Books on Health Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
How to Be an Antiracist
Ibram X. Kendi
Ibram X. Kendi's concept of antiracism reenergizes and reshapes the conversation about racial justice in America - but even more fundamentally, points us toward liberating new ways of thinking about ourselves and each other. Instead of working with the policies and system we have in place, Kendi asks us to think about what an antiracist society might look like, and how we can play an active role in building it.
Citation: Kendi, Ibram X. How to Be an Antiracist. New York: One World, 2019.
Race Talk and the Conspiracy of Silence
Derald Wing Sue
If you believe that talking about race is impolite, or that "colorblindness" is the preferred approach, you must read this book. Derald Wing Sue debunks the most pervasive myths using evidence, easy-to-understand examples, and practical tools.
Citation: Wing Sue, Derald. Race Talk and the Conspiracy of Silence: Understanding and Facilitating Difficult Dialogues on Race. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2015.
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, Robin DiAngelo examines how white fragility develops, how it protects racial inequality, and what we can do to engage more constructively.
Citation: DiAngelo, Robin. White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism. Boston: Beacon Press, 2018.
Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?
Beverly Daniel Tatum
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.
Citation: Tatum, Beverly Daniel. Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?: And Other Conversations about Race. New York: Basic Books, 2003.
This book is Bryan Stevenson's (MPP/JD 1985 LLD 2015) unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted young lawyer‘s coming of age, a moving window into the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of true justice. Stevenson was honored by HKS in 2018 with the 2018 Alumni Public Service Award.
Citation: Stevenson, Bryan. Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption. New York: Spiegel & Grau, 2015.
The New Jim Crow
The New Jim Crow has spawned a whole generation of criminal justice reform activists and organizations motivated by Michelle Alexander‘s unforgettable argument that we have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it. As the Birmingham News proclaimed, it is undoubtedly the most important book published in this century about the U.S.
Citation: Alexander, Michelle. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. New York: The New Press, 2020.
From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation
In this stirring and insightful analysis, activist and scholar Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor surveys the historical and contemporary ravages of racism and persistence of structural inequality such as mass incarceration and Black unemployment. In this context, she argues that this new struggle against police violence holds the potential to reignite a broader push for Black liberation.
Citation: Taylor, Keeanga-Yamahtta. From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation. Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2016.
The Color of Law
In this groundbreaking history of the modern American metropolis, Richard Rothstein, a leading authority on housing policy, explodes the myth that America‘s cities came to be racially divided through de facto segregation—that is, through individual prejudices, income differences, or the actions of private institutions like banks and real estate agencies. Rather, The Color of Law incontrovertibly makes clear that it was de jure segregation—the laws and policy decisions passed by local, state, and federal governments—that actually promoted the discriminatory patterns that continue to this day.
Citation: Rothstein, Richard. The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America. New York; London: Liveright Publishing Corporation, 2017.
One Person, No Vote
Carol Anderson follows the astonishing story of government-dictated racial discrimination unfolding before our very eyes as more and more states adopt voter suppression laws. In gripping, enlightening detail she explains how voter suppression works, from photo ID requirements to gerrymandering to poll closures. And with vivid characters, she explores the resistance: the organizing, activism, and court battles to restore the basic right to vote to all Americans.
Citation: Anderson, Carol. One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression Is Destroying Our Democracy. New York: Bloomsbury, 2018.
Erica Armstrong Dunbar
A startling and eye-opening look into America‘s First Family, Erica Armstrong Dunbar tells the powerful narrative of Ona Judge, George and Martha Washington‘s runaway slave who risked it all to escape the nation‘s capital and reach freedom.
Citation: Dunbar, Erica Armstrong. Never Caught: The Washington's Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge. 37Ink; Atria Books: New York, 2017.
The Fire Next Time
At once a powerful evocation of James Baldwin‘s early life in Harlem and a disturbing examination of the consequences of racial injustice, the book is an intensely personal and provocative document. It consists of two letters, written on the occasion of the centennial of the Emancipation Proclamation, that exhort Americans, both Black and white, to attack the terrible legacy of racism.
Citation: Baldwin, James. The Fire Next Time. New York: Vintage, 1992
Carefully linking historical flashpoints when social progress for African Americans was countered by deliberate and cleverly crafted opposition, Carol Anderson pulls back the veil that has long covered actions made in the name of protecting democracy, fiscal responsibility, or protection against fraud, rendering visible the long lineage of white rage.
Citation: Anderson, Carol. White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide. New York: Bloomsbury, 2016.
How to Be Less Stupid About Race
Crystal Fleming provides your essential guide to breaking through the half-truths and ridiculous misconceptions that have thoroughly corrupted the way race is represented in the classroom, pop culture, media, and politics.
Citation: Fleming, Crystal. How to Be Less Stupid About Race: On Racism, White Supremacy, and the Racial Divide. New York: Penguin Random House, 2019.
Race Matters contains Cornel West‘s most powerful essays on the issues relevant to black Americans today: despair, black conservatism, black-Jewish relations, myths about black sexuality, the crisis in leadership in the black community, and the legacy of Malcolm X. And the insights that he brings to these complicated problems remain fresh, exciting, creative, and compassionate.
Citation: West, Cornel. Race Matters. Boston: Beacon Press, 1993.
Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents
Isabel Wilkerson uncovers the unspoken caste system that has shaped America and shows how our lives today are still defined by a hierarchy of human divisions. She explores, through an immersive, deeply researched narrative and stories about real people, how America today and throughout its history has been shaped by a hidden caste system, a rigid hierarchy of human rankings. Beyond race, class, or other factors, there is a powerful caste system that influences people‘s lives and behavior and the nation‘s fate.
Citation: Wilkerson, Isabel. Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents. New York: Penguin Random House, 2010.
My Grandmother's Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending our Hearts and Bodies
The body is where our instincts reside and where we fight, flee, or freeze, and it endures the trauma inflicted by the ills that plague society. Menakem argues this destruction will continue until Americans learn to heal the generational anguish of white supremacy, which is deeply embedded in all our bodies. Our collective agony doesn't just affect African Americans. White Americans suffer their own secondary trauma as well. So do blue Americans—our police.
My Grandmother's Hands is a call to action for all of us to recognize that racism is not only about the head, but about the body, and introduces an alternative view of what we can do to grow beyond our entrenched racialized divide.
Citation: Menakem, R. (2017). My grandmother's hands: Racialized trauma and the pathway to mending our hearts and bodies.