I’ve been making my way through reading material that furthers my personal education about racial issues – especially since I didn’t get this education in school. There’s a lot of action that can be taken to help further the black lives matter movement, and that starts with educating yourself on how to act and what you can do. I’ll be sharing all the books I read here and being honest with my recommendations; and to start us off, I’m going to go through the first set of books in the order in which I recommend them, which is actually the opposite order in which I read them.
1. So You Wanna Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
If you only read one book this year, MAKE IT THIS ONE. Everything I wanted to read, learn, and explore was in this book. I appreciate so many things about this book – specifically how much intersectionality is highlighted. Ijeoma Oluo is an amazing writer, includes her own experiences, and speaks in a way that is truly eye opening. She gets into the good stuff right away, balances topics beautifully from chapter to chapter, and writes for all readers to walk away with insight. She covers areas such as affirmative action, cultural appropriation, the school-to-prison pipeline, the Martin/Malcom dichotomy, microaggressions, hair, the model-minority myth, anger, accountability, and so much more. I will be spending a lot of time suggesting this book on my social media and to people in my life, and I recommend it to anyone who is ready to have productive conversations about race in this world.
Privilege Check from So You Wanna Talk About Race: Are you white? Are you male? Are you non-disabled? Are you neuro-typical? Are you a documented citizen of the country you live in? Are you cisgender? Are you straight? Did you grow up middle class? Did you grow up in a stable home environment? Are you tall / thin / conventionally attractive?
2. White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People To Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo
This book took a deep dive into how white people (even those who don’t consider themselves racist) are hurting and helping, for which I am grateful. I feel like this book held a mirror up to my white experience, down to even analyzing my experience as a white-presenting Hispanic individual. White people can benefit from reading this book because it points out how we fit into the mix, and then acknowledges how we should and should not react to conversations about race. She asks questions and explores ideas that opened my eyes to things I had not thought of before – to the point where I found some areas in which I needed to hold myself accountable. I’d recommend this read for white people, so we can make sure that we are better allies to people of color – there’s a lot to learn here.
3. Uncomfortable Conversations With A Black Man by Emmanuel Acho
While I very much appreciate all the dialogue that Emmanuel put into this book, I would categorize this as more of a “starter” book. The book does a great job of unpacking the basics and explaining things in a way that non-people of color can start to look at the world through a new lens, and there’s a huge reference section of additional reads and resources. However, for myself, a lot of the book was things I very much already knew, although I do appreciate learning some new ways to explain ideas I’ve already digested. I would also give just a small critique that the book was very much written from a straight male perspective; I would have loved more information about what black women specifically deal with, as well as trans and LGBTQ perspectives too. Again, this is packed full of great information and would be an easy read to recommend to your co-worker or relative that is just starting to understand the importance of these topics.
I will be reading so so so many more books, as this is just the beginning. Check back to keep up with all my reads, or reach out on social media for more recommendations.
Thanks for reading!