Why Are All The Black Kids Sit

1304 words - 5 pages

"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 like friendly, shy, intelligent, but students of color usually state there racial or ethnic group, while white students rarely, if ever mention that they are white. Women usually mention that they are female while males usually don't think to say that they are males. The same situation appeared to take place when the topic of religious beliefs came up. The Jewish students mentioned being Jewish, while the Protestant and Catholics rarely mentions being so. These responses all led to one common ground. They are all examples of groups who are seen as more dominant or of a more advantaged social group not mentioning so. They don't seem to think that they belong to a more dominant or advantaged group than the others so why mention it.She goes on about Affirmative action in the workplace and the views and opinions of all different kinds of people. Tatum believes in Affirmative action because of the many encounters and experiences she had witness and encountered. She goes on to say, " Affirmative action is needed to lessen bias in the paid labor force because affirmative action is the only legal...

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