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Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?: And Other Conversations About Race



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This is the 5th edition with a publication date of 1/1/2003.

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  • 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


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.

Author Biography

Beverly Daniel Tatum, Ph.D., is a professor of psychology and dean of Mount Holyoke College as well as a psychologist in private practice. She is the author of“Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?”

Table of Contents

Introduction to the Paperback Edition ix
Introduction xiii
Part I A Definition of Terms
Defining Racism
``Can we talk?''
The Complexity of Identity
``Who am I?''
Part II Understanding Blackness in a White Context
The Early Years
``Is my skin brown because
I drink chocolate milk?''
Identity Development in Adolescence
``Why are all the Black kids sitting together in the cafeteria?''
Racial Identity in Adulthood
``Still a work in progress...''
Part III Understanding Whiteness in a White Context
The Development of White Identity
``I'm not ethnic, I'm just normal.''
White Identity and Affirmative Action
``I'm in favor of affirmative action except when it comes to my jobs.''
Part IV Beyond Black and White
Critical Issues in Latino, American Indian, and Asian Pacific American Identity Development
``There's more than just Black and White, you know.''
Identity Development in Multiracial Families
``But don't the children suffer?''
Part V Breaking the Silence
Embracing a Cross-Racial Dialogue
``We were struggling for the words.''
Epilogue 2003: Continuing the Conversation 207(14)
Appendix Getting Started: A Resource Guide 221(14)
Reader Discussion Guide 235(8)
Notes 243(26)
Bibliography 269(14)
Acknowledgments 283(4)
Index 287

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