Since George Floyd’s murder, on the 25th May 2020 due to police brutality, a roar has been heard across the United-States and spread through the western world. This murder was the last straw, the one that would start a riot and would rekindle the flame of the Black Lives Matter movement, created in 2013 by Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi following the discharge of George Zimmerman, the organizer of a white neighborhood surveillance, who shot Trayvon Martin, an unarmed 17-year-old teenager.
A wave of protests took the world by storm, showing an essential solidarity towards victims of police brutality but first and foremost towards victims of institutional racism. déf
Now, more than ever, it is essential to turn the tables, but for that, we have to work together. As white people, we need to forget about what we have been taught in order to educate ourselves on what institutional racism is and how it affects people concerned.
Only then we will truly be able to listen to racialized people and to help them the best we can. We need to put them in the spotlight so that society does the same. By educating ourselves we can educate others, our family, our friends (hi racist uncles). And if you don’t know where to start, don’t worry, we have found 5 books that have taught us a lot on the matter and that will be useful for you as well. Good reading !
HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST - IBRAM X. KENDI
One is either racist or anti-racist, there is no in-between area. This is how the author argues throughout his entire memoirs, combining his experiences in life and facts studied by the author himself who is also an historian as well as being a specialist in race and discriminatory politics in America. If the author admits he has been racist then we all are racist too. Don’t get me wrong, this is not about being openly racist like what we think of when we talk about racist people, however it is about internalizing institutional racism and therefore having a biased opinion given by society. No need to worry, it is never too late to question yourself and to become anti-racist.
The author defines anti-racism as “a transformative concept that reorients and reenergizes the conversation about racism -and even more fundamentally points us toward liberating new ways of thinking about ourselves and each other.”
We believe that this book is the most important one, the one that will really teach us to leave this vicious circle of systemic racism; also the author says that “the only way to undo racism is to consistently identify and describe it -and then dismantle it.” To be honest with you, it is not the most simple and easiest book to read but it is the one that will really teach you new terms to use and make you understand better what racism is and where it comes from.
WHITE FRAGILITY - ROBIN DIANGELO
This book is not welcomed unanimously by readers, indeed a few people reproach the author for being haughty towards racialized persons with her too simple ideas. This book clearly speaks to white people by using simple words for them to understand and knows how to properly talk to white people. It is the book we recommend to those who want to start their education on racism.
Sociologist in multicultural education and anti-racist activist, Robin DiAngelo talks about “white fragility”, but what is it exactly ? It is simply a response of white people towards racism, we can find emotions like anger, fear or even guilt but also behaviors including argumentation and silence.
Through her book, Robin DiAngelo explores white fragility, how it develops, how it protects racial unfairness and what we can do to end this whole problem, particurlarly by questioning the subconscious racism of “white progressive.”
WHY I'M NO LONGER TALKING TO WHITE PEOPLE ABOUT RACE - RENI EDDO-LODGE
In 2014, the journalist Rend Eddo-Lodge wrote on her blog her frustration about the ways racism is brought up by white people in Britain. She posted it with the title “Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race” and it became viral. It created a conversation between BIPOC and White People about racism.
What is interesting in this book is the writer’s British point of view. We explore everything from eradicated black history to the inextricable link between class and race.
This book is essential for anyone who wants to understand race relations in Britain today
MINOR FEELINGS - CATHY PARK HONG
You must read this book, it brilliantly talks about South Asians’ lives in America, their search for their identity and their place in our society. Distrusted by African Americans, ignored by whites, unless they’re being used by whites to keep the black man down…
Cathy Park Hong is a Korean/American poet, writer and professor. In her book, she talks about “minor feelings”, which are “the racialized range of emotions that are negative, dysphoric, and therefore untelegenic.”
Minor Feelings was written in 7 essays, each one dealing with a minor feeling. The writer uses her story as a starting point to examine racism in America. She talks about her relationship with her English, shame and depression, her discovery of poetry and artmaking, her family and friends, to search for the truth.
GOOD TALK - MIRA JACOB
“Are white people afraid of brown people ?” This is what Zakir, Mira Jacob’s son, asked her. As every child, he asks himself a lot of questions, and in order to answer them, the writer has to think about her questions at his age and how she got her answers.
Through this memoir, she talks about race, color, sexuality and the most important thing : love. It’s funny and heart-rending, and we love the writer’s tone.
It is a really good book to learn more about South Asians, not enough represented in our society.