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Recommended Reads: Racial Justice Reads

We at Lemieux believe it is important to stay educated, informed and active in the fight against racial injustice. It's easy to feel overwhelmed by everything happening in our country right now. This reading list can serve as a kicking off point in your journey to be a more proactive ally. Choose a book, share it with a friend or family member, and stay prepared.

Race 101

White Fragillity: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism

Referring to the defensive moves that white people make when challenged racially, white fragility is characterized by emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt and by behaviors including argumentation and silence. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium and prevent any meaningful cross-racial dialogue. In this in-depth exploration, anti-racist educator Robin DiAngelo examines how white fragility develops, how it protects racial inequality, and what can be done to engage more constructively.

So You Want to Talk about Race

Ijeoma Oluo offers a contemporary, accessible take on the racial landscape in America, addressing head-on such issues as privilege, police brutality, intersectionality, micro-aggressions, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the "N" word. Perfectly positioned to bridge the gap between people of color 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.

Me and White Supremacy

Based on the viral Instagram challenge that captivated participants worldwide, Me and White Supremacy takes readers on a 28-day journey of how to dismantle the privilege within themselves so that they can stop (often unconsciously) inflicting damage on people of color, and in turn, help other white people do better, too.

"Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?"

Walk into any racially mixed high school and you will see Black, White, and Latino youth clustered in their own groups. Is this self-segregation a problem to address or a coping strategy? Beverly Daniel Tatum, a renowned authority on the psychology of racism, argues that straight talk about our racial identities is essential if we are serious about enabling communication across racial and ethnic divides. These topics have only become more urgent as the national conversation about race is increasingly acrimonious.

Freedom Is a Constant Struggle

In this collection of essays, interviews, and speeches, the renowned activist examines today's issues--from Black Lives Matter to prison abolition and more.

This Book is Anti-Racist

Who are you?
What is your identity?
What is racism?
How do you choose your own path?
How do you stand in solidarity?
How can you hold yourself accountable?

Learn about identities, true histories, and anti-racism work in 20 carefully laid out chapters. Written by anti-bias, anti-racist, educator and activist, Tiffany Jewell, and illustrated by French illustrator Aurélia Durand in kaleidoscopic vibrancy.

Black Lives Matter

From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation

The eruption of mass protests in the wake of the police murders of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and Eric Garner in New York City have challenged the impunity with which officers of the law carry out violence against Black people and punctured the illusion of a postracial America. The Black Lives Matter movement has awakened a new generation of activists. In this stirring and insightful analysis, activist and scholar Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor surveys the historical and contemporary ravages of racism and persistence of structural inequality such as mass incarceration and Black unemployment. In this context, she argues that this new struggle against police violence holds the potential to reignite a broader push for Black liberation.

How To Be An Antiracist

In How to Be an Antiracist, Kendi takes readers through a widening circle of antiracist ideas—from the most basic concepts to visionary possibilites—that will help readers see all forms of racism clearly, understand their posionous consequences, and work to oppose them in our systems and in ourselves.Kendi weaves an electrifying combination of ethics, history, law, and science with his own personal story of awakening to antiracism.

How We Get Free

The Combahee River Collective, a path-breaking group of radical black feminists, was one of the most important organizations to develop out of the antiracist and women's liberation movements of the 1960s and 70s. In this collection of essays and interviews edited by activist-scholar Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, founding members of the organization and contemporary activists reflect on the legacy of its contributions to Black feminism and its impact on today's struggles.

Making All Black Lives Matter

The breadth and impact of Black Lives Matter in the United States has been extraordinary. Between 2012 and 2016, thousands of people marched, rallied, held vigils, and engaged in direct actions to protest and draw attention to state and vigilante violence against Black people. In Making All Black Lives Matter, award-winning historian and longtime activist Barbara Ransby outlines the scope and genealogy of this movement, documenting its roots in Black feminist politics and situating it squarely in a Black radical tradition, one that is anticapitalist, internationalist, and focused on some of the most marginalized members of the Black community.

Stay Woke

When #BlackLivesMatter went viral in 2013, it shed a light on the urgent, daily struggles of black Americans to combat racial injustice. The message resonated with millions across the country. Yet many of our political, social, and economic institutions are still embedded with racist policies and practices that devalue black lives. Stay Woke directly addresses these stark injustices and builds on the lessons of racial inequality and intersectionality the Black Lives Matter movement has challenged its fellow citizens to learn.

Their Stories

Between the World and Me

In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation's history and current crisis.

Heavy

In this powerful and provocative memoir, genre-bending essayist and novelist Kiese Laymon explores what the weight of a lifetime of secrets, lies, and deception does to a black body, a black family, and a nation teetering on the brink of moral collapse. Kiese Laymon is a fearless writer. In his essays, personal stories combine with piercing intellect to reflect both on the state of American society and on his experiences with abuse, which conjure conflicted feelings of shame, joy, confusion and humiliation. Laymon invites us to consider the consequences of growing up in a nation wholly obsessed with progress yet wholly disinterested in the messy work of reckoning with where we've been.

Men We Reaped

In five years, Jesmyn Ward lost five men in her life, to drugs, accidents, suicide, and the bad luck that can follow people who live in poverty, particularly black men. Dealing with these losses, one after another, made Jesmyn ask the question: why? And as she began to write about the experience of living through all the dying, she realized the truth--and it took her breath away. Her brother and her friends all died because of who they were and where they were from, because they lived with a history of racism and economic struggle that fostered drug addiction and the dissolution of family and relationships. Jesmyn says the answer was so obvious she felt stupid for not seeing it. But it nagged at her until she knew she had to write about her community, to write their stories and her own.

I Can't Breathe

On July 17, 2014, a forty-three-year-old black man named Eric Garner died on a Staten Island sidewalk after a police officer put him in what has been described as an illegal chokehold during an arrest for selling bootleg cigarettes. The final moments of Garner's life were captured on video and seen by millions. A grand jury ultimately declined to indict the officer who wrestled Garner to the pavement. Matt Taibbi's deeply reported retelling of these events liberates Eric Garner from the abstractions of newspaper accounts and lets us see the man in full—with all his flaws and contradictions intact. A husband and father with a complicated personal history, Garner was neither villain nor victim, but a fiercely proud individual determined to do the best he could for his family, bedeviled by bad luck, and ultimately subdued by forces beyond his control.

Living Black

Living Black breaks the stereotype of poor African American neighborhoods as dysfunctional ghettos of helpless and hopeless people. Despite real and enduring poverty, the community described here--the historic North End of Champaign, Illinois--has a vibrant social life and strong ties among generations. Fleisher offers a window into daily life in this neighborhood, particularly through the stories of Mo and Memphis Washington, who fight to sustain a stable home for their children, and of Burpee, a local man who has returned to the North End to rebuild his life after years of crime and punishment in Chicago.

Criminal Justice in America

Stony the Road

The abolition of slavery after the Civil War is a familiar story, as is the civil rights revolution that transformed the nation after World War II. But the century in between remains a mystery: if emancipation sparked 'a new birth of freedom' in Lincoln's America, why was it necessary to march in Martin Luther King, Jr.'s America? Gates uncovers the roots of structural racism in our own time, while showing how African-Americans after slavery combatted it by articulating a vision of a 'New Negro' to force the nation to recognise their humanity and unique contributions to the United States.

Just Mercy

Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn't commit. The case drew Bryan into a tangle of conspiracy, political machination, and legal brinksmanship--and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever.

Pushout

Just 16 percent of female students in the USA, Black girls make up more than one-third of all girls with a school-related arrest. The first book to tell these untold stories, Pushout exposes a world of confined potential and supports the growing movement to address the policies, practices, and cultural illiteracy that push countless students out of school and into unhealthy, unstable, and often unsafe futures.

Violence Against Black Bodies

Violence Against Black Bodies argues that black deaths at the hands of police are just one form of violence that black and brown people face daily in the western world. Through the voices of scholars from different academic disciplines, this book gives readers an opportunity to put the cases together and see that violent deaths in police custody are just one tentacle of the racial order--a hierarchy which is designed to produce trauma and discrimination according to one's perceived race-ethnicity.

Deadly Injustice

The murder of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin and the subsequent trial and acquittal of his assailant, George Zimmerman, sparked a passionate national debate about race and criminal justice in America that involved everyone from bloggers to mayoral candidates to President Obama himself. Contributors explore how race and racism informs how Americans think about criminality, how crimes are investigated and prosecuted, and how the media interprets and reports on crime. At the center of their analysis sit examples of the Zimmerman trial and Florida's controversial Stand Your Ground law, providing current and resonant examples for readers as they work through the bigger-picture problems plaguing the American justice system.

The New Jim Crow

As the United States celebrates the nation's "triumph over race" with the election of Barack Obama, the majority of young black men in major American cities are locked behind bars or have been labeled felons for life. Although Jim Crow laws have been wiped off the books, an astounding percentage of the African American community remains trapped in a subordinate status--much like their grandparents before them. In this incisive critique, former litigator-turned-legal-scholar Michelle Alexander provocatively argues that we have not ended racial caste in America: we have simply redesigned it. Alexander shows that, by targeting black men and decimating communities of color, the U.S. criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control, even as it formally adheres to the principle of color blindness.

Digging Deeper: Race 201

Dreaming Blackness

A complex portrait of contemporary black political stances, Black Nationalism is one of the oldest and most enduring ideological constructs developed by African Americans to make sense of their social and political worlds. In Dreaming Blackness, Melanye T. Price explores the current understandings of Black Nationalism among African Americans, providing a balanced and critical view of today's black political agenda.

Fatal Invention

A decade after the Human Genome Project proved that human beings are not naturally divided by race, the emerging fields of personalized medicine, reproductive technologies, genetic genealogy, and DNA databanks are attempting to resuscitate race as a biological category written in our genes. In this provocative analysis, leading legal scholar and social critic Dorothy Roberts argues that America is once again at the brink of a virulent outbreak of classifying population by race. By searching for differences at the molecular level, a new race-based science is obscuring racism in our society and legitimizing state brutality against communities of color at a time when America claims to be post-racial. Fatal Invention is a provocative call for us to affirm our common humanity.

Biased

From one of the world's leading experts on unconscious racial bias come stories, science, and strategies to address one of the central controversies of our time How do we talk about bias? How do we address racial disparities and inequities? What role do our institutions play in creating, maintaining, and magnifying those inequities? What role do we play? With a perspective that is at once scientific, investigative, and informed by personal experience, Dr. Jennifer Eberhardt offers us the language and courage we need to face one of the biggest and most troubling issues of our time.

Race, Work, and Leadership

A rare and important compilation of essays that examines how race matters in people's experience of work and leadership. What does it mean to be black in corporate America today? How are racial dynamics in organizations changing? How do we build inclusive organizations? Inspired by and developed in conjunction with the research and programming for Harvard Business School's commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the HBS African American Student Union, this groundbreaking book shines new light on these and other timely questions.

From Equity Talk to Equity Walk

Colleges and universities have placed greater emphasis on education equity in recent years. This book meets educators where they are and offers an effective design framework for what it means to move beyond equity being a buzzword in higher education. Central concepts and key points are illustrated through campus examples. This indispensable guide presents academic administrators and staff with advice on building an equity-minded campus culture, aligning strategic priorities and institutional missions to advance equity, understanding equity-minded data analysis, developing campus strategies for making excellence inclusive, and moving from a first-generation equity educator to an equity-minded practitioner.

For more information on this guide please contact: library@seattleu.edu