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Can We Talk about Race?: And Other Conversations in an Era of School Resegregation
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Can We Talk about Race?: And Other Conversations in an Era of School Resegregation

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  435 ratings  ·  49 reviews
Beverly Daniel Tatum emerged on the national scene in 1997 with "Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?," a book that spoke to a wide audience about the psychological dynamics of race relations in America. Tatum's unique ability to get people talking about race captured the attention of many, from Oprah Winfrey to President Clinton, who invited her t ...more
Hardcover, 147 pages
Published April 1st 2007 by Beacon Press (MA) (first published March 28th 2007)
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Jun 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
The issue: “Can we talk about race? Are we allowed to do so? How should we talk about race? … Meaningful opportunities for cross-racial contact are diminishing, especially in schools. What are the consequences for academics, interpersonal relations, and democracy?”

It's a great book examining the way we approach (or don't approach) race in America.

I especially liked the story of a classroom in Texas, where the white teacher begins to talk about the “first” settlers in Texas (the white pioneers).
Deb Christenson
Aug 07, 2009 rated it really liked it
For any of you who are educators struggling with NCLB and its insistence on tests as a measure of learning, chapter two of this book is for you! After I finished the book, I wrote an e-mail to Pres. Obama suggesting that he get Beverly Tatum and Arne Duncan together to talk over a beverage of their choice!! Great stuff here!
Jan 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Can We Talk about Race? is a book based on a series of lectures given by Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum in 2006. Dr. Tatum seeks to give us all tools for productive, meaningful relationships to serve as building blocks in creating better schools and a better country.

The subtitle refers to “an era of school resegregation,” and the first essay deals with this issue, in which the laws pertaining to schools desegregation after Brown vs Board of Education were weakened by housing and zoning ordinances, bu
Emma-Kate Schaake
A very introductory look at social justice teaching, but a great basic beginning point for equity.
Benjamin Fisk
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Camara Hudson
Aug 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
An impressive follow-up to "Why are all the black kids sitting together at the lunch table". Dr. Tatum outlines many of the problems with modern education in an accessible and honest way. I wished that some of the chapters were condensed a bit where Dr. Tatum gets to the main point early on and then draws the conclusion out for several more pages, but other than that an informative and thought-provoking piece on race and education ...more
Mar 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, j-rr
I listened to this book on audio read by the author, and I enjoyed hearing her voice. I feel like I gained a lot of useful perspective, but didn't retain a lot of details since I listened. I'd like to re-read it in physical form so I can take some notes. It's definitely a useful addition to the needed conversation on race in this country. ...more
Maggie Mattmiller
Jun 01, 2018 rated it liked it
2.5. Some good points made, but I'm not sure it was memorable over some of the other race in schools books I've been reading this year. Also, I'd recommend the print book of this one. I did the audiobook and the quality wasn't great, and I was a bit distracted by that. Might be why I wasn't as engaged as I'd like. ...more
May 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Well written. The content was originally public lectures. As a child of educators, I find her background and perspective especially engaging. I think this is an important topic and one that should be of concern for all people.
Tabbitha Lindsley
Apr 28, 2018 rated it liked it
This was an okay read for me. There was a lot missing that I would have liked to have included so that I could relate to it more as an educator.
Michael Kelly
Jul 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One word. Powerful. I read this as a discussion piece for a committee I am at work and it helped me really look at my white privilege in ways I wasn’t able to before. I am grateful for that.
Jun 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was such an interesting view into history, and a very useful tool for explaining the benefits of diversity in school. A must read for any activist focused on education.
Gordon Kwok
Oct 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Dr. Tatum discusses a taboo issue but it is an issue that needs to be discussed rather than shunned. In life, we must learn to ask the right questions because if you're not asking the right questions, you'll never get the right answers. ...more
Jan 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
"Can We Talk about Race?: And Other Conversations in an Era of School Resegregation," by Beverly Daniel Tatum is about segregation and racism in schools. The author, who also wrote "Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria," touches on several topics throughout the book. She addresses the issue of diversity, desegregation, segregation, resegregation, racial identity, and many more things. The book is solid and reliable with facts, statistics, and the stories of students of co ...more
Jul 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is an important book. Did I agree with every single thing Tatum wrote? Not quite, but it was fairly close. I first read parts of this book during a transformative Education in America class I took my senior year of college, with an amazing (white) professor who really, deeply cared about her students and making a safe space where each of us could speak up, be heard, and feel seen.

I admit, it took me some pages to first get into the book, just because it's been a while since I've read more a
J-Lynn Van Pelt
This book is a collection of lectures that Dr. Tatum Gave as the inaugural speaker of the Simmons College/Beacon Press Race, Education and Democracy lecture series. The chapters are titled: The Resegregation of our Schools and the Affirmation of Identity; Connecting the Dots: Jow Race in America's Classrooms Affects Achievement; "What Kind of Friendship is That?": The Search for Authenticity, Mutuality, and Social Transformation in Cross-Racial Relationships; and In Search of Wisdom: Higher Educ ...more
3.5 stars. Tatum's book is based on a series of lectures she gave at Simmons College back in 2006. I was in attendance at the those lectures and inspired by her insight into the intersections of race and education and the critical ways those intersections have been and are carried out in our nation's systems of formal education. Reading the book and revisiting Tatum's ideas was valuable as a place to 'check in' about these issues, but didn't necessarily provide tons of easily applicable action s ...more
Feb 13, 2009 rated it really liked it
A careful, thorough and sincere look at the history of racism in American education, with thoughts about the future. One of the most depressing books I have read in a long time. While I appreciate that the author pulled no punches about the severity of the resegregation crisis, I came away thinking her proposed solutions were a little, er, optimistic. Especially considering how much more damage has been done to the idea of real diversity in classrooms since the book was published in '07.

I will d
Jun 24, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Sara Sterner
A short book, based on a series of lectures, Tatum discusses her experience as an integration baby and the resegregation of schools today. Many good tidbits in this book such as:
The ABC approach to creating affirming classrooms: Affirm identity, building community and cultivating leadership. Verna Ford’s mantra: “Think you can—work hard—get smart.” I’m looking forward to reading the author’s other book, “Why are all the black kids sitting together in the cafeteria?", but it is currently on hold
Feb 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
This book is based on a lecture series and at times reads more like a speech than a book. But it contains some EXCELLENT and clearly explained information about the interplay between race and education in America today. Moving beyond theory, Tatum also outlines specific interventions and programs that have been successful in bolstering the achievement of students of color, and in creating dynamic inter-racial classrooms. Highly recommended for anyone working in education.
May 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Dr. Tatum has taken all of the other research and made it very readable through connecting it to the stories of real students. The conclusions are the kind that I have made notes for and brought to the equity committee of my diverse school. The recommendations are useful and doable even though they require courage to honestly reflect on the systemic issues of racism. How many years will it take for the ideals of Brown vs. the Board of Ed. to be fully realized?
Sharmaine Mitchell
Nov 26, 2012 rated it did not like it
I read this book solely for the purpose of participating in a discussion about it at work. I read "Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?" (which I thought was great), but I honestly didn't see a real need for the writing of this book. I did find chapter 2 quite interesting. It was eye-opening, in that it made me realize how recent the civil rights era actually is. Overall, though, I didn't think the book was that great. ...more
Jan 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: teaching, book-club
I enjoyed this book - it has 4 distinct chapters, so you could read 1 or all of them. I participated in a book club discussion afterwards, which helped me grapple with some of the major, seemingly insurmountable issues that she discusses. I would recommended debriefing this book after reading to think of ways to personally respond to the book ... and to show through action that the answer to her title is "yes ... and we must!" ...more
May 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
This should be required reading for those of us teaching and learning at small liberal arts colleges (and any college or university, for that matter): "How do we create and sustain educational environments that affirm identity, build community, and cultivate leadership in ways that support the learning of all students?" Tatum asks. Great question ... Now we all need to get together for some crucial dialogue to help build a frame of mind and a place where that can happen. ...more
Jun 29, 2007 rated it really liked it
Essential reading on race (especially in education). Tatum has a great way of stating thing clearly, and of being forceful and direct without writing a polemic. This book has been incredibly helpful in my attempts to learn how to communicate more clearly about my own experiences and thoughts on race.
Dec 23, 2007 rated it it was amazing
This book consists of a few lectures that Dr. Tatum gave at Simmons college. I think she addresses a lot of extremely complext topics in a very approachable and easily understanable manner. I really recommend it to anyone who is working in a job or community where they often find themselves thinking about the complexities of race.
Cindy Quintanilla
Aug 08, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am using the ABC to guide my work from now on. I just finished using this as a prompt in a discussion with a panel of recent high school graduates. The idea of affirming their identity, building a community that included them and cultivating leadership opportunities generated rich discussion around race for all of us.
Can We Talk about Race? focuses on the issues of race in the educational system although there is a chapter on interracial friendships thrown in. The book was developed from a series of four lectures that Beverly Tatum delivered in 2006. While I don't agree with all that she says, she does present her perspective well. ...more
Ara Brown
Jun 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
If you are interested in education and/or social justice issues, this is a must read. It is a much easier read than "Why Do All the Black Kids"

It usually takes me a while to read books but I couldn't put this one down.
Jun 28, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Compared to Tatum's previous book, Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?, this book is just not as much in depth. It does have some new information and is worth skimming; the other is worth reading slowly and attentively. ...more
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Beverly Daniel Tatum is the president of Spelman College. She is a psychologist and writes on race relations.

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