Racism and the young minds. Racism to my mom's generation has a different meaning compared to the young minds of present day. My mother, a Dine from Arizona, lived and experienced racism in such a moving way that she is still recovering from it. In the late 19th century and early 20th century, the US government built boarding schools in various parts of the country. Their primary purpose was to "kill the Indian" and civilized them. My mother, at the age of 6 was given no option but to appear at the school on her own accord and if she didn't, a government van would arrive and take her by force which happened to many indigenous youths of her time. The government's regiment of assimilation was jarring to her as free will was no longer within her grasp as her hair was cut against her wishes and that she was told to not speak her native language. The life of the "hozho" (word that means beauty, harmony, joy and kinship) that her grandparents were guiding her through ended. Today, it is different. Luckily, there are no more boarding schools like the one she attended but racism still lurks in unexpected corners. At a Denny's restaurant, a white waitress seated other patrons before us until my father protested. The restaurant was virtually empty! While playing in a "white clothes" only tennis club, a white women strongly attested to my older brother's long hair with a racial remark that brought out the ferocious mother bear in my mom. Or someone driving by a colored friend of mine and yelling, "Nigger go home!" These are some of mine and today's youth's experiences. But the experiences of my mother and the experiences of the young people who put voice to the hip hop music are nothing compared to mine. I am quite fortunate! Rap music can be used to one's advantage. Learn from it, recognize that it does reflect some truths of our society, decide for ourselves where those truths are and perpetuate those with our own truths learned from our own roots. Those are my mother's teachings/truths.