#NACACreads: Book Club Examines Racism in America

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Beverly Daniel Tatum’s classic book —Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? — is chock-full of hard truths.

And when participants in Monday’s #NACACreads chat gathered online to discuss the bestseller, they confronted many of those realities and shared ideas for how to make things better for the students they serve.

“Prejudice is one of the inescapable consequences of living in a racist society. Cultural racism — the cultural images and messages that affirm the assumed superiority of Whites and the assumed inferiority of people of color — is like smog in the air,” Tatum writes in the book, revised in 2017. “Sometimes it is so thick it is visible, other times it is less apparent, but always, day in and out, we are breathing it in.

“None of us would introduce ourselves as ‘smog breathers’ (and most of us don’t want to be described as prejudiced),” she added. “But if we live in a smoggy place, how can we avoid breathing the air?”

Counselors and admission professionals from across the country joined in the discussion. Here are highlights from the hour-long chat.

On spending time with same-experience peers:

On giving students a more complete picture of black identity:

On the importance of whites examining their own racial identity:

On confronting hard truths:

On the importance of safe spaces:

On the difficult work ahead:

Read the full chat transcript, learn more about #NACACreads, and take our survey to suggest future book club selections.

Admitted writer/editor Mary Stegmeir welcomes additional comments and story ideas at mstegmeir@nacacnet.org.

 

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