Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together In The Cafeteria?: And Other Conversations About Race

Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together In The Cafeteria?: And Other Conversations About Race

Beverly Daniel Tatum / Mar 31, 2020

Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together In The Cafeteria And Other Conversations About Race The classic bestselling book on the psychology of racism now fully revised and updated Walk into any racially mixed high school and you will see Black White and Latino youth clustered in their own

  • Title: Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together In The Cafeteria?: And Other Conversations About Race
  • Author: Beverly Daniel Tatum
  • ISBN: 9780465091294
  • Page: 158
  • Format: Paperback
  • The classic, bestselling book on the psychology of racism now fully revised and updated Walk into any racially mixed high school and you will see Black, White, and Latino youth clustered in their own groups Is this self segregation a problem to address or a coping strategy Beverly Daniel Tatum, a renowned authority on the psychology of racism, argues that straight talkThe classic, bestselling book on the psychology of racism now fully revised and updated Walk into any racially mixed high school and you will see Black, White, and Latino youth clustered in their own groups Is this self segregation a problem to address or a coping strategy Beverly Daniel Tatum, a renowned authority on the psychology of racism, argues that straight talk about our racial identities is essential if we are serious about enabling communication across racial and ethnic divides These topics have only become urgent as the national conversation about race is increasingly acrimonious This fully revised edition is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the dynamics of race in America An unusually sensitive work about the racial barriers that still divide us in so many areas of life Jonathan Kozol

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    About "Beverly Daniel Tatum"

      • Beverly Daniel Tatum

        Beverly Daniel Tatum is the president of Spelman College She is a psychologist and writes on race relations.


    1. As a caucasion mother of an adopted african american sonis book was a MUST READ. It teaches us how to have effective and constructive conversations about race. Recent generations of caucasions have taught their young children to avoid using race to describe other people. Unfortunately, all this does is create a society frightened to discuss race. Without effective communication on this topic, we will never achieve true peace and equality among different races and cultures.

    2. Completely awful. Tatum's book is thinly disguised racist propaganda devoid of actual statistics or legitimate quantification of the state of race relations in modern America. Worse than that, it does great harm to the ongoing struggle of race relations by crying wolf, mucking up the lines of communication, and creating resentment where none would otherwise exist.Because she won't or can't point to empirical evidence of racism, such as earnings per unit of time worked when adjusted for education [...]

    3. I have learned that a sincere, though imperfect attempt to interrupt the oppression of others is usually better than no attempt at allThis is a really useful book for white people as it lays out the 101 on how racism works and is full of advice for would-be allies. Tatum explains how and why white people often fail to be good listeners and to do useful ally work, and how we could do better, with very generous empathy. She explains things that white people can get away with ignoring and so often [...]

    4. Think you're not racist? THINK AGAIN. Hahaha sorry had to write that bc I felt like it was a catchy phrase to get you to read this review. ANYWAY this gets 5 stars for content, not writing, but the content is sooooo valuable that it deserves a 5-star rating so everyone will read it. At times it might get a little pedantic, BUT if you can put your uber-white, privileged, upper-middle-class ego aside for the duration of this book, you will learn a LOT about WHY THE HECK all the black peole DO sit [...]

    5. White people: This is not a Racism 101 book. Don't read it if it's your first, second, or even third book on racism. It won't help you. You'll feel attacked and guilty, and write a self-centered, whiny review about how the author is so reverse-racist, and how there's only really one human race, and how you're really just tired of people talking about "privilege" and "racism" and blahblahblahIf you're past that stage of indoctrinated colorblind racism, past the knee-jerk reactionary self-defensiv [...]

    6. A useful read. When advantaged people claim that since they aren't actively persecuting anyone, they aren't actually on the top of the hierarchy, I want to share Tatum's clear explanations and examples. E.g. "If a person of color is a victim of housing discrimination, the apartment that would otherwise have been rented to that person of color is still available for a White person. The White tenant is, knowingly or unknowingly, the beneficiary of racism, a system of advantage based on race. The u [...]

    7. I was angry pretty much the entire time I was reading this, until the last two chapters about races other than black people, and biracial kids, respectively. I want to have a list of both pros and cons, but I might not have been able to see past the red to find any insights in this book. So on with the cons!1) By chapter 3, it becomes evident that the author views the black kids sitting at the cafeteria as a POSITIVE thing. This makes the book, not about ending voluntary racial segregation, as I [...]

    8. 3.5 starsThis is an informative book about the racial aspect of identity development. I am giving it a mild recommendation because I did not find it life-changing. But despite being a book about social issues published in 1997 (with an updated edition in 2003), it has maintained relevance. It is primarily geared toward parents and teachers, with a focus on child and adolescent identity development: how to raise non-white children in the U.S. with a healthy sense of themselves, and how to raise w [...]

    9. As an important and foundational addition to the conversation of race in America in the last 10 years, Tatum's "Why Are All the Black Kids" is a balanced mix of research, theory, and personal experiences that is easy to read and extremely accessible.Tatum not only attempts to answer the question of her book but also touches on race issues beyond the black/white paradigm. Overall, Tatum constantly emphasizes the need for constant dialogue amongst not only white Americans with minorities but among [...]

    10. I had wanted to read this book since it came out in the late 1990s, because I had often wondered about this very question. I grew up in a Boston suburb that was part of the METCO program, a well-meaning but poorly executed way of integrating schools by bussing in African American students from Boston. I had some friends of color in high school, but thought of them as exceptions to the rule of the METCO kids, who I saw as an angry bunch who mainly kept to themselves AND always sat together in the [...]

    11. The title of Beverly Daniel Tatum’s book, “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?”, is a question that probably crosses the minds of most, if not all, people who observe a high school lunch period, but it often goes unasked at the risk of sounding “racially insensitive” or “racist”.Tatum’s book helps to provide one theoretical answer to the question; an answer that is logical and intuitive but one that is, unfortunately, fraught with controversy. To some, T [...]

    12. This is just AWFUL. She attempts to redefine racism (if you're white, you're racist). Her racial identity theory may hit home (I'm biracial), but it is too narrow. Blacks do not have the monopoly on discrimination, identity issues, fitting in, etc. I'm tired of what is clearly and historically a *human* experience being claimed as a black experience. A rejection of education is not a result of discrimination, it's primarily a cultural choice. This "acting white" idea promotes a false dichotomy. [...]

    13. All in all it was a worthy read. It articulated a lot of ideas I've been having about how white Americans just don't notice race. It also provided a plausible account about why black adolescents seek out the friendship of other blacks. Tatum also sought to provide concrete solutions.But the book had some serious short-comings. For instance, Tatum's quantitative evidence for the persistence of racism is ambiguous. She sites a study that notes that black ethnicity or hispanic origin is the single [...]

    14. I'm giving this one five stars, mostly because I think just about everyone should read it.I was already familiar with many of the concepts and ideas put forth in this book (thanks, Tumblr), so I'm not sure how it would come across to people running into these issues for the very first time. I found Beverly Daniel Tatum's tone to be straightforward, friendly, and sensitive. The book was smoothly written, she doesn't often get bogged down, and she covers a lot of ground. I learned some new stuff, [...]

    15. Ahistorical, psychologically reductivist piece of crap. I knew as soon as she claimed that Cleopatra was black that I wasn't going to like this book - she continuously fails to recognize race and other identities in the proper context, has a weak understanding of race as a social construct, and uses silly anecdotes to get across every point without citing relevant theory (or citing it properly, anyway - I cringed at her use of bell hooks). She tops it off by inserting a section called "beyond bl [...]

    16. Thought provoking. Preachy and condescending. However, before giving this book a rating and a thorough review some thoughtful consideration (and maybe a re-read) is in order. But I wonder, if I disagree with Tatum, am I a racist? If I agree, am I still a racist by way of my whiteness and white privilege? Can I be less racist by becoming more aware of my inherent racism? Or does that just make me more racist? Is it even possible for a white person to be UN-racist under Tatum's definition of terms [...]

    17. I'm sure this is a great book for a college age white kid who grew up in a predominantly white area. There is a lot of stuff here that would be beneficial to those who have not yet been exposed to many racial conversations. However, to a middle aged person living in a racially diverse city (Oakland), there was not much in this book for me. I am not the target audience. In Oakland, we talk about race, argue about race, and ignore race in turn. In my child's classroom there are: "American" white; [...]

    18. The first portion of the book focuses on being Black, and coming to terms with what Dr. Tatum, and many others in the Black community, see as America's inherent racism.This part of the book talks a lot about "White Privilege." If you don't know what that is, basically it's that feeling that society is designed to fit you, and that causes you to take a lot of things for granted, and to not be sensitive to other people's feelings.My whole problem with Dr. Tatum's point of view is that it focuses o [...]

    19. I Really like this book. It was recommended to me at a District meeting about unpacking racism in the classroom. I find this book to be compelling, thought provoking, and an enjoyable read. With short chapters it is an excellent bedside reader. The author uses research as well as anecdotal evidence to discuss the process of racial identity development from childhood to adulthood among us folks in the US of A. She has a specific focus on the Black and White issue, but Tatum also embraces a broade [...]

    20. I've gone back to this book quite a few times, jumping through chapters, revisiting chapters, highlighting sections. I finally just sat and read it cover to cover so I can get the whole perspective. It has helped and will certainly continue to help me engage my students in conversations about race and privilege in my Silenced Voices class. It's also a good reminder for me that I am only scratching the surfacee student will have to work to continue the conversation in the futurebut we have to sta [...]

    21. **This review was written for my college teaching blog, prospectiveprof**"Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?" by Dr. Beverly Tatum is not a new book - it was first published in 1997. However, as the dust of Ferguson settles, it is clear that its subject - understanding racial identity in America - is still critically important. The book, which I strongly recommend to all Americans, looks at what it means to live in a racist society, discusses the idea of privilege, exp [...]

    22. Amazing read looking at racism, racial development & identity. Book is written really well, also includes a discussion guide and an amazing list of additional resources. Highly recommend this to everyone, especially all my White folks out there.

    23. This is a wonderful volume, both for teachers and parents of Black youth. It's not a bad read for everyone else either. For those who have felt uneasy watching African-American students group together (this is written for a US audience, but I suspect the principles apply in almost every developed nation with any sizable dark-skinned and disenfranchised population), take heart. It's good for them to do that, at least for awhile.I am retired now, but I can recall uneasily wondering, at first, whet [...]

    24. When I read "Cry the Beloved Country" years ago, a line stuck out - "I have one great fear in my heart, that one day when they are turned to loving, they will find we are turned to hating." It is such a sad reflection on race relations, but it's also a view that is justifiable in light of all the horrible things that have been said and done to people of color.Beverly Daniel Tatum has a more optimistic view of what is possible in this country. We need to talk, but it won't be easy. Both people of [...]

    25. This book presents the basics of race relations in the United States and racial identity development. While I tend to prefer meatier books in terms of research, the anecdotal evidence and case studies are powerful. Tatum has written a well-researched, unapologetic book that explains the realities of living as a member of a minority group in the United States. While the book is largely centered on Black-White relations, she also points out that most people are both victims of oppression and benef [...]

    26. I have no idea if this book is dated, but I found that it was, surprisingly, a page turner. This book is fast to read in part because of the engaging writing and content, in part because it prompts you to ask yourself questions and consider scenarios, and in part because it is written in short sections and subsections. This book focuses on continuing issues of race and privilege in the US, but it also allowed me to consider all sorts of assumptions I need to question. The biggest takeaway is tha [...]

    27. I am currently taking a graduate course on the psychology of race. I was feeling a bit overwhelmed and angry about some of the journal articles we were reading. Then I found this book. Ms. Tatum delivers the same information in a way that is not offensive to anyone, even if you don't agree with everything she says. I highly recommend this book for anyone who is interested in racial identity development or interracial understanding.

    28. I first read this book in high school. At the time it was very a propos since racial identity issues were constantly in question at the elite New England prep school I attended. When I heard Dr. Tatum as a senior I was even more impressed by how closely her work spoke to the experience of so many and can be used as a tool to enlighten those skeptical or unwilling to think through the complexity of how race and education interrelate.

    29. Every bit as good as the first time I read it 10 years ago - an excellent primer on race relations, racial identity development and how to become an anti-racist activist.Update for 2017: the revised edition is fabulous and a must-read even if you’re familiar with the original. Dr. Tatum helps frame our current trying times with clarity and hope!

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