With the tragic murder of George Floyd and the subsequent protests and riots over the last weeks on top of the coronavirus, we are living in interesting times. Hopefully, we will see justice and positive change come out of this. If you’re wondering how we got to this moment, here are some books and a video that are a good start for educating yourself.
- When They Call you A Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Patrisse Khan-Cullors and asha bandele– A powerful memoir by one of the founders of Black Lives Matter.
- Who Do You Serve, Who Do You Protect? Police Violence and Race ed. by Maya Schenwar, Joe Macaré, and Alana Yu-Lan Price– Essays and reports exploring police violence against marginalized communities
- So You Want To Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo– A great resource for learning how and when to talk about race no matter who you are.
- A Good Time For Truth: Race In Minnesota ed. by Sun Yang Shin– This book is particularly relevant now as it explores how race is handled in Minnesota, written by Minnesotan Writers of Color.
- The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander– Delve into the inequality of the justice system as a whole with this seminal book.
- The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks About Race ed by Jesmyn Ward– A collection of essays and poems jumping off of James Baldwin’s classic The Fire Next Time.
- This Will Be My Undoing: Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and Feminist in (White) America by Morgan Jerkins– This very personal book of essays talks about the effects of the double oppressions of misogyny and racism.
- Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde– A classic collection of essays and speeches about being a black queer woman, mother, and cancer survivor.
- Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower by Brittney Cooper– An exploration of Black women’s rage, why it exists, and how it can be a powerful force to fight for change.
- How to Be An Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi– How do we emerge from this and change for the better? Kendi offers us a roadmap to go past awareness and into an anti-racist future.
- Trevor Noah On The Dominos of Racial Injustice– Only have twenty minutes? Daily Show host Trevor Noah makes insightful and concise work of breaking down how we got here.
This is only a short, and by no means comprehensive, list to start you on your way. The books on this list are not easy reading, but they are well worth the effort and necessary, especially for those of us who will never have these experiences and need to take it upon ourselves to learn and do better. These authors have taken the time and emotional labor to make these resources available. The least we can do is use them.
In addition, actively searching out Black artists, musicians, activists, TV shows, movies, and authors of all genres is a great way to learn without placing the burden of educating you on your Black friends, family, significant others, or colleagues. Buy from Black businesses, order from Black restaurants, and vote for anti-racist politicians. Putting your money, votes, and your views/listens towards supporting the Black community long after these protests are over will help keep the ball rolling towards change.
What books/podcasts/documentaries/content has helped you learn about the history behind police brutality and the Black community?
Words: Katta Hules
Photo: Endre Hules