“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness; it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity; it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness; it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair; we had everything before us, we had nothing before us; we were all going directly to Heaven, we were all going the other way.” –
  —  Charles Dickens

How such a classic quote, precisely describes my life is Chicago is amazing! I’ve found myself in yet another discussion on another blog, where I quiet often find myself in disagreement with the vast majority of the commenters. I don’t like  going around pointing out the faults of others, but at the same time I do not pretend that my choices are perfect and anybody that does otherwise  must automatically be bad. I won’t go into details about the exact topic, but once again I feel that my comments on that blog are not taken inconsideration by others, because they feel that as an African American I have not had a normal American experience. Correction: they feel that as an African American woman, that my experience was so far from their experience and that because I must have been rasied in the ghetto with no education, father and a mother on crack, than I use Islam as an escapism. Covering up in hijab and moving to Saudi Arabia must obviously be an extreme form of expression. Basically, they figure my life was so bad that I have nothing to loose by becoming a Muslim, as only stupid, brainwashed, losers would join such a religion. As a result, the only acceptable comentn African American is one that reflects the feelings of their slave  masters ilk.That perception alone speaks volumes.

Several times over the years I’ve been told that the things I mention in MY America are not true for all of America or all Americans. Yesterday, there was a remark said in a very politically correct tone, that I came from a very bad place.

Ummadam, you have told us something before about your youth, you come from a very bad place.

After I reminded the commenter that I come from Chicago, the 3rd largest city in America and that demographically I actually have more knowledge of the land than say someone from suburban America – she then basically said that my views were tainted, because I had had a very bad life.

ummadam, I did not mean Chicago as a place, I meant from the few glimpses you have given us I understood you had a hard childhood and that you have not let that slow you down.

I responded on the blog, but when I pressed send my Internet was down, so the comment was lost. Instead of rewriting it there, I decided to make a new entry here, because really it was about me and I hijacked the post. I’ve written before about My America here and here. What I am saying today is in someways a repeat but my point today is to show how one person’s perception of what is bad doesn’t make it bad. The person came to the conclusion that I was from a bad place and had a bad life, yet she doesn’t view America as bad. Why is it that when bad things happen in the Muslim world or bad Muslims do bad things, all of Islam and the Muslim world are considered bad?


Actually, I can’t think of  anything in my youth that would give anyone the impression or understanding that I came from a very bad place or had a very hard childhood. The stories I told in my Tales From the Hood, all took place after I turned 18. I come from Chicago. The South Side of Chicago to be exact. I lived in the 60649 zip code my entire childhood, so did Michelle Obama. I grew up in  a lakefront Condominium. I have two loving parents and was raised by my step-father, a prominent Attorney in Chicago. His brother Professor Timuel Black, a historian was one of President Barack Obama’s advisers. At one point The President of the United States of America was my NEXT DOOR neighbor. The building I lived in had some of the most notable African American professionals and even a world renowned white Jewish Psychologist. I did not come from the projects.

The schools that my sister, brother, and I attended were the best of  The Chicago Public Schools. My sister attended Whitney Young Magnet High School, the same school that Michelle Obama attended. I went to Lindblom College Prep and my brother went to Kenwood Academy. If you research those 3 schools then you will see that they were the top 3 schools at the time of our attendance. My mother’s motto was, “Education is a MUST!” My sister is now a successful Neuropsychologist. My life I consider a success. My brother…well there’s one in every family.

Now what exactly is bad about any of that? How is this bad place or bad life specific to me? The bad accounts I have previously mentioned had more to do with America and Americans. It was no reflection on my life or where I came from. If my life and where I came  can be perceived as bad than that is life is the Good Ole U S of A! Do not invalidate my statements by being condescending and saying – ‘well you had a bad life and came from a bad place so you don’t speak of the American experience’.

Islamophobes are some of the most hypocritical people around. They pretend to try and liberate the poor mislead Muslims, but in fact they are saying, “My way or no way”. It is this intolerance for Islam and Muslims that have my step-daughter living with non family strangers rather than with her own father. Why when the police were called to escort my husband to get his daughter from her abductors, did the police who are in cahoots with the abductors ask him if he just returned from Afghanistan? Why was the judge overheard saying about him, “Oh yeah this is that terrorist”?

You people do a great disservice to humanity when you try to impose your superiority complex over the world. Yes, there are people who choose to be Muslim, who choose to live in Muslim countries, women who choose to cover. Not everybody wants the uncontrolled FREEDUMB that you feel the need to brag and dominate others with. In most cases your views  are the ones that are narrow minded and you are the ones that  haven’t seen the world.

I am an educated black American woman, from one of the largest cities in America, who chose Islam as her religion, and who has experienced the best of both worlds. You can not shut me up. You will not play down my views by discrediting them as not having a genuine American experience, using religion as a shield for my previous bad life, and now brainwashed into submission. From where I’m at I can probably see the world a lot better than the those who don’t believe their fecal matter stinks.

“It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.”