The Year was 1968
After becoming Muslim I began having trouble with my father, mostly because what I was bringing into the family was really ‘foreign’ . A different way of living, of ‘being’. My dress and my diet had changed and I wasn’t giving up an inch. And my father was stuck in his ways and couldn’t see what is was I was trying to do. AND, I couldn’t articulate or explain it to him the way it should have been explained. I was ‘young, dumb and full of ……..’
But part of what I was looking for was a way that we, as black people, could break out of some of the negative behaviors that I felt that was holding us back and live as a new revolutionary people with our own habits, rituals, dress, diet, holidays, ideas and values that were not rooted in the traditions of our oppressors. Some of this had to do with the existing stereotypes of black people and my reaction to them. But this journeymeant ‘leaving’ all of those things that belonged to our previous lives, the negative baggage and taking on a new life that we called Islam. Malcolm X had already suggested that Islam was a total humanitarian lifestyle which held at its core the equality of all men before Allah and to a young black kid growing up in New York City in the 1950’s and 60’s who was well aware of the societal limitations placed on black people, this spiritual and cultural revolution was and still is a perfectly viable option. And so my journey began…..