Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?: And Other Conversations about Race / Edition 1

Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?: And Other Conversations about Race / Edition 1

2.8 5
by Beverly Daniels Tatum, Beverly Daniel Tatum

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ISBN-10: 0465091296

ISBN-13: 9780465091294

Pub. Date: 07/01/1999

Publisher: Basic Books

Walk into any racially mixed high school and you will see Black youth seated together in the cafeteria. Of course, it’s not just the Black kids sitting together—the White, Latino, Asian Pacific, and in some regions, American Indian youth, are clustered in their own groups, too. The same phenomenon can be observed in college dining halls, faculty lounges


Walk into any racially mixed high school and you will see Black youth seated together in the cafeteria. Of course, it’s not just the Black kids sitting together—the White, Latino, Asian Pacific, and in some regions, American Indian youth, are clustered in their own groups, too. The same phenomenon can be observed in college dining halls, faculty lounges, and in corporate cafeterias.What is going on here? Is this self-segregation a problem we should try to fix, or a coping strategy we should support? How can we get past our reluctance to talk about racial issues to even discuss it? And what about the other questions we and our children have about race?Beverly Daniel Tatum is a renowned authority on the psychology of racism. She asserts that we do not know how to talk about our racial differences: Whites are afraid of using the wrong words and being perceived as “racist.” Parents of color are afraid of exposing their children to painful racial realities too soon. Tatum understands that the vocabulary of race is loaded and that embarrassment and awkwardness often stymie conversations about this subject; yet, she believes that these obstacles can and must be overcome if we are to bring about change.In “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?” And Other Conversations About Race, Dr. Tatum provides us with a new way of thinking and talking about race through the lens of racial identity. She explains that all of us have a racial identity and must strive to affirm it. For people of color, the development of a constructive racial identity requires being able to recognize and reject the bombardment of negative stereotypes and to embrace a history of resistance and empowerment rather than passive victimization. For Whites, the challenge is to engage in a process of racial identity development which leads to an awareness of White privilege and a determination to actively work against injustice—and this requires the strength to reject a system that awards them, and to reclaim the legacy of White allies. For many, this is uncharted territory. This book provides a road map for those who want to make the journey and better understand the racial dynamics of their daily lives.Tatum extends her ideas about racial identity development beyond the usual Black-White paradigm to embrace the unique circumstances of Latinos, American Indians, Asians, as well as biracial youth. Also included is a list of resources for further reading as well as a list of books for parents and teachers to recommend to children of all ages.Using real-life examples and the latest research, Tatum presents strong evidence that straight talk about our racial identities—whatever they may be—is essential if we are serious about facilitating communication across racial and ethnic divides. We have waited far too long to begin our conversations about race. This remarkable book, infused with great wisdom and humanity, tells us where to start.

Product Details

Basic Books
Publication date:
Edition description:
Older Edition
Product dimensions:
5.32(w) x 7.98(h) x 0.81(d)
1400L (what's this?)

Table of Contents

Introduction 1999ix
Introduction 1997xiii
Part IA Definition of Terms
1Defining Racism "Can we talk?"3
2The Complexity of Identity "Who am I?"18
Part IIUnderstanding Blackness in a White Context
3The Early Years "Is my skin brown because I drink chocolate milk?"31
4Identity Development in Adolescence "Why are all the Black kids sitting Together in the cafeteria?"52
5Racial Identity in Adulthood "Still a work in progress..."75
Part IIIUnderstanding Whiteness in a White Context
6The Development of White Identity "I'm not ethnic, I'm just normal."93
7White Identity and Affirmative Action "I'm in favor of affirmative action except when it comes to my jobs."114
Part IVBeyond Black and White
8Critical Issues in Latino, American Indian, and Asian Pacific American Identity Development "There's more than just Black and White, you know."131
9Identity Development in Multiracial Families "But don't the children suffer?"167
Part VBreaking the Silence
10Embracing a Cross-Racial Dialogue "We were struggling for the words."193
AppendixGetting Started: A Resource Guide207

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Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?: And Other Conversations about Race 2.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was very eye-opening. Especially for people who do not neccessarily think there is racism anymore. It is sad that there is but it is great that we are able to write peices like this to hopefully change the way some of society thinks today.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a great book in educating the white community what racism really is. Too many whites think the the fight against racism is over, and that Martin Luther King's efforts in the 60's got the job done. Wrong!! The great efforts of Martin Luther King was just the start and the civil rights movement has suffered a major slowdown since his assassination. Tatum's book does a great job at addressing affirmative action and socioeconomic differences that exist today in the black community. The white community needs to educate themselves and get a major reality check by reading this book. A lot of folks think they are not racist just because the know blacks or say "hi" to blacks. It goes way beyond saying "hi" or being friends. You need to fully understand every facet of racism and the psychological effects it has on both whites and blacks; and Tatum's book addresses this issue very, very, well.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am currently reading this book now. Many times throughout the book, I see myself just shaking my head in acceptance of the author's beliefs.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is an extremely poor book. In order to discuss a controversial issue, such as white racism in American society, one needs persuasive evidence to support his/her perspective on the subject. Tatum provides no such evidence, unless you would like to count a handful of isolated incidences of white racism found in this book, which could have easily been fabricated by the demented mind of the author, as evidence. Without plausible facts or statistical data to reinforce her unjustifiable complaints, Tatum and her argument do not deserve the reader¿s attention or respect, inasmuch as this book lacks the professional touch of a writer who actually desires to convince her audience of considering her viewpoints. In addition to the deficiency of evidence, Tatum¿s underlying argument is extremely anti-White. Instead of presenting insightful and relevant comments of racial identity in the United States, this book primarily, and inexcusably, attacks white people. Let us look at one of Tatum¿s underlying themes. ¿Racism is a system of advantage based on race. And you have to ask yourself, who is advantaged by this system, and who is disadvantaged? In the U.S., it's the white people who are advantaged. I'm not saying that all white people are actively racist. The question is, are you actively anti-racist? There's no such thing as being passively anti-racist.¿ If one can see through the psychobabble, then he or she will realize that this comment is pure illogical gibberish. Let us disregard the fact that Tatum¿s fundamental argument stated above is not at all supported by facts elsewhere in the book, and focus on exactly what she is stating. Bluntly, she means that white people are somehow ¿advantaged¿ in American society by some unknown power, and since many Whites do not fight this power that assists them, then these white people are thus ¿passively racist.¿ We must make a note that ONLY WHITES can be passively racist by Tatum¿s definition. Since Tatum does not explain how Whites are advantaged or how Blacks are disadvantaged, the reader does not know what to think. To make her argument even less intelligent, when she talks about affirmative action later in the book, she circumvents the issue of how the affirmative action system is unjust to Whites by incorrectly explaining the workings of this racist system. Essentially, Tatum cannot accept that Whites can be disadvantaged by affirmative action. Finally, to make her line of reasoning more incoherent still, she claims in the beginning of the book to be against any ¿system of advantage¿ but entirely supports affirmative action (an obvious ¿system of advantage¿). It is interesting that she encourages a system that hurts Whites and helps Blacks. With this clash of reasoning, the conclusion can be drawn that it is not a ¿system of advantage¿ favoring white people that Tatum is against (because NO SUCH SYSTEM EXISTS), but white people in general. Tatum¿s avoidance of describing affirmative action as a ¿system of advantage¿ (and thereby leading to the presence of Black passive racism) conveys to the reader that Tatum¿s argument is invalid and that she holds unfavorable emotions towards Whites. To further delve into Tatum¿s anti-White mentality, let us look at an interview with the author (Courtesy of familyeducation.com) about her book. ('Q: You mentioned in a speech that critical thinking is the key to interrupting the cycle of racism. How can parents and teachers encourage kids to think critically about stereotypes? A: Ask them questions, and encourage them to ask questions about what they read, see, and hear. If your kids are watching TV, prompt them with questions like, 'Do you really think that all Latinos act like that?' 'Why is it that there are no black people on Seinfeld?' Soon your kids will begin to point out patterns and stereotypes to you. You just need to get the ball rolling.') Take a look at Tatum¿s ignorant comment about ¿Seinfeld¿.
ncman071 More than 1 year ago
I found Tatum's book to be laughable at best. She deliberately shows her hatred towards whites with her over the top view of what racism is (a system of advantage based on race). I find her definition to be a joke. She provides no substantial evidence to support any of her claims about white people having this ultimate advantage in society and how everything has been essentially spoon fed to whites. She does nothing but make a plethora of excuses for African Americans due to their "victimization". At the end of the book she provides "evidence", aka.. fabricated, manipulated data that for the most part doesn't seem nearly as relevant as she makes them out to be. Throughout the book she talks extensively about whites being silent and raceless which is a pathetic way of saying all whites even if they show no signs of being racist are still racist because they don't actively speak out against their own social group. I don't recommend this book for anyone unless you hate white people, or you just need someone to blame for your own failures.