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Teaching Anti-Racism
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Description: This edited volume explores the yawing gap between solutions offered to reduce racism and the failure to bring those changes about. Included essays explore slavery, prison, and white supremacy as well as a host of other issues. A full PDF of the book is available from the publisher.
Keywords: Criminal Justice, Legacy of Slavery, Capitalism.

Michelle Alexander,

Description: This is required reading for anyone looking to understand how our criminal justice system is racialized and weaponized against people of color and especially Black people. (A great companion to this book is Ava DuVernay’s documentary 13th .).
Keywords: Criminal Justice, Legacy of Slavery
Discussion Guides: ,

Neda Atanasoski & Kalindi Vora,

Description: “Atanasoski and Kalindi Vora trace the ways in which robots, artificial intelligence, and other technologies serve as surrogates for human workers within a labor system entrenched in racial capitalism and patriarchy.”
Keywords: Capitalism, Criminal Justice, Legacy of Slavery, Intersectionality

Maya Angelou,

Description: Angelou’s debut memoir is a modern American classic beloved worldwide.Know Why the Caged Bird Sings captures the longing of lonely children, the brute insult of bigotry, and the wonder of words that can make the world right.
Keywords: Legacy of Slavery

Jenna Arnold,

Description: “Raising Our Hands is the reckoning call for white women. It asks us to step up and join the new front lines in the fight against complacency—in our homes, in our behaviors, and in our minds.”
Keywords: Intersectionality, Media, Privilege/Precarity

James Baldwin,

Description: A searing book of essays by one of America’s favorite authors, this influential text from the emerging civil rights movement details intersectionality between race, religion, and more. Through Baldwin’s life in Harlem and two open “letters,” he urges Americans, BIPOC or not, to fight the terrible racism imprinted on the soul of a nation. “This is a book that all Americans should read again and again,” says Julia Fierro, author and founder of The Sackett Street Writers' Workshop. “And Baldwin's book should be read with The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks about Race, an anthology edited by Jesmyn Ward.”
Keywords: History, Legacy of Slavery

Grace Lee Boggs,

Description: “Grace Lee Boggs... shrewdly assesses the current crisis—political, economical, and environmental—and shows how to create the radical social change we need to confront new realities... She draws from seven decades of activist experience, and a rigorous commitment to critical thinking, to redefine ‘revolution’ for our times.”
Keywords: Intersectionality, Speaking Up/Allyship,

Eduardo Bonilla-Silver,

Description: Bonilla-Silva confronts the idea that ‘color-blind’ racism has become the dominant ideology in America. It describes a set of beliefs you’ve probably heard many times over in this country, and it goes something like this: “I don’t see color, I just see people.” Bonilla-Silva argues that this narrow, reductive view of race dynamics actually works to cement a more invisible, more socially-accepted version of racism, and justifies systems of race-based order in societies. “This book presents a discussion of why ‘color-blind’ thinking hinders racial equity,” explains Dr. Candice Bocala, Faculty Director of Reimagining Integration: Diverse and Equitable Schools, at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education. “It is written in a very academic manner, but [Bonilla-Silva’s] central framework of the four narratives of color-blind racism is powerful.”
Keywords: Legacy of Slavery, Education

Elaine Brown,

Description: Historically, social justice movements are seen from the perspective of the prominent, charismatic men in leadership. This is told by Elaine Brown, a female leader of the Black Panther Party.
Keywords: Criminal Justice, Education, Legacy of Slavery, History, Intersectionality, Feminism

Simone Brown,

Description: “Browne locates the conditions of blackness as a key site through which surveillance is practiced, narrated, and resisted. She shows how contemporary surveillance technologies and practices are informed by the long history of racial formation and by the methods of policing black life under slavery, such as branding, runaway slave notices, and lantern laws.”
Keywords: Capitalism, Criminal Justice, Education, Legacy of Slavery

Timothy Campbell & Adam Sitze,

Description: “This anthology collects the texts that defined the concept of biopolitics, which has become so significant throughout the humanities and social sciences today. The far-reaching influence of the biopolitical—the relation of politics to life, or the state to the body—is not surprising given its centrality to matters such as healthcare, abortion, immigration, and the global distribution of essential medicines and medical technologies.”
Keywords: Capitalism, Criminal Justice, Education, Intersectionality, Privilege/Precarity, History

Aimé Césaire,

Description: Published in France in 1955, this classic essay influenced a generation of scholars and activists fighting for liberation in Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean—and 20 years later the civil rights movement in America. Césaire describes the brutal impacts of colonization on all parties, and reminds us that a just society first requires decolonized minds. Discourse—a “blistering indictment” of the “violent protocols of Western empire” offers "necessary historical context for those new to contemporary struggles against racism, police brutality, mass incarceration, and other encroaching threats to freedom and justice,” says Rich Blint, Program Director of Race and Ethnicity at The New School.
Keywords: History

Patricia Hill Collins,

Description: Collins presents the theories and ideologies Black women have developed as alternatives to (white) feminism to serve the breadth of our communities.
Keywords: Feminism, Intersectionality, History

Tressie McMillan Cottom,

Description: In this book, McMillan Cottom uses humor, personal experience, and witty critiques to link the personal to the societal and to challenge everything you thought you knew about race, beauty, money, and whiteness. The bold, genius, and hilarious writer and professor shares her thoughts on being thick—literally and in spirit. “Every gender studies program should assign this along with its other staples,” says Elissa Bassist, editor of the "Funny Women" column at The Rumpus. “Plus, challenging whiteness challenges white readers, and the absolute least we can do is to be challenged.”
Keywords: Feminism, Privilege/Precarity, Healthcare

Brittney Cooper,

Description: Illustrates that while Black women’s anger has been caricatured into an ugly and destructive force that threatens the civility and social fabric of American democracy, “Black women’s eloquent rage” is a force that can be transformative.
Keywords: Education, Intersectionality, Legacy of Slavery, Education, Feminism

Angela Davis,

Description: Davis’ autobiography recounts her life at the forefront of Black feminist thought, exploring her activitsm, politics, and intellectual life.
Keywords: Intersectionality, History, Criminal Justice, Feminism

Angela Davis,

Description: Angela Davis provides the gender, racial, and class analysis the world truly needs—in only the way Ms. Davis can. This is a great follow-up for those looking to dive deeper into intersectionality and how various issues are compounded for low income women of color.
Keywords: Intersectionality, Feminism

Robin DiAngelo,

Description: DiAngelo defines the concept of white fragility and explicates the ways it stifles social justice movements and protects whiteness.
Keywords: Education, Criminal Justice, Intersectionality, Legacy of Slavery

Maya Angelou,

Description: These essays offer a series of compassionate, honest, and absorbing lessons from one of our best-loved writers. It’s Angelou’s guide to living well, for her daughters everywhere. (“I gave birth to one child, a son, but I have thousands of daughters,” Angelou writes.) The book details her turbulent life, while “speaking truth to power,” Wilson says. “There’s so much in it that resonates related to the grief we’re feeling now, the collective outrage, and the indignities Black people experience as part of overt and covert racism.”
Keywords: Legacies of Slavery, Privilege/Precarity

W.E.B. Du Bois,

Description: “ Believing that one can know the “soul” of a race by knowing the souls of individuals, W. E. B. Du Bois combines history and stirring autobiography to reflect on the magnitude of American racism and to chart a path forward against oppression, and introduces the now-famous concepts of the color line, the veil, and double-consciousness.”
Keywords: Legacy of Slavery, History, Criminal Justice, Education

Reni Eddo-Lodge, Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race

Description: After her blog post of the same title went viral in Britain, award-winning journalist Eddo-Lodge elaborated in book-form. She expresses frustration with the way race and racism always seems to be discussed by those who are unaffected by it, and explores topics like white dominance, the inextricable ties between race and class, and the ways in which Black history has been strategically eradicated—as well as strategies for countering the racism that still exists in modern society. More than that, DL Mullen—proprietress of Semicolon Bookstore & Gallery in Chicago—says the book offers an important reminder: “It is not the place of people of color to do the work of breaking down racism.”
Keywords: Privilege/Precarity

Glory Edim,

Description: From editor Glory Edim, the founder of the popular Well-Read Black Girl book club, and a whole canon of powerful Black writers—like Jacqueline Woodson, Jesmyn Ward, and Tayari Jones—comes an anthology dedicated to the importance of recognizing ourselves in literature. Each essay offers an ultra-timely reminder of why we turn to books in times of struggle. Wilson says about reading Edim’s work: “I feel like I’m in church.”
Keywords: Feminism, Intersectionality

Eve L. Ewing,

Description: As a student, then teacher, and now a scholar studying Chicago’s public schools, it’s safe to say Ewing knows them well. This book illuminates the racist politics at play that were responsible for a wave of school closures in 2013—leaving 12,000 children, 88% of them Black, without a pivotal neighborhood touchstone. “While the book speaks specifically to her city (and mine), it’s a profound examination of how systemic racism affects our institutions, and what community activists and organizers are doing to fight it,” says author and writing teacher Megan Stielstra.
Keywords: Education, Criminal Justice

Franz Fanon,

Description: “Alienation and Freedom collects together unpublished works comprising around half of his entire output – which were previously inaccessible or thought to be lost. This book introduces audiences to a new Fanon, a more personal Fanon and one whose literary and psychiatric works, in particular, take centre stage.”
Keywords: Legacy of Slavery, History, Criminal Justice

Franz Fanon,

Description: “A major influence on civil rights, anti-colonial, and black consciousness movements internationally, Black Skin, White Masks is the unsurpassed study of the black psyche in a white world. Hailed for its scientific analysis and poetic grace when it was first published in 1952, the book remains a vital force today from one of the most important theorists of revolutionary struggle, colonialism, and racial difference in history.”
Keywords: Legacy of Slavery, History, Criminal Justice

Frantz Fanon,

Description: The reason we haven’t eradicated racism is because most people underestimate it. Racism and colonization are deeply entrenched in every part of our society and even our psyche. Fanon makes the case in a way that feels dense but is so comprehensive and accurate, painting the blueprint for what it will take from all of us to finally build a society made for all of us.
Keywords: Legacy of Slavery, History, Criminal Justice

Crystal Fleming,

Description: “Self explanatory, lol,” Mullen says. This funny, personal, no-holds-barred critique shatters rampant misconceptions about race. Fleming’s takeaway: Our racial politics are sorta-kinda-actually garbage, and many Americans are only just waking up to centuries of white supremacy and injustice. Fleming’s fresh and irreverent opinions are a must-read for understanding everything that’s wrong with our national conversation about race (spoiler: it’s a lot), and the road map for transforming acknowledgement into action.
Keywords: Legacy of slavery, privilege/precarity

Lewis R. Gordon and Jane Anna Gordon,

Description: This book offers a comprehensive look at the history and future of African-American studies It includes chapters by leading scholars in the field. It is particularly useful for exploring the challenges of studying the African-American experience in higher education.
Keywords: Education, Intersectionality, History

Lani Guiner and Gerald Torres,

Description: This is an outstanding explanation as to why racism is not a Black problem or a Latinx problem or an Arab problem. Racism is everyone's problem, because as Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." This text highlights how minority communities have mobilized for and with one another.
Keywords: Intersectionality

Yaa Gyasi,

Description: In this book, two half-sisters, Effia and Esi, are born in different villages in Ghana. Effia marries a rich Englishman and lives a cushy life in Cape Coast Castle. Esi is sold, with thousands of others, into the slave trade bound for America. Gyasi’s novel follows both sisters and their parallel lives, generation after generation, showing a family shaped by two sides of history. “What [Gyasi] did here—illustrating the effect of systematic racism and colonialism on every generation of a Black family across four hundred years—was so ambitious and masterfully executed,” Card explains. “While it doesn't delve too deeply into any particular moment in time it answers the question of how America got to where we are now with such clarity and precision.”
Keywords: History

bell hooks,

Description: An analysis of how the convergence of racism and sexism leads to the treatment of Black women as the lowest members of society, and how feminism often ignores and purposely leaves behind Black women.
Keywords: Intersectionality, Feminism

bell hooks,

Description: In this book hooks explores the overlap of race, gender, and love in contemporary life.
Keywords: Intersectionality, Feminism

bell hooks, Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom

Description: This books is a record of hooks’ desires and visions to make classrooms grounds where freedom can be learned. It suggests a new kind of teaching with a clear goal: To help students transgress the ideas and structures creating boundaries around race and sexual identity. “This is a book to read and reread across a lifetime, whether you are a ‘teacher’ or not, to keep disrupting the learning practices our white supremacist educations instilled,” says Atom Atkinson, Director of Writing Programs at Catapult.
Keywords: Feminism, Intersectionality, Education

Akasha (Gloria T.) Hull, Patricia Bell-Scott, & Barbara Smith,

Description: The first comprehensive collection of black feminist scholarship--orginally published in 1982 but still important to today's conversation on race and gender in America.
Keywords: Intersectionality, Feminism

Zora Neale Hurston,

Description: Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston: How can you hold an appreciation for Blackness and our culture without engaging with our greats? Our writers are not electives and it should be everyone’s mission to become acquainted with Black icons. Zora Neale Hurston is one of the greatest Black writers across time, and for that reason alone, this book is necessary reading.
Keyword: History

Matthew Frye Jacobson,

Description: Most of us know that race is a social construct, which means the concept of race was created out of a convenience for explaining hierarchy. This read—while a thick one—goes deep into how white people were re-racialized from their European roots into white Americans in order to create one large ruling racial category. Knowing this history can help us avoid being complicit in systems of oppression.
Keywords: History, Legacy of Slavery

E. Patrick Johnson & Mae G. Henderson,

Description: “While over the past decade a number of scholars have done significant work on questions of black lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered identities, this volume is the first to collect this groundbreaking work and make black queer studies visible as a developing field of study in the United States. Bringing together essays by established and emergent scholars, this collection assesses the strengths and weaknesses of prior work on race and sexuality and highlights the theoretical and political issues at stake in the nascent field of black queer studies.”
Keywords: Capitalism, Education, Healthcare, Privilege/Precarity, Intersectionality

Saeed Jones,

Description: Jones’ memoir weaves together a series of vignettes about growing up as gay Black man in the South. Each narrative pieces together a yearning to know where he belongs—in his family, in his country, and in relation to his wants and fears. “The language is breathtakingly gorgeous, with each story building towards the bigger picture of race and queerness and grief and love in America,” Stielstra says.
Keywords: Intersectionality, Legacy of Slavery, History

Ira Katznelson,

Description: When Affirmative Action Was White demonstrates that all the key programs passed during the New Deal and Fair Deal era of the 1930s and 1940s were created in a deeply discriminatory manner. This was no accident. With the United States still in an era of legal segregation, the powerful southern wing of the Democratic Party provided the framework for Social Security, the GI Bill, and landmark labor laws that helped create the foundations of the modern middle class. Through mechanisms that specifically excluded maids and farmworkers and through laws that kept administration in local hands, the gap between blacks and whites actually widened despite postwar prosperity. The publication of this deeply disturbing work promises to create a national debate on the meaning of affirmative action and the responsibility of government.
Keywords: History, Legacy of Slavery, Capitalism

Ibram X. Kendi,

Description: Kendi's concept of antiracism re-energizes and reshapes the conversation about racial justice in America--but even more fundamentally, points us toward liberating new ways of thinking about ourselves and each other. Instead of working with the policies and system we have in place, Kendi asks us to think about what an antiracist society might look like, and how we can play an active role in building it.
Keywords: Privilege/Precarity, Speaking Up/Allyship, Education

Nella Larsen,

Description: Colorism is the system by which light-skinned Black people have the privilege to transcend their race—and often, class—due to their phenotype (that is, how they present to the world). This novel takes us through the ways identity is both fluid and strategic, depending on your proximity.
Keywords: Intersectionality

Kiese Laymon,

Description: Laymon writes about growing up in Jackson, Mississippi from his early experiences of sexual violence, to his suspension from college, to his trek to New York as a young college professor, alongside his relationships and vices.
Keywords: History, Education

George Lipsitz,

Description: What is white privilege? The term is difficult to explain to individuals, specifically white people who do not feel privileged economically or otherwise. But white privilege is very real, and understanding it is fundamental to being an ally. This text provides an extensive look at white privilege in social, political, and economic arenas.In this unflinching look at white supremacy, George Lipsitz argues that racism is a matter of interests as well as attitudes, a problem of property as well as pigment. Above and beyond personal feelings and acts of individual prejudice, whiteness is a structured advantage that produced unfair gains and unearned rewards for whites while imposing impediments to asset accumulation, employment, housing, and health care for members of aggrieved racial groups. Reaching beyond the black/white binary, Lipsitz shows how whiteness works in respect to Asian Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans. Lipsitz delineates the weaknesses embedded in civil rights laws, the racialized dimensions of economic restructuring and deindustrialization, and the effects of environmental racism, job discrimination, and school segregation. He also analyzes the centrality of whiteness to U.S. culture, the racial appeals encoded within patriotic nationalism, commercialized leisure, and political advertising. Perhaps most important, he identifies the sustained and perceptive critique of white privilege embedded in the art and politics of the radical black tradition.
Keywords: Intersectionality, Privilege/Precarity

Audre Lorde,

Description: Race, class, gender, sexual orientation—Audre Lorde covers them all from her own personal experiences, showing how systems of oppression overlap to create new, marginalized experiences. Sister Outsider pushes all the envelopes by looking at identity through the lens of police violence, gender-based violence, colonization, and much more.
Keywords: Intersectionality, Feminism

Janet Mock,

Description: “With unflinching honesty and moving prose, Janet Mock relays her experiences of growing up young, multiracial, poor, and trans in America, offering readers accessible language while imparting vital insight about the unique challenges and vulnerabilities of a marginalized and misunderstood population. Though undoubtedly an account of one woman’s quest for self at all costs, Redefining Realness is a powerful vision of possibility and self-realization, pushing us all toward greater acceptance of one another—and of ourselves—showing as never before how to be unapologetic and real.”
Keywords: Intersectionality

Cherríe Moraga,

Description: This Bridge Called My Back Edited by Cherríe Moraga and Gloria Anzaldúa This anthology of short stories and essays centers around the intersectionality of gender, sexuality, class, and race. It's a must-read for anyone attempting to understand the plight of women of color who are often left behind in discussions of both racism and sexism.
Keywords: Intersectionality, Feminism

Toni Morrison,

Description: If you're trying to understand how "beauty" is racialized and how Black people are conditioned to aspire to whiteness, this is the novel for you. Through poetic storytelling, Morrison shows how far we go in our desire to cover up trauma and how powerful (and sacred) self-love can be for Black women.
Keywords: Feminism
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