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Anti-Racism and Social Justice

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Explore some of the most talked-about and important non-fiction books on Anti-Racism and Social Justice. Whether it's a hot new book or an older classic, it's here for you.

Ricketts, Rachel
Do better

Thought leader, racial justice educator, and sought-after spiritual activist Rachel Ricketts offers mindful and practical steps for all humans to dismantle white supremacy on a personal and collective level. Heart-centered and spirit-based practices are the missing but vital piece to achieving racial justice. This actionable guidebook illustrates how to engage in the heart-centered and mindfulness-based practices that Ricketts has developed to fight white supremacy from the inside out, in our personal lives and communities alike.

Dyson, Michael Eric.
Long time coming

Long Time Coming grapples with the cultural and social forces that have shaped our nation in the brutal crucible of race. In five beautifully argued chapters--each addressed to a black martyr from Breonna Taylor to Rev. Clementa Pinckney--Dyson traces the genealogy of anti-blackness from the slave ship to the street corner where George Floyd lost his life--and where America gained its will to confront the ugly truth of systemic racism. Ending with a poignant plea for hope, Dyson's exciting new book points the way to social redemption. Long Time Coming is a necessary guide to help America finally reckon with race.

Garza, Alicia
The purpose of power

Black Lives Matter cofounder Garcia debuts with an informative and inspirational history of the movement and her own evolution as an activist. She describes the trajectory of the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter from a 2013 Facebook post decrying the acquittal of Trayvon Martin's killer to later events. Garza also details her recent efforts "to make Black people more powerful in politics" following the 2016 election. Garza makes a spirited and persuasive case for rethinking community activism in the era of social media. Progressive policy makers, activists, and voters will be galvanized.

Ruffin, Amber.
You'll never believe what happened to Lacey

Late Night with Seth Meyers writer Ruffin and her sister, Lamar, recount the racism Lamar has experienced growing up and living in Omaha, Neb., expertly balancing laugh-out-loud humor and descriptions of deplorable actions. The authors chronicle the "constant flow of racism one must endure to live in the Midwest," with stories of Lamar getting consistently followed by security at JC Penney as a child, being publicly humiliated by a teacher who made her move to the back of the classroom, and getting fired for calling out racist mistreatment from her boss. While the writing is consistently funny, the severity of the racism is never downplayed. This is an excellently executed account, rich with vivid insight.

Philippe, Ben.
Sure, I'll be your Black friend

In the biting, hilarious vein of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker, comes Ben Philippe's candid memoir-in-essays, chronicling a lifetime of being the Black friend (see also: foreign kid, boyfriend, coworker, student, teacher, roommate, enemy) in predominantly white spaces. Ben takes his role as your new black friend seriously, providing original and borrowed wisdom on stereotypes, slurs, the whole "swimming thing," how much Beyoncé is too much Beyoncé, Black Girl Magic, the rise of the Karens, affirmative action, the Black Lives Matter movement, and other conversations you might want to have with your new BBFF. Extremely timely, this book is a conversational take on topics both light and heavy, universal and deeply personal, which reveals incisive truths about the need for connection in all of us.

Rutherford, Adam.
How to argue with a racist

The world is full of misinformation and pseudoscience surrounding the topic or race. With this book, learn everything you need to know about modern human genetics as it relates to race, and the genetic differences (or rather, lack thereof) between people of different races so that you can eloquently argue against misinformed or ignorant racism.

Cole, Desmond
The skin we're in

In 2015, Canadian writer and activist Cole exposed racism in Canada's police force by denouncing the controversial practice of carding with his article in Toronto Life magazine. Since then Cole has become one of Canada's most celebrated and provocative writers while trying to expose racism in our country and highlight the daily injustices faced by black Canadians. This book chronicles one explosive year -2017-  in Cole's life and work.

Kendi, Ibram X.
How to be an antiracist

In this "a powerful book" that "will spark many conversations, Kendi follows his National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning with a boldly articulated, historically informed explanation of what exactly racist ideas and thinking are, and what their antiracist antithesis looks like both systemically and at the level of individual action." - Publisher's Weekly

Cooper, Brittney C.
Eloquent rage

In this candid collection of essays, Cooper offers incisive commentary on the challenges facing her as a black, woman feminist in the South. She argues that the eloquent rage of black women is valid and necessary, gives people the strength to keep fighting and keeps people honest and accountable.

Saad, Layla F.
Me and white supremacy

When Saad started an Instagram challenge trying to get people to own up to the ways in which they were racist, little did she know the challenge would resonate with tens of thousands of people. This book helps people challenge their privilege and look at ways to stop (often unconsciously) hurting people of colour.

Maynard, Robyn
Policing Black lives

Anti-black racism is often something that Canadians think just happens in the United States, but as this impeccably researched and documented book proves, Canada has a nearly 400-year history of state-sanctioned surveillance, criminalization and incarceration of black people. This call to action, from writer and activist Maynard, is urgently needed as we all try to dismantle institutionalized racism and move towards a more just society.

Eddo-Lodge, Reni.
Why I'm no longer talking to white people about race

When London journalist Eddo-Lodge started a blog about feeling frustrated with discussions of race that were seemingly always led by white people, little did she know she was hitting a nerve. Comments flooded in and this book followed. "With its provocative title, this debut book by Eddo-Lodge is a plainspoken, hard-hitting take on mainstream British society's avoidance of race and the complexities and manifestations of racism." - Publisher's Weekly

Oluo, Ijeoma.
So you want to talk about race

In this book of thoughtful essays about the racial landscape of our times, Oluo explores such hard-hitting topics as police brutality and mass incarceration as well as lighter topics like "how do you tell your roommate her jokes are racist?" or "why you shouldn't touch a black woman's hair".  National Book Review enthuses "Oluo gives us--both white people and people of color--that language to engage in clear, constructive, and confident dialogue with each other about how to deal with racial prejudices and biases."

Joseph, Robert P. C.
21 things you may not know about the Indian Act

This essential guide explores the notorious 1876 Indian Act and how it was used to try to wipe out Indigenous cultures and languages as well as to deny them voting, land and civil rights. Policy decisions made based on this act continue to plague indigenous peoples to this day. The author also provides suggestions about how to move forward with reconciliation. Publisher's Weekly notes that "this pocket-sized primer is a perfect introduction to a troubling legacy with which Canadians continue to wrestle."

Coates, Ta-Nehisi.
Between the world and me

Conversational, compelling and full of emotion, Pulitzer prize finalist Coates presents these essays about race in America as a letter to his son. At once personal and profound, Coates weaves tales of his childhood with reflections on history, policing, education and the on-going racial crisis in the United States. Toni Morrison called it "essential reading".

Talaga, Tanya.
Seven fallen feathers

Seven promising indigenous teens died in Thunder Bay (2000-2001) after they were forced to move hundreds of miles away from their families in order to attend high school. The deaths were all immediately deemed "accidental" (some even before an autopsy had been conducted). Award-winning journalist Talaga investigates these unnecessary deaths, skillfully weaving the stories of these youths into a scathing indictment of institutionalized racism and racist policies at every level of the Canadian government. Publisher's Weekly calls this book "heartbreaking and infuriating, both an important testament to the need for change and a call to action."

Alexander, Michelle.
The new Jim Crow

Alexander argues persuasively that although the Jim Crow laws that segregated black people and turned them into second-class citizens don't exist anymore, mass incarceration has become the new Jim Crow. Once convicted, often wrongly, there are a host of laws (concerning voting, housing, education and employment) that prevent ex-convicts from achieving a good life. Publisher's Weekly urges people to read this "carefully researched, deeply engaging, and thoroughly readable book."
 

Stevenson, Bryan.
Just mercy

When Stevenson was a young lawyer, he founded the Equal Justice Initiative which provided legal services for the poor or the wrongly condemned. In one of his first cases, he defended Walter McMillian, a black man from the South on death row after being wrongfully accused of two murders by a white con-man who was suspected of killing one of the murder victims. This award-winning book follows Stevenson's journey to try to get McMillian justice and is an indictment of a racist and flawed justice system.