Antiracist books to read now? Like right now? Yes, there is urgency!
Once again, Americans are being faced with the systemic racism that the United States was founded on hundreds of years ago. No, the traditional slavery system is no longer in place, but many new systems have come along to replace it right up until today. This past week has been horrible as all of us in America have had to face multiple racially charged acts of violence – from fellow citizens to the police who are charged with protecting all citizens whom they serve.
This has sparked how tired People of Color (POC) are at having to explain to the white people what their experiences are living in America – a racially charged, hate-filled nation. Being black is a crime in America. It is as simple as that and until all of us check how we criminalize black people on a daily basis – in big and small ways – this is going to continue.
For me, a bi-racial person in America, who operates under the privilege of “passing” as white, and yet knows the personal story of my brown self being invisible and my family, many who pass as more brown than me, I have experienced racial hatred targeted at myself and my family. I also have the experience of American society – even the most woke people – placing me either in the white bucket or the POC bucket. There is little to no capacity to hold people with two equal, differing racial identities as a whole. America wants to see people as black or white – including folks like me.
In this spirit, I want to point you to a list of antiracist books that white people should begin to read now. During some of the protests, I heard POC saying loud and clear it is not their responsibility to educate the white people on all of this and their experience. First off, white people can never know this experience, but they can desire to learn about systemic racism and how this shows up everyday in our lives. From there, change behaviors. Stop making the little racist statements that are actual micro aggressions against your neighbors. Stop thinking about “good neighborhoods” to live in with good schools, which basically means no black people to intrude on your kids’ education. Don’t run our mouths in defense of how we are not racist. Just be quiet. Listen. Read. Educate yourself.
From there, act with intention to move the American dial away from the systemic racism that plagues the United States. Each one of us can do this work. If you choose not to, that is your privilege in action.