Institution of Affiliation
The Black Table is still There
In the book ‘The Black Table is still There’, Lawrence Otis Graham who is the author of the book and a graduate from the Harvard law school and Princeton University goes back to his mainly white junior high school to pay a visit. During his visit, Graham comes by something that he previously thought that he could see it again after so many years of being to the school as he had forgotten it during his adulthood days. In the cafeteria of his white primary school lay a peculiar lunch table, making Graham flashback to his olden days of childhood explaining why the black table affected him.
Graham begins the flashback by stating that most of the time that he was the only boy in most of the activities that he attended that included like in his high school tennis team, the easting club as well as the summer music camps. Despite attending all the gaming and competitions activities at his school, he was not the only black American in his school. Graham states that there was a scenario that has made him startled most during his school days. He narrates that the existed a black table during lunchtime, the black table was a group of African American teenagers that could come as a group sitting at one of the tables in the cafeteria. Graham narrates that he would never sit at that table no matter whom they walked into the cafeteria as he feared to lose his white friends by siting with the black individuals, as he claims that he could be making an anti-white racist statement.
Graham showed his resentment to the all-black lunch table and believed that the black kids were the reason as to why other children did not mix more. I tend to agree with him in this statement as people tend to view teenagers who separate themselves into individual groups as being anti-social people and that they don’t like mixing with other groups. Lawrence blames the black kids for being the barrier of integration in the school and all his little world. Graham, however, states that he was wrong as, during the same time, there were at least two tables of athletes that included an Italian table a Jewish boys table and a Jewish girls table. Where he usually sat, a table of kids who often were onto heavy metal music and a smoking pot, a table belonging to the middle-class Irish kids. Here, Grahams asks “weren’t this table just as segregationist as the black table?’ In other words, Graham realized that he was wrong, and he realized this because yes there existed an all-black table at his high school, but there was also a table where all the athletes could sit, all the Italians could sit, and the Jewish girls and boys could sit. The African American teens sitting in the all-black table were therefore not isolating themselves. They were imitating what everyone else was doing, sitting together with their kinds of friends and this concludes that Graham was wrong in his judgments and that he continues to admit that he was assuming the opposite of what was happening.
Graham would not be the only individual who could be associated with the wrong judgments as to some extents the inference is always correct. I think it is clear that we tend to separate ourselves and that it is natural that this still remains and exist in our society today even though we don’t realize it as it is done unintentionally. There are a few factors that try to explain why we tend to segregate ourselves. One of these reasons is that without our recognition, we tend to stay and associate with people to whom we own the same race, and country and this is because we feel that we tend to share the same interests and we feel that we go so much in common. The habit goes on every day without the people realizing it, happening in our schools and amongst our neighborhoods. It is not perplexing to find that some of the communities are divided into the same ethnicity.
We feel that just because we share the same culture and beliefs, we can relate with one another more easily and comfortably with people to whom we associate with than to those whom we don’t share anything in common. Just because someone else is of a different nationality and religion, we tend not to associate with them as much. This, however, does not have the implication that we can never be a diverse group of people but because of the force of the habit to not only reside with our nationality and religion but even in our daily activities and this is especially among the younger people in schools such as high school. The kids on a sports team or some other activities that tend to bring people together often is characterized by the habit of association with people from the same region and kind. The reason is therefore quite clear that all the associations tend to share some common interest proving Graham wrong as he comes to realize this issue much later.
Despite being in the association, racial segregation has been significant part of the current and the previous generations. Racial discrimination tends to have dominated in the past years where it was publicly known that being black or white meant that you could stick to your lanes. The issue of racial segregation was much evident in the American society, and this as well can give an inference of the origin of the all-black lunch table that existed in Graham’s high school. It can be evident that the blacks were exposed to some discrimination by the whites during lunchtime and that is the main reason that they decided to have a place of their own by assembling and sharing their moments together.
High schools and colleges are among the public institutions to which racism is common, and it wouldn’t come as a surprise that a certain group of people may prefer to stick together especially if they are the minority group. The reason as to why they will seclude themselves is to avoid unnecessary victimizations from the majority groups. To further clarify our doubts, we tend to see the Jewish and the Italians having separate tables as well alongside the all-black lunch table during athletics and other sporting activities. Majority of the people from other regions may not be at ease in socializing with people to whom they don’t relate especially in language and colour. Therefore it is very difficult to find a Jewish associating with a black at the first time while there are others of their kind. The trend has however been reducing, but still, the aspect of the black table amidst of the other tables has continued to be evidenced in the present generation. The main reason behind is due to the enhancement of the rich culture and traditions of the people. The individuals tend to carry it along with them; this is because for example during lunchtime a black person may not do the same practices like the whites and therefore may opt to associate with the blacks to whom they tend to share a similar culture.
Graham, Lawrence Otis. “The Black Table I Still There.” Coming of Age: Literature About Youth and Adolescence: 1999-43.
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