Saturday, October 31, 2009


From NY Newsday, Sunday November 20, 1994 - City Diary p A85
(And Even More Valid Today Than It Was Then!)

It is one of society's last negative frontiers, says Carol Taylor, but it's being swept under the rug. So she wants to get people talking about what she calls "untreated racism(colorism)."

"The fact that we're not dealing with it in this multiethnic country is causing people to lose their lives," says Taylor, a registered nurse and writer living in East Flatbush. "I witness daily the outrageous slings and arrows of untreated racism(colorism) in this country."

Taylor view racism as "a form of social sickness," and the most effective way to rid society of it, she says, is to acknowledge that it exists.

She has found a way to stimulate the discourse that she believes will help build a healthier society. Ten years ago, Taylor founded the Institute for "Interracial" Harmony, Inc., a nonprofit organization that conducts workshops in Downtown Brooklyn and Manhattan at which participants are asked to take a Racism Quotient Test, then join a general discussion of their scores.

Today, Taylor and Mari Saunders, a psychologist who develped the 20 questions in the test based on racist remarks Saunders said she overheard, will administer it and other tests to a group to see if they might have qualified to be jurors for the O.J. Simpson trial.

One of the questions test-takers will be asked to answer: "At a social gathering with about 30 people, you enter a room where you appear to be the only member of your ethnic group. You would be most likely to: (a) leave the room in search of members of your own ethnic group; (b) stand around and hope someone would talk with you: (c) open a conversation with whoever looks interesting: (d) feel bored or uncomfortable, and wish you hadn't come."

The Village Voice ran the test in 1992. One third of the 4000 people who took it "were found to be dysfunctionally racist," Taylor said. She tells people whose scores reveal racist attitudes that it is "merely an indicator that you may have some work to do on yourself."

Taylor got the idea for the Racism Quotient Test while examining an IQ test. She said she thought if people could be tested for their intelligence they could be tested for their racism.

She set up the first workshops believing "One person could make a difference." Her organization wanted to prevent "further corrosion of hueman rights caused by racial disharmony," she said. "We're trying to attack something nobody wants to face."

"The objective is to improve communication between ethnic groups," add Taylor. "It is hoped that this will help bring about, however graduallly, a reprogramming of attitudes and an atmosphere in which...the worth of a hueman bing is not predicated upon the color of one's skin or one's ethnic background. You're allowed to think and feel any way you want about anybody, but not to rob someone else of their hueman rights.

Taylor feels recent events make it "more important than ever to deal with the untreated racism(colorism) in this country."

She cites Gov.-elect George Pataki making the death penalty a priority; passage of Proposition 187, the California measure that would end government services to undocumented immigrants; Susan Smith, the South Carolina mother who killed her children and accursed a Black man, and The Bell Curve, a controversial new book that many believe perpetuates ethnic stereotypes.

These examples, she said, "are illustrative of the deep sickness within the social body of America."

But Taylor believes, "everyone is racist(colorist)," and does not believe people of color are immune to that characterization. To those who say Blacks can't be racist(colorist) because they are not empowered, she responds, "I don't believe it is possible to live in this racist(colorist) society without some of it rubbing off on ourselves. People say Black people can't be racist(colorist) or color-prejudiced but they can be both."

America's first African-American flight attendant - Taylor - who says she has Cherokee, white and Black blood - is a long-time activist. In 1985, after her son was mugged "and the police treated him more like the perpetrator than the victim," she wrote and published The Little Black Book, which advises young Black males how to behave to avoid confrontations when they are stopped by police.

Taylor's organization is reaching out to people all across the country. Saunders said anti-racism(colorism) laws alone aren't the answer.

"Prejudice won't be cured by legislation. It's an individual thing," she said. "Until each of us is willing to take personal responsibility for the way we feel about and treat others based on race, religion, nationality, sexual preference, lifestyle or culture, we are not probing the essence of the problem."

Supporters recognize the value of the workshops as a catalyst for discussion.

People won't talk about racism(colorism)," agreed Jean Dember MHS, founder and president of 'Africans United For Sanity Now,' an organization trying to make racism(colorism) a mental-health issue.

Dember thanked Taylor and Saunders for "venturing into an area where angels fear to tread."

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Capitali$m's Dirty Messenger Boys:Big Business

Capitali$m's Dirty Messenger Boys:
Big Business

I'm convinced they're out to screw us consumers every day in every way - and make us love 'em for the consumer abuse with slogans about 'the Customer's always right' - wrong.

Big Business - no conscience; Big Pharma - no Karma!

Squatting on the lower rungs of society's power ladder, the poorest, unorganized consumers can only sit, wince and watch as greedy merchants double-stamp-raise prices of basic goods already on shelves right in front of their needy faces.

One irate but powerless - except for not purchasing stuff at that store again! - consumer recently went to downtown BLYN to 'Perlandra' (yes! I've named 'em!-so sue me!) to purchase her regular bottle of Barlean's Flaxseed Oil - (usually $15.75) and when she reached the cashier, was shocked to be told, "That'll be $19.95, Ma'am!"

In the 30 days 'between bottles,' how in God's Good Name did the price go from $15.75 to $19.95 - a $4.20 unconscionable increase?

As a former Co-Founder and past President of the Barbados, West Indies 'Bajan consumer League' (I even named it), returning to live in the U.S.A. after 14 delightful years in the sun, and watching the merchants in my Black neighborhood doing their dirty double-stamping and compliant consumers standing for it - I'm, almost, tempted to damage my health at this Elder age by either joining with an already-established consumer group , or starting another one myself! Oi!

And one of the first most irritating dictatorial issues I'd tackle is the 'we-know-y'all-can't-do-anything-about-it' obvious dirty-boy conspiracy Big Business operates with the TV stations: turning up the volume of and showing all of the TV ads at the same damn time!

Oh! That really bugs me - and I'm sure it bugs most consumer-viewers too! Just try to escape the sudden volume upturn ear-assault in the bedroom/livingroom or the urgent 'call-right-now-or-lose-out' continuous cadging for your consumer cash!

And their 'get-something-for-nothing' specious claims of "free gifts!" (the most oxymoronic phrase ever used) - should be an ominous warning for beleagured viewers, but evidently the present generation of shoppers haven't been taught the apt Latin phrase: "CAVEAT EMPTOR!"

It's certainly time for a "CONSUMER-UNITE REVOLUTION: No more 'money's tight' excuses as they greedily, and, it seems, forever, beat us over the heads and pockets with precipitous deouble-stamping soaring prices for food and items already on the shelves!


Signed: A Burned-Out Consumer

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Oxford African American Studies Center

Oxford African American Studies Center
The online authority on the A/dean American experience
Shear, Marie. "Taylor, Carol." African American National Biography, edited by Henry Louis Gates
Jr .. , edited by Evelyn BrooksHigginbotham. Oxford African American Studies Center, (accessed Sun Jun 14 14: 11 :57 EDT 2009).
Taylor, Carol
By: Shear, Marie
(27 Dec. 1931- ),

the first black flight attendant of either sex for a U.S. airline and an activist, was born Ruth Carol Taylor in Boston, Massachusetts, the older of two children of Ruth Irene Powell, a registered nurse, and William Edison Taylor, a barber and farmer, who lived in nearby Cambridge.

After several years in New York City, the family moved to a farm in Trumansburg, in upstate New York, where Taylor grew up. She attended Elmira College for Women in Elmira, New York, and New York University in New York City, became"a registered nurse in 1955 upon graduation from the Bellevue Schools of Nursing at New York University, and practiced nursing for the next three years.

With the nation's airlines under pressure to break the color line, Taylor became one of about eight hundred ''Negro girls" interviewed by Mohawk Airlines, a regional carrier based in Ithaca, New York, which she said wanted worldwide publicity. Being, as she later explained, "near-white enough with aquiline features, so-called" and having deliberately given safe answers to airline interviewers' questions, she made her initial flight as the "first Negro airline hostess" on 11 February 1958. The landmark was reported in The New York Times, the New York Herald Tribune, and Time magazine and on the cover of Jet. Bored by the job, she quit after six months, never having been invited to eat with the other crew members. Nonetheless, once Taylor broke the color barrier other airlines gradually began adding black people to their flight crews. Fifty years later in 2008, Taylor's accomplishment was memorialized by the New York State Assembly.

In 1960 she married Rex Norman Legall and gave birth to a daughter, Cindy Legall. In 1969 she had a son, Laurence Legall Taylor, whose father was a colonel in the Barbados military, Laurence G. Quintyne, M.B.E. Her grandson, Tyler Legall, was born to her daughter in 1997. Taylor's husband died in 2008. "

After spending about five years in Trinidad, London, and New York City during which she covered the 1963 March on Washington for Flamingo, a British magazine with an Afro-Caribbean readership, Taylor settled in Barbados and lived there from 1964 to 1977. She was a community activist on consumer affairs and women's rights, among other issues.
\ Wanting a less insular life for her children, Taylor brought them to Brooklyn in 1977, where she remained for more than thirty years. As a widely known grassroots activist, she spoke, wrote commentaries for local black-owned newspapers, and attended innumerable demonstrations against police brutality and other injustices, even shaving her head once to emphasize her protest.

Calling herself a " blacktivist," she deployed neologisms and nontraditional spellings in articles, riffs, and jeremiads; on handmade signs; and during media interviews and speeches in order to raise public awareness that all people on earth are part of a single "hueman" race descended from "beautiful blueblack" Africans-although, she said dryly, some people "are more rinsed-out than others." She firmIy rejected "African American" as exclusionary and identified herself as "a black African." Varying her diction and enunciation from cultivated to rowdy, scatological, gleeful, or satiric at will, she advocated the word "colorism" as more accurate and incisive than "racism." She considered "race" a bogus concept and words like "biracial," "transracial," and "interracial" meaningless. Yet she said, "If you're not playing the race card, you're not playing with a full deck." In order "to agitate," she said that God is a black woman.

Taylor saw "untreated racismlcolorism" as a rampant disease in the United States. In 1982 she
decided that a racism quotient test, analogous to an IQ test, was needed. Collaborating with a
psychologist, Mari P. Saunders, she developed what came to be called the racism/colorism Quotient Test (RQ). Its twenty multiple-choice questions were designed to reveal the extent of the test-taker's bias regarding workplace, neighborhood, and social situations. Then education and healing- "remedial ethnotherapy"--could follow in a nonthreatening, nonjudgmental vein.

In the same year Taylor and Saunders founded the Institute for "Interracial" Harmony, inserting the quotation marks later, to administer the test and offer diversity training in the public and private sectors. The Institute's motto was "Prejudice is learned. It can be unlearned." The RQ test could be taken, free of charge, at the Institute's website, Test-takers received their scores and evaluations immediately, online.

When the RQ test was published in 1992 by The Village Voice, a local weekly newspaper, four
thousand of its predominantly white, liberal readers submitted responses. A third of them, Taylor said, were "dysfunctional in their responses to color and cultural differences." She often wrote to journalists and to political, civic, educational, and religious leaders, urging that the RQ test be given to all police, judges, jurors, teachers, doctors, and others before they were allowed to make decisions affecting black people's lives.

After her teenaged son was mugged twice and then treated like a criminal when he sought help from the police, Taylor self-published The Little Black Book: Black African Male Survival in America or Staying Alive and Well in an Institutionally Racist Society (1985). The pocket-sized pamphlet contained about thirty rules and recommendations to protect young black men, whom Taylor considered an endangered group. By 2008 she said that more than two hundred thousand copies of The Little Black Book had been sold, often in bulk, at two dollars each. Taylor carried copies with her everywhere she went, wearing a sign on her clothing identifying herself as its author and selling single copies on sidewalks and buses. The pamphlet was also available from bookstores, schools, unions, libraries, and religious organizations and from

While objecting to nationwide suppression of black voting, she herself refused to vote after the early 1980s, regarding the system as corrupt She dismissed voting as "a major soporific for the control of the masses." Holding dual U.S. and Barbadian citizenship, she said, "I am a world citizen." She continued advancing her views on current affairs online at

Her work was covered by The New York Times, The Washington Post, the New York Amsterdam News, The Boston Globe, New York Newsday, Library Journal, the Gannett newspaper group, and other news organizations.

Taylor's impassioned blactivism, visible in her raised, clenched fist or one-finger salute at
demonstrations, was coupled with receptivity to strangers of all colors in her daily life. She welcomed conversations with them. When people recognized her and greeted her warmly, asking "How are you?" her usual reply was succinct. "At war," she said.

Further Reading
Gubert, Betty Kaplan, Miriam Sawyer, and Caroline M. Fannin. Distinguished African Americans in Aviation and Space Science {2001).
About the Editors
Guest Scholar
What's Inside
What's New
News and Reviews
Guided Tour
Site Credits

added 400 more entries from Paul Finkelman's remarkable Encyclopedia of
African American History. 1896 to the Present (published in print February 2009).
In a starred review of this work, Library Journal declared, "No similar
encyclopedia rivals the wealth and confirmation of African American history
found here." The 400 new articles in the range of H-P include entries on Jazz,
Kwanzaa, the Montgomery Buss Boycott, the NAACP and more!

The latest update also offers 50 exclusive, online-only biographies from the
African American National Biography project These brand new entries - only
available through the Oxford African American Studies Center - include Darlene
Clark Hine's biography of First Lady Michelle Obama, as well as entries for social
worker and educator Henrietta W ells and the first black flight attendant, Carol Taylor.

A group of 21 new primary documents have also been posted to the site -
historically significant slave narratives with accompanying commentary. These
remarkable documents are the object of the latest Focus On feature, providing a
unique perspective on the history of African Americans, directly from those who
personally experienced it.

In another new development for June, At a Glance pages have now been made
publicly available for increased discoverability of the site. At a Glance pages
provide users with an overview of the multiple entries available for a particular
topic or biographical subject. This will guide researchers to the Oxford African
American Studies Center by making it more visible in search engine results. Click here for an example At a Glance page.

Finally, Oxford African American Studies Center Editor in Chief Henry Louis Gates

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sovereign Evolution:

Sovereign Evolution:
Manifest Destiny from "Civil Rights" to "Sovereign Rights"
by Ezrah Aharone
301 pages
ISBN: 978-1-4389-3858-5 (sc)
Author House 2008
Reviewed by Carol Taylor

(Keep this in mind as you read this book: what equity can be expected from a country which spends gazillions on bombing the moon rather than feeding the hungry on earth?)

A dictionary definition of 'sovereignty' is 'power to govern without external control.'

First, let me applaud Ezrah Aharone for highlighting the dependent plight of us Blacks in America so deftly: his descriptions of historical events should be gratefully accepted.

However, his use of the too popular exclusive phrase 'African American" and 'race' instead of 'color,' unfortunately lends itself to misleading the unwary reader.

While, on the one hand, Sovereign Evolution aims to promote worldwide consciousness of sovereign rights, surely a lofty and monumental task in and of itself; on the other hand, in a very worthwhile way, it gives serious readers surprising revelations not usually presented to the public - for instance - the incredible chart on page 214 showing that Britain is not the only country led by incestuous ruling family members. Not only is George Bush cousin to forty other Presidents and Vice Presidents, the current President Barack Obama is a distant cousin to Bush and five other Presidents! OUCH!

This, of course, promotes much heavy pondering about the very relevance of 'the vote' in a so-called democracy and underscores the low-level potential of ending such an inherited hegemonic hierarchy. (But certainly give thanks to Aharone for bravely raising the question)

While independence and 'do-for-self' libertarian ideas are appealing to many hopeful folk, we are left to wonder, when most huemans are but an admixture of colors anyway, how any theory of ascendancy for Blacks to positions of 'governing without external control' actually holds water! What's the definition of 'external' when it comes to color? We know what 'control' means, especially these days.

But unless Blacks ('African Americans' to the exclusionists) are prepared to incorporate an Israeli 'control' - (guns & bombs & land grabs) God-Knows-Where, and/or a U.S.A. Bunker-bombs & Stealth Bombing Bullying, dreams (and I'm afraid they are that) of 'sovereignty' for Blacks in America will remain just that - lofty dreams.

Surely, this, in spite of Aharone's appeals to folk to 'sovereign-think' is is a heavy reality to face: unless and until Blacks in America can somehow morph into the monolith they're so often called, and relinquish dichotomous emotions - ("am I Black or an American?"), much as we might otherwise want, 'sovereignty' for Blackfolk will remain just wishful thinking.

Perhaps the basic questions Sovereign Evolution does pose for folk are: "Who Are We?" - and "How can 'we' rebuild a world recognizing the worth of each individual?" This book is a 'should-read.' Well done Ezrah Aharone!