These Are the Books Everyone Is Buying Right Now
These bestselling books about racism and the Black experience will educate and empower you.
If you're looking to be an ally in the fight for racial justice, the best place to start is by educating yourself. Many Americans have taken to social media to suggest books, podcasts, movies, and documentaries to educate their fellow citizens on the systemic issues in our country and ourselves. As evidenced by the current state of Amazon's bestseller list—15 of the top 20 are books about race—many readers are ordering books to start or continue the work necessary to create serious change. If you are looking for a tool to help you unlearn biases and educate yourself on the experience of Black Americans, check out one of these books. And for more educational resources, check out 13 Documentaries About Race You Need to See If You Haven't Yet.
White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism, Robin DiAngelo
This book is specifically crafted to aid readers in understanding the role implicit bias plays in our society and the nuances of racism beyond being confined to simply good or bad people. White Fragility targets the unhelpful defensive tactics white people often resort to when being confronted with discussions about race. Antiracist author Robin DiAngelo does a deep dive into the genesis of white fragility and how it safeguards racial inequities. She also provides actionable ideas on how we can move past our own implicit biases.
So You Want to Talk About Race, Ijeoma Oluo
Whether you want to talk about race or not, the conversation is long overdue. So You Want to Talk About Race gives readers helpful guidance and insight on various essential topics, including affirmative action, intersectionality, and "model minorities." This book will provide the right language for people of color and white people to have open discussions about race and its implications in America. For more ways to lift up the Black community, check out 17 Black-Owned Businesses You Can Support Online Right Now.
We're Different, We're the Same, Bobbi Kates
Sesame Street has taught us some very important lessons, from the alphabet to the importance of sharing. In this book, they help us teach our kids about race. We're Different, We're the Same focuses on how, although people may look different, they have many of the same attributes. As for the differences? They make us special.
The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America, Richard Rothstein
This book looks at race through the lens of neighborhood living and at how segregation has been systematically imposed. Richard Rothsetein delves into actions taken by federal, state, and local governments to implement segregation between neighborhoods including "undisguised racial zoning; public housing that purposefully segregated previously mixed communities; subsidies for builders to create whites-only suburbs; tax exemptions for institutions that enforced segregation; and support for violent resistance to African Americans in white neighborhoods."
How to Be an Antiracist, Ibram X. Kendi
Ibram X. Kendi's How to Be an Antiracist clarifies the essential distinctions between not being a racist and being an antiracist. This book is part manual on how to be actively antiracist and part memoir about Kendi's personal journey to antiracism. He boils down these seemingly lofty ideas to steps any person can take, like considering the humanity of others. For powerful messages from the people, check out 20 Signs From Black Lives Matter Protests Everyone Should See.
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, Michelle Alexander
This powerful book has been cited in judicial decisions, taught on campuses, inspired the Marshall Project and Art for Justice Fund, and motivated a generation of activists. Civil rights litigator and legal scholar Michelle Alexander paints a frightening picture of our criminal justice system in the many ways it fails and oppresses people of color.
The Vanishing Half, Brit Bennett
The only fiction book on the list, The Vanishing Half tells the story of identical black twin sisters who diverge to live separate lives at the age of 16. One sister spends her life in the same town they grew up in, while the other moves to another town and passes for white without even her husband knowing of her heritage. The book intertwines these women's stories with stories of generations past until finally, the twins meet again when their daughters' lives intersect. The novel examines race and the lasting impact of the past through an engaging narrative you can't put down.