Recap: Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?


Recap: Mini Book Study

As part of the March 28th Townhall, Daniela Martin and Lorraine Martin presented the ground-breaking, critically-acclaimed book, “Why are all the Black Kids Sitting together in the Cafeteria” by Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum. If you haven’t read the book, here’s what Jodi Picoult, #1 New York Times bestselling author of “Small Great Things” had this to say about this book:

“We don't talk about race in America, but we must start if we are going to heal this broken country—and Tatum's book is exactly the conversation opener we should be using.”

In his review of Tatum's text, Freeman A. Hrabowski III, President, University of Maryland, Baltimore County wrote:

"What makes these insights so valuable is the author's ability to look at our problems from different perspectives and to challenge us to look in the mirror as we think about who we are and whom we serve...Any American leader wanting a deeper understanding of these issues should read this book."

Tatum’s book explores topics such as:

  • Defining racism

  • Understanding Blackness in a White context

  • Understanding Whiteness in a White context

  • Other Communities of Color

  • Embracing a cross-racial dialogue

If you have not had a chance to read this book, we hope that you will take the time do so! Meaningful dialogue and conversations around race are vital and all members of our community must be involved: school board, school administration, teachers and most of all, the children and families we are all serving.

Videos from Our Presentation

The following videos were shown during our townhall presentation/mini book study to help illustrate and underscore both the topics above and one of Tatum’s main points: “We have to be intentional in helping young people connect across lines of difference."

Kids on Race

In part two of Anderson Cooper's special report, kids give honest feedback on racial and social issues.


CNN's Anderson Cooper highlights a project that reveals how children view racial beliefs, attitudes and preferences.

One Man's Journey

You need to watch until end to get full impact. This is the story of Steve Stall, whose life was transformed after taking the Unlearning Racism class in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Other Communities of Color

Hear some straight talk from middle-schoolers about race and what it's like to grow up in such racially charged times. More from our Being 12 series: Subscribe for more WNYC videos: