Top pick:

Robin DiAngelo: White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism

About the Author: Robin DiAngelo is an academic, lecturer, and author and has been a consultant and trainer on issues of racial and social justice for more than twenty years. She formerly served as a tenured professor of multicultural education at Westfield State University.

About the Book:
“The New York Times best-selling book exploring the counterproductive reactions white people have when their assumptions about race are challenged, and how these reactions maintain racial inequality.
“In this “vital, necessary, and beautiful book” (Michael Eric Dyson), antiracist educator Robin DiAngelo deftly illuminates the phenomenon of white fragility and “allows us to understand racism as a practice not restricted to ‘bad people’ (Claudia Rankine). 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, DiAngelo examines how white fragility develops, how it protects racial inequality, and what we can do to engage more constructively.”

Websites of Interest:

https://www.middlechurch.org/

Other favorites:

Beverly Daniel Tatum: Why are All the Black Kids Sitting Together at the Cafeteria? and Other Conversations about Race, 20th Anniversary Edition

About the Author:
Beverly Daniel Tatum, PhD, is president emerita of Spelman College and in 2014 received the Award for Outstanding Lifetime Contribution to Psychology, the highest honor presented by the American Psychological Association. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

About the Book:
“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. This fully revised edition is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the dynamics of race in America.”

Michelle Alexander – The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

About the Author:
Michelle Alexander is associate professor of law at Ohio State University and holds a joint appointment at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity. Formerly the director of the ACLU’s Racial Justice Project in Northern California, Alexander served as a law clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun.

About the Book:
“Once in a great while a book comes along that changes the way we see the world and helps to fuel a nationwide social movement. The New Jim Crow is such a book. Praised by Harvard Law professor Lani Guinier as “brave and bold,” this book directly challenges the notion that the election of Barack Obama signals a new era of colorblindness. With dazzling candor, legal scholar Michelle Alexander argues that ‘we have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it.’ By targeting black men through the War on Drugs and decimating communities of color, the U.S. criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control – relegating millions to a permanent second-class status – even as it formally adheres to the principle of colorblindness. In the words of Benjamin Todd Jealous, president and CEO of the NAACP, this book is a ‘call to action.’ Called ‘stunning’ by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David Levering Lewis, ‘invaluable’ by the Daily Kos, ‘explosive’ by Kirkus, and ‘profoundly necessary’ by the Miami Herald, The New Jim Crow is a must-read for all people of conscience.”

Eduardo Galeano – Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent 

About the Author:
“Eduardo Galeano is a world-renowned Uruguayan journalist and author of the acclaimed trilogy Memory of Fire (American Book Award, 1989), Days and Nights of Love and War, Book of Embraces, Soccer in Sun and Shadow, and Upside Down.”

About the Book:
“First published in 1971, Eduardo Galeano’s analysis of the effects and causes of capitalist underdevelopment in Latin America presents a clear, passionate account of almost 500 years of Latin American history. Galeano shows how foreign companies reaped huge profits through the operations in Latin America. He explains the politics of the Latin American bourgeoisies and their subservience to foreign powers, and how they interacted to create increasingly unequal capitalist societies in Latin America. Open Veins continues to speak to generations of people who want to understand capitalism and exploitation in Latin America, and in the rest of the world.”

Anne Fadiman – The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures

About the Author:
“Anne Fadiman was born in New York City and raised in Connecticut and Los Angeles. After graduating from Harvard, she worked as a wilderness instructor in Wyoming before returning to New York to write. She has been a staff writer at Life, editor-at-large of Civilization, and editor of The American Scholar. Fadiman is also the author of two collections of personal essays, Ex Libris and At Large and At Small, as well as the editor of Rereadings and Best American Essays 2003. She is married to the writer George Howe Colt. Fadiman lives with her family in western Massachusetts and serves as the Francis Writer-in-Residence at Yale.”

About the Book:
“The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down explores the clash between a small county hospital in California and a refugee family from Laos over the care of Lia Lee, a Hmong child diagnosed with severe epilepsy. Lia’s parents and her doctors both wanted what was best for Lia, but the lack of understanding between them led to tragedy. Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Current Interest, and the Salon Book Award, Anne Fadiman’s compassionate account of this cultural impasse is literary journalism at its finest. The current edition, published for the book’s fifteenth anniversary, includes a new afterword by the author that provides updates on the major characters along with reflections on how they have changed Fadiman’s life and attitudes.”