In light of the recent events and demonstrations all over the world, we have realized that there is so more much to learn and understand in order to become better allies in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
Last week, we shared an extensive list of books, TV shows, and podcasts that will guide us in educating ourselves on anti-racism. As a team, we have been taking the time to read and learn more about racial inequality and oppression in the United States. Here’s a list of books that we are currently reading. We hope to inspire you to read and learn more with us because information is power.
Just Mercy is a memoir by lawyer and social justice activist Bryan Stevenson who represents an African American man accused of killing a white woman in Alabama. The book points out the racism in our police and judicial systems. This book will shock you, make you cry and feel so grateful for all the lawyers who dedicate their lives to fight for the vulnerable on death row and facing life without parole.
Such A Fun Age tactfully covers very real issues such as white privilege, interracial dating, and social class. The story is set around a young black babysitter who is accused of kidnapping the child she’s babysitting (not to mention, the mother of the child is a blogger and influencer). The author highlights some of the ignorance people have regarding racism and the ‘white savior’ complex. If you’re looking for a fiction to read about how to be anti-racist but also want to understand it in the context of what’s happening now, this is such a great read.
I’ve always loved Bell Hooks who is an incredible author, professor, feminist and social activist. All About Love: New Visions has been on my shelf for some time but it felt very important to read now; make sure to have a pen on hand because I have underlined entire chapters and taken lengthy notes because her topics and discussions hit close to home for all. She poses the question “what is love” and takes us on a journey into breaking down polarized societal norms and failures that have caused suffering and been ingrained in us since childhood while providing insightful ways to heal both individually and as a nation.
I have been seeking out any and all things Toni Morrison ever since high school and re-reading some classics that feel more relevant than ever. The Bluest Eye tells the painful story of a young girl seeking to fit in as she feels isolated by the color of her skin and looking different than her blonde haired and blue eyed peers. This digs deep into the struggles and pain of conformity and what society tells us is beautiful. Written in Morrison’s beautiful and graceful style, it addresses race, class and gender and is a must read for all.
Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race By Reni Eddo-Lodge
I picked this book to begin with because of its exceptional reviews and the controversial title which is part of the frustration and emotional disconnect the author felt after countless confrontations with white people who “refuse to accept the legitimacy of structural racism and its symptoms.” The book explores the history of racism in the UK and gives insight to the current issues that many other countries are facing, making it especially relevant now in the US. The purpose of this book is not to discourage anyone from speaking about race rather it inspires and equips me with the knowledge and determination to continue to engage in this uncomfortable conversation on racism with both white and non-white people.
So You Want To Talk About Race By Ijeoma Oluo
This book by Ijeoma Oluo is a bestseller for many reasons. She starts with setting expectations on how we will all make mistakes and that some conversations are uncomfortable but necessary. It’s clear and straightforward, just like a handbook.
This book asks hard questions and it urges us to examine our thoughts, behavior, and privilege. She also clearly defines terms that make a difference in how we understand things. On privilege for example: “Privilege, in the social justice context, is an advantage or a set of advantages that you have that others do not.” By constantly being aware of our own privilege and how it intersects with somebody else’s disadvantages, we are granted power and access to make a change.