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A senators pain

A Senator's Pain

Tommie Porter

English Com. 2 Sec. 19

Dr. Chichester

12/11/95

Paper 4 - Final Draft

Most Californians know exactly what they were doing when the historical

were read that acquitted the four LAPD officers, and sparked the civil unrest in

Los Angeles. Anna Deavere Smith does an excellent job representing Los Angeles

citizens in her theatrical piece entitled Twilight: Los Angeles 1992. Smith

writes, "Every person I include in the book, and who I perform, has a presence

that is much more important than the information they give" (Smith: xxiv). In

this statement Smith tells the reader that the facts each character gives is not

as important as his her presence, because anyone can give facts about an event.

Smith wants the reader to pay close attention to the feelings expressed by each

individual she interviewed, because feelings tell more about a person and an

event than the facts. In Twilight: Los Angeles 1992 the monologue by Bill

Bradley entitled "Application of the Law" contributes more to Smith's piece than

does the monologue by Elaine Brown entitled "Ask Saddam Hussein," because when a

Senator notices the reality of racism it seems authentic. Although both Bradley

and Brown give similar information it is ironic that a white Senator showed more

anger toward racism than the former Black Panther.

When Senator Bradley begins telling his story his he points out how our

society still has inequalities as he says, "I mean, you know, it's still...

There are people who are, uh, who the law threats in different ways" (Smith:

214). The following statements Bradley makes during his interview shows his

anger for racial differences. When Bradley informs the reader about an African-

American Harvard Law School student who experienced unjust treatment by the

police. Bradley's anger is expressed through his statement, as he says, "He

pulls over. Police car pulls in front...behind...beside of him. Police jump

out, guns, pull him out of the car, throw him to the floor, put a handcuff on

him...All the while pointing a gun out at him" (Smith: 215). It is not fair

that this African-American Law School student has to put up with racism just

because his skin color and the "well-to-do" neighborhood he was driving through.

Bradley's anger shows the reader that racism should not exist because our

Constitution says, "all men are created equal." Bradley is an important

character to Smith's theatrical piece because he is a white Senator who can help

influence decision making. Bradley lets the reader know that he is doing all he

can to make the "theory" of equality a reality for all races.

Unlike Senator Bradley, Elain Brown's reality was growing up as a black

woman in an "unequal" society. In Brown's interview she tries to convince young

brothers to pick up the books instead of the guns. Brown a former Black Panther

leader shows a personal sympathy for Jonathan Jackson, as she says, "I think

that this idea of picking up the gun and going into the street without a plan

and without any more rhyme or reason than rage is bizarre and so, uh...And it's

foolish" (Smith: 228). Brown's contribution to Smith's theatrical piece is

limited because she does not show the authentic anger like Senator Bradley.

Even though both Senator Bill Bradley and former Black Panther leader

Elaine Brown gave similar messages, their presence affects the reader in a

different way. After reading Bradley's monologue, I felt elated and anger.

When Bradley questioned the partner at the law firm as he ask, "What did the

partner of the law firm do on Monday? Did the partner call the police

commissioner?" (Smith: 216). When Bradley begins asking question he lets the

reader know that he is also bother by racism.

Yet in Brown's monologue racism is not the problem. Brown wants to

convince the reader that guns are not worth his or her life. Brown tells the

reader, "all one has to do is ask, to ask the Vietnamese or Saddam Hussein about

the power...of the United States" and how they take down threats (Smith: 228).

Brown wants young brothers to realizes how important their lives are to our

society.

In Twilight: Los Angeles 1992 when Anna Deavere Smith says, "Every

person I include in the book, and who I perform, has a presence that is much

more important than the information," Bill Bradley and Elaine Brown are just a

few of the characters Smith is describing. Bill Bradley was a white Senator who

people might have thought would have agreed with the actions of the LAPD but

ironically he was angry. Senator Bradley's monologue contributes more to

Smith's theatrical piece because of this irony. I wonder what our world would

like if we had more Senator's like Bill Bradley?



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