Has anti-Semitism affected your career?
I don't know. It's affected my work. I take being Jewish very seriously. I like it. My first two stories were specifically Jewish. When I took a class at the New School this teacher said to me, You've got to get off that Jewish dime, Grace, they're wonderful stories, but... The idiocy of that remark was that he was telling me this just as Saul Bellow, Philip Roth, and others were getting more generally famous every day. He was Jewish himself, but he wanted me to "broaden" myself.
I don't think anti-Semitism has affected my career much. I'm sure in certain colleges they're not interested in my stories, but you'd be surprised how people don't take it into account. Kids especially, they just want to know how the plot turned out. I always say that racism is like pneumonia and anti-Semitism is like the common cold – everybody has it. I often meet it in this lovely Vermont countryside, sneezing away.
Grace Paley: The Art of Fiction No. 131, Interviewed by Jonathan Dee, Barbara Jones, and Larissa MacFarquhar in Women at Work: Interviews from the Paris Review