Cracked Mirrors: From Emmett Till to Barak Obama & My Path of Authentic Islam
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Excerpts from the Book

"I learned my first lesson about life on a 24 inch red Schwinn bike. It was my first bike without training wheels and I cracked the rear-view handle bar mirror the first day I rode. This cracked mirror always gave me two images; one, the actual size and the other, distorted and larger. That’s what cracked mirrors do.

On a hot summer morning, I must have been about 10 years old when I rode my bike to a small dusty baseball diamond built on the southwest corner of the Yellow Springs, Ohio elementary school lot and saw four boys holding a picture of slain Emmett Till. Seeing the picture, I probably had the expression on my face like my oldest son, whose peanut butter brown complexion lights a glow of wonder when he wavers between awe and fear. Looking back, I realize seeing the picture of Emmett Till was the first time I understood what it meant to be human. Jet Magazine’s black and white photo of Emmett Till became an emotional and visceral litmus test of the Civil Right Movement.

Till’s murder chronicled ethnic cleansing was a tried and true American convention long before ethnic cleansing in Kosovo and Rwanda. Till’s murder showed how thousands of so-called Negroes coped with life long after institutional slavery. Black people in America learned how to survive a cracked mirror existence that was shaped by the American social and political institutions of violence, intimidation, and the deliberate creation of African-American inferiority.

Ignoring that American Blacks were human beings became a best practices model for 20th century oppression in places like South Africa—and these practices made it easy for America to export Apartheid to South Africa by socially constructing the image of African Americans as “Niggers”--beginning in antebellum cotton fields and then evolving as ‘the status quo’-the policy of institutional racism became a standard to deny African Americans employment, fair housing, and good public education. It also became the rationale to direct deadly violence on innocent Black people. My bike riding experience on that hot August morning was a life lesson and it clarified African American life in America for me."