A short anti-racism reading list

Continuing on the theme of books from my last post, I wanted to talk about some nonfiction books that I’m excited to read. I’ve seen these books recommended repeatedly over the last couple of weeks, so they seem like the right place to start my anti-racist reading.

I’m going to have to break my longstanding trend of not buying new books (usually opting for the library instead, which is sadly still closed) so I can pick up some of these titles. And when I do break that trend, I’ll be buying from a black-owned bookstore. Check out this list for a rundown of black-owned bookstores around the US where you can place online orders.

What’s on your to-read list right now?

SYWTTAR

So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo

“In So You Want to Talk About Race, Ijeoma Oluo guides readers of all races through subjects ranging from intersectionality and affirmative action to “model minorities” in an attempt to make the seemingly impossible possible: honest conversations about race and racism, and how they infect almost every aspect of American life.”

HTBAA

How To Be An Antiracist by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi

“Ibram X. Kendi’s concept of antiracism reenergizes and reshapes the conversation about racial justice in America–but even more fundamentally, points us toward liberating new ways of thinking about ourselves and each other. Instead of working with the policies and system we have in place, Kendi asks us to think about what an antiracist society might look like, and how we can play an active role in building it.”

TNJC

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
by Michelle Alexander

The New Jim Crow is a stunning account of the rebirth of a caste-like system in the United States, one that has resulted in millions of African Americans locked behind bars and then relegated to a permanent second-class status—denied the very rights supposedly won in the Civil Rights Movement.”

MAWS

Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad

“This eye-opening book challenges you to do the essential work of unpacking your biases, and helps white people take action and dismantle the privilege within themselves. Based on the viral Instagram challenge that captivated participants worldwide, Me and White Supremacy takes readers on a 28-day journey, complete with journal prompts, to do the necessary and vital work that can ultimately lead to improving race relations.”

WF

White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo, PhD

“Referring to the defensive moves that white people make when challenged racially, white fragility is characterized by emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and by behaviors including argumentation and silence. These behaviors, 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 we can do to engage more constructively.”

10 Black leaders you should follow on IG

Without further ado and in no particular order:

Rachel Cargle @Rachel.Cargle

Amanda Seales @amandaseales

Ijeoma Oluo @ijeomaoluo

Tarana Burke @taranajaneen

Patrisse Cullors-Brignac @osopepatrisse

Janet Mock @janetmock

Alicia Garza @chasinggarza

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#StayFocused #blacklivesmatter #GeorgeFloyd

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urdoingreat @urdoingreat

Layla Saad @laylafsaad

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Black LIFE matters.

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Brittany Packnett @mspackyetti

Black Lives Matter

We’re in the middle of a surge of anti-racist action right now, due to the recent horrific murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and countless other black lives. It has been a full 8 years since Trayvon Martin was murdered—setting off the founding of the Black Lives Matter movement—and this trend of devaluing black lives and police abuse of black bodies has not slowed. It’s heartening to see how active so many people are getting right now, while also completely heartbreaking that it’s taken so many tragic deaths for us to get here. We need to keep up this momentum so that we can begin to end this cycle. White folks like myself especially need to step up. We need to educate ourselves and take any and all action we can—speaking with our loved ones and neighbors, attending protests, donating, and more.

Here are a few ways to get started.

Check out the Black Lives Matter website, sign their petition to defund the police, and check if your area has a local chapter to connect to actions in your community.

Follow along with the week of action organized by the Movement for Black Lives that’s happening now. For each day they’re sharing a variety of big and small ways to take action and resources to help. They also have really in depth descriptions of what they’re specifically fighting for and why—take a moment to familiarize yourself with these goals.

Sign the petitions to demand justice for George Floyd and for Breonna Taylor.

Read this: Why You Need to Stop Saying “All Lives Matter”

Let me be clear: our stating that black lives matter doesn’t insinuate that other lives don’t. Of course all lives matter. That doesn’t even need to be said. But the fact that white people get so upset about the term black lives matter is proof that nothing can center the wellbeing and livelihoods of black bodies without white people assuming it is to their demise.