Race: Can I Have A Seat At The Black Table Please

970 words - 4 pages

In most situations, African -Americans come together for comfort, support, and self-awareness. Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? By Beverly Daniel Tatum, examines the phenomenon of conscious/unconscious racial clustering. Walk into just about any situation, and it present, groups divided by race."Most of the black students….seldom attended the extracurricular activates. The young woman indicated she was not going….teacher said "Oh come one, I know you people love to dance……white friends doesn't get it. She doesn't see the significance of the racial message, but the girls at the Black table do. When she tells her story, one of them is likely to say "You know what Mr. Smith said the same thing to me yesterday!" Not only are Black adolescents encountering racism and reflecting on their identity, but their White peers, even when they are not the perpetrators (and sometimes they are), are unprepared to respond in supportive way." (59 & 60) In the quoted passage Tatum gives a very good example of why the Black students sit together. The majority of the Black students, who attend the predominately white school, do not feel comfortable attending the extracurricular activates. A black female student tells a teacher she is not attending the school dance. Instead of asking why not, her teacher replies with a "you people" statement. Who is "you people?" The girl is hurt and embarrassed by what her teacher says, so she goes to her white friend for support. The white girl tells her Black friend not to be so sensitive, because she has not been in a situation like that one the White girl cannot relate. When the Black girl sees other Black students and relays her story, they totally understand. The Black girl may feel like a huge weight has been lifted off her shoulders, because she has found a group she can relate to. Her Black friends empathize with her; they too have been in similar situations.I agree with Tatum's passage because the majority of Whites cannot identify with Blacks. They do not experience life in the same perspective. Because they do not experience life the same, they cannot relate in certain situations. If someone says something hurtful concerning race, anyone would want support from his or her friends. But what happens when that friend is not of the same race, that friend is unprepared to be supportive. Some of a different racial background might make light of the situation. Tatum uses this to explain why there is a Black table. The black students need a place to sit and speak freely and not worry about offending anyone. The students need to feel a sense...

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