Racism is a real and terrifying issue that has existed for as long as books cover history. People remain quiet about it, which is the reason why it has become kind of like a monster with multiple heads. Imagine, if it’s uncomfortable for the whites to witness it, how horrible it is to those who experience it? Even in today’s time and age, many people are considering what they can do to help in the nationwide protests demanding systemic change and justice after the deaths of Tony McDade, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, and many thousands of others.
Educating yourself about these problems by reading personal narratives can help you become well-informed on these topics. You can raise your voice against them. These fiction and nonfiction books about racism discuss the origins of racism in America, define white privilege, and examine how racism and misogyny interact with each other. These antiracist books inform us about everything from structural racism to white fragility and privilege.
Eight Books On Racism Everyone Should Read In 2022
Here are eight books about racism for teens, young adults, and adults alike to help you understand these issues better:
1. Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory by David Blight
If you want to read a book that explains where all this ugliness started, you might want to give this one a chance. Blight explores the neglect the black community faced when white northerners and white southerners chose to reconcile after the Civil War while ignoring racial justice. You might start to feel the depravity of the situation when you read about the public monuments that supported white supremacy.
2. The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston
A badass recollection by Kingston describes a young woman that battles with keeping up with the heroic women her mother talked about in China and the contrast she faces in reality. As she battles with the terrible reality of racial and gender oppression as a Chinese woman, she transforms into one of the characters from the stories. A tale of battling with internalized gender and racial oppression.
3. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
The Hate U Give features Starr Carter, a sixteen-year-old girl, who goes to fancy prep school yet lives in a broken-down neighbourhood. After Starr sees her childhood best friend Khalil being fatally shot by a police officer, her illusion of a fantasy world shatters. Being painted as a “thug”, drug dealer, and even a gangbanger after his death, it is up to Starr to speak up and clear his image. Touching on racism, inequality, and police brutality, while belonging to the fiction genre, this one portrays reality quite distinctively.
4. How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
In How to Be an Antiracist, Kendi describes a wide range of antiracist notions, from the fundamental ideas to possibilities, to help them recognise racism clearly, understand its effects, and take action to combat it in our society and within ourselves. Anyone who wishes to advance past the awareness of racism and make a contribution to the creation of a just and equal society must read this book.
5. Me and White Supremacy by Layla Saad
As far as most books about race go, this one is an evoking one. This book pushes you to confront your biases and encourages white people to question their privilege so the continuous physical, mental, and emotional injustice towards people of color can be stopped. Me and White Supremacy is based on the globally popular Instagram challenge and takes readers on a 28-day journey with diary prompts, to combat the internalized racism within themselves and create a less crappy society.
6. The Good Immigrant: 26 Writers Reflect on America by Nikesh Shukla (Editor)
If you know someone who’s all about “America belongs to just the white” you should tell them to give this one a go. Inspired after the events of Trump’s wall ban and visa restriction and the march of white nationalists in Charlottesville, this one gives the stage to a wide collection of writers whose humanity and right to exist are being questioned. Contributed by 26 writers, the experiences in this book may be just what some people need to open their eyes.
7. So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
Oluo tackles a wide range of racial issues, describing the school-to-prison pipeline, microaggressions, and cultural appropriation while providing the basis of racism. I believe that as a white person, this book is a must to educate ourselves about these issues better as Oluo navigates these themes with personal narratives.
8. All White People Are Racist (Well 75-80% Of Them Are): An Anti-Racism Book by Some White Woman From L.A.
As a privileged white woman from Los Angeles, White Woman L.A. has seen a lot of favoritism when it comes to the whites and almost inhumanity when it comes to people of color. Are all whites racist? Yes? No? Most? Well, it has come to the point where they must prove themselves to be anti-racist. Almost every white has witnessed some racism, if not committed it. The question is, why does nobody ever speak up? The author includes some light-hearted tones in this one, otherwise, the subject is too grim to bear. If it manages to piss people off, there are some questions they should ask within. The author also calls out the scandalous Hollywood industry, child abusers and pedophiles, anti-queer people and more.