“Don’t turn away from rap music simply because it’s loud or violent or sexist or lewd – which so much of it is. Don’t turn away from the damage and destruction of drugs by simply declaring ‘war’ on them and filling our prisons with the people who use them. Look hard at where the need for those drugs is coming from. Look hard at what’s behind the anger and rage of that rap music. Pay attention. These are symptoms. They are responses. It is not the heroin-filled syringe of the addict that is the problem. It is not the hateful verses of the gangsta rapper that we must outlaw. It is the conditions and circumstances out of which the user and the gangster spring that must be looked at, understood and addressed. Change the world in which the addict lives and you’ll change his need for the drug. Change the world about which the rapper chants and you will change his words and his music.” – Congressman John Lewis of Georgia from Walking With the Wind: a memoir of the movement.
In an old episode of the “Tyra Show” recently resurfacing on YouTube, Tyra Banks aired a special program on “Racism in Hollywood” including an exclusive interview with Native American twin actresses, Shannon and Shauna Baker. In the clip, they discuss the various stereotypes attributed to their people, the pressure to disguise themselves as Latina women, and especially the dearth of available roles for Native American actors. In fact, it seems that in Hollywood as in most of America, Native Americans only exist in the public’s minds as a bygone image from the 18th century, when in fact they remain very much alive and in their homeland in the 21st century. Watch the fascinating interview below: