5 Essential Books for the Antiracist

May 30, 2020



Racism persists in our society and is a direct threat to black lives. Be a better ally for black people by educating yourself, taking action, and using your voice.

Here are some books that will help you begin to unlearn and head down a path towards anti-racism:

Stamped From The Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi
Change how you view the world by reading this tome. Kendi explores white supremacy and racist ideas that originated with our Puritan settlers and persisted for centuries up until the presidency of Barack Obama and present day. Essential reading!

How to Be Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
As a follow-up to Stamped from the Beginning, Kendi explains how racism is a result of bad policy through stories of his own life. It’s both a memoir and a guidebook on antiracism.

So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
By telling relatable stories, Oluo walks you through all the questions you’ve ever wanted to ask about racism. Find out how to properly recognize your privilege and how microaggressions affect minority populations among many other lessons taught in this book.

The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein
Systematic racism is a common yet confusing term. Rothstein breaks it down by showing how the system has led to racial segregation in our communities through government policy. Reading through more than a century’s worth of concrete evidence is eyeopening to say the least.

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
In a letter to his son, Coates recounts the history of racial violence in our country. It’s heartbreaking and deeply personal but gives us all a glimpse at what it truly means to be black in America.

These five books are a great start to learn about the history of racism in our country. The following are on my list to read next:

• White Fragility by Robin Diangelo
• The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
• A Terrible Thing to Waste by Harriet A. Washington
• Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad
• White Rage by Carol Anderson

If you’re going to purchase any of these books, I urge you to buy from a black-owned bookstore. Semicolon is a great place to start. Local indedepent book stores are a solid second resort. I love Belcanto Books here in Long Beach (they also sell online).

Otherwise, your local library is wonderful free resource. Once you have a library card, you can check out these books or download them to your phone as an e-book or audio book using the Libby app.

Remember, education is necessary in learning about racism so that you can become antiracist, but our action is needed to stop the daily assault on black people. I don’t have much to say about taking action because I have not taken much action. This will change. I will do better because black lives matter.