Beverly Daniel Tatum Term Paper

Pages: 4 (1385 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 12  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Race

Beverly Daniel Tatum

Psychologist and professor Beverly Tatum describes in "Why are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria" the process of racial identity development, arguing that, "racial grouping is a developmental process in response to an environmental stressor, racism. Joining with one's peers for support in the face of stress is a positive coping strategy." "Access to new, less stereotypical information about other people of African descent allows the individual to expand the definition of what it means to be black, and results in a newly defined and affirmed sense of self." By the same token, she stresses that "at times, self-segregation is even necessary for black adolescents," as this process of interacting with their own culture helps develop the sense of belonging to a certain cultural area.

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Living in a multiracial environment, as a young adult, one has the possibility to develop his own identity by standing up to various influences. Following through the stages of psychologist William Cross who presented the process of racial identity development as a five-stage process, it can be said that the school environment plays a crucial role in triggering the first questions about one's own identity. Although racial identity is present in every mind, it is more of an issue for black people, as they are faced with the status of being a minority group. Still, from an early age, as Cross suggests in his study, the child is exposed to different influences, each of whom will have am impact on his later development as a grown up individual living in a cosmopolite society. From personal experience, I can say that a multicultural environment can help develop a better understanding of cultural, racial and gender differences. Furthermore, it plays a crucial role in teaching tolerance and appreciation for those of different origins or skin color. Both during my early childhood years and later on when growing up, close friendships and permanent contact with people of color, have made me resent racial behavior, gender bias hints or even allusions to being part of a majority.

TOPIC: Term Paper on Beverly Daniel Tatum Assignment

Supporting the idea of Beverly Tatum that self-perception is based, in fact, on the other's perception on us, I believe that normal, free of racial stereotypes relationships can be built as long as there is small, effort coming from those constituting that environment, setting in mind to avoid using phrases which could be, at one point, misinterpreted, showing support and compassion for problems which affect another person from your environment, refraining from jokes with allusive racial or bias meaning, all this can contribute to preventing the fostering of feelings of invisibility or marginality that can, especially in young adults, undermine success.

Since the early '60, after the Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education outlawed the "separate but equal" doctrine of school segregation, gradual efforts have been in order to deal with racial issues. The progress is notable. Yet, even today it is still considered an uphill battle. In a recent poll conducted by TIME / CNN on 1,282 adults, more than half of those interviewed consider racism to be a major issue. The same poll shows, on the other hand, a more powerful reluctance from the part of black teenagers when blaming racism for poor living conditions, as opposed to failing to take advantage of available opportunities, factor which they consider responsible for low standard of living." These responses seem to indicate that black teens believe color barriers exist, but, despite that, they retain an admirably dogged belief in self-determination." Therefore, a slight proof of optimism is visible in the query, as three-fourths of the white youngsters believe race relations will improve, as do more than half the black teens. The survey also points out that with every generation fewer teenagers are affected by racial stereotypes, by prejudices and, in the end, by racism.

And yet, why is racism still a problem in American schools? As Beverly Tatum explains, puberty is the crucial time when children of all backgrounds start having identity issues. In the case of racial prejudices, a defense mechanism is triggered, and, in most cases, racism soon follows, as a reaction to… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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