Book Review: Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?

There’s a lot to understand about race in America, much of which comes down to how we identify ourselves and how that is impacted by how others identify us. I read Beverly Daniel Tatum’s work while I was in school but decided it was time for a refresher since this book has been recently updated. It’s interesting to see exactly what has and hasn’t changed in our society in the 20+ years since this book’s original printing, which is addressed directly in the extensive prologue.

I love that this book offers tons of facts and figures. Survey after survey and interview after interview are quoted to help explain racial identity in real world terms. Everything is considered. While much of the book centers around understanding blackness, Dr. Tatum takes every facet of racism into account – and how it all plays together. She acknowledges anti-Semitism, she talks about the growing Latinx population and the discrimination they face, she dives into oppression of Native Americans, she addresses stereotyping of the Asian population, and she discusses the unique challenges for biracial adolescents. She even talks about how other factors, like gender and adoption, may impact identity. What this book makes clear is that ignoring a situation won’t make anything go away and it most certainly will make it impossible to understand the dynamics of a classroom, office, or home. It’s time for some real talk, and this book provides it.

5 out of 5 stars.

Pair with: A fresh cup of coffee and your daily vitamin