You cannot dismantle what you cannot see. You cannot challenge what you do not understand.Layla F. Saad, me and white supremacy
My journey to becoming antiracist has been such an awakening. I’ve learned so much about myself and about the oppression of many BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour). And the more I read, the more I want to read more. I’m hoping that you’ve come to this post because you are ready to learn. That you know the pervasiveness of racism in our current society is killing people. And that you want this to change.
Create the change the world needs by creating change within yourself.Layla F. Saad, me and white supremacy
This is not a comprehensive list by any means, but I hope you will treat it as a starting point. These are some of the books that have really resonated with me in the early parts of my journey.
If you’re in the US, check out the books at Bookshop.org to support independent bookstores with your purchase!
Important Reads on Antiracism that EVERYONE should read
Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad
Layla F. Saad’s book me and white supremacy truly changed my life. I first borrowed the audio book from my local library, and hearing her read her book was transformational. I then bought my own hard copy of it so that I could highlight and make notes in it. I refer to it so much because she explains concepts so well.
Me and White Supremacy: Young Readers’ Edition by Layla F. Saad
I was thrilled to find out that Layla F. Saad also released a Young Reader’s edition of her book! I got it for my daughter.
How to Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
I first saw Ibram X. Kendi during an interview on The Late Night with Stephen Colbert – and everything he said resonated so strongly with me. His writing incorporates his own stories interwoven with teaching, and is truly compelling. I would consider How to Be An Antiracist a seminal book on antiracism.
There is no such thing as a not-racist idea, only racist ideas and anti-racist ideas.Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be An Antiracist
How to Raise An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
How to Raise An Antiracist is such an important book for parents, caregivers, educators, and anyone who has influence with young people. As a parent, and a health care professional working with young children, I found this book to be invaluable.
Being antiracist IS a behaviour, not unlike the behaviours of impatience and patience, ingratitude and gratefulness, selfishness and self-sacrifice.Ibram X. Kendi, How to Raise an Antiracist
The Racial Healing Handbook by Anneliese A. Singh
The Racial Healing Handbook has practical activities to help you learn about racism, as well as discover your own racial identity. It contains space for you to write your reflections in order to really delve into yourself.
The Intersectional Environmentalist by Leah Thomas
This book by Leah Thomas, the founder of Intersectional Environmentalist, is a primer on how climate justice = racial justice = social justice.
The Antiracism Handbook by Thema Bryant and Edith G. Arrington
This book is in the same Social Justice Handbook collection as The Racial Healing Handbook – it has excellent self-reflection activities for both racialized and white folks. It focuses in on the journey to becoming more antiracist, with practical ideas and strategies. I love that it also emphasizes the need for self-care.
Get it at Amazon.ca
Get it at Amazon.com
How to be Less Stupid About Race by Crystal M. Fleming
This book really provides a no-nonsense perspective on the problem of covert racism in our society, sheds light on the real issues, and provides concrete steps for how to be “less stupid”. A really great book that touches on the big points and brings everything together.
Get it at Amazon.ca
Get it at Amazon.com
Race Talk and the Conspiracy of Silence by Derald Wing Sue
This is a great book by a pioneer in the field of antiracism that summarizes a TON of research evidence about people engaging in difficult discussions on race. It also provides great information about how to make these conversations easier.
Voices and Stories of Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour
Tell Me Who You Are by Winona Guo and Priya Vulchi
This book by 2 teen women of colour is a collection of stories from all across USA. They spent a year travelling across the country to speak to many people of colour – very cool!
My Conversations with Canadians by Lee Maracle
Lee Maracle is a true pioneer as one of Canada’s most respected Indigenous voices. In My Conversations with Canadians, she truly makes you feel like you are sitting and talking with her. She answers so many important questions that settlers on Turtle Island have about past and present issues.
Seven Fallen Feathers by Tanya Talaga
I was so ignorant about the post-residential school era of Canada’s mistreatment of Indigenous youth until I read Seven Fallen Feathers. This book will prompt you to action.
Highway of Tears by Jessica McDiarmid
I have to be honest – this is not a light read, but it is an incredibly important one. Reading stories of real Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in Canada broke my heart and brought me to tears on many occasions. Any Canadian needs to read this book to become aware of the tragedies that continue to happen, and challenge our government and systems to demand change.
Policing Black Lives by Robyn Maynard
For a Canadian perspective on the history of Black enslavement and oppression, Policing Black Lives: State Violence In Canada From Slavery To The Present is an excellent resource.
Black & White by Stephen Dorsey
I feel like this book can perhaps be considered a Canadian version of How to Be An Antiracist. He shares his personal journey and experiences, research evidence, as well as the Canadian perspective on racism.
Contesting White Supremacy by Timothy J. Stanley
This book opened my eyes to so much I didn’t know about the history of Chinese Canadians. It struck me deeply to learn about it, but it was so important for me to know.
We Were Dreamers by Simu Liu
Yes, Simu Liu is the Marvel superhero Shang-Chi, but his book We Were Dreamers is a beautiful story of his parents’ life, and his experiences as a Chinese kid growing up in Canada. It’s not meant to be an educational book about antiracism. But in telling his story, and talking about how his growing fame led him to understand how he is a voice for Asian Canadians and Americans, he makes so many beautiful points about one’s journey in racial identity.
Books for Children
Antiracist Baby by Ibram X. Kendi
This picture book is such a beautiful way to introduce antiracism to your littles!
With Our Orange Hearts by Phyllis Webstad
This book is written by Phyllis Webstad, the founder of Orange Shirt Day, and illustrated beautifully by Emily Kewageshig.
Drawn Together by Minh Le
A truly beautiful visual story of connection beyond language and cultural differences.
A is for Activist by Innosanto Nagara
This book isn’t just about antiracism, it’s about activism against all forms of oppression.
What books would you add to this antiracist book list?
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