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Hey there, fellow white people. Let’s talk about race.
Or at least talk about reading about race.
It’s that time of year when a lot of white people post white-washed quotes about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., talking about unity, peace, and non-violent demonstrations.
It’s also that time of the year when white people sit around and whisper to each other, half-wondering and half-complaining, about why a Black History month exists.
As a white person, you may have even though at some point…how is having a Black History month not racist toward white people?
Sooo….yeah…we as white people have a lot of work to do.
If you’re asking questions about race and Black History month and you feel angry, take a seat and spend some time reflecting on why you feel so mad.
Then, come back to this article.
If you’re asking questions about race and Black History month because you genuinely want to learn, welcome!
Let’s get started.
By Ijeoma Oluo
Want to learn more about race, but don’t know what to do with all the questions you’ve always wanted to ask?
Start with Ijeoma Oluo’s book.
Oluo discusses a variety of race-related issues specific to the United States, such as police brutality, intersectionality, privilege, Black Lives Matter, micro-aggressions, and white people using the “N” word.
Oluo also wrote her book specifically for white people who want to work on addressing their own ignorance.
This question was actually asked to me during my first semester of teaching at Clemson University.
Tatum draws on her professional experience and research in the field of the psychology of racism. She uses this question to explore the dynamics of racial identities.
If you’re a white person who has ever wondered about cafeteria seating choices and race, you need this book.
There’s this idea amongst self-proclaimed progressive white people that the label “racist” only applies to white nationalists, Republicans, and everyone else except other well-educated, upper-middle-class, “liberal” white people.
Diangelo spills some hard truth about white fragility, mainly focusing on white people who think racist acts and language can only be carried out by other “bad people.”
If you are a white person who has felt angry, frustrated, and defensive when you are accused of racism, spend an afternoon reading this gem.
Ever wonder what it’s like to be black in America?
Through both poetry and prose, Rankine sheds insight on the stress of being black in the United States.
She also debunks the myth of the “post-racial” America that we supposedly live in today.
If you’re someone who thinks race isn’t relevant anymore, this is for you.
If you’re white, you probably aren’t aware of how many school rules and policies are rooted in white supremacy and criminalize students of color.
Black girls tend to suffer the most from these school policies as administrators and teachers police them for how they look, what they wear, and how they talk.
Morris’ book has become a staple in required reading for future educators.
If you’re a white person interested in becoming a teacher or if you’ve ever had a classmate sent to the office for wearing a headscarf to cover her edges because she didn’t have any gel, you need to read this book.
By Paul Butler
Butler presents data and research that proves white men commit the majority of violent crime in the United States, and yet black men are feared, hated, and stereotyped as violent criminals.
Although this book explores how race is discussed in
Her book, which is based off of her essay by the same name that went viral, covers a variety of race-related issues and points out the problems caused by white supremacy and white feminism.
Do you believe we live in a “post-racial” America?
If you’re a white person and your answer is yes, you need to spend some time with Michelle Alexander and her award-winning book on mass incarceration of black men in the United States.
Slavery never really ended.
Do you remember watching the protests in Ferguson?
The phrase “black rage” was tossed around by white people to describe the reaction from the black community to Michael Brown’s murder and then the acquittal of his shooter.
Carol Anderson’s book is a response to those white people who criticize black voices for how, when, and why those voices speak out against police brutality.
If you’re a white person who’s ever complained or questioned a Black Lives Matter protest, spend some time with Anderon’s book.
As a digital marketer and content creator, I spend TONS of time using search engines.
Noble’s book opened my eyes to the racism I failed to see being upheld within my own suggested search phrases and search results.
Subtle, digital racism is still racism.
You won’t look at that Google search bar the same way again
Helms’ book is designed for white people who want to learn more about race and their own racial identity.
The book offers examples and activities that can help you retrain your white brain.
Teach for America.
These are service programs that offer opportunities to young professionals who want to serve in low-income, resource-starved areas.
Most of the recruited young professionals are white.
Too many of the recruited young professionals for teaching positions are young, white women.
This is a problem, particularly for the young black men they are responsible for teaching.
And with legislators attempting to pass laws to arm teachers in schools, this problem could potentially become fatal for students of color.
A young, white woman teaching young students of color,
This book speaks specifically to white women who are or are considering becoming teachers.
It is an attempt to make these white women reflect on how their whiteness will impact their students, especially the young black men in their classrooms.
Painter explores over 2,000 years of history, including the invention of race, and how “whiteness” gained power.
As a white person, take a moment to learn the history of your whiteness.
Rhoden illustrates the history of black athletes in the United States.
He highlights how, despite the great achievements of these black athletes, they still never reap the benefits that their white counterparts enjoy.
Rhoden also exposes the systemic racism that is still ingrained in the American sports industry and culture today.
The white-washed version of Rose Parks is what we are typically taught in public school history classes: she was an elderly black woman who refused to give up her seat to a white person on a bus because she was too tired.
McGuide takes that white-washed Rosa Parks and fleshes out the narrative of a black woman who fought back against the rampant sexual assaults of black women by white men in her community.
The 1955 Montgomery bus boycott was only a small part of Parks’ activism and resistance.
The history that we are taught in America’s public schools is often through the lens and perspective of white men.
Baptist’s book attempts to teach history by centering on black voices in American history, including slave narratives.
By Vegas Tenold
With membership in white nationalist organizations on the rise, it’s important to know how white nationalist groups were founded and how white nationalism continues to not only exist, but thrive.
Tenold examines white nationalism in America, including his close encounters with the three most powerful and extreme white nationalist groups in the nation: the Traditionalist Workers’ Party, the National Socialist Movement, and the Klu-Klux-Klan (KKK).
Kendi takes a deep dive into American history and examines some of the most notable American thinkers. He argues that all of them are complicit in harboring racist ideas and beliefs.
Despite this long past of deeply entrenched racist thought and action in American history, Kendi is
DiAngelo makes another appearance on this list as a white person speaking to other white people. In this book, you’ll have an opportunity to learn about your own “whiteness,” white socialization, and white racial illiteracy.
Lowery’s work is another must read for white people to learn more about police brutality and systematic racism in the criminal justice system.
Lowery covers the most recent events of the past few years, including Ferguson, Cleveland, Charleston, and Baltimore.
In his book, Rothstein teaches how segregation in America was not conceived from private prejudice, but rather a quest for power.
The government of the United States implemented residential segregation to gain this power through racial inequality.
You’ll learn about racial zoning, subsidies for building whites-only suburbian communities, and more.
Dr. Jo Degruy discusses the trauma that African Americans in the United States have and continue to experience.
It’s not just a physical battle. It’s a mental one.
Harris-Perry’s work is a political science book that changes the conversation from discussing the dynamics of politicians in office to dismantling the myths and stereotypes of what it is like to be a black woman as a private citizen in the United States.
If you think all patients are treated equally, it’s probably because as a privileged white person, you’ve received the care that you needed any time you went to a medical appointment.
Unfortunately, this is not the case for everyone, especially black women who are often stereotyped and dismissed without proper medical care.
Queer, black women navigate multiple spheres of oppression.
Carruthers argues that social
This book discusses the research gathered from a two-year study examining white, affluent children and how they learn (or don’t learn) about race. This is another work that you need to add to your bookshelf to refect on your own white socialization.
By J. Sakai
Sakai gets straight to the point – white people in the United States have a long history of genocide, theft, and exploitation.
This is the “they were people looking for religious freedom” bullshit, white-washed Mayflower story you learned in elementary school.
It’s time to unlearn that narrative and replace it with brutal, but honest, truth.
By Debby Irving
Debby Irving tells her story of being a white woman trying to become radically literate.
Her story will make you flinch and cringe at yourself, but that pain, shame, and awkwardness is all part of “waking up” as a white person.
Austin Channing Brown holds nothing back as she critiques middle-class, white Evangelists and explains how they have aided in fostering increasing hostility toward black and brown bodies in our “post-racial” society.
What are you reading to help you become more racially literate? Drop me a message and let me know!
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