Radio Readers BookByte: Who Gets Left Out Of The Story?

Oct 30, 2019

Big data may include a lot, but does it include every story?
Credit Big Bang Data Exhibit, CCCB / Wikimedia Commons

Hi, I’m Valerie Mendoza of Topeka with a Radio Reader book byte about Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow.

I just finished the chapter the “Storytellers” and if nothing else, this book makes me think and question my perceptions and views on all sorts of issues.

In the “Storytellers,” author Yuval Noah Harari takes on, well paper, or maybe writing would be a better way to put it. He explains how as a society we give value to things such as a five dollar bill when really it is just a piece of paper with a five written on it or how we attach importance to the diploma—another piece of paper—or contracts.

A couple of lines in this chapter really struck me: “History isn’t a single narrative, but thousands of alternate narratives. Whenever we choose to tell one, we are also choosing to silence others.” As a historian this resonates with me. It matters who tells a story.

This has me thinking, who gets left out of the story? Historically, it’s been women, the poor, children, the disabled, people of color and other marginalized groups who are voiceless or left out for a variety of reasons. Does this mean their stories don’t matter or aren’t important?

How different would our perceptions of one another and our broader world views be if we really listened to each other and heard stories very different from our own?

I admire the courage and resilience of those who speak up and tell their stories even when we don’t want to hear them. Women who have come forth as part of the #metoo movement to share their stories of gender violence come to mind and those who expose racism as part of the Black Lives Matter and other similar movements.

Think about how much richer our knowledge is of our own state when we all add our histories and stories to it. A great example is the story of Dennis Garcia who grew up in Garden City. HPPR aired several of his stories in August and September about his family and the history of Mexicans and Mexican Americans in the first half of the twentieth century.

This expansion of stories and our world view was on display again with an earlier book from this fall’s Radio Reader line up—Where the Dead Sit Talking. It made us think about children in foster care and the Native American experience.

What other stories expand our horizons or are stories yet to be told? What’s your story? Let me know on the Radio Readers Facebook page - HPPRradioreaders.