Herbie's Reviews > "Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?": A Psychologist Explains the Development of Racial Identity

"Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?" by Beverly Daniel Tatum
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Jan 23, 2008

Read in January, 2008

- That in study after study, when job search committees evaluate identical (theoretical) white and black resumes, they see the white candidate as more qualified, or a "better fit." This discrepancy becomes more and more pronounced the stronger the candidates are. Two weak candidates will be seen as just as weak. Of two middle candidates, the white candidate will be perceieved as slightly better. Of two very strong candidates, the white candidate will be seen as significantly better.

So affirmative action isn't about "all things being equal, choose the candidate of color." Affirmative action is about the fact that black candidates and other candidates are perceived as being less qualified.

I highly recommend this quick and fascinating read. Lots of empirical studies, plain language for talking about racism, and insight into common disagreements concerning race. A conversation about race in America is more necessary than ever during a Presidential election when the candidates can't say anything more than platitudes and middle school level identity-based name-calling. When the only black candidate is forced to "transcend race" in order to succeed. When the polls in New Hampshire show the strange gap probably caused by white voters who support a black candidate when polled (in order to not appear racist) but don't support him when they actually vote. When Ward Connerly is about to roll out his anti-affirmative action gang again, hoping to get anti-affirmative action measures on the ballots, hoping that the fact that a woman and a black person are on the ballot provides evidence that the "playing field is equal." Shit dudes. Look at prisons, look at schools, look at the way the candidates themselves must censor their conversations. Look at loans, look at mortgages, look at miswritten history books with no black role models or anti-racist whites. Ain't no equal playing field here.
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