Mandatory Summer Reading List: 10 Trending Black Culture Books You Need to Educate Yourself
If there’s one thing we’ve learned over the past few weeks since George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police, it’s that white people have a lot of work to do around acknowledging and fighting racism. Whether you need a refresher on the history of discrimination in the U.S., seek a better understanding of how society holds black folks back, or want a script to help you talk about race with family members and friends, books are one of the best resources to turn to. And right now, books on black culture are trending like never before. We’ve rounded up 10 of the best reads so you can educate yourself and get involved in creating a new, antiracist world.
Cover Photo: Eva-Katalin (Getty Images)
'How To Be An Antiracist' by Ibram X. Kendi
In this New York Times bestseller, Kendi combines ethics, history, law, science, and his own antiracism awakening to contemplate what an antiracist society would be like.
'White Fragility' by Robin DiAngelo
Rather than focusing on the impact of racism on people of color, this book helps white people see how racism shapes their own lives, how they support oppressive systems, and how they can work towards dismantling them.
'The New Jim Crow' by Michelle Alexander
This groundbreaking book asserts that the mass incarceration of black people purposefully undoes the progress made during the Civil Rights movement.
'Just Mercy' by Bryan Stevenson
This memoir follows attorney Bryan Stevenson as he establishes the Equal Justice Initiative and fights for the wrongfully convicted, including Walter McMillian, a black man sentenced to death for murder in 1980s Alabama.
'Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?' by Beverly Daniel Tatum
This longtime influential book turns an eye toward self-segregation and the way race relations play out in the school system.
'Stamped From the Beginning' by Ibram X. Kendi
This National Book Award-winning tome uses the stories of five American intellectuals to examine how they either contributed to or fought back against racist ideology.
'Me and White Supremacy' by Layla Saad
Inspired by an Instagram challenge that encouraged people to examine how they perpetuate white supremacy, this book helps white people unpack the ways they benefit from racism and gives them tools on how to stop hurting people of color.
'So You Want to Talk About Race' by Ijeoma Oluo
This book acts as a guide to help you have those often uncomfortable and awkward (but absolutely necessary) conversations about race with everyone from your family to your roommate to the person of color you just offended with your politically incorrect comment.
'Racism Without Racists' by Eduardo Bonilla-Silva
If you've ever uttered the tone-deaf phrase, "I don't see color," this book is for you. Bonilla-Silva explains why so-called "colorblindness" is so damaging and how it allows racial inequality to persist.
'White Rage' by Carol Anderson
This award-winning book focuses on the ways white people have opposed and prevented African-American progress from the Civil War to the present day.