passing judgment is a staple of the human condition, and St. George’s exists in a unique space that may make it an easier target. As a relatively young independent school with ambitious goals, the larger community may be tempted to try to define us, more so than they would be inclined to with a more established institution. But no matter how well those trying to find a label for our community think they can see within our walls, they’ll always lack the experience of actually being a part of this community.

But with your help we can tell those stories. With your help, we can tell stories about what it was like to be in the room for the House Day on Pause, as we do in “How Do We Heal?”. With your help, we can tell stories about what it is like to be a minority student at St. George’s, as we did last year in “Colors You Can’t Ignore.” With your help, we can tell stories of colorism and prejudice, as Lauren Purdy ‘17 did in her nationally award-winning feature “Pretty Privilege.” We tell the stories that matter, including the stories of those minorities whose voices are most likely to be lost in the noise right now. We have a strong record as a student voice for St. George’s, and we will continue to report the stories that the student body cares about.

That’s why what we do here at the Lodge is important. We can report the stories happening here within the walls, with voices from within the walls. Using our platform to tell all the stories that make up our community is our paramount responsibility as a publication.

We cannot control the narrative that outsiders create, but we can and will do our best to present the many different stories and sentiments that exist within our community to create a more complete view of life at St. George’s. Stories we present can help to give those outsiders a more complete perspective on the community we have here.

St. George’s has many stories. It is vital that we embrace this and refuse to confine ourselves to a single story or let the single story currently being told about us influence how we view ourselves. But we can’t do any of that without your voices.

We invite you to continue sharing your truth with us. Students, faculty, administrators, staff, families: your voices are what we use to present what we hope is much more than a single story. We are much more than that.