5 Books that Got Me Started on My Anti-Racism Journey
As an avid reader and a white woman who has spent the last six years actively trying to learn about race and racism in America, I have found many books valuable to my education…and I know there are many more I have yet to read. While the following five titles are by no means a perfect bundling of anti-racist literature, these books are some that I have found highly educational for someone who is beginning their journey.
Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi
Award-winning historian Ibram X. Kendi writes that racist thought is alive and well in America—and that if we have any hope of grappling with this stark reality, we must first understand how racist ideas were developed, disseminated, and enshrined in American society. In this deeply researched and fast-moving narrative, Kendi chronicles the entire story of anti-black racist ideas and their staggering power over the course of American history.
So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
Even with the increasing spotlight on racism in our society, it remains a difficult subject to talk about. In So You Want to Talk About Race, Ijeoma Oluo offers a hard-hitting but user-friendly examination of race in America and how race and racism infects almost every aspect of American life.
Between The World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with the fraught history of slavery, segregation, incarceration, and violence toward the black community and free ourselves from its burden? Between the World and Me is Ta-Nehisi’s attempt to answer these questions in a letter to his adolescent son.
Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor by Layla Saad
Structured as a 28-day guide and workbook targeted at white readers, the book aims to aid readers in identifying the impact of white privilege and white supremacy on their lives. It contains quotations, terminology definitions, and question prompts.
White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo
Anti-racist educator Robin DiAngelo discusses the defensive moves that white people make when challenged racially, characterized by emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt and by behaviors including argumentation and silence. These behaviors, she argues, in turn function to reinstate white racial equilibrium and prevent any meaningful cross-racial dialogue. In this in-depth exploration, DiAngelo examines how white fragility develops, how it protects racial inequality, and what can be done to engage more constructively.