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AntiRacist Reading Recommendations

Members of Antiracist Riverside have come together to provide a list of helpful Antiracist literature for aspiring Antiracists and those wanting to learn more about the movement. The recommendations range from instructional texts to history books to memoirs.

You may download the full list here: Antiracist Riverside Reading List (also available as PDF)

If you are just getting into Antiracism and would like some recommendations on where to start, check out these five books, which lay a fantastic foundation of understanding of Antiracism and what you can do to join the work.

The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together (Heather McGhee)

The Sum of Us frames a careful, zoomed-out narrative of the mass costs of racism - from cemented pools to pollution - and what we can do as a society to both address and redress the historical wrongs by understanding their full context.

This incredible text will provide an excellent framework to grapple with the costs of racism and the timetable on which all of these issues have taken place.

The New Jim Crow (Michelle Alexander)

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness catalogs in excruciating detail the evolution of Jim Crow era policies into modern policing, mass incarceration, and racialized class strife. This text will bring into question the meanings of law, justice, and the human cost of our unequal justice system as it stands today.

Highly recommended reading if you are interested in understanding structural racism, or are researching criminal justice issues. It is also a fascinating text all around and is a mainstay of any antiracist library.

Between the World and Me (Ta-Nehisi Coates)

Ta-Nehisi Coates will go down in history as one of the most effective and powerful prose authors of our times. Between the World and Me is partially a memoir of Coates' life, and partially it is a letter to his son who, coming of age, is about to learn many of the lessons of the world. It is a both a tender letter from father to son and gripping history of a life lived in passionate service to antiracist values.

While the preceding texts have been mostly informational, Between the World and Me is an emotional and raw look at the world through the eyes of Ta-Nehisi Coates, a deep exploration of the past that made him who he is, and all at once, a letter to the next generation on how we got where we are and where we have yet to go. 

Not "A Nation of Immigrants" (Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz)

Prepare to have your assumptions challenged. In this text, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz takes us on a self-reflective journey through the "Nation of Immigrants" narrative and calls into question the very nature on which many of our "national ideals" are founded, accurately portraying both American apartheid and its perpetuating myths.

This book is incredibly powerful in how it artfully breaks open our national myths and lays bare the dark truths that underpin them. This text will help lay a foundation of understanding for seeing through our nationalist myths and the rhetoric that accompanies them.

How to Be an Antiracist (Dr. Ibram X Kendi)

How to Be an Antiracist is a much-lauded manual for antiracist practices and understanding generously provided by Dr. Ibram Kendi as part of a larger body of work he has made available. This book is separated into topical chapters and will walk you through some of the history of racism and antiracism as well as provide recommendations for actions, both personal and collective, to further antiracist values.

Also available: How to Raise an Antiracist, a handbook for parents; and Antiracist Baby, a children's book Kendi wrote as a way to communicate these issues to his young daughter.

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