• Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?

  • And Other Conversations About Race
  • By: Beverly Daniel Tatum
  • Narrated by: Beverly Daniel Tatum
  • Length: 13 hrs and 27 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (2,058 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The classic, New York Times best-selling 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 listening for anyone seeking to understand dynamics of race and racial inequality in America.

©2017 Beverly Tatum (P)2017 Hachette Audio
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Critic Reviews

"An unusually sensitive work about the racial barriers that still divide us in so many areas of life." (Jonathan Kozol)

What listeners say about Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A magnificent tool for life.

It touched on Native Americans, a group so easily forgotten by many. It gave a historical context which made it easier to understand today's social issues and it gave the tools talk about those issues and how to work together to keep moving foward.

31 people found this helpful

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Mostly Padding

Written in 1999 and updated in 2017 this book nevertheless feels out of date, not fully integrating the substantial changes and clarity of the last few years.

The main thrust of this book is while racism continues to exist, and substantially influence peoples lives, it is healthy to develop a strong racial identity and discuss the issues associated with race with others that share that identity. This is quite reasonable and important to understand. However, this only takes a few paragraphs to discuss, so most of the book is an attempt to demonstrate that racism in the US still exists, and has huge negative consequences.

Of the numerous books I have read on this subject, this is in the bottom third by usefulness. For me the most useful has been "How to be an Antiracist".

There is a long, statistics laden, section describing many other US ethnic groups and how they differ in social success.

There are a lot of statistics to support the existence of substantial continuing racism in the US. Unfortunately these statistics are unnecessary to those who agree, and unconvincing to those who do not. Audio format is also particularly poor at presenting lots of statistics.

This book uses one of the definitions of racism that seems to really annoy white people with racist anxiety. That is, US non-whites can't be racist because racism is defined by the system of power that supports it. She does this intentionally, knowing it will incense some well meaning white people. She also states that all US white people benefit from racism. Although largely true, this is very likely not completely true. Such definitions and claims make the author appear to be a zealot and not a seeker of truth and reconciliation.

In explaining Affirmative Action the author points out there are no quotas, but instead hiring goals, which are necessary for any program to succeed. I would argue that goals are indeed necessary but they need not be, and should not be, hiring percentage goals. Non-hiring goals that make sense might be elimination of discrimination complaints, or survey results indicating candidates felt the hiring system was fair. One could imagine a basketball team whose hiring practices were bias leading to an all black team. After complaints, they implement an affirmative action program to improve the fairness of their hiring practices. Everyone agrees the new system is now quite fair...No decision maker ever knows the race or name of any candidate, only candidate statistics and test results. Nevertheless the team might still end up almost all black, and that should be ok.

There is a lot of stuff in this book that is really good to understand, but has been presented elsewhere better such as Stereotype Threat; Implicit Bias; White Rage; Intesectionality; & Aversive Racism.

Her prescription for what to do about racism is we need to break the silence about racism. Really? That is the thing we need? See instead "How to be an Antiracist" that suggests starting by voting, in every election, awareness of policy issues, then working to develop implementable antiracist policies and get them implemented.

Overall this presents some good perspectives that should be considered, but it also demonstrates some narrow focus that may turn off many readers that might otherwise be more open to the ideas.

As is usually the case, the author narration is not very good.

22 people found this helpful

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Truth today

Tough to listen to, but the truth is always in season. Learned so very much. well reasoned

18 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Amazing!!

I had read parts of the original but the twentieth anniversary addition was particularly powerful. Me and my wife are look at fostering and there is a good chance that kids place with us will have a different race than our selves, this book was incredible helpful tool, preparing us to promote a positive racial identity for kids coming into our home irrespective of their race

37 people found this helpful

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Outstanding! A must read for all races!

I found this to be a very enlightening, enriching and educational book. As a white person I struggle with what my role is in dismantling systemic racism. This book has iopened my heart and mind to what's possible and how I can be a part of it.

38 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

I wish they made an abridged version

Too much of the same. A few worthwhile points amidst a pile of dry and boring facts and anecdotes.
It's not a book about psychology or perhaps it's targeting the masses, so it is not going deep.

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

very good discussion about race

This was so good! This teaches how to talk to your kids about race and makes you feel much more confident about talking about race. I agreed with everything and loved the tone of the author.

11 people found this helpful

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Opening eyes and hearts. Thank you.

Thank you. This book was suggested as one of several for White Americans to read, “instead of asking Black Americans about race.” As I’ve come to realize how White privilege and supremacy affect my fellow Americans, I’m embarrassed that it’s taken me so long. While books like this feel difficult and weighty, they’re so important to read with an open mind. Thank you Beverly for helping me understand with a compassionate but firm narrative. I wish this book was required for us all.

9 people found this helpful

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Eye-opening and so insightful and educational. Everyone needs to read this book.

I’m embarrassed by how much material in this book was new to me. It should be required reading for everyone. High quality and extremely educational and, sadly for me, very eye-opening.

16 people found this helpful

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Worth the listen

Great insight. Provides a basis to parent purposefully and with intention. Loved it, shared it.
#Childhood
#tagsgiving #sweepstakes

5 people found this helpful