5 inspiring books on the topic of racism to read during this time

It’s been nearly three weeks since a Minneapolis police officer senselessly murdered George Floyd thus stemming one of the largest international human rights movements in recorded history. Between social media activism, in-person protesting, and a flood of donations for organizations like Black Lives Matter and the Minnesota Freedom Fund, the upward momentum across the globe has caused notable change in a very short period of time.

That said, there’s still a lot to be done to abolish systemic and systematic racism in the U.S. and beyond—and it has a lot to do with education and openness to learn.

If you’re ready to move away from posting black squares on social media and really get an education when it comes to racial injustice and how you can actively become a better ally to Black people, here are seven books that will open your eyes and change the way you view racism in America.

1. White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism by Robin DiAngelo

Written by New York Times best-selling author and antiracist educator Robin DiAngelo, White Fragility is an excellent primer for non-Black folks who are beginning to realize that simply being “not racist” is no longer (and has never been) enough. In this educational and engaging text, DiAngelo offers an easy-to-understand walkthrough about the history of racism in the United States and how non-Black people can actually help dismantle white supremacy.

2. How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi

If this week has shaken up everything you thought you believed about your moral code, you’re not alone. Those of us who actively identify as non-racist, but who have previously sat back and kept our mouths closed will particularly appreciate this text by Ibram X. Kendi, which outlines why non-Black folks need to do more — and exactly what it takes to be actively antiracist and evoke change in the system.

3. So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo

Talking about race with your family or friends who might not share the same ideology as you can be uncomfortable — but it’s unavoidable if you want to do your part to shift the system in America. Think of So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo as your manual on how to deal with family who make racist jokes at the dinner table or friends who don’t understand how they continue to benefit from white privilege — best case scenario? You’ll begin to shift their perspective. Worst case? They’ll think twice before behaving inappropriately.

4. Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge

Think of Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race as your one stop shop for learning how to see, acknowledge, and counter racism without expecting your Black friends to have to explain everything to you. Written by award-winning journalist Reni Eddo-Lodge, this illuminating work will unveil everything you might not have realized within class and race relations, whitewashed feminism, and more.

5. The Black and the Blue: A Cop Reveals the Crimes, Racism, and Injustice in America’s Law Enforcement by Matthew Horace and Ron Harris 

Touted as a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the intersection of race and police brutality in America, The Black and the Blue is a gut-wrenching exposé by former police officer Matthew Horace. Packed with insider examinations of archaic and racially-driven police tactics, Horace’s first person account of the inner workings of policing alongside white officers will leave you angrier and more ready for change than ever before. 

*Ladders’ affiliate partners provide us compensation for product links on our site.