Spelman College President Dr. Beverly Tatum Talks Racism and Society

Spelman College's outgoing president Beverly Tatum.              (Photo Credit: Google Images)

Spelman College’s outgoing president, Beverly Tatum, speaking to students. (Google Images)

Noah Berlatsky of The Atlantic is reporting that Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum, the outgoing president of Spelman College, expressed in an interview that racism is still very much alive and that Historically Black Colleges can aid in the desegregation of the country.

Dr. Tatum, author of the book, ‘Can We Talk About Race: and Other Conversations in an Era of School Resegregation, explained that Americans need to have more discussions on race, adding that the internet and social media cannot properly facilitate the conversations that should be had. Tatum told Berlatsky:

“Well, I don’t think the kind of dialogue you get on social media is the kind of dialogue I had in mind. I mean, let’s talk about tone. When you’re sitting face-to-face with someone, that doesn’t guarantee civility, but you can read body language, you can hear tone of voice, you can hear the nuance of what someone says, in a way that’s different from when you’re reading characters.

If you’re talking about conversations about race, most people have had very limited experience in having a meaningful or sustained dialogue about racially sensitive topics in a racially mixed setting. If they talk about race, they talk about it with people who share their own cultural background, more often than not.”

Tatum also explained that while the nation is changing, a fact shown by America having a black president, there is constant backlash to these changes. Adding that such large changes are “unsettling” for some Americans.

Tatum says that while she believes there is progress, it is not constant, and that it is interrupted by frequent bouts of regression.

Dr. Tatum will be retiring as president of Spelman College on June 30, 2015.

To read this interview in its entirety, visit TheAtlantic.com.

This post was written by Reginald Calhoun, editorial assistant for The Burton Wire. He is also a sophomore Mass Media Arts major at Clark Atlanta University. Follow him on Twitter @IRMarsean.

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