#GeorgeFloyd #AhmaudArbery #TrayvonMartin. They’re just some of the names that led to the prominence of the movement we’ve all seen everywhere over the past few weeks. And for many, these names have inspired us to read more and do better. If you are on a self-educating mission, then this list of best-sellers about social justice and race is a great place to start...
Amazon’s best-sellers list changes hourly. It’s usually dominated by critically acclaimed award-winning novelists. But not right now, it’s dominated by Black voices and books about racism, after the social injustices that have plagued the lives of Black communities across the world for generations are finally coming to the forefront of conversations everywhere.
Why are books about racism trending right now?
The horrific murder of George Floyd, a Black American man who lost his life at the hands of a white police officer who kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes, has ignited millions to get behind the movement, #BlackLivesMatter, which was started in 2013. It was launched after unarmed Black teenager Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by a neighbourhood watch coordinator.
The news of George Floyd’s murder came just weeks after the merciless killing of Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man who was murdered while out for a jog.
These tragic events have given people a glimpse at the racism and injustice that Black people face. Understandably, many people want this to change and are starting by trying to understand the problem and their role in it.
So here are 14 recommended reads for non-Black people about race and white privilege…
14 best-selling books about racism to read right now
#1. Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race, Reni Eddo-Lodge
Not only is it an eye-opening read, this incredible book just made history. Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race topped Nielsen BookScan’s UK top 50 in the week to 13 June, making her the first black British author to take the top slot since Nielsen began recording book sales in 2001.
Based on a 2014 blog post by the author, this looks back at the history of Black people living in the UK and how class movement resulted in disconnected conversations about race between Black people and white people.
An essential read for anyone who wants to better understand race relations in Britain today.
#2. Me and White Supremacy, Layla F Saad
A useful guide into how to recognise your own privilege and understand how to challenge white supremacy.
#3. Natives: Race & Class in the Ruins of Empire, Akala
By touching on his own personal experiences with racism, award-winning musician Akala identifies the social, historical and political factors that have lead to today’s society.
#4. How To Be An Antiracist, Ibram X. Kendi
‘Not being racist is not enough. We have to be antiracist’. It’s a saying that we’ve seen all over in the past few weeks as the #BlackLivesMatter movement has been rising up.
The vital read aims to open our eyes on how everyone, whether we mean to or not, can be complicit in racism and explores how to identify and tackle it.
#5. The New Jim Crow, Michelle Alexander
Civil rights lawyer and activist Michelle looks at the mass incarceration of Black men in the USA during a when racial discrimination has simply changed its face, rather than been abolished.
#6. Autobiography of Malcolm X, Malcolm X
The historic figure’s autobiography tells the story of the Civil Rights Movement in America and his own fight for equality of Black men and women in the country.
#7. Long Walk To Freedom, Nelson Mandela
Another important autobiography from an historic figure, this memoir of resilience and hardship will help readers develop an understanding into the history of Black people in America and their excruciating journey towards a time when things are still so broken.
#8. They Can’t Kill Us All, Wesley Lowery
A crucial piece of literature to help us all understand the importance of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, this account tells the story of the brutal police killings that have continued to spark activism across America.
#9. So You Want To Talk About Race, Ijeoma Oluo
A modern account that addresses all of the issues that face Black people in today’s America.
#10. Citizen: An American Lyric, Claudia Rankine
This collection of different creative forms explores the effects of racism on a Western society that is supposedly progressive and past looking at colour.
Other important books to read on race
#11. Brit(ish), Afua Hirsch
A personal exploration of what it is to be a Black person living in Britain and trying to identify your own identity and belonging.
#12. The Good Immigrant, Nikesh Shukla
A collection of essays bringing together Black, Asian and ethnic minority voices.
This discussion explores what it means to be an ‘other’ in a society that doesn’t always truly accept you.
#13. The Fire Next Time, James Baldwin
James Baldwin’s two essays discuss the role of race in the history of American, as well as its connection to religion.
#14. Girl, Woman, Other, Bernardine Evaristo
A delve into fiction that follows the struggle of mostly female and mostly Black people living in Britain in an effort to understand today’s society.
Other useful resources to read
- Anti-racism resources for white people
- #BlackLivesMatter movement
- Stand Up To Racism
- Show Racism the Red Card
- Runnymede Trust
By listening, learning and educating ourselves and those around us, we’ll all be in a better position to try and fight against the unacceptable prejudice that is racism.