Me And White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad
When Layla F. Saad ran a month-long Instagram challenge, she had no idea that it would become an international movement. Thousands of people from around the world took part in the #MeAndWhiteSupremacy movement to challenge, examine and own responsibility for the ways in which they upheld white supremacy. The aim of this must-read is not to criticise but to educate those who may not be aware of their mistakes in terms of racial discrimination and explains ways on how to challenge your own thinking, and ultimately change it for the better.
White Fragility: Why It's So Hard For White People To Talk About Racism by Robin Diangelo
If you're looking on how to recognise subtle racial bias, White Fragility is sure to be your next pick. According to publisher Penguin, the novel is a "practical, crystallising guide for how white people can change the way they communicate and fight racism." Written by Robin DiAngelo, who coined the term 'White Fragility' in 2011, her novel describes how many tend to react after being called 'racist', and how those same reactions "only serve to silence people of colour, who cannot give honest feedback to 'liberal' white people lest they provoke a dangerous emotional reaction."
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
In one of author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's recent works of fiction, Americanah follows Ifemelu and Obinze who are young and in love, but decide to depart military-ruled Nigeria for the West. Beautiful, self-assured Ifemelu heads for America, where despite her academic success, she is forced to deal with what it means to be black for the first time. Quiet, thoughtful Obinze who had hoped to join her, instead plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Fifteen years later, they reunite in a newly democratic Nigeria, and reignite their passion—for each other and for their homeland.
Growing Up Aboriginal In Australia edited by Anita Heiss
An anthology, the novel covers accounts from well-known authors and high-profile identities, all of whom speak to the heart, sometimes calling for empathy, oftentimes challenging stereotypes, always demanding respect. Each account reveals, to some degree, the impacts of invasion and colonisation—on language, on country, on ways of life, and on how people are treated daily in the community, the education system, the workplace and friendship groups.
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
If you're of a fan of incredible literature, Maya Angelou is surely no stranger to you. Written in 1969, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is an autobiography describing the early years of Maya Angelou's life. The first in a seven-volume series, this coming-of-age story illustrates how the strength of character and a love of literature can help overcome racism and trauma. While we learn methods to disable our own racism, it's also vital that we listen and understand stories of triumph and oppression relayed to us first-hand. If you're looking to start with a classic, this is a must-read.
Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
The eighth novel by Bernardine Evaristo, Girl, Woman, Other is teeming with energy, humour and heart. This novel is a love song to black Britain told by twelve very different people. Winner of the Booker Prize in 2019, this incredible novel explores how different the lives of twelve different people can be all within the same city. Perfect for gaining perspective, this new kind of history should be your next pick.
The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
Based in an era of colourblindness, The New Jim Crow focuses on a time when it's no longer socially permissible to use race, explicitly, as a justification for discrimination, exclusion, and social contempt. Named after the racial caste system which primarily took place in the Southern states of the U.S., this novel takes a deep look into the current racial caste in America and how it is yet to end, it has merely been designed. "As a criminal, you have scarcely more rights, and arguably less respect, than a black man living in Alabama at the height of Jim Crow."
Between The World And Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Between The World is a profound novel that addresses both: the biggest questions about American History and to the concerns of a father for his son. T-Nehisi Coates writes about the powerful new framework for understanding of the history and current crisis in the U.S., and highlights how America has built an empire on the idea of 'race' and discrimination. Written in a letter to his son, Coates shares with his son—and readers—the story of his awakening to the truth about his place in the world through a series of revelatory experiences, from Howard University to Civil War battlefields.
So You Want To Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
A New York Times bestseller, Ijeoma Oluo offers a hard-hitting, yet user-friendly, examination of race in America. As she reports on aspects of white supremacy—from police brutality to the mass incarceration of African Americans—that have made it impossible to ignore the issue of race. She 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.
The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
Appearing originally in 1963, The Fire Next Time gave a passionate voice to the emerging civil rights movement. After reminiscing about James Baldwin’s early life in Harlem, and a disturbing examination of the consequences of racial injustice, the novel is both personal and provocative. It consists of two letters that exhort Americans, both black and white, to attack the terrible legacy of racism. According to publisher Penguin Random House, "The Fire Next Time consolidated his position as one of the country’s most important writers".
This article originally appeared on Instyle.