At this moment in history, there are literally hundreds of reading lists floating around with the goal of espousing anti-racism, Black history, and issues of social justice. Yet, just reading without acknowledging historical context and your own personal experience is merely indulging a trendy topic, or assuaging your guilt. It's great that you want to make a change, but reading alone won't get you there.
§ Just reading - allows you to check a box and say, “all done, I’m anti-racist!” or “not all white people do that,” or “not all cops are bad.”
§ Just reading - gives you the false confidence to doubt BIPOC colleagues, instead of accepting the painful truths about their experiences.
§ Just reading - absolves you from doing the real work - it's only informing yourself regarding the key points and demands of anti-racism.
§ Just reading - encourages performative gestures of outrage and solidarity and perpetuates the actual problem of systemic oppression.
§ Just reading - allows you to remain emotional about racism.
To be sure, reading is an important first step, but, anti-racism is a long game. The author of this article challenges you to go the distance, to do the real work of becoming anti-racist. So, how can you approach the hard work of becoming anti-racist? Start by reading the article before (or as) you read the books listed below.
ADL (1997). What to Tell Your Children about Prejudice and Discrimination. 1997. New York, NY & Chicago, IL: Anti-Defamation League and the National Parent Teacher’s Association.
This pamphlet, available in either English or Spanish, gives practical suggestions for parents to help their children appreciate diversity.
*Arnow, J. (1995). Teaching Peace: How to Raise Children to Live in Harmony – Without Fear, Without Prejudice, Without Violence. New York, NY: Perigee Books.
In this hands-on guide, the author explains to parents how to prevent prejudice and conflict while teaching children the importance of respecting all people.
Brooks, B.A., and Siegel, P.M. (1996). The Scared Child: Helping Kids Overcome Traumatic Events. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.
This guide begins by introducing the concept of trauma and its effects on people. The second section consists of a four-step debriefing process parents can use to help children cope with a traumatic event.
Bullard, S. (1996). Teaching Tolerance: Raising Open-Minded, Empathetic Children. New York, NY: Doubleday.
This is a guide for parents on ways to examine their own attitudes about diversity and foster tolerance and unbiased attitudes in their children.
Cohen-Posey, K. (1995). How to Handle Bullies, Teasers and Other Meanies: A Book That Takes the Nuisance Out of Name-Calling and Other Nonsense. Newark, DE: Rainbow Books.
This parent-child resource gives practical information and exercises on name-calling, prejudice, anger, and dangerous situations.
*Cohn, J. (1996). Raising Compassionate, Courageous Children in a Violent World. Atlanta, GA: Longstreet Press.
This book includes stories of children, parents, families, and communities overcoming fear and apathy to help others. Also included are research-based parenting techniques for fostering caring, helpful children.
Di Angelo, R. (2019). White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism. New York, NY: Penguin.
This book provides a rare and incisive examination of the system of white body supremacy that binds us all as Americans. . . . With authenticity and clarity, Dr. Di Angelo provides the antidote to white fragility and a road map for developing white racial stamina and humility.
*Hagerman, M. A. (2018). White Kids: Growing Up With Privilege in a Racially Divided America. New York, NY: NYU Press.
White Kids, based on two years of research involving in-depth interviews with white kids and their families, is a clear-eyed and sometimes shocking account of how white kids learn about race. In doing so, this book explores questions such as, “How do white kids learn about race when they grow up in families that do not talk openly about race or acknowledge its impact?” and “What about children growing up in families with parents who consider themselves to be ‘anti-racist’?”
*Kendi, I.X. (2016). Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America. New Your, NY: Hachette.
With a primary focus on racism toward African-Americans and people identified as Black, this National Book Award Winner is a thoroughly researched, sweepingly comprehensive survey of racism from its first traceable roots in ancient Greece when Aristotle said Africans had “burnt faces” to the start of the African slave trade in 15th century Europe, to the first recorded slave ship arriving in colonial America in 1619, all the way through the Civil War, the Jim Crow laws, the 1960s Civil Rights movement, and up to the present day.
*Mathias, B., and French, M.A. (1996). 40 Ways to Raise a Non-racist Child. New York, NY: HarperCollins.
Divided into five age-related sections, ranging from preschool to the teenage years, this book provides helpful and practical ways parents can teach their children to value fairness and equity by modeling these principles themselves in their daily lives.
*Oluo, I. (2019). So You Want to Talk About Race. Seal Press.
Reddy, M. (1994). Crossing the Color Line: Race, Parenting, and Culture. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.
Moving from memoir to theory, to literary analysis, to interviews with friends, this author shares her thoughts and experiences raising African American children in a predominately White society.
*Reddy, M. (1996). Everyday Acts Against Racism: Raising Children in a Multicultural World. Seattle, WA: Seal Press.
Twenty essays in this book, written by women of various cultural backgrounds, provide practical suggestions for teaching children how to oppose racism.
*Saad, L. F & Di Angelo, R. (2020). Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor. Sourcebooks.
For readers of White Fragility, White Rage, So You Want To Talk About Race, The New Jim Crow, How to Be an Anti-Racist, and more, who are ready to closely examine their own beliefs and biases and do the work it will take to create social change.
Stern, C., and Bettmann, E.H. (2000). Hate Hurts: How Children Learn and Unlearn Prejudice. New York, NY: Scholastic.
A guide for parents, other caregivers, teachers, and children with advice for adults about helping children who have been targeted by hate and about raising and educating children to be respectful and caring citizens.
Please consider purchasing any of these books from one of our local bookstores including:
* Our Equity Director thinks this book is simply awesome!