- Paperback: 294 pages
- Publisher: Basic Books; 5th Anniv., Revised edition (January 17, 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0465083617
- ISBN-13: 978-0465083619
- Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.9 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 252 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,368 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria: And Other Conversations About Race 5th Anniv., Revised Edition
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"When I began my own journey of anti-racism, Beverly Daniel Tatum's Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? was the first and most instructive work I discovered. Its anniversary edition-with timely new research, revisited institutional issues, and personal examples so fresh they seem to have come from the headlines-is the book that everyone in America needs to read right now. With clarity and grace, Tatum chronicles how our country has become so racially polarized-how the methods and signifiers may have changed, but the world has not, sustaining inequities for people of color in terms of school segregation, law enforcement, economic obstacles, and voting rights. From the spate of police shootings to the challenge to Affirmative Action, from the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement and the parallel swell of hate crimes based on race, this updated version of a classic is the clearest illustration I've found of how fear and anxiety in the declining White population of the US has created a living environment of fear and anxiety for people of color. We don't talk about race in America, but we must start if we are going to heal this broken country-and Tatum's book is exactly the conversation opener we should be using."
-Jodi Picoult, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Small Great Things
"In the face of setbacks economically, socially, and racially, Beverly Daniel Tatum's work is ever relevant. Spanning so very much history in recent decades and engagingly written, this book remains the go-to volume on identity groups and social exclusion, especially among college-aged people."
-Roger Brooks, President and CEO, Facing History and Ourselves
"We read the original version of this book 20 years ago and learned a great deal about race, racism, and human behavior. This updated version provides even more insights about the racial, ethnic, and cultural challenges we face in American society, and particularly in higher education. What makes these insights so valuable is the author's ability to look at our problems from different perspectives and to challenge us to look in the mirror as we think about who we are and whom we serve. She gives excellent examples of leaders who succeeded during times of crisis, and of others who struggled. Any American leader wanting a deeper understanding of these issues should read this book."
-Freeman A. Hrabowski III, President, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
"Beverly Tatum answers the question posed in the title of her book in a brilliant synthesis informed by history, developmental psychology and great wisdom. Stereotypes, omissions and distortions-each rooted in our nation's history of slavery-cause each of us to breathe the "smog of racism." It is little wonder that Black adolescents rely on one another for social support as they navigate identity development. In the 20 years since Tatum first published her classic book, Black people have been disproportionately affected by the economic crisis of 2008, mass incarceration and a backlash against affirmative action. In this revision, Tatum finds a way to remain hopeful as today's youth lead movements exposing racial hierarchies, race and class privilege and seemingly invisible systems of oppression. This book should be required reading for every American."
-Kathleen McCartney, President, Smith College
"Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? was a landmark publication when it appeared in 1997. Twenty years later this updated edition is as fresh, poignant and timely as ever. Bias, explicit and implicit, limit options, produce deadly encounters, and gnaw away at the fabric of our social contract. Racism, prejudice, and discrimination remain active characteristics of life in our society, notwithstanding the prominence of African Americans, Latinos/as, Asian Americans, and Native peoples in the media, entertainment, sports, politics, and many domains of business. Beverly Tatum reminds us that against this backdrop individuals sometimes seek out others like themselves because it secures their sense of self in a world that often makes them feel insecure. As a result, group congregation becomes a means of flipping the power dynamics and affirming oneself in a social context. If you somehow missed this book in its original form, I recommend this revised edition to you. It remains a must read."
-Earl Lewis, President, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
"Set today against the backdrop of a highly divisive and still persistently racialized societal landscape, this newly revised and updated publication is still a must-read classic. Tatum unpacks with moving narratives, the psychology that drives us all, as we grow up in largely homogenous communities, schooled in the nuances of difference that define too starkly our racial identities, even as we strive to learn how to embrace rather than distance from the many others that define our world. Just as this experienced psychologist and wise educational leader reminds us here that we cannot talk meaningfully about racial identity without talking about racism, so too must we learn from her words about how to talk and teach and dialogue across those boundaries, in the hopes of better realizing the potential of our diverse democracy."
-Nancy Cantor, Chancellor, Rutgers University-Newark
"In 1997, Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? changed the conversation about race and racism in our nation. Twenty years later, this new edition is sure to do the same, this time with thoroughly updated information about the growing ethnic, racial, cultural, and religious diversity that now characterizes the United States, as well as important insights about persistent barriers to authentic integration and shrinking opportunities for many segments of the population. Given the current sociopolitical context in which we find ourselves, a context too often defined by exclusion and the stubborn persistence of bigotry and racism, this new edition couldn't have come soon enough!"
-Sonia Nieto, Professor Emerita, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
About the Author
Beverly Daniel Tatum, PhD, is president emerita of Spelman College and in 2014 received the Award for Outstanding Lifetime Contribution to Psychology, the highest honor presented by the American Psychological Association. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia.
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As a white woman, I never felt lost in this book. Tatum assumes almost no prior knowledge about race in the U.S., and walks the reader through clear explanations of how race and identity intertwine in the U.S. Though Tatum organizes her arguments to be understandable to just about anyone, I believe her analysis is helpful for just about anyone in the process of sorting out how race factors into her identity.
My one criticism is that the book doesn’t devote much time to racial identity development for latinos, first people, and asian pacific americans. Tatum has clearly devoted most of her research to studying racial development among white and black people in the U.S., and I wish she were more explicit about this. The book is most helpful for white, black, and biracial (black+white) people in the U.S.
I purchased this book as it was suggested in one of my courses on group dynamics and I am absolutely glad I did. I feel the book is straightforward in getting to the heart of issues. The author does not shy away from putting in the perspectives of black and white men and women who have taken her classes along with the questions they have that stem from their own curiosity and the private conversations that we (if you are black or white) may not get to hear if we aren't in that circle. I am a black male and while that may seem like I come with a bias already, I am learning more about group dynamics and reasons for searching out people who can identify with you lived experience(s).
I would suggest anyone read this book. I have not been disappointed yet.
And yes, the book helps explain why so many people get so angry. But it's not an angry book.
Together with "Don't Shoot" by David Kennedy, it gave me a whole new way to look at the problems facing our country.