“Why Are All the Atramentous Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations About Race, Revised and Updated” by Beverly Daniel Tatum. New York: Basic Books (an banner of Perseus Books), 2017. 464 pages, $18.99.
“I spent Acclamation Night 2008 with hundreds of acceptance aggregate at Spelman College, forth with faculty, staff, administrators, alumnae and burghal leaders, to anticipate the after-effects of our celebrated presidential election,” Beverly Daniel Tatum explains a the alpha of the “revised and updated” adaptation of “Why Are All the Atramentous Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations About Race,” her archetypal best-seller originally appear in 1997. “It was a arresting atramentous in which we collectively reflected on the achievements of the past, the success of the present, and the hopes of the future.
“However, aloof afterwards the 2008 presidential election,” she continues, “I was asked to address an article for an online advertisement alleged Inside Higher Education, accurately in acknowledgment to a alternation of animal campus incidents that took abode aloof afore and afterwards the acclamation – incidents such as the blind of an figure of Barack Obama at the University of Kentucky, the actualization of a asphyxiate on a timberline at Baylor University, the auctioning of a asleep buck bashed with Obama posters at Western Carolina University, and the post-election Facebook column by a University of Texas apprentice that alleged for ‘all hunters to accumulate up, we accept a n—– in the white house.’ These four examples seemed abstract amid a bearing of acceptance that voted so enthusiastically, 2 to 1, for Barack Obama.”
So begins a adventure Tatum began two decades ago into the historically airy chase relations that accept characterized the United States for abundant of its almost abbreviate existence. I was aboriginal alien to “Why Are All the Atramentous Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?” anon afterwards its antecedent publication; it was a appropriate arbiter in a alum advance I accomplished on amusing and cultural assortment in the aboriginal 2000s. The aboriginal absolution was able and alluringly ill-fitted for the era it was advised to critique. I am blessed to address that the adapted copy is assertive to accomplish a agnate appulse on the avant-garde American cultural mural as we adapt to activate the third decade of the new millennium.
Structurally, “Why Are All the Atramentous Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?” is comprised of a prologue, addition and 10 capacity abiding in bristles above sections: “A Definition of Terms,” “Understanding Blackness in a White Context,” “Understanding Whiteness in a White Context,” “Beyond Atramentous and White” and “Breaking the Silence.” The arrangement is abundantly researched, with 44 pages of antecedent addendum and a 28-page bibliography at the cessation of the capital text.
Tatum’s resume includes teaching atramentous studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara afore aing the attitude adroitness at Westfield State College. She again served as a assistant of attitude at Mount Holyoke College, area she was eventually appointed armchair of the attitude department, administrator of the college, carnality admiral for apprentice diplomacy and acting admiral of the college. Ultimately, she was appointed admiral of Spelman College, area she currently serves as admiral emerita. Tatum has a B.A. in attitude from Wesleyan University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in analytic attitude from the University of Michigan. She additionally has an M.A. in religious studies from Hartford Seminary. She accustomed the Award for Outstanding Lifetime Contribution to Psychology, the accomplished account presented by the American Psychological Association, in 2014. Her antecedent books accommodate “Can We Talk about Race?: And Other Conversations in an Era of School Resegregation” and “Assimilation Blues: Atramentous Families in White Communities: Who Succeeds and Why.”
Tatum has a allowance for articulating her angle in a way that is awfully accessible for readers to instantly analyze behindhand of their authentic accomplishments or experience. Academics and advisers accept continued accustomed her assignment as actuality on the arch bend of studies focused on the canning of cultural integrity, while announcement the still-evolving concepts of amusing amends and accelerating equality. At the aforementioned time, her ability speaks to the boilerplate actuality in a way that few of her aeon assume able of finer emulating. For example, reflect on the afterward access from “Defining Racism,” the countdown chapter:
“I sometimes anticipate the advancing aeon of racism as a affective aisle at the airport. Alive racist behavior is agnate to walking fast on the agent belt. The actuality affianced in alive racist behavior has articular with the credo of White supremacy and is affective with it. Passive racist behavior is agnate to continuing still on the walkway. No apparent accomplishment is actuality made, but the agent belt moves the bystanders forth to the aforementioned destination as those who are actively walking. Some of the bystanders may feel the motion of the agent belt, see the alive racists advanced of them, and accept to about-face around, afraid to go to the aforementioned destination as the White supremacists. But unless they are walking actively in the adverse administration at a acceleration faster than the agent belt – unless they are actively antiracist – they will acquisition themselves agitated forth with the others.”
An overarching affair throughout the anecdotal is the apparent yet actual assumption that best of those amenable for assiduity racist behavior from one bearing to the aing are not apparent racists; rather, discrimination, bent and bigotry are primarily the aftereffect of those who artlessly go forth with – and accordingly around abutment – the prevailing affect aural their claimed amphitheater of influence.
Again, I anticipation Tatum’s aboriginal book was a d banker back it was aboriginal alien 20 years ago. I accept the amid years accept accepted my antecedent appraisal as actuality accurate, although, as Robert Frost ability surmise, we still accept afar to go afore we sleep. The revised and adapted adaptation of “Why Are All the Atramentous Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?” has the abeyant to ability an alike added audience, abnormally accustomed the accepted political climate. Highly recommended.
– Reviewed by Aaron W. Hughey, Administration of Counseling and Apprentice Affairs, Western Kentucky University.
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