Racism is a loaded term, a buzzword that often creates an immediate barrier if one perceives it is in any way being negatively connected with them. As such, reading a list called “10 books on racism” might make you want to run, because the mere suggestion of such a list might make you feel that someone is accusing you of being racist.
Or, it might make you want to run toward it, because perhaps like many of us, you’ve realized your initial understanding of race and racism in our world was missing important pieces, at best.
The reality is that each of our prejudices, fears, and acceptance of people different than us – on both a personal and societal level– has been shaped by a number of things, and none of us can avoid this entirely. We would all do well to examine this issue from viewpoints outside of our own.
Without further commentary, these are 10 of the books that shaped my understanding of race and racism in America:
1. Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Bryan Stevenson)
2. Black Like Me (John Howard Griffin)
3. Twelve Years a Slave: The Autobiography of Solomon Northup (Solomon Northup, Sue Eakin)
4. Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension of American Racism by James W. Loewen (Loewen, James W.) (My review on this, from 2012)
8. Between the World and Me (Ta-Nehisi Coates)
9. The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr., (Clayborne Carson)
10. The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration (Isabel Wilkerson)
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