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

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Overview


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 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...
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Overview


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 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 all the other questions we and our children have about race? Beverly Daniel Tatum, a renowned authority on the psychology of racism, 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" while parents of color are afraid of exposing their children to painful racial realities too soon. 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, has already helped hundreds of thousands of readers figure out where to start.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780465083619
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 12/17/2002
  • Series: Art of Mentoring Series
  • Edition description: Fifth-Anniversary Edition
  • Edition number: 5
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 55,081
  • Product dimensions: 5.36 (w) x 7.99 (h) x 0.85 (d)

Meet the Author


Beverly Daniel Tatum, Ph.D., is a professor of psychology and dean of Mount Holyoke College as well as a psychologist in private practice. She is the author of“Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?”
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 27 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(11)

4 Star

(5)

3 Star

(4)

2 Star

(4)

1 Star

(3)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 27 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2006

    Enlightening

    I found this book to be very informative, and very enlightening. It gave me a lot to think about, and I understand issues surrounding race and ethnicity much better now.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2004

    Very dissapointing. A shallow, biased look on racism

    This book really disappointed me. I expected a deep look at racism, since I believe that racism is an awful problem and would like to understand it, but found a very shallow explanation. I found some interesting information, and I understand the sincere desire of the author to change her world in a positive way, but I honestly believe that many of her opinions instead of leading to eliminating racism may lead to accentuate it. Remarks such as ¿all Whites, intentionally or unintentionally, benefit from racism¿, ¿People of color are not racist because they do not systematically benefit from racism¿, and many others, are pathetic. The author fails to acknowledge, or perhaps does not know, that racism exists and has existed for centuries, for millennia, all over the world, whenever the dominant group believes its race is superior to other races, and consequently mistreats the members of such other races. She seems to believe that racism was invented by wicked White Americans. Without examining the real reasons of racism, effective measures against it will very unlikely be found. The author says ¿..in an empowered sense or racial identity (Black people) make clear to others that their racial identity is important to them¿; ¿I can¿t remember the name of one White classmate¿, ¿even mature adults sometimes need to connect with someone who looks like them...¿. How is that good for Black people and not for White people? Using her advices, White people could be proud to surround themselves and their family only with others like them (White), which could be considered, precisely, racism. She should focus more in interesting information such as ¿race is a social construction that has little biological meaning¿, ¿there is no such thing as a ¿pure¿ race. All human populations are ¿mixed¿ populations'. If people do not learn to look beyond the color of the skin, if they are taught to stay with others who look just like them, racism will continue to exist.

    4 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 26, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent Book!!!

    Some of the previous reviews of this book are based soley on much of the ignorance of the dominate culture in America that is spoken about in the book. There was even one person who gave the book a negative rating and had never read the book. I personally, having read the book, believe that it was truly an enlightening experience. The book attempted to redefine racism in a way that encompassed it's true meaning in totality. The author also did an excellent job of explaining what, from a psychological standpoint, is normal behavior from children, in regards to race, and how we as adults can play a more active role in improving our childrens' psyche when it comes to the area of race. I would recommend this book to any person in the Majority or Minority in America that is looking to break the barriers of inequality and inequity that have for so many years had a paralyzing effect on America's progress.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2003

    A thought provoking book.

    Tatum, whose roots in psychology manages to provide with some clarity the reasons behind why some youngsters prefer to associate with those who look like them. The book provided insightful reasonsings into the psychological and developmental stages of youngsters while linking each stage to a racial perspective. Tatum has the reader examine their own preconceived images of racial identity and forces a comparative, analytical look at the whole picture of prejudice, and it's lasting effect on the psychi and socialization of youngsters to adolescents, and eventually adults. The book shares many of the author's experiences as a mother raising two black children, a professor, and as a psychologist. The question of why black kids sit together narrows the answer down to comfortablity, expectations, and perceptions of race. Such narrowing can often prove to be a challenge amongst racailly mixed kids, and also those with high economic status.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2004

    Great for a class room decussion

    I recently took a class called African American politics. In this class we were asked to read this book. Each person was then asked to break down a chapter in this book. As each student told about thier chapter our class begin to realize some acts of racism that have gone on noticed. I was shocked to hear about the racism found in Disney movies. This forced our class to open our eyes and lean into a new understanding of the word racism. The question, 'Why are all the black kids sitting together in the cafertia?' was answered in a way that justified all forms of racial identity crisis. Dr. Tatum did an excellent job.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2004

    Good Points....mmmmmm

    I'm currently reading the book and I have found good points and bad points. I disagree with the author's definition of racism. Yes, I am white and find it quite alarming that someone can be so racist in their inner structure of their own world. I d however continue to read because I have found she has some good points. I do think it is important to get a good handle on everyone's views before trying to effect the problem, so I will continue to read....

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2009

    Making Contact

    Anything that gets people thinking and talking about racism is a good thing, I guess. People should question the root of their feelings-- i.e., why some feel so passionate at reading one person's perspective? It's a perspective. Perhaps it's those bits of truth that can sometimes sting when they make contact?

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2006

    A reviewer

    The author must have wrote this book for black people and liberals ONLY !!!!!! Only then could a positive review of this book be possible! More of that 'blame whitey' baloney that is just 'not sticking' anymore. It's like something jesse jackson would write: PATHETIC. (a great read for guilty, white, brainwashed liberals!)

    1 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2006

    Response to 'The Blind Leading the Blind'

    I came across this book (online) as I was searching for new novels to read, and as always, I relied on the reviews of others to guide me. As I was reading the review from 'The Blind Leading the Blind,' there was one point that left me worried. This reviewer mentioned that they had 30 yrs of experience as a teacher and it scares me that they don't even know the purpose or function of affirmative action. The policies behind affirmative action DOES NOT require that you have to hire someone solely because they are African American (according to you 'reverse discrimination'), but it does prevent you from not even considering someone who is African American, Asian, Hispanic etc. etc.. Furthermore, in general, it prevents discrimination based on race, sex, and religion. Remember, there was a time when African Americans were not even allowed a foot in the door even if they had the credentials (and education) to fill the position. The goal of affirmative action was to element the discrimination brought upon people in this nation. In other words, you must consider and assess 'all' and base your hiring practices on those that qualify. Your view on affirmative action assumes that the black applicant had no qualifications and earned that position because of the color of their skin. Shame on you!! It frightens me that you're a teacher (and for 30 yrs!).

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2005

    The blind leading the blind

    The crux of the matter is that the author uses the words ALL instead of MOST in her title. I have been a teacher in Schools for the past 30 years and found this author gets on the bandwagon of self pity and doing her best to make the 'whites' pay for the past, present and future. It's not a question of race but of CULTURE and the sooner the 'Black and White' extremists get that right the better. Not all black children sit together. Only those who feel comfortable coming from similar socio-economic and cultural backgrounds. A black child whose family engages in world culture appreciation would certainly not sit with a ghetto gangsta. This goes for Hispanic, as well as children from families with European backgrounds. You cannot force integration of cultures for the sake of your own unrealistic expectations of what is black and what is white. There is no person who is just Black and no person who is just White on this earth. There are just different cultures. Take a trip to Southern Africa and see for yourself. This is where affirmative action goes wrong. To hire a person just because of their skin color is being racist in reverse. To take it to extreme - you would not expect to hire a person just because they are Jewish (Semite), and a minority, to work in a Pork abbatoire. The sooner we understand different cultures and the strata of different socio-economic groups the better we will understand each other.

    1 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2004

    great book white people just dont know how it was like bak then

    I THINK THIS WELL BE A GREAT BOOK FOR BOTH WHITE AND BLACK PEOPLE TO SHOW HOW US BLACK WHERE TREATED BACK THEN AND HOW BAD IT WAS

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2000

    Why aren't all the teachers required to read this book?

    If every teacher working with youth today, had this book on their required reading list, teachers of color included, the face of education would change dramatically!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2014

    It has really helped me in understanding many unspoken norms/beh

    It has really helped me in understanding many unspoken norms/behaviors on the subject of race.

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  • Posted October 22, 2012

    very insightful!

    I wish this was a must-read for all Middle School kids

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  • Posted September 26, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Eye Opening!

    I didn't know what to expect when I started reading this book, but found it to be very profound and eye opening. This book is very bluntly written and is not for people who cannot handle the subject of racism.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 27 Customer Reviews

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