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  • Writer's pictureMarina Rose

Tackling Racism: An Anti-Racist Reading List

"Stop Racism" next to a black hand print

If you’ve scrolled through your social media feed or watched the news recently, you've probably seen that the Black Lives Matter movement has been making a concerted stand against systemic racism in the United States. Maybe you agree with the way things have been handled, and maybe you don't. Regardless of your position, it's important to educate yourself on the issues being raised and examine ways to break the vicious cycles of hate and unconscious bias that bleed into our communities. And what better place to start your education than at your local library? We’ve compiled a shortlist of books, available through our consortium of libraries. We hope this list will provide insight into the history of prejudice and racism in America, how these prejudices manifest themselves today, and what you can do to help break the cycles and work toward a more equal America for all.

Cover photo of the book The Myth of Equality - two outlines of faces, one white/tan and the other brown/black with a not equal sign in between.

Issues of race and equality are near the forefront of almost every American mind. While this isn't a new issue, conversations have resurfaced in the past few years about persisting inequalities. Ken Wystma is the founder of the Justice Conference, an annual gathering of people who seek to address the world's injustices through a biblical lens. Wystma has done his own studies of the racial injustices still present in today's America - seeking to understand how these injustices came about and what can be done to combat them. His book seeks to educate readers on the origins of race-related issues and the reconciling role Christians and non-Christians alike should play. This book affirms the presence of inequality and prejudice in our world and urges readers to take a stand in fighting those injustices.

Although Jim Crow laws have been officially taken off the books, a large number of African American communities in the US remain trapped in a subordinate role. Even after the election of Barack Obama, prejudice thrives - half or more of African American men are imprisoned or living as felons. Michelle Alexander, a legal scholar, makes the argument that we have not ended our racial caste system in the United States. It has merely been redesigned and rebranded. Alexander argues that the current criminal justice system acts as a form of racial control, in an age of supposed colorblindness. This book challenges readers to keep mass incarceration at the forefront of their minds, as they work toward racial justice and equality in America.

Cover photo of Stamped - side profile outline of a person with red stripes across the profile

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds

You may have heard of Ibram X. Kendi's Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America. Stamped is a reimagining of Kendi's book - taking readers through a racial journey from the past to the present. It illustrates how and why racism still lingers in our country, while also giving hope for an antiracist future. Reynolds has created an energizing narrative that not only highlights the history of racism in America but outlines ways in which readers can identify and stamp out racist ideas in their own lives.

Jennifer Eberhardt is one of the world's leading experts on unconscious racial bias. In her research, and in her book, she shows that you can be biased without being racist. She delves into the harmful effects unconscious bias can have - on both a small and large scale: disparities in education, employment, the criminal justice system, and more. Perhaps the most compelling argument in Biased is that even people who want to do good and treat everyone equally, are plagued by their own implicit biases and ingrained stereotypes. Eberhardt uses research in laboratories, police departments, courtrooms, prisons, and the streets, as well as her time spent as a consultant to law enforcement, to inform her work. But she doesn't end the conversation at identifying bias; she offers solutions to combat our own biases and stereotypes in an effort to create a more equal world for all.

Cover photo of The Black and the Blue with an image of three police officers walking through the snow.

Matthew Horace is a veteran police officer and law enforcement analyst for CNN, who also happens to be black. He served for 28 years in multiple states across the country. But after just seven years of service, he found himself held down at gunpoint, by a fellow white officer. It was at this point, he says, that he fully understood the racism rampant in America's police departments.

Horace uses first-hand accounts and dozens of interviews with government officials and police officers to inform his work. He sheds light on the bias that both black and white police officers harbor, and how that bias negatively affects the communities those officers serve. The Black and the Blue analyzes the "archaic system" of America's police forces and seeks to uncover what truly lies behind the racial and police violence in America's major cities.

Although this list is short, we hope it is a good starting place for you. We encourage you to keep learning, keep asking questions, and keep fighting for justice and equality for all people. If you want more recommendations, please reach out to us at

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1 Comment

Monique Gaddy
Monique Gaddy
Sep 19, 2020

The Black and the Blue looks really interesting, I would love to read it. Thanks for the great post!

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