If you’re like me, we all posted a black square on Instagram last week for #BlackOutTuesday, but what’s next? It’s my opinion that the rest of the learning must be done offline, and must start in our own homes. It might include having tough conversations with your family members or children, or choosing to watch a documentary on racism instead of your usual Netflix comedy series. Learning about systemic racism, and understanding my own white privilege, is a marathon, not a sprint. Even though I’m not posting online about it every single day, does not mean that I don’t support the movement and haven’t been doing my own learning in my personal time. And I do promise to continue to be a voice and incorporate diversity into my content however I can in the future. I may not always get the words exactly right, and I acknowledge that I won’t ever properly understand how racism feels, but what I can do is use this time is to listen, learn, and start my own long-term anti-racism strategy.
Instead of a typical book review where I go over all the thrillers I read this month, I thought I would share some nonfiction and fiction novels on diversity and anti-racism that are enlightening and educational. All of these have hundreds of 5-star reviews on Amazon and are on my personal “To-Read” list.
1. Me and White Supremacy, by Layla Saad
“As a white lady trying to hold up a mirror to my own privilege, these exercises were incredibly eye opening. I recommend this book to everyone who asks me how and where to start.” – Amazon reviewer
2. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
“Maya Angelou’s first memoir, ‘I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings,’ captures the sweetest, purest, and the most honest inner voice of a Black child who grew up to be a heroine. Dr. Angelou does not censor anything; she wants us to know it all. It is so true, straightforward, and uncensored that many white parents have attempted to ban this book from schools… This powerful modern American classic has changed many readers’ (and listeners’) hearts and minds in a way that every great work of literature should. This book became a best-seller immediately after it was published.” – Amazon reviewer
3. So you Want to Talk About Race, by Ijeoma Oluo
“Ijeoma Oluo has some excellent advice for white folks in ‘So You Want to Talk About Race.’ This book may be most helpful to people who think ‘I’m not racist’ or who read about Black Lives Matter and #takeaknee and can’t understand why they’re necessary. Oluo addresses topics that you may hesitate to raise with Black friends, encourages you to revisit your understanding of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X and explains concepts including emotional labor and white privilege. Consider this anti-racism 101.” – Amazon reviewer
4. Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire, by Akala
“This should be required reading in every secondary school in the country, as well as on every teaching and police training course. It is superb.” – Amazon reviewer
5. Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi
“It normally wouldn’t be a book that I’d have picked for myself, just based on the summary. But I honestly think I’d go so far as to say this book had an impact on me and my life. I LOVED IT. I genuinely love all people and consider myself a really welcoming and open minded person, but this book opened my eyes to just how ignorant I still am… to the struggles Black people have faced in the past, to how white people and Christians in America have probably been taught just one version of history, not necessarily the right version, a reminder that all people are just people, and bigger than that, how both chance and our ancestors have such an effect on our lives today.” – Amazon reviewer
6. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
“Toni Morrison’s writing isn’t ‘great,’ it is mind blowing. This book reads almost like poetry. It’s a really, really, really heavy story – a woman escapes slavery with her four young children, only to reach freedom in Ohio right about the time the Fugitive Act was enacted. Her former owner comes for her and her children, and she makes a desperate decision to take her children’s lives, rather than have them live enslaved…. take your time and read this one a bunch of times. It can be really painful. But it is beautifully written and important to read.” – Amazon reviewer
7. Red at the Bone, by Jacqueline Woodson
“This is a beautifully written story of love, loss and a family. Centered around Melody, it’s the story of her mother, her parents, her father, and his mother. The families come from different places on the socioeconomic ladder and for different reasons… This is fast read with gorgeous language and people you will care about. It well deserves the praise it has received.” – Amazon reviewer
I have read “Beloved” and loved it – I ordered the rest of these from Amazon and will update you on my thoughts as I read them.
If there’s any particular content you want to see on here in the future about anti-racism and diversity, let me know in the comments. Again, I would love to keep the conversation here positive!