Building My Anti-Racist Reading List
As an artist and an anthropologist myself, I care deeply about diverse voices in science, the arts, culture, and society. With recent protests over the death of George Floyd and conversations happening worldwide about race and systematic inequities in society, I feel moved to declare that I stand against racism and violence. I feel moved to spend more time actively listening, and learning how to engage with this issue more meaningfully in everyday observation and discourse. From a religious perspective, I believe that we are all children of a loving Heavenly Father. I think it's vital that we confront the broken components in our societies, mourn with those that mourn, and pursue a deep understanding of the legacy of the whole human family in our interactions with one another. Black lives, black contemporary experiences, and black history matter, because love, equality, and basic human dignity matter.
I am making it my goal to read the following books this year. Some of these books I've been meaning to read for years, while others are new discoveries to me. This is, in many ways, a small list. For me, it's a place to start. Others have pointed to engaging with literature as among the meaningful things I can do to listen, understand, and engage as an ally in contemporary issues on the topic of race better.
Twelve Years A Slave by Solomon Northup
How to be Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-Create Race in the Twenty-First Century by Dorothy Roberts
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly
Roots: The Saga of an American Family by Alex Haley
The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson
Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane
Black Tudors by Miranda Kaufmann
Hitler's Black Victims: The Historical Experiences of European Blacks, Africans and African Americans During the Nazi Era by Clarence Lucane
I've also discovered NPRs Code Switch podcast.
Have you been building an anti-racist reading list too? What books are you reading, and what books do you recommend or what books are your favorites? How have they helped you to think differently about privilege/access to opportunities and bias/discrimination, and to have more meaningful conversations about race? Feel free to leave a comment at the end of the post!
I would invite fellow readers to consider with me in the coming months books on the subject of race in history, contemporary experiences, and culture. I would also invite others to join me in more actively diversifying our regular reading lists with voices and perspectives that may be new to us in fiction alongside whatever favorite authors we normally read.
In addition, you might consider joining me in donating to the following organizations, or to others you find worthwhile:
Equal Justice Initiative: https://eji.org
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP): https://www.naacp.org
Alternatively, you might consider service opportunities of various sorts that are available locally in your area in an effort to build stronger connections and understanding within your surrounding community. I've also donated to the following organizations in the past who are focused on refugees:
Utah Refugee Connection: https://serverefugees.org
International Rescue Committee: https://www.rescue.org
With much love and eagerness,