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23 Books About Racism to Inspire You to Embrace Race and Do Good

Written by some of the most influential authors in the world, these books about racism will touch your heart in the most unexpected way. With a focus on different angles of racism and its effects[1] on society, each book would surely instill in you the significance of the Black movement and why it is essential to put an end to racism in order to contribute to the wellbeing of humanity.

Hopefully, after reading one of the books I’ve listed, you’ll find in yourself the desire to push the conversation around race in a positive direction.

This list incorporates such worthwhile books that have been included on the highly esteemed New York Times Best Seller list. Furthermore, these books have enjoyed their fair share of glory as they were deemed profoundly insightful and motivational by the likes of magazines such as Publishers Weekly.

Educating and enlightening our readers on how to deal with racism has been my primary aim of creating this list. The books included here inspire individuals to embrace their skin color so that they can prompt others to stand up against racism and collectively work their way to completely uproot it.

1. How to Be an Antiracist

A New York Times Bestseller, this book by Ibram X. Kendi lays out a practical methodology to eradicate racism and completely uproot it from our chauvinist society.

2. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

This compelling book by Michelle Alexander accentuates the devastating truth about the US criminal justice system and how it discriminates and disregards the African American community of the US.

3. The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America

One of the Publishers Weekly’s 10 Best Books of 2017, The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein exposes the US government and how it carried out racist segregation in the many metropolitan areas of the United States.

4. White Rage

This riveting piece of work by Carol Anderson, which happens to be a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, singles out the powerful mass forces that were antagonistic towards the development of the African American community in the US.

5. Between the World and Me

Another New York Times Bestseller, Ta-Nehisi Coates’ book outlines the critical elements for enabling the reader to understand the history of the United States and what factors led to the ongoing racial crisis.

6. Stamped From the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America

Stamped From the Beginning is a deeply researched account in which the author, Ibram X. Kendi, jots down the story of anti-black racist ideas and their tremendous effect on the African American community throughout US history.

7. Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?

Beverly Daniel Tatum illustrates a veracious picture of a typical high school where students of different races are clustered in their own groups, thus, emphasizing that interracial communication is vital.

8. Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race

This book by Reni Eddo-Lodge highlights how futile it is to discuss racism with individuals who are ignorant about its severity. Furthermore, the author offers an essential framework to tackle racism

9. So You Want to Talk About Race

Ijeoma Oluo offers her perspective on racism in the US and addresses issues such as police brutality, the Black Lives Matter movement, and privilege.

10. The Color of Water

In this book by James McBride, the winner of the National Book Award for Fiction, the author re-enacts his mother’s story, depicting her journey and all the hardship she had to endure when she migrated to America.

11. The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row

This book by Anthony Ray Hinton and Lara Love Hardin features a compelling story of a man who was wrongfully incarcerated for a crime he didn’t commit. The book showcases that, in the end, love trumps all.

12. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

This enthralling chronicle by Maya Angelou depicts the gut-wrenching story of the author, what she had to deal with when she was sent off to live with her grandmother, and how fitting words can make everything right.

13. The Autobiography of Malcolm X

In one of Time’s ten most influential nonfiction books by Malcolm X and Alex Haley, Malcolm X narrates the remarkable story of his life, the augmentation of the Black Muslim movement, and his take on the restrictions and lies of the American Dream.

14. The Bluest Eye

Toni Morrison wrote this gripping account of a young black girl who yearns for blond hair and blue eyes to fit into society. This book offers a much-needed reality check and asks some essential questions around race.

15. Becoming

This book enjoyed a staggering first spot on New York Times Bestseller’s list. Michelle Obama, one of the most influential women of our era, narrates the mesmerizing experiences that molded her persona and enabled her to be the first African American First Lady of the US.

16. Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption

From the New York Times Bestseller’s list, this book by Bryan Stevenson is an indelible account of a young lawyer and his commendable efforts in pursuing true justice. His first case was that of an innocent young man who was on a death row for a murder he didn’t commit

17. The Underground Railroad

Winner of the deemed Pulitzer Prize, The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead features the life of Cora, a slave, and the hurdles she had to face, particularly when she decided to escape.

18. The Warmth of Other Suns

This book by Isabel Wilkerson happens to be a National Book Critics Circle Award Winner. In this chronicle, Isabel Wilkerson relates the stories of black citizens of the US and their search for a better life.

19. The Nickel Boys

Winner of the Kirkus Prize, this story by Colson Whitehead is an account of Elwood Curtis, a black boy who was unjustly incarcerated in a juvenile center known as Nickel Academy, and how, consequently, his life became a living hell.

20. The Souls of Black Folk

This book by W.E.B. Du Bois is the pioneering edifice that helped pave the foundation of African American literature. It played a pivotal part in the development of strategies that orchestrated the early 20th-century black protests in the US.

21. Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do

This book by Jennifer L. Eberhardt explores the issue of racism and deduces how racial bias has failed American society. It is a pivotal read for anyone who is even mildly interested in the current Black movement in the US.

22. Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do

Claude M. Steele renders the first-hand experience of his research on American stereotypes, such as the athletic superiority of black men, and provides a means of reshaping American identities.

23. 12 Years a Slave

This book by Solomon Northup tells of the real-life encounter of Solomon Northup, a free man in New York, and how he was kidnapped, drugged, and sold as a slave. This book also proved to be the edifice on which the Academy-Award winning movie 12 Years a Slave was produced.

Final Thoughts

This comprehensive list incorporates some of the most acclaimed books on racism, offering in-depth insight on these issues. Furthermore, these books will cultivate the fervor you need to fight racism and completely curb it.

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