'Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?': A Psychologist Explains the Development of Racial Identity Themes

Beverly Daniel Tatum
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The Goodness of Racial Identity

Many Americans and Western Europeans may be inclined to think that racial identity is a bad idea. After all, races are socially constructed categories and racial identity has been linked to some seriously bad behavior over the last two-hundred years. An ideal of individualism seems like a necessary corrective to the racial and non-racial collectivisms of the 20th century. But Tatum begs to differ. In her view, racial identity can have nasty downsides only when used to impose unequal systems of advantage on others. However, racial identities can be constructed for other reasons as well.

First, racial identity can help oppressed groups resist their oppressors. Tatum repeatedly stresses that in many cases affirming one's racial identity as a minority group is not really optional, as it is necessary to organize in order to fight off, in particular, American Whites. Black racial identity was crucial...

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This section contains 733 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the 'Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?': A Psychologist Explains the Development of Racial Identity Study Guide
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