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Helpful Resources: Anti-Racism Reading List

Posted Aug 18, 2020 02:55 PM
Combating racism and other forms of marginalization requires knowledge about experiences, systems, policies, and social attitudes you may not be aware of. Take a look at this recommended reading list of anti-oppression essays, books, podcasts, and videos that will educate you on the role you can play in cultivating a more equitable society.

First, we want to recognize that a list like this is, as Code Switch said about their list, is “a start, not a panacea.” No one list can encompass all of the resources that advance an understanding of structural racism. Please reach out to us at if you have suggestions of items that should be added.

For a short, clear definition of being anti-racist as contrasted with not being a racist watch Marlon James.


An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz (2015)
“Now, for the first time, acclaimed historian and activist Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz offers a history of the United States told from the perspective of Indigenous peoples….”

The Power of Disability: 10 Lessons for Surviving, Thriving, and Changing the World by Al Etmanksi Quate (2015) from a reader: "I thought I had a fairly open perspective around disability until I read Al Etmanski's book. In every chapter, I experienced my personal view expanding and deepening; hidden biases I never realized I had were revealed in a very helpful and surprisingly non-judgemental way by the author."

An African American and Latinx History of the United States by Paul Ortiz (2018)
“Drawing on rich narratives and primary source documents, Ortiz links racial segregation in the Southwest and the rise and violent fall of a powerful tradition of Mexican labor organizing in the twentieth century, to May 1, 2006, known as International Workers’ Day, when migrant laborers—Chicana/os, Afrocubanos, and immigrants from every continent on earth—united in resistance on the first “Day Without Immigrants.”

At the dark end of the street: black women, rape, and resistance - a new history of the civil rights movement from Rosa Parks to the rise of black power by Danielle McGuire (2011)
“…McGuire writes about the rape in 1944 of a twenty-four-year-old mother and sharecropper…. Seven white men, armed with knives and shotguns, ordered the young woman into their green Chevrolet, raped her, and left her for dead. The president of the local NAACP branch office sent his best investigator and organizer to Abbeville. Her name was Rosa Parks. In taking on this case, Parks launched a movement that ultimately changed the world.”

Blood at the root: a racial cleansing in America by Patrick Phillips (2017)
“…in September of 1912, three young black laborers were accused of raping and murdering a white girl. One man was dragged from a jail cell and lynched on the town square, two teenagers were hung after a one-day trial, and soon bands of white “night riders” launched a coordinated campaign of arson and terror, driving all 1,098 black citizens out of the county. The charred ruins of homes and churches disappeared into the weeds until the people and places of black Forsyth were forgotten.”

Decolonizing Wealth:  Indigenous Wisdom to Heal Divides and Restore Balance by Edgar Villanueva (2018)
“…a provocative analysis of the dysfunctional colonial dynamics at play in philanthropy and finance.

So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo  (2019)
“…Ijeoma Oluo guides readers of all races through subjects ranging from intersectionality and affirmative action to ‘model minorities’ in an attempt to make the seemingly impossible possible: honest conversations about race and racism, and how they infect almost every aspect of American life.’”

Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi (2017)
“Kendi chronicles the entire story of anti-Black racist ideas and their staggering power over the course of American history. …Kendi shows how and why some of our leading proslavery and pro-civil rights thinkers have challenged or helped cement racist ideas in America.”

The Hidden Rules of Race: Barriers to an Inclusive Economy by Felicia J. Wong, Susan Holmberg, Andrea Flynn, and Dorian T. Warren (2018)
“While many Americans are familiar with the histories of slavery and Jim Crow, we often don't understand how the rules of those eras undergird today's economy, reproducing the same racial inequities 150 years after the end of slavery and 50 years after the banning of Jim Crow segregation laws.”

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander (2020)
“Michelle Alexander is a highly acclaimed civil rights lawyer, advocate, legal scholar and author of The New Jim Crow:  Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness — the bestselling book that helped to transform the national debate on racial and criminal justice in the United States.”

When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Asha Badele and Patrisse Cullors (2020)
A New York Times Best Seller – necessary and timely, Patrisse’s story asks us to remember that protest in the interest of the most vulnerable comes from love. In this meaningful, empowering account of survival, strength, and resilience, Patrisse Cullors and Asha Bandele seek to change the culture that declares innocent black life expendable.”

Nice Racism:  How Progressive White People Perpetuate Racial Harm (2021) and White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism (2018) by Robin Diangelo
“Diangelo explores the defense mechanisms white people commonly employ when challenged on their assumptions about race.”

Waking up White: and finding myself in the story of race by Debbie Irving (2018)
“My hope is that by sharing my sometimes cringe-worthy struggle to understand racism and racial tensions, I offer a fresh perspective on bias, stereotypes, manners, and tolerance. As I unpack my own long-held beliefs about colorblindness, being a good person, and wanting to help people of color, I reveal how each of these well-intentioned mindsets actually perpetuated my ill-conceived ideas about race.”

Beyond Inclusion, Beyond Empowerment: a Developmental Strategy to Liberate Everyone by Leticia Nieto with Margot F. Boyer,  Liz Goodwin, Garth R. Johnson & Laurel Collier Smith (2014)
“Nieto offers a powerful analysis of the psychological dynamics of oppression and privilege and shows readers how to develop the skills that can promote social justice for themselves and those around them.

Curated lists and articles

Blogs, podcasts, Ted Talks, and online articles

The Bias of 'Professionalism' Standards by Avsa Gray (2019)
“Professionalism has become coded language for white favoritism in workplace practices that more often than not privilege the values of white and Western employees and leave behind people of color.”

Code Sw!tch
“…our podcast tackles the subject of race head-on. We explore how it impacts every part of society — from politics and pop culture to history, sports, and everything in between.”

Have Nonprofit and Philanthropy Become the "White Moderate" that Dr. King Warned Us About? Vu Le of the NonprofitAF blog

How to deconstruct racism, one headline at a time Ted Talk by Baratunde Thurston (2019)
“Baratunde Thurston explores the phenomenon of white Americans calling the police on black Americans who have committed the crimes of ... eating, walking, or generally ‘living while black.’ In this profound, thought-provoking and often hilarious talk, he reveals the power of language to change stories of trauma into stories of healing -- while challenging us all to level up.”

Intersectionality Matters! from The African American Policy Forum
Hosted by Kimberlé Crenshaw, a leading critical race theorist who coined the term "intersectionality," this podcast brings the academic term to life. Each episode brings together lively political organizers, journalists, and writers.

Dear White People, This is What We Want You to Do by Kandise Le Blanc (2020)
“I don’t want to hear ‘I can’t believe this.’ I want you to read up on the history you’ve had the privilege to ignore.”

Scaffolded Anti-Racist Resources, Google Doc created by Anna Stamborski, Nikki Zimmermann, and Bailie Gregory
“This is a working document for scaffolding anti-racism resources. The goal is to facilitate growth for white folks to become allies, and eventually accomplices for anti-racist work.”

The case for reparations The Atlantic Ta-Nehisi Coates (2014)
“In the 1920s, Jim Crow Mississippi was, in all facets of society, a kleptocracy. The majority of the people in the state were perpetually robbed of the vote—a hijacking engineered through the trickery of the poll tax and the muscle of the lynch mob.”