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

by Beverly Daniel Tatum

Paperback, 2003




Basic Books (2003), Edition: 5th Anniv., Revised, 294 pages


Education. Psychology. Sociology. Nonfiction. HTML:The classic, New York Times-bestselling book on the psychology of racism that shows us how to talk about race in America. Walk into any racially mixed high school and you will see Black, White, and Latino youth clustered in their own groups. Is this self-segregation a problem to address or a coping strategy? How can we get past our reluctance to discuss racial issues? Beverly Daniel Tatum, a renowned authority on the psychology of racism, argues that straight talk about our racial identities is essential if we are serious about communicating across racial and ethnic divides and pursuing antiracism. These topics have only become more urgent as the national conversation about race is increasingly acrimonious. This fully revised edition is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand dynamics of race and racial inequality in America.… (more)


(132 ratings; 4.1)

User reviews

LibraryThing member autumnesf
A book about racial issues and how racial identity is developed. A good book that taught me some things - but definitely not light reading! Recommend for those adopting transracially.
LibraryThing member mcelhra
This is an excellent book on racism and racial identity. It's very readable and would a great first book for someone just learning about the concepts of white privilege and institutional racism.

The author walks the reader through the development of one's racial identity (both black and white) from
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pre-school through adulthood, with every point backed up with research. I think her section on "white identity" will be truly eye-opening to a lot of white people who read it. I've taken quite a few workshops related to white privilege and racism and the author did a nice job of compiling everything I've learned all into one book. She writes objectively, without anger and without trying to make the white reader feel guilty about being white.

Although most of the book deals with black people and white people, there is a chapter that deals with other people of color. However, this book was written pre-9/11 - I think the section on people of Middle Eastern descent would have been different and perhaps longer if she had written it post-9/11.

I wish I could make this book required reading for just about everyone. I originally bought it because I thought it would help me in raising my daughter (who is African American) but actually this book has valuable information that I can use with ALL of my kids to help them grow up to be conscientious citizens of the world.
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LibraryThing member Reverend30
This was really a brilliant read. It answers a lot of questions, and brings up even more new ones.
LibraryThing member amf0001
Just started but already it's fascinating. Easy to read, very informative, just one of those about life/culture books that everyone should read, particularly those living in the US (though it is relevant to everyone)
LibraryThing member Coobeastie
Fantastic book. Easy to read, yet goes deep in challenging your assumptions. I'm in the UK and this book is very much written for an audience in the USA - for example, the author gives short 'sketches' of different issues for different communities in the US which are very particular to the USA.
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However, in general terms this provides an immensely useful 'mental toolkit' whoever you are and where ever you are.
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LibraryThing member SaudOmar
A Psychologist explains the development of racial identity
LibraryThing member Phoenixangelfire
Well, a bit of a mixed bag. Assigned reading and certainly an evocative title. While certainly valid and well written, the author comes across too strong. She insists on a practical regime for anti racism, but the force of her convictions is somewhat of a turn off and a let down. Further the
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section devoted to persons of 'other colors,' c.f. Latino's, AmerIndians and Pacific Asians, is very interesting but weak on the ground with only a few case studies to support the work. The author is certainly convinced of her position, there can be no doubt about that, and she wants to convince the reader as well. It is perhaps precisely this foot in the door technique that I dislike personally. Still it is an easy to read, well crafter text technically. There is an uncomfortable and inexplicable undercurrent throughout the book, that has nothing to do with the question of "White guilt," as the author puts it. Maybe it is because the book remains rather on the surface and does not go deep enough into the interpersonal relations or the fact that it has a subtle accusatory flavour, and also seems "over the top" at times. I have as yet to realize the nature of that discomfort and no doubt it shall be come clearer at a later stage. Still if one is interested in the question of race and race relations it is a worthwhile read.
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LibraryThing member Cheryl_in_CC_NV
Thorough - almost like a textbook. A little dated but still unfortunately all too relevant for educators and parents and people of any culture who realize that White privilege" still exists."
LibraryThing member MarthaJeanne
Unlike many books on social topics, this one has not lost relevancy in the two decades since it was first written.


Original language


Original publication date

2003 (new epilogue)

Physical description

294 p.; 5.5 inches




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