Today as people took to streets in the United States and in several other places in all around the world to denounce racism and police brutality, a spark of optimism shines in the gloomy horizon, a beacon of hope is re-kindled re-assuring us all that we can still dream that one day all races will be regarded on equal footing and that racism will be a thing of the past.
The civil movement that is now taking shape in the United States and across the world is a catalyst for progressive structural reforms and transformations. However, we need to keep in mind that regardless of the systemic reforms this movement can probably give rise to, laws alone are not enough to beat racism. Why?
History abounds with examples. Did military action completely eradicated terrorism? No, it did not. Yes, it destroyed its infrastructure and succeeded in dismantling active terrorist cells which, in effect, has tremendously decreased the looming threat of terrorist attacks.But the terrorist ideology is still out there which explains why the phenomenon of ‘lone wolves’ is on the rise.
Today’s post is all about race and racism. It features a collection of some great books on race and racism as featured in The Washington Post and The New York Times. I invite you to check them out and share with your colleagues. If you are to read only one book from this selection, I recommend Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism .
1- White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism , by Robin DiAngelo
“In this “vital, necessary, and beautiful book” (Michael Eric Dyson), antiracist educator Robin DiAngelo deftly illuminates the phenomenon of white fragility and “allows us to understand racism as a practice not restricted to ‘bad people’ (Claudia Rankine). Referring to the defensive moves that white people make when challenged racially, white fragility is characterized by emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and by behaviors including argumentation and silence.
2- How to Be an Antiracist, by Ibram X. Kendi
“Kendi weaves an electrifying combination of ethics, history, law, and science with his own personal story of awakening to antiracism. This is an essential work for anyone who wants to go beyond the awareness of racism to the next step: contributing to the formation of a just and equitable society.”
3- Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America , by Ibram X. Kendi
“In this deeply researched and fast-moving narrative, Kendi chronicles the entire story of anti-black racist ideas and their staggering power over the course of American history. He uses the life stories of five major American intellectuals to drive this history: Puritan minister Cotton Mather, Thomas Jefferson, abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, W.E.B. Du Bois, and legendary activist Angela Davis.
4- Waking Up White, and Finding Myself in the Story of Race, by Debby Irving
“For twenty-five years, Debby Irving sensed inexplicable racial tensions in her personal and professional relationships. As a colleague and neighbor, she worried about offending people she dearly wanted to befriend. As an arts administrator, she didn’t understand why her diversity efforts lacked traction.
5- Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love and So Much More , by Janet Mock
“With unflinching honesty and moving prose, Janet Mock relays her experiences of growing up young, multiracial, poor, and trans in America, offering readers accessible language while imparting vital insight about the unique challenges and vulnerabilities of a marginalized and misunderstood population.
6-The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, by Michelle Alexander
“Seldom does a book have the impact of Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow. Since it was first published in 2010, it has been cited in judicial decisions and has been adopted in campus-wide and community-wide reads; it helped inspire the creation of the Marshall Project and the new $100 million Art for Justice Fund; it has been the winner of numerous prizes, including the prestigious NAACP Image Award; and it has spent nearly 250 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list.”
7- So You Want to Talk About Race, by Ijeoma Oluo
“In So You Want to Talk About Race, Ijeoma Oluo guides readers of all races through subjects ranging from intersectionality and affirmative action to “model minorities” in an attempt to make the seemingly impossible possible: honest conversations about race and racism, and how they infect almost every aspect of American life.”