Back to the Books

After a restful spring break, I am very happy to be back. There’s something about a week of relaxation and rejuvenation that jumpstarts my desire to learn more. Before that desire wears off and while motivation is still high, I want to share some great reads on race and racial justice that facilitates learning on the topic. 

The Huffington Post published an article of 16 books that every white person should read, but I think they are books all people should read. I want to share a few of my favorites from this list. 

1. Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria – Beverly Daniel Tatum


Is this self-segregation a problem to address or a coping strategy? This book argues that straight talk about our racial identities is essential if we are serious about enabling communication across racial and ethnic divides. 

2. The New Jim Crow – Michelle Alexander 


This book details how the US criminal justice system decimated communities of color and relegated millions of African-American citizens to a permanent second-class status, all while formally adhering to the principle of colorblindness. It also shows the connection between slavery, the Jim Crow era and mass incarceration. 

3. Citizen – Claudia Rankine


Poet Claudia Rankine meditates on police brutality, racial fatigue, depression and the denigration of black bodies throigh the use of short essays, reflections and poems. This book also showcases thought provoking imagery regarding race. 

4. Between the World and Me – Ta-Nehisi Coates 


In this book Coates attempts to answer the question of what it is like to inherit a black body and live in it everyday in the current crisis that is America’s race relations. He does this in a letter to his adolescent son. Coates shares with his son—and readers—the story of his awakening to the truth about his place in the world through a series of revelatory experiences. 

5. The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace – Jeff Hobbs


This book portrays a brilliant young man who escaped the dangerous streets of Newark to graduate from Yale University, only to be the victim of a gang-related assassination at the age of thirty. The story of his life was written and told by his friend and college roommate, and encompasses America’s most enduring conflicts: race, poverty, drugs, and education. 

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