Good Morning Anita Hill
Monologue by Edwidge Danticat
This monologue was inspired by Sojourner Truth’s famous “Ain’t I A Woman Speech?” as well as an October 9, 2010 message left on Professor Anita Hill’s work answering machine by Virginia Thomas, wife of Justice Clarence Thomas. Mrs. Thomas’ message, according to an October 19, 2010 New York Times articles reads as follows: “Good morning Anita Hill, it’s Ginni Thomas. I just wanted to reach across the airwaves and the years and ask you to consider something. I would love you to consider an apology sometime and some full explanation of why you did what you did with my husband. So give it some thought. And certainly pray about this and hope that one day you will help us understand why you did what you did. O.K, have a good day.” If there is a recording of this message available and if it falls within legal use, we may use it, or a portion of it ,before the monologue begins. Or we can have a taped reading of it by a different actress than the one reading the monologue.
Dark Stage Phone rings. Answering Machine Pick up Sounds. Female Speaker appears on Stage
FEMALE SPEAKER ON STAGE:
Good morning Anita Hill. This here is Sojourner Truth. There is so much racket, there must
be something out of kilter, Anita Hill. But what’s all this here talking about? Just thought I’d reach out to ask you across the airways and the years, Anita Hill, and ask you to consider something. Anita Hill, please don’t tell nobody, no how, nowhere, never, no way that you’re sorry. Anita Hill, please don’t you apologize chile. Because for one thing: you told the truth.
(Don’t you just love that play on my name?) Yes, my dear. Being called Truth myself, I know indeed you told the truth. All of us here in the ancestral world, the foremothers as you all call us now. (Watch out one day y’all will be foremothers yourselves and it has a way of making you feel old, don’t it?) But I digress, as you all might say. In any case, Anita Hill no one on God’s earth should ever have to, or be asked to apologize for telling the truth. Besides, Anita Hill, did anyone else take–what’s this they call it? [member of audience calls out "lie detector test"]. That’s right, folks think I’ve not been following all this–but did anyone else take a lie detector test and pass it but you, Anita Hill? Another thing Anita Hill: no one has ever apologized to you. No one has ever apologized to you for dragging your name through the mud. For calling you a pawn, a woman scorned. No one has ever apologized to you Anita Hill for your, what’s this he called it? [member of audience calls out "high tech lynching"]. No one has ever apologized to you Anita Hill for your …high tech lynching… as a black woman who deigned to think for herself. So Anita Hill, honey, please never, no way, no how nowhere ever say you’re sorry. Please child, don’t apologize. Because if you apologize–you’ll think I haven’t been following all this– if you apologize, then we might all be asked to apologize, me and Abigail Adams and Susan B. Anthony and the whole lot of of us. Even our dear sister Harriet Tubman might be asked to apologize. What silliness! What foolishness! What arrogance. You mean to tell me that stuff is still happening ‘round here. Folks asking us to apologize for telling what we’ve seen, what folks have done to us, what we’ve endured, what we’ve done suffered. What foolishness indeed. And you know what honey, if you apologize, all these little girls out here might be asked to apologize too each time someone they work for ask them out and they say hell no. They will have to apologize for–what’s this they call it? work notes. ([member of audience calls out "evaluations"]. They will have to apologize for bad work evaluations that they don’t deserve. (Y’all don’t think I haven’t been following all this and catching the lingo.) These girls and women out here will have to apologize for what they wear, for where they walk, how they talk–especially if they talk like me. They’d have to apologize for who they are, free women who work, who speak,
who true to my name, tell the truth. So please don’t apologize Anita Hill because if you apologize–y’all might not think I’ve been following all this, but I have–if you apologize Anita Hill, Nafissatou Diallo and every woman like her, in the same situation as her, Tristane Banon and every woman like her and every woman in the same situation as her, might be asked to apologize to the International Monetary Fund and to–what’s this they call him [member of audience calls out "DSK"]. Yes, these women might be asked to apologize to all the freaking DSKs of the world. That’s right honey. So please don’t apologize Anita Hill because if you apologize Lois Jenson and the women of the Eleventh Taconite Minnesota mine might be asked to apologize for filing the first class action sexual harassment suit in this here country. (Oh Susan B. sure like that one.) If you apologize, Anita Hill. Paula Puopolo might be asked to apologize to the secretary of the navy and the two hundred sailors who attacked her at the Tailhook convention. ( My friend Elizabeth Blackwell followed that one closely with us.) How far would it have to go Anita Hill if you apologize? As Susan B. is always telling us out here, the older you get, the greater the power you’ll have to help the world. You’re like a snowball, Susan B like to say and it sure is true for you Anita Hill. You’re like a snow ball chile, the further you are rolled, the more strength you will gain. And the more strength you gain, the stronger we all get and you prove to us that all the work we did, all the marching, all the writing, is not in vein. I hope Anita Hill that the years, though surely not easy, have already proven that to you Anita Hill.
Susan B. is asking me to ask how come everyone’s not all on fire? She say she believe she’ll explode of some of you don’t wake up-
So please don’t tell nobody nowhere, no way no how, that you are sorry Anita Hill.
(Speaker recites along with Anita Hill’s voice this final paragraph from her opening statement at the hearing.)
“It would have been more comfortable to remain silent. But I (speaker says you) felt you had to tell the truth. I (speaker says you) could not keep silent.”
You don’t need to be sorry for not being silent Anita Hill Susan B jus told me to tell you that again. You don’t never need to apologize for that. You don’t need to give it any more thought Anita Hill or pray on it. Those who need your forgiveness can pray for it themselves.
I hope this will never be asked of you again.
Obliged to you for hearing me, Anita Hill . Very much obliged.
Sound of phone hanging up
Stage goes dark