A lot of people are deeply hurting due to the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor. It is important that in this moment of pain, we step back and learn from history, from the voices of black people and people of color who experience the effects of racism first hand, and examine the systems that have historically allowed these things to happen. We are sharing resources we have in our library’s collection in order to foster radical empathy. To hold ourselves accountable. To learn from the past to seek justice in our present and in our future.
BOOKS BY BLACK AUTHORS
So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo: Examining the racial divide in a way that is accessible for newcomers, Oluo deconstructs Black Lives Matter, white supremacist rallies, and more. Read this to learn about subjects like cultural appropriation, privilege, and affirmative action.
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Era of Color Blindness by Michelle Alexander: This groundbreaking text from 2010 focuses on the racial biases within the United States Justice System following the War on Drugs and the 1994 Crime Bill. Read this to learn more about the tension between people of color and law enforcement.
Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Renni Eddo-Lodge: Eddo-Lodge, a citizen of the United Kingdom, expands on her titular blog post examining the way whiteness has permeated feminism, links between race and class, as well as other examples of systemic and structural racism. Read this to learn about racism beyond the United States.
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehishi Coates: This National Book Award winner is a letter written from Coates to his son. A memoir about his time at Howard University, his young idolization of Malcolm X, and the importance of simultaneously acknowledging that race is a social construct built to justify racism, and recognizing and challenging the inequalities that have come about in our society due to “race.” Read this for empathy, and to catch a glimpse of the fear many black men in America feel.
How to be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi: Kendi’s book builds an idea of what an antiracist society looks like, and how we can each build it. How to be an Antiracist interweaves ethics, law, history, and science in order to encourage readers to take the next step. Read this book to learn how to challenge your own implicit biases and prejudices in order to construct such a society.
Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women a Movement Forgot by Mikki Kendall: This collection of essays published in 2020 critiques the historical and current instances of the Feminist movement ignoring women of color, queer and trans women, women with disabilities, and working class and poor women. Read this book if you want to know more about intersectionality in the feminist movement and not erasing the multiple identities of women.
Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds: A new YA adaptation of a larger text, this book examines the history of racism and antiracism and how to combat it. It includes an introduction by the author of How to be an Antiracist, Ibram Kendi. Read this book to understand the historical context of the demonization of people of color in our society.
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: A woman from Nigeria immigrates to the United States, only to realize that for the first time in her life she has to live with the repercussions of racism. Read this modern classic to see what happens when the global North’s racist structures collide with a woman who expects more.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas: After a young, unarmed black teenager is killed by a white police officer, turmoil erupts in the neighborhood. His friend (and our main character) Starr Carter learns the importance of using her voice, and advocating for the voiceless. Read this book to have insight into what it is like to live in a low-income community that has a complex, at best, relationship with police.
OTHER TEXTS TO CONSIDER
White Fragility : Why it’s So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism by Robin DiAngelo: In this book, DiAngelo looks at her own complicity to racism as a diversity trainer. Speaking from her own experiences within the training she administered, she looks at the way white people have trouble talking about race. Read this book as an entry into discussing race, after having read something by a black author first.