Updated: Apr 28
As countless protests demand for more racial equality in the wake of George Floyd’s senseless takedown and death by police, there has been more talk about racism in the U.S. In the light of tragedies such as that of Floyd, more Americans want to learn more about how racial inequality and oppression can be stopped once and for all.
One way to learn about such an issue is to read about it – not just read and hear about racism on the news, but also reading literature that pertains to the subject.
In this article, we’ll look at the seven great books that will offer great insight on racism, and how people should implement anti-racism to counter it. And, some of these books will unveil the hardships in black lives, and how people would adapt and overcome from it.
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
by Maya Angelou
“I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is a powerful memoir that will move you,” says Piper Michelides, a writer at Essayroo and Assignment Help. “As Angelou takes you through her childhood with grace and seriousness, you’ll feel all kinds of emotions – joy, sadness, suffering, etc. From dealing with a stern grandmother in Arkansas, to being betrayed by her mother when an older man attacks her in St. Louis, Angelou’s escape through the words of famous authors of who she would eventually become herself.”
So You Want To Talk About Race
by Ijeoma Oluo
Ijeoma Oluo uses her book to persuade her readers (regardless of race) to start having honest conversations about race. The book suggests phrases and questions that can help you start the conversation. She even talks about sensitive subjects ranging from intersectionality to micro aggressions, or, more notably, subtly racist remarks or actions that can happen.
Conversations In Black: On Politics,
Power And Leadership
by Ijeoma Oluo
Recently published in 2020, journalist Ed Gordon invites prominent voices in black America to talk about black leadership and its future. With over 40 different leaders, entrepreneurs, and entertainers mentioned in this book, Gordon paints a picture of how having an honest conversation about race is much needed these days, especially to tackle different topics within the black community.
The Fire Next Time
by James Baldwin
Published in 1963, James Baldwin weaves a prose within two letters written on the 100th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. The essay calls for people of all races to combat racism (as well as the history of it) in America.
The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks About Race
by Jesmyn Ward
A noteworthy companion book to The Fire Next Time, Jesmyn Ward puts together an anthology of essays and poems that relate to Baldwin’s ideas on race in America. The anthology is split into three sections:
The legacy of race
The way things are today
How people can better the future
White Fragility: Why It's So Hard For White People To Talk About Racism
by Robin DiAngelo
“Considered a mirror and self-reflection guide, Robin DiAngelo exposes the numerous ways that white people would deflect talking about race, or try to avoid telling people their stance on it,” Nicole Thorpe, a journalist at Paperfellows and State Of Writing. “The idea of the book is to persuade people to look at privilege and finally have that honest conversation on race without deflecting it.”
What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker: A Memoir In Essays
by Damon Young
Made up of memoirs in the form of essays, What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker offers a look at what it means to be black and male in America. From breaking down the stereotypes on black men, to the author talking about his own weaknesses and how he tries to combat prejudice, Young doesn’t shy away from telling it like it is – how black males are being forced to be somebody that they were.
Combating racism is essential, nowadays, especially in the light of recent senseless tragedies in the black community. And one of the best ways to combat racism in ourselves is to read a wide variety of books on the subject manner.
With these seven books (as well as others that weren’t mentioned on this list), people can address racism from different angles. No matter what genre they’re from – memoirs, works of fiction, etc. – there are many viewpoints to consider, when talking about combating racism.
We hope that through this literature, we can all learn something about race, and how we can change the course of our future, or continue on our own path.
Beatrix Potter writes and edits for both Research Paper Help and Essay Service . She is also a manager for BoomEssays. As a book reviewer and enthusiast, she not only like to talk about several types of books – fiction, nonfiction, memoirs, etc. – but also read them in her spare time.