We are in a time of great injustice and we can no longer use the excuse that ‘we don’t know enough about race to say anything’.
I’ve collated a list of adult books and children books that we can all benefit from reading that represent all ethnic minorities. In order to continue conversations, we need to educate, inform and challenge issues of race and minorities.
(If you click the pictures below it will take you to where you can purchase the books)
(1) Nikesh Shukla’s The Good Immigrant
I cannot recommend this book enough, I was lucky enough to be introduced to this book in my final year at uni on my Migrant and Refugee Narratives modules and I have never connected to a book like this. I urge everyone to read this
The Good Immigrant explores why immigrants come to the UK, why they stay and what it means to be ‘other’ in a country that doesn’t seem to want you, doesn’t truly accept you – however many generations you’ve been here – but still needs you for its diversity monitoring forms.
(2) Bernadine Evaristo’s Girl Woman Other
Girl, Woman, Other follows the lives and struggles of twelve very different characters. Mostly women, black and British, they tell the stories of their families, friends and lovers, across the country and through the years.
(3) Robin DeAngelo’s White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism
Anger. Fear. Guilt. Denial. Silence. These are the ways in which ordinary white people react when it is pointed out to them that they have done or said something that has – unintentionally – caused racial offence or hurt. But these reactions only serve to silence people of colour, who cannot give honest feedback to ‘liberal’ white people lest they provoke a dangerous emotional reaction.
(4) Renni Eddo-Lodge’s Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race
Exploring issues from eradicated black history to the political purpose of white dominance, whitewashed feminism to the inextricable link between class and race, Reni Eddo-Lodge offers a timely and essential new framework for how to see, acknowledge and counter racism.
(5) Ijeoma Oluo’s So You Want to Talk About Race
Perfectly positioned to bridge the gap between people of colour and white Americans struggling with race complexities, Oluo answers the questions readers don’t dare ask and explains the concepts that continue to elude everyday Americans.
(6) Afua Hirsch’s Brit(ish)
You’re British. Your parents are British. Your partner, your children and most of your friends are British. So why do people keep asking where you’re from? We are a nation in denial about our imperial past and the racism that plagues our present. Brit(ish) is Afua Hirsch’s personal and provocative exploration of how this came to be – and an urgent call for change.
(7) Shatila Stories (Peirene Press)
I also read this in my last year of uni and it was heartbreaking and eye-opening at the same time.
The editors have taken nine refugees, taught them the basics of creative writing, and asked them to tell their “Shatila Stories”. The result is a miracle – a piece of collaborative fiction unlike any other. If you want to understand the chaos of the Middle East – or you just want to follow the course of a beautiful love story – start here.
(8) Laila Lalami’s Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits
The book begins as four Moroccans illegally cross the Strait of Gibraltar in an inflatable boat headed for Spain. What has driven them to risk their lives? And will the rewards prove to be worth the danger?
(Please note this book will make you cry a bucket full of tears)
In this crackling debut collection, Nafissa Thompson-Spires interrogates our supposedly post-racial era. To wicked and devastating effect she exposes the violence, both external and self-inflicted, that threatens black Americans, no matter their apparent success.
(10) Akala’s Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of the Empire
Covering everything from the police, education and identity to politics, sexual objectification and the far right, Natives will speak directly to British denial and squeamishness when it comes to confronting issues of race and class that are at the heart of the legacy of Britain’s racialised empire.
(11) Emma Dabiri’s Don’t Touch My Hair
Don’t Touch My Hair proves that far from being only hair, black hairstyling culture can be understood as an allegory for black oppression and, ultimately, liberation.
(12) Viet Thanh Nguyen’s The Displaced
In The Displaced, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Viet Thanh Nguyen, himself a refugee, brings together a host of prominent refugee writers to explore and illuminate the refugee experience.
(13) Layla F Saad’s Me and White Supremacy: How to Recognise Your Privilege, Combat Racism and Change the World
Me and White Supremacy teaches readers how to dismantle the privilege within themselves so that they can stop (often unconsciously) inflicting damage on people of colour, and in turn, help other white people do better, too.
(14) Jenifer Eberhardt’s Biased
Every day, unconscious biases affect our visual perception, attention, memory and behaviour in ways that are subtle and very difficult to recognise without in-depth scientific studies. In a single interaction, they might slip by unnoticed. Over thousands of interactions, they become a huge and powerful force.
(15) Marjot Lee Shetterly’s Hidden Figures
(16) Ibtihaj Muhammad’s The Proudest Blue
(17) Innosanto Nagara’s A Is for Activist
(18) Bell Hooks’ Skin Again
(19) Medeia Cotton’s Hats of Faith
(20) Norah Dooley’s Everybody Cooks Rice
(21) Monica Clark-Robinson’s Let the Children March
(22) Cynthia Levinson’s The Youngest Marcher
(23) Jamilah Thopkins-Bigelow’s Mommy’s Khimar
Please note this is simply a place for us all to start and by no means a comprehensive list.
I hope this helps to give anyone a starting point for educating and informing ourselves on topics which we may not have actively engaged with.