goto Appendx main menu Media Killers :
An Interview with
Anna Deavere Smith
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KLF:  It's alarming, this head-of-the-household idea, the mighty patriarch conquering the world with briefcase and hat in hand, and the image of a happy pushbutton housewife, you know, the kids, the dog, the cat, the mouse,  it's� 

AA:  And why are people retreating back into that paradigm? It's very interesting. 

ADS:  Because they're really scared. 

KLF:   You get a sense of how bad things are. 

ADS:  You see, the other one didn't work out. My best friend is my opposite. Appendx 2 page break 131 | 132  She's white, she's married to an IBMer, she got married to an IBMer who has since stayed pretty much in the computer business, and they're Republicans, and a lot of their marriage has been about dealing with how much she'll be away from the family, and how much she'll be with the family;  it's something that she has wrestled with a lot, which is a complete opposite of me. I'm very independent, and�I don't know�I guess what I'm saying is I think from knowing her, there are a lot of people for whom this idea of women going out and working and blah-blah-blah was not resolved, even though many of us think it was resolved. It wasn't resolved, it was a real terror, and this alternative way of being shows itself to have a lot of problems, and so it's easier to retreat rather than to keep experimenting. 

AA:  Well, I think the challenge is finding someone who will let you define for yourself how much you want to be involved, and will not once you're together impose the cage on you, of how much of what you should do, and how your actions affect children or even the man in general. That's an incredible challenge for many women, and it's easier to retreat, especially if you're being taken care of�economically at least�so that you give up your own emotional health in order to be taken care of, and I think most women would agree that it doesn't wash out too well. It's not worth it. They'd rather be poor and emotionally happy than rich and sick. 

ADS:  And also there's children, too, wanting to make sure that they're always being well taken care of. But you know, I think this other question of underrepresentation, and who's underrepresented. . . I wonder how many of the media people went after white women? You know, did Ted Koppel have any white women in his show, to say, "What do you think?" after the uprising. "What do you think of it?" 

AA:  Probably not. 

ADS:  So it has a lot to do with, who does the media assume has ideas? 

KLF:  Now that's when your phone began to ring in terms of the media saying, "Where are the spokespeople?" 

ADS:  That's only because "Fires in the Mirror" opened right after the uprising. People thought, "Oh, this person has something to say." Appendx 2 page break 133 | 134 

AA:  But do they think of black women as spokespeople? 

ADS:  Oh, absolutely. Maxine Waters, for instance, is all over the place. 

AA:  It's only that she is from the academy, and she has the position. 

ADS:  But I think there must be other black women, we should go back and take a look. I'm sure. Well, Sister Solja. I remember seeing her on the thing with Bill Moyers. 

AA:  And why not white women, it's very interesting. Certainly white men. 

ADS:  Well, we really have to look at it. I have to question, what was I listening to, and how was I getting my ideas? And it's complicated how I get them, and who participates, and how white women participated, giving me ideas of who to interview and stuff; whereas the people of color fought for representation, the white people who were around me did not fight for how they were represented. I had to fight for how they were represented. I had to fight and keep saying, "Why aren't there any white people on this list?" And ultimately I was able to get through when I said, "Look, my work is about mirroring the community; let's face it, this theater is not a theater of people of color, and if you don't help me find white people, there won't be any points of empathy, any points of contact, and then where will we be?" But they were not as�whereas I had Doreen, who is Japanese American, and Hector, who is of Guatemalan descent, sending me faxes and crying in our meetings, saying, "My community is going to expect something from me here, and I don't like the way this is looking." And there were several white people in those rooms at the time, and never did one of them, never� next page 

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