8 Impactful Books on Race in America White People Should Read
Throughout this last week of May, protesters across America have demanded justice for the continued acts of fatal violence against Black Americans. In the wake of George Floyd's killing by Minneapolis police — which followed the recent shootings of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and Tony McDade — many people are asking what they can do to turn their opposition to racism into action. White Americans, especially, should be asking that question of themselves. To be better allies, we need to educate ourselves, donate what we can, demonstrate, speak out, and confront our own complicity — even when it's uncomfortable. And it's not a one-time exercise, but an ongoing process.
Earlier in the week, activist and writer Brittany Packnett circulated a list compiled by two white activists, Sarah Sophie Flicker and Alyssa Klein, on Twitter. The list is full of resources for other white people to educate themselves on race — books, podcast, articles, and films. The selection of books below is partly culled from and inspired by that list. It also includes additional books I've read in recent years that helped me understand how I can become a better ally, educated me on our nation's real history, and exposed me to new ideas and understandings about both systemic and interpersonal racism. These are books I think may help you do the same.
Education is just the start — but it's an important step that's incumbent on white Americans to take ourselves. Of course, these books are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the outstanding literature on the topic that's available, but I think they're a good place to begin: