Tatum on Racism and Oppression - Essay Example

3 pages
614 words
Harvey Mudd College
Type of paper: 
Critical thinking
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As many institutions of learning strive to become more culturally diverse in terms their personnel, students, and faculty, they start examining matters dealing with the representation of culture within their curriculum. This examination has evoked a significant number of courses that give particular contemplations to the impact of factors, for example, sex, class, and race. Surprisingly, little attention has been given to the matters of the process which emerge in the classroom when attention is focused on gender, race, and class. It is common to find students of the same color sitting at the same table during lunch break. In Tatums book, Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? the author gives the reader a basis for talking and thinking about racial identity.

Foremost, racism is a structure of advantage grounded on race (Tatum, 1997). Tatum argues that even though not every white person is openly prejudiced, they jointly affirm their racial power through their access to better housing, schools, and jobs. Thus, racism is not only about actions and peoples beliefs, but a framework that includes social and cultural messages, and institutional strategies and practices. Tatum further describes the three phases which include juvenile, teenage years, and adulthood in which black individuals develop a personal identity.

Racial identity is one of Tatums key themes in her book. It is described as the worth that people have developed or are developing about being a white or black in a race cognizant culture. She discusses the number of guardians who falter to converse with their kids about prejudice due to the humiliation and the cumbersomeness of the subject. According to Tatum, guardians would not need to discuss discrimination when no problem is seen. They do not want to make dread or prejudice where none may exist. It is a sensitive subject because if not gone about right, one may accidentally direct another in the wrong path.

Through her examination of what blackness signifies in a white perception, she explores various reasons why black people are socialized to have thoughts of them being inferior in the society of America. Unlike the black people, the white population in the American society is considered as the normal humans. To prevent thoughts of inferiority whites need to embrace their color and build up a healthy, positive mental self-view without accepting predominance. Whites need to forsake their prejudice, regardless of the perception on institutional and social bigotry.

Tatums book contains the full and most persuading contentions and descriptions of corporate discrimination that one can ever come across in other books. Racism is administered corporately and addressed correspondingly. While Tatum does not put on a show of being undermining to a white group of onlookers, she undoubtedly portrays a character of strength and challenge in calling white individuals into proactive cooperation when dealing with matters of racism. In addition to concerns regarding racism, Tatums book also addresses issues dealing with ethnic personal-identity that is critical for the majority and minority groups. Her book challenges people to struggle with the need of racial identity because it will assist in fighting racism as well as build the self-esteem and value of individuals.

In conclusion, Beverly Tatum answers the inquiry posed in the title of her book in a beautiful combination well-versed by history. She exudes extraordinary knowledge and developmental psychology. Generalizations, oversights, and misrepresentations each established in our country's history of bondage make readers to inhale the "brown haze of prejudice." It is a no wonder that black youths depend on each other for social help as they explore personality developments.


BIBLIOGRAPHY Tatum, B. D. (1997). Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? New York: Basic Books.

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