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Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? and Other…

by Beverly Daniel Tatum

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1123214,622 (4.07)5
There is a moment when every child leaves color-blindness behind & enters the world of race consciousness. At that moment, there are two roads parents, educators, & therapists can take: they can follow the status quo, internalizing racial expectations, & become-consciously or unconciously-part of the problem. Or, they can question stereotypes, &, actively work against racism to become part of the solution. This book provides the tools we all need to become part of the solution. Beginning with racial segregation in an integrated school situation, this book explores race relations & the development of racial identity from many different viewpoints. 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. -- Publisher.… (more)
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Should be in every school library in the US. And look around...any public place and see the separation by race. Excellent. ( )
  carterchristian1 | Feb 15, 2014 |
"Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?" by Beverley Daniel Tatum is a quick, accessible introduction to race and racism in the United States and how these intersect with adolescent development and search for identity. I finished it in a few hours over a couple of days, and I strongly recommend it for anyone who wants to explore questions of identity and racism, whether as parents, teachers, or concerned citizens. One of the largest barriers to effectively addressing social problems is figuring out how to talk about them. This book looks at the psychology of developing self identity from the perspective of race, largely addressing the African American experience.

The author is a clinical psychologist who has taught many antiracism workshops in schools and communities, facilitated group discussions on race, and conducted research on children's racial identity development. This book is an extension of these activities, with the goal of meeting the needs of larger audiences who have not had the opportunity to attend her workshops or read her scholarly publications. She draws on her own life experiences as student, teacher and parent, as well as the experiences of many people she has interviewed and taught over the years. These examples drawn from real-world situations help define the subject matter and engage the reader, just like personal anecdotes from many self-help books.

This work could be considered the FAQ of racism in America, hence the title. Every chapter also has a commonly encountered question as the subtitle. The book consists of ten chapters organized into five sections: 1) definitions of racism and identity, 2) understanding blackness in a white context, 3) understanding whiteness in a white context, 4) beyond black and white (overview of other people of color), 5) breaking the silence (opening conversations on race). There's also an appendix of resources (largely additional reading material) sorted according to specific audiences and their needs (children, parents, older adults, educators, potential activists, and general audience learning about historical roots and current legacy of racism in the United States).

In essence, this book is a gentle introduction to a difficult topic that can be easily understood by a general audience. It addresses many of the commonly encountered questions and attitudes around race and racism in the United States. I would like lots of my friends to read at least the first couple of chapters discussing basic definitions and where they are coming from. Some of them might humor me in the coming months. So this might be a keeper, or I might end up passing it along as needed, but it won't be discarded. ( )
2 vote justchris | Mar 27, 2010 |
www.barnesandnoble.com
From the Publisher
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 rewards 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.
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  goneal | Sep 7, 2006 |
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Epigraph
When I dare to be powerful --
to use my strength in the service of my vision,
then it becomes less and less important
whether I am afraid.
Audre Lorde
Dedication
To my students,
who will have the courage to go
where no one else will go
and do what no one else will do . . .
 
and
 
For my sons,
who will surely kow in their hearts how good and
pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity.
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       1       
Defining Racism
"Can we talk?"

Early in my teaching career, a White student I knew asked me what I would be teaching the following semester.
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This is the original edition of Beverly Daniel Tatum's Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? (1997). Please distinguish it from later editions having different content.
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There is a moment when every child leaves color-blindness behind & enters the world of race consciousness. At that moment, there are two roads parents, educators, & therapists can take: they can follow the status quo, internalizing racial expectations, & become-consciously or unconciously-part of the problem. Or, they can question stereotypes, &, actively work against racism to become part of the solution. This book provides the tools we all need to become part of the solution. Beginning with racial segregation in an integrated school situation, this book explores race relations & the development of racial identity from many different viewpoints. 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. -- Publisher.

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