Book Review: The Little Black Book: Black Male Survival in America: Staying Alive & Well in an Institutionally Racist Society
Book Reviewed by Kam Williams
"The object of this Survival Manual is to save lives - the lives of Black African Males who are on the Endangered list in this American society of ours.
I started writing out rules of survival for my son, Larry, and I suddenly thought, Why be selfish? Why not write out directions for all Black Males living in America?"
--Excerpted from the Preface
For young black men, any chance crossing of paths with cops can mean a close brush with death. Almost on a daily basis, we hear of another case of police brutality occurring somewhere in the country in which state-sanctioned violence has been officially explained away as reasonable or justifiable when employed against an African-American male. Even the most seemingly inexcusable examples of homicide, such as the killing of an unarmed Amadou Diallo in a hail of 41 bullets by a squad of reckless detectives in front of his own home, have been deemed to be fully in accordance with proper police procedure.
What, then, can one do to ensure that a loved not end up the next statistic? Unless, like Michael Jackson, you are inclined to undergo a radical blackendectomy, I heartily recommend reading a copy of The Little Black Book to anyone considering venturing outside while still inside black skin. This handy, pocket-sized, police encounter survival guide was strategically-designed by its author, Carol Taylor, R.N., to fit inside a pocket or wallet for ready retrieval, if needed, God forbid.
The author, a mother and well-known, New York civil rights activist, first wrote the book in 1985 for the protection of her own young son. Her new edition starts with a brief introduction containing sage advice from the Honorable Bruce Wright, an African-American judge controversial because of his open indictment of the criminal justice system as biased against black people.
Next, the text turns its attention to preparing you for a potential legal situation on the street by spelling out 30 common sense rules of engagement, such as not to run or walk down the block with a wallet, cell phone, beeper or anything which might easily be mistaken for a gun when held in your hand. The book also contains blank spaces to attach a photo, and to fill in one's blood type, allergies, and other medical info. Plus, in case of arrest, there are areas for a lawyer's name and number and for a relative to contact in case of emergency.
What makes The Little Black Book so valuable is, first, its mentally prepping black kids for how to behave in the event of a detainment by the cops. Of equal importance is that it is small enough to carry at all times, to be readily available at a moment's notice during any very tense confrontation with the authorities. In case a child' is too nervous to think clearly, this priceless pamphlet could easily be the difference between a policeman's prejudice or misunderstanding quickly degenerating to a matter of life and death.
At $2 apiece, I heartily recommend buying this book in bulk and sharing it with any African-American teenagers you care about.
To order THE LITTLE BLACK BOOK, send a Money Order only to
590 Flatbush Avenue, Ste.11A,
Brooklyn, NY, USA,
$2.37 for each book, for five or more books, send a dollar or two for postage.
To make arrangements for a Book Signing or Public Speaking Engagement, call Ms. Taylor at: (718) 856 1271, or visit her website at: www.racismtest.com