Society has a very ugly monster hiding underneath its bed.
And what’s even worse is that it’s become ingrained within every member and facet of our global community. If you don’t think racism has crept its way into your life, take a step back and look at your situation. You may find that your life is pretty good. Aside from everyday struggles, you can still sleep peacefully at night knowing that your tomorrow will be just another day.
You might not have to worry about getting unjustly mistreated or cursed upon by random strangers. Or that you’ll still get properly compensated for a job well done. Or perhaps lose a potential job you are the best candidate for over your name alone.
And if you don’t have to experience any of these, that’s great. Because nobody should have to. We should all receive equal treatment no matter the color of our skin or where our families come from. However, that’s not the case at all, and it’s been long overdue that we’ve addressed this issue. But where should we even begin?
We should start by reading and listening to the stories of those who have encountered this beast head-on. We need to educate ourselves and get woke! And these books are chock full of great information to help us get started.
This book is an in-depth deep dive into examining your white privilege, racial stereotypes, anti-blackness, and much more. If you’re ready to look inside and closely critique your beliefs in the hopes of becoming a better human being…this is a great place to start.
White fragility is defined as the sensitivity and defensiveness white people experience when confronted with issues pertaining to race. These actions do not ultimately “defend the white race” but instead further impoverish people of color and promote continued racial inequality. If you’re struggling with opening up on race issues, give this book a try.
Talking about race or bringing up race-related issues is a sensitive topic. However, it shouldn’t be. We should be able to have open mature conversations to help further understand and love the differences between us. Ijeoma Oluo’s book helps us to be more frank with each other while preventing miscommunication and offending others.
Standing by idly while others are being prosecuted based solely on race is not enough. Sure, you’re not getting involved and taking sides. But that’s the problem. In order to eradicate racism, we must come together as a collective unit to do so. Learn how you too can be a full-fledged Anti-Racist in Ibram X Kendi’s newest book.
This is a witty page-turner that very easy to read through. But it carries a very solemn message. There is a racial divide between white people and persons of color. Dr. Fleming really addresses the concept of systemic racism and offers practical suggestions on how you can tackle it head on.
In order to combat racism, we must first know and understand our enemy. In this text, Professor Golash-Boza addresses how the idea of race was orginally created, the evils of structural racism, how racism creates socioeconomic divide, and much more. This is a truly convincing and academic take on racism.
Although this book acknowledges the overcome and current struggles of African Americans through US history, it more so focuses on the other side of the coin. Carol Anderson instead focuses on the incendiary reactions of white people following African American triumph. Understanding how to eliminate these retaliations is pivotal in moving forward together as a people.
This work by Frantz Fanon is one of the most powerfully moving pieces I have ever read. It’s an absolutely brilliant psychoanalysis of oppressed people on their path to liberation. This work has been held in the highest regard by many and has had major impacts on racial equality activists around the globe since its publication in 1961.
One of the fastest growing populations in the United States is Asian Americans. And Americans of Asian descent have been around for essentially the entirety of US history. However, their story and voice has been lost. Erika Lee helps bring their stories back to live with this book.
Earlier, I stated that racism has penetrated every facet of our society–including those who should be our protectors and civil servants. Does that mean all cops are completely terrible people?
One of my childhood heroes was actually a local Black police officer. I went through some troubles as kid and through my late teens–let’s call it a rebellious streak. And Officer Metcalf was always there to offer great advice and shoulder to cry on free of judgement. I honestly don’t know where I’d be without him.
But…not every officer shares the same dedication and character he had. In fact, police racism can be extremely terrifying. And it’s completely indicative of the systemic racism plaguing our world today. And in order to combat police racism, we need to study and understand it right at the source. Here are a few books to help us do just that:
Written by Matthew Horace–a retired Black police officer who served for 28 years–this book is an eye-opening account of just how deep racism in the US police force runs. One of the biggest shockers Horace describes is when he was held at gunpoint face down on the ground by a fellow white police officer. This book is a must-read for anyone looking for what happens behind the little blue curtain.
Police brutalizations of African Americans are nothing new. Unfortunately, they’ve been happening since the inception of America’s police force. In this book, Clarence Taylor takes us on a trip through time–from the 1940s onwards– detailing the experiences of African Americans at the hand of NYC’s predominantly white police force.
Women of color can have additional problems when dealing with police brutalizations. In Andrea Ritchie’s book, she covers some of the additional struggles women have had to undergo including sexism, dehumanization, and rape. This book covers some pretty heavy issues in graphic detail. Normally, I would suggest this to only very mature audiences. However, this book’s voice needs to be heard by both late-teens and adults.
It’s not good enough to just educate ourselves about racism. After all, our children are also subjected to the same monster that we as adults are. However, it can be very tricky and difficult to talk to children about racism–especially for families of color. But it’s a bleak reality that’s unavoidable.
Thankfully, there have been several absolutely incredible authors who have confronted this issue head-on. So many great books have been written to help guide parents through this big talk with their kids. Here are some of my favorites:
Teaching children about racism is a monumental part of promoting a loving, safe, and open society. But it sure can be awkward and challenging to do. This book is written primarily for white children and families in order to help them target and eliminate white supremacy where it’s seen. This is one of the most controversial selections on this list.
Written by former NFL wide receiver Matthew Cherry, this book isn’t so much as conquering racism but appreciating and loving who you are. The book explores the relationship between an African American father, daughter, and the love of their natural hair.
Resist is a children’s book suitable for older children. It outlines how important figures throughout history stood up against the bullies of their time and fought against social injustice. While this book covers many topics, it does address racism, slavery, and inequalities. And this book’s been officially endorsed with the forward written by Senator Cory Booker.
All the Colors We Are has been around for over 220 years teaching children about the scientific reasons behind different skin tones. Through proper education, this book has been an essential resource in helping tear down racial stereotypes and myths which leads to future racism.
This is the story of Audrey Faye Hendricks and proof that one child can make a major difference in the fight for civil equality. You see, Audrey was the youngest person to be arrested and put in jail for protesting and picketing “white-only” stores during the Civil Rights Movement in 1963. And even though her story was put-together in a cute little picture book, her story is very real and a great example of standing up for what is right.
Growing up in 1960s Ohio, Chuck Ealey had a dream of one day becoming an NFL quarterback. But no matter how much he excelled both in his studies and physical abilities, he was turned away because of the color of his skin. Chuck eventually overcame his struggles and went on to become a professional football player in the Canadian Football League. This book teaches children that they can be anything they want to be if they just put their minds to it and work hard.
All American Boys is a Coretta Scott King Author Honor book and winner of the Walter Dean Myers award for Outstanding Children’s Literature. In this book, the story follows two teens–one white, one black–as they each must struggle with a violent act that has terrorized them and rocked the nation. When Rashad falls victim to racial police brutalization, Quinn captures the entire thing on film. And while Rashad must deal with the struggles of being victimized by the police, Quinn suffers from doubts and confusion about the man who raised him–the officer who delivered the beating.
This story revolves around Starr Carter who is the sole witness to the police killing of her unarmed best friend Khalil. And now, the media is smearing Khalil’s name and character to justify this slaying. Starr is faced with the tough choice of speaking of and exposing the truth or remaining quiet and complacent.
In Kenneth Braswell’s book, an African American family is awoken by strange noises outside their window. Now, it’s up to the parents to explain to their children the protests that were taking place in their inner-city neighborhood.
My Vision Quest by Eevi Jones is a wonderful story that helps to explain to children of all ages, genders, and races that they can indeed fulfill their big dreams and visions. Through believing in the power that they hold inside, this story teaches kids that they can accomplish anything they set their minds to. And best of all…50% of this series’ proceeds will be dedicated to Pencils Of Promise to help provide little ones with access to quality education, regardless of their gender, race, or social economic backgrounds.
One of the absolute best ways to spread awareness about racism is to get vocal. Let your voice be heard! I’ve scoured the airwaves and found some of best anti-racism podcasts. These can be rather eye-opening especially when hearing about actual personal stories people have lived through.
The Groundings is a great podcast which helps explain past movements and how they ultimately help decide what’s going on today. In this particular episode, Annie Olaloku confronts Afro-pessimism and “anti-blackness theory”.
In this New York Times talk, Black women share the everyday racist and stereotype struggles they face everyday in life. It’s been long overdue that these women get the proper respect they deserve.
In this podcast, Andrew and Tawny answer phone calls and emails regarding the status of certain actions and words and determine whether or not they’re racist. The show can be relatively light-hearted at times and a pleasure to listen to. However, they do tackle tough and intense situations as well such as their take on the death of George Floyd.
Comedic writer Ashley Nicole Black has since turned her attentions to her podcast Sip On This where she takes on all sorts of issues from social encounters, dating, and career advice. However, in one episode, she features her mother’s advice for raising confident Black children and talking about race with White children.
This speech by senior Air Force leader CQ Brown, Jr. is by far one of the most powerful things I’ve heard in a very long time. It’s captivating, eye-opening, heartfelt, and a true example of what quality leadership should sound like. I salute you Sir and wish you the best.
We’re not born inherently racist, it’s a learned behavior. But I think it goes a bit further than that. While there are some despicable individuals out there who teach and vilify hate towards those who are different, I want to believe that the majority of society is for the equal treatment of others. But why is it despite an overall general “goodness” that racism is still alive and thriving?
Many of us have been unwillingly indoctrinated through systemic racism. It’s not that people are actually racist, but instead simply doing racist things or experiencing extra privilege without even knowing. Now, is ignorance an excuse or reason to continue this trend? Absolutely not. However, by acknowledging the existence of systemic racism, we can fight together to dismantle its deeply rooted grip.
This process will not be an overnight battle. It will be a continuous struggle that we as a people undivided must stand against vehemently to take away its power. And just fixing your current way of thinking isn’t enough. This message of love, respect, unity, and desegregation needs to be spread to our children and the generations that follow.
And these are just a few of the available resources that you can find to help better us a unified people. If there’s something that should be on this list and isn’t, please let me know in the comments below.