The death of George Floyd and the ensuing #BLACKLIVESMATTER protests has renewed the discussion on racism and racial inclusion. The protest which began in the United States quickly spread around the world. Currently, there is a spike in demand for books that teach about racism and white supremacy. Some of these books top New York Times Best Sellers and Barnes and Noble Best Sellers list. We are all at a time when it is important we have a better understanding of racism, its impacts on society and what we can do about it. Is there a book that should be on this list? Suggest it in the comments section below.
In this book, Ijeoma Oluo explores racism and all the realities that come with it. This book describes and explains racial issues such as white supremacy, white privilege, police brutality, the black lives matter movement and more. Ijeoma Oluo strives to address these issues head without sugarcoating any of these explanations. In writing this book, Ijeoma daringly provides answers to questions that readers are afraid to ask and the racial concepts that elude people, especially in the United States. This book teaches about racism in a way that is easy to understand and will help you start the conversation on race and racism with your immediate community.
2. White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robert DiAngelo (Get It Here)
The New York Times best-selling book explores racism conversations from the white person’s perspective. When white people are faced with anti-racist conversations, they either respond with argument or silence. This comes from a place of racial comfort, being the standard of humanity while people of colour are not. White fragility, therefore, has developed because white people do not face the reality that racism is not their problem. Therefore, they become defensive when faced with this truth. With this in-depth exploration, anti-racist educator Robin DiAngelo examines how this fragility develops, and how to; with more education, tear it down and reduce the racial gap.
This is a non-fiction book where Ibram Kendi seeks to discuss racism and the concepts that drive it. Concepts such as colourism, scientific racism, and how they also affect demographics like gender and sexuality. The book also contains Kendi’s propositions on how to end racism and racial issues. In this book, Kendi details stories from cases that have involved racial undertones as well as his personal experiences with racial injustices. This is a good read for you if you’re looking for a book on racism and white supremacy that also contains relatable facts.
BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME details the conversation that every black parent has to have with their young sons. This book prepares young black men for life in the United States from the perspective of Ta-Nehisi, a black father. In this letter to his son, Ta-Nehisi explains racism, racial discriminations and answers questions about racial realities. Ta- Nehisi draws from personal experiences as he seeks to teach his son how to navigate life in the United States as a young black male.
5. The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein (Get It Here)
This book talks about the US government’s involvement in US housing segregation. While this book is not classified as “law”, it identifies the policies that were made to enable discrimination. The racial divide, segregation and discrimination seem to be an individual problem, perpetuated by dissatisfied white people with having people of colour in their neighbourhoods in America. Richard Rothstein puts together an extraordinary, well thought out arguments that expose the US government as the actual perpetrators of segregation. Pick this book up if you love well-made arguments and theories backed up with historical facts.
6. Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism. Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor by Layla F. Saad (Get It Here)
Published in January 2020, ME AND WHITE SUPREMACY a book targeted at white readers. This book is a guide to help the white reader recognize how white supremacy affects their lives and others around them. Structured as a step by step 28 day workbook, the book teaches the white person to see white privilege for what it is and helps them build the courage to battle and help dismantle racial structures. This is a good gift for your white friends who recognize that there is a societal racial imbalance that favors their race and want to help ‘level’ the playing field.
7. When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Patrisse Khan-Cullors (Get It Here)
This memoir explores what it is to be named terrorist for standing up and saying “enough!” When saying that “Black Lives Matter” is labelled terrorism, follow the journey of three women demanding justice in America for the lives of black people that were needlessly lost. If you’re looking for a book that teaches about racism and white supremacy, here is one for you!
Written as a sermon to white people, this emotionally gripping book speaks about the racism and the racial divide. The book speaks to the ways that white people respond when confronted with racist realities. The book also addresses how black people respond to racism. These are dysfunctional and contribute to the racial injustices being faced by black people. Tears We Cannot stop helps us realize that unless we are brutally honest about racism black people’s realities will always be ignored and marginalized.
Reni Eddo-Lodge crafts a book about race and racial conversations in Britain. In a blog post written in 2014, she expresses her displeasure about the fact that conversations about racism were led by people who were actually not affected by racism. In this book, Renni discusses class, gender and race in Britain.
Raising White Kids helps white parents, schools churches raise children who are racially aware. The average parent wants to raise a child who has empathy and is kind to others. However, how would you raise your white child as a white parent? Would you raise them to be “colour blind” or “not to notice race”? Raising White Kids teaches that you should not shy away from the conversations about race, and encourages parents to have them. The book also helps with pointers on how to have these conversations and where to begin.
Eloquent Rage is a memoir by Britanny Cooper. This memoir covers her journey through life also going from just activism to feminism. Cooper tells the story of her journey citing key experiences. This memoir is a very personal account of Cooper’s life teaching you what to do with your rage. Use it to change the world.
I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO was to be a revolutionary book by James Baldwin called “Remember This House”. The book was to detail the lives and assassinations of his three friends. His friends were; Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. However, at the time of his death in 1987, he had only completed 30 pages of the manuscript. Raoul Peck a filmmaker, draws from this unfinished book to create a documentary called “I Am Not Your Negro”.
As you continue to educate yourself, conversations will arise. Perhaps, the only way to defeat racism is through honest conversation about racism and white supremacy. We can eradicate racism. The progress may seem slow but certain. Learning about racism and white supremacy is a good first step. How many books on our list have you read? If there is any other book you think deserves to be on this list, let us know in the comment box below.
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