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Feb 25, 2008

Sonsyrea Tate Profile

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Chicago Tribune

Obama says public tired of hearing about his former pastor

It's about time! And it's time we in the African American community reconsider the race-based beliefs promoted behind our closed doors. "Who is the Colored man? The colored man is the white man, Yacub's grafted devil, the skunk of the planet earth." This is what kids in the Nation of Islam's Black nationalist schools across the country were taught. Are they still reciting this? Do parents know? Do parents care? It's time we get past the glitz and glamour of these charismatic spokesmen and examine what they're really saying, what they're really teaching. Sonsyrea Tate Author Little X: Growing Up in the Nation of Islam Published by the University of Tennessee Press  (Jun 1, 2008 | post #219)

Baltimore Sun

Obama resigns from longtime church -- Elections, Barack O...

Bravo Obama! It's about time! These charismatic, masters of rhetoric have become enormously popular pandering to some of our oldest fears, and deepest aches. A million men joined Louis Farrakhan on the National Mall and millions more tuned in. I thought I must have been wrong about the man after all. Never mind that in the NOI schools they taught youth to recite, "the devil is the Caucasian white man, the skunk of the planet earth." It took years for me to de-brief myself of such non-sense learned there as a kid. Who knows what brand of rhetoric these guys have been promoting behind closed doors. Does anyone care? I hope Obama's move prompts others to consider what these characters are really saying and to consider the impact their words could have. Sonsyrea Tate Author Little X: Growing Up in the Nation of Islam University of Tennessee  (Jun 1, 2008 | post #5)

NBC 4 Washington, DC

The Rev. Jeremiah Wright To Appear In Washington - News S...

Listening to Rev. Wright's anti-American comments "looped" on news casts and the internet reminded me of my days in the Nation of Islam's Muslim schools in the 1970s. It took many years to de-brief myself from our regular drillings where we stood and recited, "Who is the Black Man? The Asiatic Black Man, maker, owner, cream of the planet earth, father of civilization, God of the universe. And, who is the Colored man? The Colored man is Yacub's drafted devil, the skunk of the planet earth." Like my grandmother, who'd joined the Nation of Islam in the 1950s said, "In our 'nation' everything the white man said about us, we reversed it and said it about them." It took years for me to come to terms with the "lessons " I heard my uncles rehearse for school, "Why is it the duty of each Muslim to kill four devils? Because if not killed, he will strike again." Listening to Rev. Wright's "chickens coming home to roost," comments in isolation, took me back to those days, and stirred the intense anger I had over such indoctrination in my youth. Such nationalist rhetoric would not help me in an increasingly global world as I was coming of age, it seemed. But watching Rev. Wright at the National Press Club this morning, watching his entire speech, I was reminded of what had attracted my grandparents to the Nation of Islam in the first place and why they raised their kids in it. They were drawn to the practical solutions offered in the NOI. Men learned to identify their intelligence and skills, hone them and market them - this, at a time when this was not offered elsewhere. I have intense feelings about the NOI (good and bad). Some very sharp criticisms, but also high praise. Watching Rev. Wright this morning, I was reminded of the kinds of insights, intelligence, and articulation my grandparents so loved when they heard Malcolm X and many of the other NOI ministers speak. He is the boldness of so many grandfathers in the Black community. It will be quite interesting to hear what comes of the discussions of Black Liberation Theology at the seminar this week. Sonsyrea Tate Author Little X: Growing Up in the Nation of Islam (University of Tennessee Press) Do Me Twice: My Life After Islam (Simon & Schuster/Strebor Books International)  (Apr 28, 2008 | post #15)

Chicago Tribune

Many Blacks Worry About Obama's Safety

As my cousin clipped at my hair in her salon chair last week, we talked about the election. “You voting for [Sen. Barack] Obama?” she asked. “I know I am…One of my clients was in here talking about she’s voting for [Sen.] Hillary [Clinton] because she thinks Obama would get killed before White folks let him move in the White House. I’m like, ‘if he ain’t scared, I ain’t scared either,’” she added. I thought about the fearlessness we’ve learned. I remembered a conversation I had with my teenage nephew a few years ago. He said, “Auntie, if anything happens to either one of us, the other goes on. Promise?” I touched my fist to his and agreed. “Go on, and go harder.” This was post-911 talk for me and my nephew, who couldn’t have been more than 14 or 15 at the time. Our conversation came after the horror of Sept. 11 when hi-jacked passenger airplanes plunged into the World Trade Center towers and hit the Pentagon. We sat glued to TVs watching images of smoke-smeared people running for their lives or collapsed on the sidelines. Even the kids who didn’t watch the news heard about it and absorbed the sense of panic. Cell phones went down and families realized they should come up with a plan to communicate in times of chaos. Then there was the anthrax scare, and we realized the daily act of opening your mail could leave you dead. My nephew saw me buy duct tape and stock-pile groceries and bottled water. In his personal life he learned about kids robbed of their shoes and coats on their way home from his school. He was jumped once on his way home from school, and robbed once walking past a police station. I couldn’t imagine how I’d go on if something happened to him. He had to consider going on without me if something happened to me. We had to discuss death and determination. If anything happened to either of us, we would go on. When I hear Civil Rights babies express their fears of an Obama assassination, I wonder whether their 40-year-old wounds from the deaths of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and John F. Kennedy have not completely healed. To be sure, those of us who came of age in the 1980s can count comrades felled by unprecedented drug violence, intoxication, madness, and disease. We’ve got scars, too. But, bad memories of loss can’t keep us from charging ahead into history. Change was in the air when we were born, and we’ve lived through lightning-speed transformations. In our short lifetimes we’ve gone from dial-up to touch tone to cell phones to Blackberrys to iPhones, and we’ve come to expect something even greater – indeed, create something greater - within mere months. We walked into a world transforming. We grew up, and reached for the baton. We’re the microwave generation, yes. We’re used to information in a flash, and we’re used to life as we know it changing at a clip. There’s simply no time or inclination for fear. My lack of fear for Obama’s life is not based on some youthful sense of invincibility, but rooted in what history already has told us. Jesus was nailed. King, Kennedy, and Malcolm X were shot. But their service to humanity lived well beyond their natural years and the changes for which they lived and died did come. They lived on through the people – and institutions - determined to carry forth their missions.  (Feb 25, 2008 | post #190)

Chicago Tribune

Louis Farrakhan backs Obama for president at Nation of Is...

Thanks Nora, I think it's important that we share our experiences growing up Muslim - and coming out of it - if that's the case. The more people know, the better that can understand the common ties that bind us all. Unfortunately most folks only know Muslims - and ex-Muslims - through news accounts at times of crisis  (Feb 25, 2008 | post #116)

Top Stories

There Is Nothing Wrong With Abortion!

McKenzie, When I was 19 and pregnant I looked in the mirror and decided I would soon become "un-pregnant. " With that, I planned to make an appointment at an abortion clinci. I confided my decision only to my closest girlfriend. I declined her offer to go with me. I took a cab to the clinic. Boldy assured the pre-abortion counselor that I held no reservations about my decision, I proceeded through the abortion, drank the cup of apple juice to replinish my blood sugars, hailed a cab home, took a nap, and woke up ready to proceed with MY life. That was more than 20 years ago and I still am happy I made that decision. If I had it to do all over again I would make better choices before finding myself weighing the odds of such a controversial choice. I've written about this experience in my memoir, "Do Me Twice: My Life After Islam," as this was one of the pivotal decissions I made as a young woman breaking from Islam, having been raised a third-generation member of the Nation of Islam. (yes, this is also a shameless plug for my website sonsyrea.com and book) But, more importanly, I'm glad we're having this conversation. We need to talk about young women and sexuality BEFORE we get to these situations.  (Feb 25, 2008 | post #30312)

Q & A with Sonsyrea Tate

Headline:

News and Information

Hometown:

Washington, DC

Local Favorites:

Busboys and Poets Borders of Largo Libraries everywhere

When I'm Not on Topix:

in a good book or newspaper article

Read My Forum Posts Because:

You may get a new perspective

I'm Listening To:

jazz

Read This Book:

A Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs

Favorite Things:

reading, writing, laughing and eating

On My Mind:

You don't wanna know

Blog / Website / Homepage:

www.sonsyrea.com

I Believe In:

Love