Anita Hill

  • Aired:  03/13/14
  •  | Views: 77,966

Professor Anita Hill discusses her desire to share the story of her landmark testimony against Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas with a younger generation. (5:51)

>> Jon: WELCOME BACK.

MY GUEST TONIGHT SHE IS APROFESSOR OF SOCIAL POLICY LAW

AND WOMEN'S STUDIES AT BRANDEISUNIVERSITY.

SHE WAS A WITNESS IN CLARENCETHOMAS' SUPREME

COURT SENATE CONFIRMATIONHEARING. HER EXPERIENCE IS

CHRONICLED IN THE NEWDOCUMENTARY FILM "ANITA."

>> I REALLY LOVED THEWORK THAT I WAS DOING

AND I LOVED THE CHANCE TO WORKON ISSUES WHERE THERE WERE

AGE DISCRIMINATION CASES,RACE DISCRIMINATION CASES

AND GENDER IN THE EMPLOYMENTARENA.

THAT'S WHY I WENT TO THE EEOC.

AT THE TIME THAT I HAD MOVED TOTHE EEOC THE BEHAVIOR HAD

STOPPED. AND THAT'S ALL IWANTED.

PEOPLE MISUNDERSTAND THATHARASSMENT IS ABOUT THE SEX IT'S

REALLY ABOUT CONTROL AND POWERAND ABUSING IT.

>> Jon: PLEASE WELCOME TO THEPROGRAM ANITA HILL.

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]HOW ARE YOU?

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]SO THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING

US.

IT IS HARD FOR ME TO BELIEVETHIS WAS -- THE CLARENCE THOMAS

HEARINGS WERE OVER 20 YEARS AGO.

>> RIGHT, ALMOST 23.

AND, AS I SAY I'VE LIVE EVERYDAY OF THOSE 23 YEARS.

SOME HAVE BEEN EASIER THANOTHERS.

BUT WHEN I STARTED TO DO THISFILM IT WAS ABOUT FOUR YEARSAGO.

I REALIZED AN ENTIRE GENERATIONOF PEOPLE HAD BEEN BORN SINCE

THE HEARINGS AND THEY WERE GOINGTO GO INTO THE WORKPLACE AND

UNIVERSITIES AND MILITARY.

AND THEY WERE GOING INTO ADIFFERENT PLACE THAN WHAT I WENT

INTO.

THEY DIDN'T REALLY KNOW HOW WEGOT TO THAT PLACE.

SO THIS -- THE MOVIE REALLY ISABOUT LOOKING AT OUR HISTORY AND

LEARNING FROM IT.

>> Jon: IT WAS INTERESTING,YOU KNOW, JUST THE LITTLE CLIP,

WHAT STRUCK ME AND I REMEMBER ITSO VISCERALLY WATCHING THOSE

EARLY HEARINGS WAS JUST THEOPTICS OF IT.

THERE WAS THIS PANEL OF 14 OLDWHITE DUDES, THERE THEY ARE.

AND THEY WERE VICIOUS TO YOU,MANY OF THEM.

AND YOU SAT THERE, A BLACKWOMAN -- AND I THINK THAT --

THAT VISUAL EVEN IS WHAT SHOOKSOME PEOPLE UP AND MAYBE WOKE

THEM UP TO WHAT POWER DYNAMICSMAY LOOK LIKE.

>> WHAT POWER DYNAMICS LOOKLIKE AND WHAT A FAILURE TO HAVE

A REPRESENTATIVE BODY IN THESENATE ACTUALLY RESULTS IN.

IT RESULTS IN PROCESSES THAT AREBEING HELD THAT ARE JUST

COMPLETELY UNINFORMED BY REALITYOF PEOPLES' LIVES.

YOU HAD PEOPLE IN THE SENATESAYING WELL SEXUAL HARASSMENT

WHAT IS THIS?

NONE OF US KNOW ANYTHING ABOUTTHIS.

AND YOU HAD WOMEN THROUGHOUT THECOUNTRY SAYING HOW COULD YOU NOT

KNOW ABOUT THIS VERY REAL THINGTHAT HAPPENS IN OUR LIVES?

AND IN YOUR OWN WIVES' LIVES ORDAUGHTERS' LIVE.

>> Jon: EVEN IN THE SENATE. I'MSURE THEY WOULD GO BACK AND

TALK TO SOME OF THEIR STAFFERSAND SAY WHAT IS THIS STUFF?

THE STAFFER MIGHT BE THINKING TOTHEMSELVES IT'S THAT THING YOU

DO IN THE MORNING. TO ME EVERYMORNING.

[LAUGHTER]>> WELL, YES.

EVEN IF THEY ACKNOWLEDGE ITHAPPENED, IT WAS NOT -- THEY

JUST REFUSED TO ACKNOWLEDGE THATIT MATTERED AND THAT IT MATTERED

TO THE VERY PROCESS THAT THEYWERE ENGAGED IN, IN DETERMINING

WHETHER OR NOT A PERSON SHOULDBE ON THE SUPREME COURT --

ACTUALLY MAKING AND PASSINGJUDGMENT ON THE VERY SAME LAWS.

>> Jon: EXACTLY.

>> SO IT WAS REALLY -- IT DIDHAVE A SURREAL FEEL AND I'M SURE

THAT THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO WILLLOOK BACK TODAY ONCE THEY WATCH

THE FILM AND THEY'LL SAY COULDTHAT BE ONLY 22 YEARS AGO?

>> Jon: IT FEELS OF A DIFFERENT-- IT FEELS ANACHRONISTIC

TO WHAT YOU WOULD IMAGINE. 1991WAS NOT THAT LONG AGO.

>> IT'S NOT.

IT DOESN'T FEEL THAT LONG AGO TOYOU AND ME BUT A GENERATION OF

PEOPLE WHO DON'T EVEN KNOW THATIT HAPPENED ARE NOW GOING INTO

WORK AND EXPERIENCING THIS.

THEY SEE THE SIGNS NOW THAT SAYYOU KNOW SEXUAL

HARASSMENT IS PROHIBITED BUTTHEY DON'T KNOW HOW IT GOT

THERE.

>> Jon: AND WHAT DREW AHIGHLIGHT TO IT. BECAUSE THE

LAWS WERE ON THE BOOKS BUT IDON'T THINK ANYBODY PAID

ATTENTION TO THEM UNTIL THISCASE BROUGHT IT ALL TO

LIGHT AND IT WAS LIKE LOOKINGUNDER A ROCK.

>> IT WAS THE PEOPLE WHO STARTEDTALKING ABOUT IT AND SHARING

THEIR STORIES AND PUSHED IT EVENFURTHER THAN PERHAPS IT EVER

WOULD HAVE GOTTEN HAD IT NOTBEEN FOR THOSE HEARINGS.

BUT UNFORTUNATELY WHAT WE KNOWIS THAT THE PROBLEMS CONTINUE.

AND I JUST THINK THAT WE'RE AT APOINT NOW WHERE THE BENEFIT OF

22 YEARS OF HINDSIGHT ANDPERSPECTIVE THAT WE'RE AT A

POINT NOW WHERE WE CAN MOVE TOTHAT NEXT LEVEL.

SO WE KNOW SEXUAL HARASSMENT ISWRONG.

WE KNOW IT EXISTS.

SO DO WE HAVE THE RIGHTPROCESSES IN PLACE TO GET WOMEN

COMING FORWARD AND MEN COMINGFORWARD.

>> Jon: I THINK IT'S ACONSTANT STRUGGLE AND IT'S ONE

THAT CONTINUES TO EVOLVE.

BUT I THINK IT EBBS AND FLOWSAND WHEN THERE'S ATTENTION DRAWN

TO IT.

WHENEVER YOU SHINE A LIGHT ONSOMETHING IT GETS A LITTLE

BETTER FOR A LITTLE BIT. AS SOONAS THE LIGHT GOES OFF,

YOU KNOW?

>> WELL, THE TRICK IS THEN JUSTTO KEEP THE LIGHT SHINING.

>> Jon: BUT THEN GLOBALWARMING.

WILL YOU STICK AROUND FOR ALITTLE BIT?

I WANT TO ASK YOU ABOUT THEPERSONAL TRAUMA OF IT AND HOW

YOU FEEL IN RETROSPECT THATBEING WORTH IT AND THOSE TYPES

OF THINGS.

CAN YOU STICK AROUND?

>> SURE.

>> Jon: ANITA OPENS IN SELECTCITIES MARCH 21.

ANITA HILL.

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