"I was a mimic when I was a child. I mimicked the teacher and made friends that way, actually. That was a very subversive activity, because I was a goody-goody who never got in trouble. But if I went off in the corner and mimicked the teacher, people loved it."
"I have learned silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind yet, strange, I am ungrateful to those teachers."Anna Deavere Smith on Khalil Gibran
"It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge."Anna Deavere Smith on Albert Einstein
"If I am walking with two other men, each of them will serve as my teacher. I will pick out the good points of the one and imitate them, and the bad points of the other and correct them in myself."Anna Deavere Smith on Confucius
"You have to grow from the inside out. None can teach you, none can make you spiritual. There is no other teacher but your own soul."Anna Deavere Smith on Swami Vivekananda
"I have come to believe that a great teacher is a great artist and that there are as few as there are any other great artists. Teaching might even be the greatest of the arts since the medium is the human mind and spirit."Anna Deavere Smith on John Steinbeck
"Racism has been for everyone like a horrible, tragic car crash, and we've all been heavily sedated from it. If we don't come into consciousness of this tragedy, there's going to be a violent awakening we don't want. The question is, can we wake up?"
"People who are sick, or who have been sick, or have come close to death have a lot to say - and they want you to hear it."
"Learning is a tunnel experience that makes us think more broadly."
"Somehow we can't live outside the politics of race. There's something very deep in all of us, that is taught to us when we are very, very little. Which is the disrespect and fear of the other."
"I feel like my work has been my path to freedom from having grown up in a segregated environment."