Be Bold. Speak Out. "Fires in the Mirror"
Performance Major Brannon Evans reads an excerpt from "Fires in the Mirror" by Anna Deveare Smith.
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- [00:00:00.864](gentle piano music)
- [00:00:11.827]I think we need to develop new ways
- [00:00:13.460]of looking at community.
- [00:00:15.740]Race in the old sense has become
- [00:00:17.380]an increasingly obsolete way of constructing community
- [00:00:20.910]because it's based on immutable biological facts
- [00:00:24.280]in a pseudoscientific way.
- [00:00:27.160]Now, this does not mean that we ignore racism.
- [00:00:29.740]Racism is at the origin of this concept of race.
- [00:00:33.070]It's not the other way around.
- [00:00:34.990]There were not racists,
- [00:00:36.380]this one race who suddenly came to dominate the others.
- [00:00:39.750]In fact, in order for European colonists
- [00:00:42.210]to attempt to conquer the world, to colonize the world,
- [00:00:46.840]they had to construct this notion
- [00:00:48.670]of the populations of the Earth being divided
- [00:00:51.310]into certain firm biological communities.
- [00:00:54.590]And that's what I think we ought to go back and reconsider.
- [00:00:58.690]So, when I use the word race, now I put it in quotations.
- [00:01:02.320]Because if we don't transform
- [00:01:04.200]this intransigent rigid notion of race,
- [00:01:07.290]we will be caught up in this cycle of genocidal violence
- [00:01:10.440]that is at the origin of our history.
- [00:01:13.120]So I think, I'm convinced,
- [00:01:16.210]and that's what I'm working on
- [00:01:17.350]in my political practice right now,
- [00:01:19.670]that we have to find different ways of coming together.
- [00:01:22.910]Not the old notion of coalition
- [00:01:24.830]in which we anchor ourselves very solidly
- [00:01:27.260]in our specific racialized communities
- [00:01:30.110]and simply voice our solidarity with other people.
- [00:01:34.460]I'm not suggesting that we do not anchor ourselves
- [00:01:36.410]in our own communities.
- [00:01:37.940]I feel very anchored in my various communities.
- [00:01:41.200]But I think that, to use a metaphor,
- [00:01:44.180]the rope attached to that anchor should be long enough
- [00:01:47.290]to allow us to move into other communities
- [00:01:49.640]to understand and learn.
- [00:01:52.820]I've been thinking a lot about the need
- [00:01:54.130]to make more intimate these connections and associations
- [00:01:57.020]and to really take on the responsibility of learning.
- [00:02:00.960]So, we need to find ways of working with and understanding
- [00:02:04.560]the vastness of our many cultural heritages,
- [00:02:07.770]ways of coming together without rendering invisible
- [00:02:10.830]our heterogeneity.
- [00:02:13.000]I don't have all the answers.
- [00:02:15.360]What I'm interested in is communities that are not static,
- [00:02:19.680]that can change, that can respond to new historical changes.
- [00:02:25.460]It's a very exciting moment.
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