“Why are all the black kids sitting together in the cafeteria” by Beverly Daniel Tatum Ph.D. is a book of many subjects, theories, ideas, as well as opinions that are discussed, challenged and criticized. Are we free from racism? Why, are all the black kids sitting together in the cafeteria? These questions I hope to answer for myself and for others.
One of Beverly Tatum’s major topics of discussion is racial identity. Racial identity is the meaning each of us has constructed or is constructing about what it means to be a white person or a person of color in a race-conscious society. (Tatum, pp Xvii) She talks about how many parents hesitate to talk to their children about racism because of embarrassment and the awkwardness of the subject. I agree with her when she says that parents don’t want to talk about racism when they don’t see a problem. They don’t want to create fear or racism where none may exist. It is touchy subject because if not gone about right, you can perhaps steer someone the wrong way. Another theory she has on racial identity is that other people are the mirror in which we see ourselves. (tatum pp18) “The parts of our identity that do capture our attention are those that other people notice, and that reflects back to us.” (Tatum pp21) What she means by this is that what other people tell us we are like is what we believe. If you are told you are stupid enough you might start to question your intelligence. When people are searching for their identity normally the questions “who am I now?” “Who was I before?” and “who will I become” are the first that come to mind. When a person starts to answer these questions their answers will influence their beliefs, type of work, where they may live, partners, as well as morals. She also mentions an experiment where she asked her students to describe themselves in sixty seconds. Most used descriptive words...
Bibliography: Beverly Daniel Tatum; Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria; Basic Books, 10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022-5299; 1997
1) Why does she seem like a racist herself?: She always is talking about how white people benefit so much from things they don’t even realize they benefit from. Well how about all the special groups and organizations that are set up just for black people. I think she should take another look at our society before she says that white benefit so trememdously. I am not saying whites do not benefit more but she really, really drills this opinion and I disagree.
2) She seems like she is telling everyone they way they should think: I don’t get why she is so hung up on telling people who they should call what, and what they should do about it. Half of her book is about letting people feel free to be who they are, being proud of ones back round, and having a mind of your own and thinking for yourself.
3) Why does she believe so much in Affirmative action?: If Affirmative action was to be implamented then white people would be discriminated just because they were white. If she is trying to abolish racism, causing racism towards another race isn’t solving the problem.
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