I absolutely love book groups, and ones that focus on anti-Black racism are the best. It’s refreshing to hear epiphanies about privilege and earnest commitments to change. That said, if you’ve read White Fragility and fully comprehend Kendi’s “anti-racist” construct, you may be craving something new to add to your bookshelf.
Below is a list of books recommended by some very smart women who showed up for my new talk show last week. I’ve included a short description and encourage you to check them out. You can buy them from a black-owned bookstore (recommended by Oprah no less!) by clicking here.
Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower by Brittney Cooper
Far too often, Black women’s anger has been caricatured into an ugly and destructive force that threatens the civility and social fabric of American democracy. But Cooper shows us that there is more to the story than that. Eloquent rage keeps us all honest and accountable. It reminds women that they don’t have to settle for less.
Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good by adrienne maree brown
How do we make social justice the most pleasurable human experience? How can we awaken within ourselves desires that make it impossible to settle for anything less than a fulfilling life? adrienne maree brown finds the answer in something she calls “pleasure activism,” a politics of healing and happiness that explodes the dour myth that changing the world is just another form of work.
The Memo: Twenty Years Inside the Deep State Fighting for America First
The Memo is the gut-wrenching story that Trump supporters have waited to hear. From the self-defeating conflicts in the Middle East to the struggle against the “Soft Coup” to remove President Trump from office, Rich Higgins provides a view from the trenches of the ruthless war of deceit and betrayal waged against the Trump Presidency since January 2017.
Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds by adrienne maree brown
Emergent Strategy is radical self-help, society-help, and planet-help designed to shape the futures we want to live. This is a resolutely materialist “spirituality” based equally on science and science fiction, a visionary incantation to transform that which ultimately transforms us.
How We Show Up: Reclaiming Family, Friendship, and Community
Birdsong shows that what separates us isn’t only the ever-present injustices built around race, class, gender, values, and beliefs, but also our denial of our interdependence and need for belonging. How We Show Up returns us to our inherent connectedness where we find strength, safety, and support in vulnerability and generosity, in asking for help, and in being accountable.
A Black Women’s History of the United States by Daina Ramey Berry and Kali Nicole Gross
In centering Black women’s stories, two award-winning historians seek both to empower African American women and to show their allies that Black women’s unique ability to make their own communities while combatting centuries of oppression is an essential component in our continued resistance to systemic racism and sexism.
In essay, image, and poetry, Citizen is a powerful testament to the individual and collective effects of racism in our contemporary society. The accumulative stresses come to bear on a person’s ability to speak, perform, and stay alive. Our addressability is tied to the state of our belonging, Rankine argues, as are our assumptions and expectations of citizenship.
Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do by Claude Steele
The acclaimed social psychologist offers an insider’s look at his research and groundbreaking findings on stereotypes and identity. He sheds new light on American social phenomena from racial and gender gaps in test scores to the belief in the superior athletic prowess of black men, and lays out a plan for mitigating these “stereotype threats” and reshaping American identities.
Covering: The Hidden Assault on Our Civil Rights by Kenji Yoshino
In questioning the phenomenon of “covering,” a term used for the coerced hiding of crucial aspects of one’s self, Yoshino thrusts the reader into a battlefield of shifting gray areas. What emerges is an eloquent, poetic protest against the hidden prejudices embedded in American civil rights legislation. Yoshino reveals that the struggle against oppression lies not solely in fighting an imagined, monolithic state but as much in intimate discourse with the mother, the father and the colleague who constitute that state.
The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
Writing at the height of her narrative and imaginative gifts, Sue Monk Kidd presents a masterpiece of hope, daring, the quest for freedom, and the desire to have a voice in the world. This exquisitely written novel is a triumph of storytelling that looks with unswerving eyes at a devastating wound in American history, through women whose struggles for liberation, empowerment, and expression will leave no reader unmoved.
And just in case you missed these the first time around, here are the books that have been out and about for awhile now:
How to be an Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi
Antiracism is a transformative concept that reorients and reenergizes the conversation about racism—and, even more fundamentally, points us toward liberating new ways of thinking about ourselves and each other.
White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo
White Fragility brings language to the emotional structures that make true discussions about racial attitudes difficult. With clarity and compassion, DiAngelo allows us to understand racism as a practice not restricted to ‘bad people.’ In doing so, she moves our national discussions forward.
Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor by Layla Saad and Robin DiAngelo
An indispensable resource for white people who want to challenge white supremacy but don’t know where to begin. Saad moves her readers from their heads into their hearts, and ultimately, into their practice. We won’t end white supremacy through an intellectual understanding alone; we must put that understanding into action.
So You Want to Talk about Race by Ijeoma Oluo
Oluo does more than deliver tough, blunt truths about the realities of racism, power and oppression. She also, in bracing fashion, offers a vision of hope; a message that through dialogue and struggle, we can emancipate ourselves from what she calls ‘the nation’s oldest pyramid scheme: white supremacy.’ That is why I don’t think this is merely one of the most important books of the last decade. It is also one of the most optimistic.
Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson
Wilkerson gives us a masterful portrait of an unseen phenomenon in America as she explores, through an immersive, deeply researched narrative and stories about real people, how America today and throughout its history has been shaped by a hidden caste system, a rigid hierarchy of human rankings.
Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid
A page-turning and big-hearted story about race and privilege, set around a young Black babysitter, her well-intentioned employer, and a surprising connection that threatens to undo them both.
Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi
Kendi has done something that’s damn near impossible: write a book about racism that breaks new ground, while being written in a way that’s accessible to the nonacademic. If you’ve ever been interested in how racist ideas spread throughout the United States, this is the book to read.