Resources on Race Vol. 2.5

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We are pleased to announce that the library received a mini-grant from the Bryant Diversity Council in order to purchase digital copies of books focusing on race, racism, and anti-racism. We continue to mourn the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Elijah McClain, Rayshard Brooks, Vanessa Guillén, and too many other unnecessary and senseless deaths. The library is continuing to engage in these conversations and speak up against racism and white supremacy wherever it appears. As our national dialogue on systemic racism continues, we urge you to check out some of these e-books and further educate yourself on these important topics. Black Lives Matter. Black Stories Matter. Black Voices Matter.

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Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcom X with Alex Haley: Constructed from interviews between Haley and X before his assassination, this foundational text of Black literature focuses on Malcolm X’s views on Pan-Africanism, Black nationalism, and human rights. As one of the most important and visible 20th century Black Americans, Malcolm X’s story continues to be relevant. Read this book to engage directly with the thoughts and perspectives of one of the most important Black figures in American history.

 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 to encourage readers to take the next step. Read this book to learn how to challenge your own implicit biases and prejudices to construct such a society. 

 Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson: This true story about a young defense attorney (Stevenson) who fights to get a Black man named Walter McMillian off of death row after he had been imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit. Read this book to get a firsthand account of the failings of the criminal justice system’s treatment of Black people.

Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor by Layla Saad: Structured as a 28-day challenge for white people, Me and White Supremacy aims to inspire readers to examine their own complicity in white supremacy and white privilege with the goal of stopping unintentional pain from being inflicted on Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC). Read this book to actively engage with and unlearn culturally learned behaviors and perspectives that prop up white supremacy.

 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 which lead to there being more incarcerated Black people today than there were slaves in 1860. Read this to learn more about the racist policies that led to these obscene numbers of imprisoned Black folk.

Nobody: Casualties of America’s War on the Vulnerable, from Ferguson to Flint and Beyond by Marc Lamont Hill: In this text, which the New York Times called “A worthy and necessary addition to the contemporary canon of civil rights literature,” Hill looks at the way American institutions and negligence has hurt Black people and communities of color, focusing on the stories of people like Sandra Bland, Freddie Gray, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, as well as the city of Flint, Michigan. Read this book to unravel the tangled web of unfettered capitalism, mass incarceration, and the lack of attention paid to some of America’s most vulnerable populations by our elected officials which has led to state sanctioned violence against communities.

Sister Outsider : Essays and Speeches by Audre Lord: A foundational collection of essays and speeches focusing on intersectional identity, Lord writes about homophobia, racism, sexism, police brutality, classism, and Black feminism. Lord navigates these topics through her own perspective of oppression with a hopeful outlook. Read this book to better your understanding of intersectional identities and to see that acceptance as a vehicle for progress and change.

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.

Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi: Using the lives of five of America’s most famous thinkers (ranging from Thomas Jefferson to Angela Davis), Kendi tracks the history of thinking about race from the perspectives of Black scholars, slaveholding presidents, and activists. By comparing these different figures, the path and effects of racist and anti-racist thinking are tracked through American history. Read this book to follow the thread of racism back to the United States’ inception.

Stony the Road: Reconstruction, White Supremacy, and the Rise of Jim Crow by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.: Using his distinct scholarly voice, Gates presents the era following Reconstruction through the lens of how white supremacy was permeated and spread through science, imagery, literature, language, and violence. Each chapter, which focuses on a larger idea, is followed by a collection of racist images and objects which reveal many of the dehumanizing anti-Black stereotypes that continue to permeate our culture now. Read this book to engage with the history of anti-Black racism, and the construction of systemic racism following eight years of unprecedented racial progress.

Things that make White People Uncomfortable by Michael Bennett and Dave Zirin: Athlete Michael Bennett tells the story of his support for Black Lives Matter, Palestine, and other social movements while navigating the world of professional football and philanthropic efforts. Read this book to engage with stories of Blackness that intersect with sports.

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.