❮BOOKS❯ ✬ "Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?": A Psychologist Explains the Development of Racial Identity Author Beverly Daniel Tatum – Motyourdrive.co.uk


"Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?": A Psychologist Explains the Development of Racial Identity quotes "Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?": A Psychologist Explains the Development of Racial Identity, litcharts "Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?": A Psychologist Explains the Development of Racial Identity, symbolism "Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?": A Psychologist Explains the Development of Racial Identity, summary shmoop "Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?": A Psychologist Explains the Development of Racial Identity, "Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?": A Psychologist Explains the Development of Racial Identity 347354ab 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 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


10 thoughts on “"Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?": A Psychologist Explains the Development of Racial Identity

  1. says:

    As a caucasion mother of an adopted african american sonthis 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. says:

    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 and occupation, Tatum must fall back on anecdotes that are supposedly damning Two examples will suffice First, she asked a white college girl what her ethnicity was, to which the girl responded, I don t know, normal Admittedly, it s an awkward answer, but it comes from a young woman put on the spot to answer an awkward question Tatum takes this short, impromptu answer and runs with it She decides that this one girl represents what all white people think, that white equals normal Our entire society conforms to white thought patterns, values, language, etc White people don t have to confront their racial identities, Tatum says, because society will automatically conform to and provide advantages for them for the duration of their lives White people are born into a world of privilege where opportunities are handed to them and minimal effort is required Whatever they think and whoever they are is normal Minorities, by contrast, must constantly confront their racial identity because behind every shadow lurks white prejudice and hatred just waiting for a chance to destroy their valiant efforts All this deduced from one teenaged girl s three second response.Second, Tatum references a supposed pervasive racism in the mass media One example she cites The Disney movie The Lion King You see, the hyena trio of Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed are portrayed as ethnically specific, evil, and stupid The voices of those characters are provided by Whoopi Goldberg, Cheech Marin, and Jim Cummings And, of course, Whoopi Goldberg is black while Cheech Marin is Latino So, Tatum says, the voices of some of the evil characters in a Disney animated movie are provided by minorities Additionally, the noble characters like Mufasa and Simba are drawn in lighter shades of brown than the evil characters like Scar, who has a black mane Voila, racism I sincerely wish I was kidding Let s take this silliness apart for fun and for sanity 1 It s an animated movie Adults rarely know who supplies the voices, and virtually no children will be aware of who supplies the voices In the mind of a child, the cartoons have their own voices No one is thinking about the skin color of the person providing the voice, which can t be seen because it s a cartoon, let alone any underlying social or racial strife that such a person s skin color may represent.2 Even on her own facts this example completely fails Why Because the most noble and powerful character in the entire film, Mufasa, is voiced by James Earl Jones, a black man The wisest character, Rafiki, is voiced by Robert Guillame, another black man And the most evil character in the film, the villain Scar, is voiced by Jeremy Irons, a white man Jim Cummings, who voices Ed, is also white, and Ed is borderline retarded in the film The hyenas do not portray ethnically specific voices or language at all If anything, this would be a case of the media portraying blacks as noble and whites as villainous But it s an animated movie with zero humans ever shown, and nobody but Tatum would try to read racial animosity into the film.3 The cartoon s color palette sets the mood for the viewer and has nothing to do with the skin color of human beings People tend to feel happier when the sun is out and when a room is well lit Hence the comment, It s a nice day Conversely, people tend to feel gloomier on darker days and in darker rooms because there is less light But this is a statement about visibility and photons as they relate to human moods and emotions, not a statement about the dark and light shades of human skin pigment Tatum makes too much of the fact that Scar s mane is black by pointing it out even briefly We also frequently see Scar in a cave or in the shadow of a mountain or the shadow of a pit The artists tried to set an ominous tone by making Scar s surroundings dark and making Scar fit in with his surroundings Should Tatum refer to caves, mountains, and pits as racist constructs too because they block sunlight and some people may fear them 4 Tatum suggests that hyenas, who in her mind represent ethnic minorities, moving in led to a decline in the community There goes the neighborhood, she said, insinuating that white people believe minorities will ruin neighborhoods What Tatum or Tatdumb doesn t realize is that The Lion King is based on Hamlet, by Shakespeare The neighborhood in Hamlet was ruined because of Claudius s murder of his brother, not because of ethnic minorities absent from the play Something is rotten in the state of Denmark Moreover, I hate going down this path, but Tatum forcibly takes us there Detroit, Balti, Compton, Fuller Park, Port au Prince, Caracas, San Pedro Sula, and on it goes The crime and poverty in all these cities is because of white people Come off it.5 What would happen if the voices of the hyenas were supplied by white people That would leave James Earl Jones, Niketa Calame, and Robert Guillame as the few remaining characters voiced by black people Would Tatum then be outraged that this film set in Africa was voiced by so many whiteys Is that unforgivable cultural appropriation Thus, one of the biggest problems with Tatum is revealed you lose no matter what you do You can try with all sincerity to be aware of your own prejudice and work against any you may have but still fail and be condemned a racist Evidence, facts, and intent are unimportant to and ignored by Tatum Could one blame the many honest people for just giving up entirely 6 If you can find racism in The Lion King, you can find it anywhere Does anyone really believe that this animated movie is evidence for racism I feel embarrassed for and annoyed by Tatum for making such a claim The Lion King is one of the best pieces of art humanity has ever created It covers family, fate, love, loss, and harmony It is fun, funny, has great music, and contains important life lessons Tatum could never produce anything remotely approaching its greatness, so instead she lobs petty, unsupported criticisms against it What a pitiful existence her own paranoia has created to not be able to enjoy the Lion King.7 Did I mention it s an animated movie I m completely shocked that this topic is even being discussed in a world with real issues confronting us This brief statement in her book disqualifies her from meaningfully opining on anything else She forfeited her ability to get me to care about her thoughts on any topic Piss off, lady, you re embarrassing yourself.Whew, I feel better Continuing Tatum, convinced of overwhelming white racism in modern America provides us withone underdeveloped girl s dimwitted response and The Lion King I ll let you decide how convincing such arguments are and their likely impact upon people of good faith striving to address actual problems.Just a few things because I don t want to waste any time on this Tatum tries to redefine racism to mean something like a system of advantage based on skin color Apparently, white people hold most of the wealth in America, and they use it to their advantage It s unclear whether Tatum means to say that whites are racist because they have wealth or their racism is precisely what generates their wealth She seems to think both In her redefinition of racism, it is no longer about prejudice held against people because of their skin color or even specific acts Rather, it is about an entire system that reflects itself in disparate success Reality itself is so pervaded with racism that examples or evidence are not needed As long as there are ethnic differences in wealth and income, there is white racism.Never mind little things like differences in education, marital status, parental status, work hours, time spent reading, age demographics, spending habits, or any of the other factors that influence individual and group incomes Never mind that some subsets of the population, notably certain groups of Asian Americans, have higher per capita incomes and educational levels than white Americans Nope, forget all that Whites are just racist, and in Tatum s definition ONLY whites can be racist And striving for a color blind society is not good enough whites must be actively anti racist i.e., support affirmative action and presumably reparations and all other attempts to confiscate and distribute wealth in order to not be racist Tatum argues that all whites are inherently racist, there is no escape, and the only morally acceptable choice is to sacrifice everything in an attempt to equalize everything In mucking up the language that everyone uses by redefining known terms like racism, Tatum generates needless confusion and avoids asking relevant questions Not only is the book filled with specious reasoning and sloppy writing, this type of language tampering defeats the purpose of communicating ideas I suspect this is somewhat intentional If people could easily discern the claims Tatum actually makes, which I tried to outline above, they would laugh her off And they should, if only the ideas weren t so damaging.I submit simply that this type of nonsense further divides our country It is so ludicrous it is hardly worth addressing Nonetheless, Dinesh D Souza took the time to address it thoroughly in The End of Racism, a much better, albeit denser, look at the issue that I highly recommend everyone read Not that it should matter in a colorblind society where people s ideas are accepted or rejected on the basis of merit instead of the color of the author s skin, but D Souza is a minority He was born in India and, therefore, is not privy to the white systemic racism Tatum insists plagues all minorities I would be very curious to see how she would respond to the arguments put forth by D Souza or Thomas Sowell, another black author who has written about these topics but I m not waiting around for her to address them.I approached this book with an open mind, genuinely interested in learning about how blacks see the world and ready to alter my perception of reality What I saw was racism of the worst kind, just in a different color Update So after my conversation with Christina in the comments section below, I wanted to see what other people thought of this book The following review by Harry Wang was too good not to share Wang writes That s okay, Junior, we re just going to put the Lion King away for a little while puts DVD in trash as kid cries, screaming There, see He s just going to sleep Now let s go sit over here and talk about why mommy put the Lion King to sleep kid still screaming See, honey, the Lion King is a movie that is made by bad, evil people Even though the Lion King is cute and the cartoons are nice to look at, the people who drew the animals want to do VERY BAD things to you They want you to HATE yourself, and you know what These people are EVERYWHERE WE LOOK They aren t just in the Lion King, they re on your school bus, in your classroom, and in the cafeteria They might even be your teacher They might even be people who call you their friend and say you re pretty Even when they say you re pretty, they re just saying those things to make themselves feel good What they re really trying to say is that they HATE you and they want to HURT you kid screams again, now scarred for life Now let s talk about how Mulan says bad things about Asian people, how The Incredibles reinforces stereotypes of female inferiority, about how Buzz Lightyear destabilizes the corporate controlled capitalist economy that subjugates the Black race, and how Finding Nemo is homophobic And don t worry, mommy will tell you about these big words after you eat your bean pie, child Power to the people


  3. says:

    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 forget or fail to realise Whether one succumbs to the devaluing pressures of the dominant culture or successfully resists them, the fact is that dealing with oppressive systems from the underside is physically and psychologically taxing White folks don t want to be called out for racism, but living in a racist culture is like being in smog you can t help breathing it in and being affected by it, so if as a white person you want to do something about racism, you had better start by becoming aware of the racial messages around you and how you re responding to them.It s not my fault, but I am responsibleI especially enjoyed reading how the author tries to help her own sons navigate and resist this culture effectively She recalls talking to them as young children and as young adults, and discusses the effects of various strategies other parents might adopt on the identity processes of children Anything technical this is a psychology book is broken down for easy understanding and she goes over a wide range of scenarios, including brief explanations of the specific oppressions of Native Indian, Asian and Latin communities in the USA and how these affect people at different ages and stages as she does with black and white people pointing out that the latter rarely realise that they have a racial identity She points out that whites need to develop a positive racial identity this can be done by learning about historical white anti racists This interesting idea doesn t feel quite right to me, but I ll keep thinking about it More important that white people feeling good about ourselves is people of colour being able to access histories in which they are protagonists rather than passive victims, and, Tatum explains how she makes sure to mention how oppressed racialised people have always resisted slavery, colonisation and so on.Tatum s discussion of affirmative action is really helpful I think She explains the different ways of implementing it and how they fail or succeed as well as the need for such measures A brilliant suggestion she includes is for the hiring organisation to set diversity goals and look for people who can help them to reach those goals not so much by being black female gay etc but by bringing their experience in Race Gender Sexuality etc Studies and similar Naturally, black female gay etc candidates are likely to have such experience and are therefore likely to get the posts but white male straight people could improve their chances only by doing such studies, which would at least improve the culture overall and eventually reduce the need for affirmative action programs since black lesbians would just get hired and promoted anyway


  4. says:

    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 defensiveness that comes when someone points out that you unwittingly support and benefit from institutionalized oppression and maybe you should DO something about it then this book is a worthwhile read.The book talks about racial identity and its place in the formation of self image Unfortunately, Dr Tatum speaks largely from experience as a psychologist, so don t expect a bevy of study citations backing up her observations Nonetheless, she presents interesting food for thought I suggest this book as a must read for any serious anti racist, especially whites.


  5. says:

    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 together in the cafeteria Best metaphor for race attitudes I have heard thus far is from this book Racism is a MOVING walkway think like in an airport AND UNLESS we turn around and walk the other way or get off, we are BENEFITTING from a racist society, a society built upon a thick foundation of racism that is woven into the fabric of our everyday life Just sitting there on this walkway and abstaining from overtly racist actions does not help anything Even though it can be repetitive or preachy READ IT ANYWAY you ll learn something


  6. says:

    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 unsuspecting tenant is not to blame for the prior discrimination, but she benefits from it anyway 9 The view of oneself as an individual is very compatible with the dominant ideology of rugged individualism and the American myth of meritocracy Understanding racism as a system of advantage that structurally benefits Whites and disadvantages people of color on the basis of group membership threatens not only beliefs about society but also beliefs about one s own life accomplishments 103 Don t we all know somebody like this Who can accept that blatant racism is wrong, but does not believe that a culture that systematically pushes some groups down could have had anything to do with his or her own personal ascent Since Tatum is a psychologist by training, the book is especially strong on the psychological reality of living with U.S racism She talks about stages of racial identity development that, especially among Black youth, sometimes lead to an oppositional, anti education stance It is clear that an oppositional identity can interfere with academic achievement, and it may be tempting for educators to blame the adolescents themselves for their academic decline However, the questions that educators and other concerned adults must ask are, How did academic achievement become defined as exclusively White behavior What is it about the curriculum and the wider culture that reinforces the notion that academic excellence is an exclusively White domain.an oppositional identity discouraging academic achievement is not inevitable even in a racist society 64 65 For Whites who begin to learn about racism, Tatum discusses how, because of the conflict with their self image as a good, fair person, they often try to turn away from the responsibility of racial advantage Some become frustrated and antagonistic in their retreat from shame Some try to escape Whiteness via people of color 107 by having friends explain to them or vouch for them which also places the burden of fighting racism back onto people of color Wisely, Tatum suggests that the resource which a White person at that stage needs most at this point are not people of color, but other Whites who are further along in the process and can help show him or her the way 107 On a side note, I really like that she uses White and Black both in capital letters, because the norm of having lower case white while all other ethnic racial identities are set apart with capitals reinforces Whiteness as normal, invisible, assumed By the end of the book I wished there were a few concrete ideas how to ideas on getting started as an active antiracist at whatever point in your life I mean the step beyond self education, because she does have good resources for that On the other hand, I don t think that s what Dr Tatum set out to do, nor does her book promise it, so perhaps I should just say I want her to write a how to book as well.


  7. says:

    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 originally thought based on the title, but about having the courage as a black person to sit at the black table Based on the author s defined stages of racial identity, if you re black and you re NOT sitting with other black kids, you just haven t accepted your racial identity yet God forbid you connect better with someone who isn t your race This carries into my next point.2 This book comes dangerously close to encouraging and supporting segregation She talks about how important it is for blacks to be together without whites, and vice versa, otherwise black kids will start failing in school I did over simplify on that, but chapter 4 still touts the benefits of a separate black space Separate but equal, right 3 Something that disgusted me in Chapter 5 is when the author states proudly that she doesn t remember the name of a single white person at her college How many years is that, of all the people passing around you, you care about them so little that you can t even remember a name, and that s a good thing God I hope I m never that narrow minded that I would disdain someone based on a race they can t help being.4 Something that might have been relevant when the book came out is, in Chapter 8, she talks about Hispanic kids in high school being discouraged from speaking Spanish, and even of some kids getting detention for being caught speaking Spanish in their free time at school My high school in south Georgia had a sizable Hispanic population They mostly kept to themselves but were not hostile toward other students Spanish is now considered an asset, and someone fluent in a second language is often well repected I remember being pressured to study Spanish instead of French in high school because it was relevant to the area in which I lived Which, admittedly, it was But I ve been required to study Spanish in school since being taught days of the week and colors in kindergarten So maybe this book is a little dated in that regard I m not saying there isn t discrimination against hispanics Of course there is Just saying maybe the example was a little extreme and not the norm.This book does not seek to end racism, or racial discrimination, or even to allow the white majority to understand black Americans, because according to her, they never will All the author asks of the white people reading this book is that they keep their distance from black people while simultaneously keeping other white people from making racist jokes in front of them This, in my opinion, is a pretty low bar Surely we can hope for better than that.


  8. says:

    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 white children to speak out against racism Because of the smattering of angry reviews, it s also worth pointing out that the book is geared toward those who acknowledge that racism is an existing problem that affects people of color, and would like to improve their understanding or learn to do about it.Beverly Tatum is a college professor and administrator with a background in psychology and extensive experience teaching workshops about race, and also a black woman who s put careful thought into teaching her sons about race The book has a detached, somewhat scholarly tone, though it remains accessible and readable The author compiles several theoretical models for racial identity development and illustrates them with examples from students, workshop participants, and her own life In general I found the information she provides helpful, not earth shattering for someone relatively familiar with social justice issues, but not too basic either.The book does mostly focus on black and white, though the author makes an effort to expand from that There are 10 page sections about Hispanic, Native American, and Asian American identity, which are substantial than I expected based on their brevity, but lack space to do than summarize these groups experience with American government and society, and flag some key issues relevant to grade school teachers Unsurprisingly, the portion of the book dealing with African American identity is the richest It s useful and probably necessary for teachers and others to understand what kids are experiencing.In writing about white people, the author is familiar with common racial attitudes, and explains them in terms of a growth model even though many people get stuck somewhere along the way the same of course can be said for black people from not having to think about race, to blaming minorities for their situation, to white guilt, to hopefully speaking out against racism in a productive way Her analysis of the reasons white people are afraid to speak out seems dated to me suggesting that fear of ostracism from other white people is a major factor, while de emphasizing fear of putting one s foot in one s mouth because white people aren t taught to talk about race But otherwise the book s analysis of race relations feels contemporary.The author s conception of a positive white racial identity is also incomplete, though as a black person, this isn t really her job She believes and I have doubts about this that positive change requires white people having a strong, positive racial identity of their own including whiteness as a major part of their self conception without being racist But as far as she gets in envisioning what that looks like is suggesting that white people look to other white people who have fought racism, and build anti racist identities The problem is that opposing racism is a social position, not an identity, and most people are not activists who build their lives around their opinions Ultimately it s for white people to determine what white identity looks like, though, so I can t fault the author for failing to do so.At any rate, this book is informative and the actual text is only just over 200 pages, so it s worth a read if you re interested in the subject It isn t a book that inspired any strong reaction in me, but I feel a bit knowledgeable for having read it.


  9. says:

    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 A young, black child teen does not have to throw off his ethnicity, unless his ethnic commitments are not good like disrespect, violence, undervaluing of education, or resenting other races But that s not becoming white, that s becoming educated Period.


  10. says:

    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 cafeteria.When I applied to college, I decided on Oberlin, a school I had chosen because of its tremendous left leaning sensibilities and its need blind admissions policy now defunct shame on you, Oberlin and also because of its history at the forefront of civil rights admitting people of color since its founding in 1833 But I found an extremely segregated campus on arrival I hardly saw any people of color throughout my day to day existence at Oberlin Going to college in the mid 1990s, at the height of political correctness, I thought that the best course of action was simply not to ask why That my question might label me a racist or worse yet, an uninformed racist I was told by my peers that I shouldn t enroll in African American studies classes, because there was always a long waiting list, and that if I wanted to learn about Black culture, I needed to educate myself and let the students of color have first crack at those classes And, again, in my deep seeded political correctness, tinged with guilt and fear, I knew only not to ask why.When I went to Northwestern University to study American History on the graduate level, I was again surrounded by good meaning white folks like myself and no people of color, save for my first year advisor who soon left to go to NYU I was also the only woman studying American history in my cohort The rest of my peers, for the most part, were straight white men interested in studying race related issues of the 19th and 20th century THAT I found totally bizarre.At Northwestern, I did learn a great deal about the systematic inequities of our race based society I learned where and when different practices of institutionalized racism were founded in this country I learned about The Wages of Whiteness, how corporations and the government pit poor people against each other by devaluing African American culture and work ethic as a way to keep poor Whites and Blacks from working together against economic and political oppression I think my review of Warmth of Other Suns is a pretty good example of what I ve learned So, going in to Why are All the Black Kids, I had the context for racism in this country and I had my own experiences to draw on SO, why do all the Black kids sit together I think Tatum provides a really good answer Because racism is pervasive in America, and it s really hard to deal with, no matter who you are All kids find groups of support, and it s easier to hang out with people who know where you re coming from One of the most recent forms that racism has taken in our culture is diabolical in its simplicity liberals and conservatives alike celebrate the incredibly misguided notion that we are beyond racism That Martin Luther King Jr., Sesame Street and Affirmative Action have cauterized all the old wounds of slavery and inequality That Barack Obama has ushered us in to a post racial society In other words, because people are allowed to sit anywhere on the bus and they re not rioting in the street, we re all color blind now And so tales of overt racist behavior tend to shock White people, and tales of subtle racism are laughed off as people of color being overly sensitive or simple misunderstandings.It s understandable to want to hang out with people who know the daily grind of racism rather than sit with people who don t Tatum also does a fantastic job of discussing this same phenomenon in the corporate world from the subtle yet measurable racist practices of hiring, to the every day effort it takes workers of color to change perceptions of fellow employees who may feel they were hired simply because they possess minority status Tatum talks about how racial identity is formed over a life time and how parents and teachers play a major role in creating a healthy and proud kid one who understands that racism is a systematic form of inequality, but does not see himself as a victim or a perpetrator She talks about how to be a change maker, about standing up and pointing out racist behavior when it occurs stopping the silence Although she wouldn t put it this way, Tatum like Paul Farmer does believe guilt is good WHEN it pushes you to do something about it So, the thinking and arguments behind the book are sound and interesting, and will make you think about times when you have seen racist behavior, when you have contributed to it, when you have been a victim of it One of the most powerful stories she told had to do with asking people about their first memories of understanding racial differences The participants use such words as ANGER, CONFUSION, SURPRISE, SADNESS, EMBARASSMENT Notice that this list does not include such words as JOY, EXCITEMENT, DELIGHT. p.32 Working on turning racism around by realizing differences are a joy and not a sadness is indeed a life long process, but I believe a tangible goal That being said, I think you could read the first 3 chapters and the last and skip the rest, as it gets pretty repetitive.


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