10 books to educate yourself about race and racism

Educate yourself on how to actively practice anti-racism

It’s #BlackOutTuesday, and we would like to encourage you to continuously educate yourself on the issues, especially with the current protests.

Practicing anti-racism is a continuous process that you should be working on each and every day, and it’s important to read up on race and racism to fully understand the issues.

We’ve gathered 10 books to educate yourself about race and racism below.

How to Be an Antiracist – Ibram X. Kendi

Historian Ibram X. Kendi’s book How to Be an Antiracist reroutes the discussion of racism to focus on the active deed of fighting against it, rather than looking at it as a passive opponent. Kendi looks at the ways racism and white supremacy enter both our public and private spheres, and explains to the reader exactly what antiracism looks like and what it would do.

American Lynching – Ashraf H.A. Rushdy

American Lynching sees Rushdy looking at a comprehensive, and carefully interpreted history, highlighting the ways it has changed over three centuries in America. It looks at mob violence in the United States and links it to white popular sovereignty.

So You Want To Talk About Race – Ijeoma Oluo

Ijeoma Oluo’s So You Want To Talk About Race is a New York Times best-selling novel that makes for a comprehensive, but accessible guide to making your way through difficult, but necessary conversations about race and racism. Looking at important topics like intersectionality, representation, privilege, and mass incarceration, this book is necessary for understanding different facets of race and racism.

White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism – Robin DiAngelo

Anti-racist educator Robin DiAngelo’s book White Fragility looks at white people’s defensive, aggressive reaction to being confronted with racial inequality. Throughout the book, DiAngelo explains the idea of white fragility, highlights its related emotions and counterproductive behaviours, and explains how these behaviours reinforce ideas of white supremacy.

The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks About Race – edited by Jesmyn Ward

The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks About Race, which is edited by National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward, is a collection of pieces by several different authors looking at race in America in modern times. Inspired by James Baldwin’s 1963 book The Fire Next Time Ward’s book looks at where we were, where we are, and where we are headed.

Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment – Patricia Hill Collins

Sociology scholar Patricia Hill Collins’ book Black Feminist Thought is a key foundational text about black feminism that not only highlights black feminist theory, but also creates a framework for readers to understand black feminist thinkers before her like bell hooks and Audre Lorde.

This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color – edited by Cherríe Moraga and Gloria Anzaldúa

This Bridge Called My Back, which was originally published in 1981, was revolutionary for its time, as it brought together pieces from women of colour from diverse backgrounds in one collection. With essays, poetry, interviews, and criticism, authors like Audre Lorde, Toni Cade Bambara, and more looked at the ways non-white women are oppressed because of their race, ethnicity, sexuality, and class.

Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches – Audre Lorde

Honestly, every single book by Audre Lorde should be on this list, but Sister Outsider is definitely a stand out. With 15 beautiful speeches and essays from Black lesbian feminist poet Lorde, this collection will make you completely rethink your mindset around feminism, race, power, sex, ageism, and homophobia.

Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor – Layla F. Saad

Educator and activist Layla F. Saad put out an Instagram challenge in 2018 that asked white people to truly confront their racist ideas and behaviours using a 28-day exercise that was led by a free workbook. Almost 100,000 people took part in the #meandwhitesupremacy challenge, and this book serves an extension of the original workbook.

The Possessive Investment in Whiteness: How White People Profit From Identity Politics – George Lipsitz

Black studies scholar George Lipsitz’s The Possessive Investment in Whiteness is an expansive, comprehensive analysis of the different ways that whiteness is valued and rewarded. Looking at the ways white people are entered through housing, education, employment, health care, and culture, this book examines white privilege.