These books and resources will help you understand anti-racism

Natasha Mwansa

The past week has seen an outpouring of grief and outrage following the death of George Floyd - an unarmed black man - by a police officer in Minnesota.

News of racially motivated police brutality is always devastating, and now more than ever non-black and particularly white people are being called on to show proactive allyship.

For an issue as complex and systematic as this you may be wondering what exactly you can do to help. While making donations and initiating difficult conversations go a long way, arming yourself with the knowledge of white privilege and the disadvantages people of colour face is the first step to winning the fight against structural racism.

We’ve put together a list of books, podcasts and TV programmes to get you started.

Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race

Books

Why I’m no Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge

The seminal debut book from Reni Eddo-Lodge pulls no punches in addressing the failings of white Britons in acknowledging their privileges. The book gets right to the point, imploring its white readers to take accountability for the continual oppression of people of colour.

Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge (Bloomsbury, £7.99) | Buy it here.

Slay in Your Lane by Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uviebinené

Though this book is aimed at black women and girls, it offers eye-opening insights into the more covert micro-aggressions black women face on a day-to-day basis. The book contains anecdotes from a number of high-profile black women in the UK such as June Sarpong and Afua Hirsch, on topics like dating and higher education. Slay in Your Lane is a stark reminder that there’s much more to racism than police brutality and derogatory slurs.

Slay in Your Lane by Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uviebinené (HarperCollins, £9.99) | Buy it here.

The Good Immigrant by Nikesh Shukla​

If you thought racism was more of a Stateside issue, the compilation of essays that make up The Good Immigrant (edited by Nikesh Shukla) dispels that notion entirely. Each essay has been written from different contributors and delves into the experiences of being a person of colour in Britain. A vital read for white people looking to understand the nuanced ways that discrimination show up for different ethnic groups.

The Good Immigrant by Nikesh Shukla (Unbound, £8.99) | Buy it here.

Natives by Akala

The fallout from Britain’s troubled history of colonialism and structural racism is deconstructed in this book from the musician and political commentator Akala. Natives is ideal for anyone who is unaware of how institutions like the police and education consistently fail young black people, particularly from working class backgrounds.

Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire by Akala (John Murray Press, £8.99). Buy it here.


Television and Film

When They See Us by Ava DuVernay

If you saw the shocking video of Amy Cooper calling the police on an African American man in Central Park and didn’t quite grasp the severity of the situation, this drama series is essential viewing. The series recounts the harrowing true story of the Central Park Five - a group of young black boys who were wrongly accused of raping a white woman in the very same New York park.

Watch it on Netflix.

13TH by Ava DuVernay

This splintering examination of the American prison system (also from Ava DuVernay) goes into everything from harsh sentencing for black offenders, to how the American education system puts black and Latino children at a disadvantage in comparison to their white peers.

Watch it on Netflix.

Dear White People by Justin Simien

This American Netflix series centres a group of black university students who are exploring their own cultural identities while trying to tackle growing racial tensions on campus. The series is a more light-hearted watch in comparison to DuVernay’s projects but a necessary one all the same.

Watch it on Netflix.


Podcasts

Say Your Mind

This podcast from British influencer Kelechi Okafor is not for the thin-skinned. Kelechi has a way with words that means she can deliver heartfelt and emotive messages as expertly as she can tear ignorant people and ideologies to shreds. Kelechi is funny, scathing and endearing all at once, presenting black issues both frivolous and pressing with clarity and unflinching honesty. Definitely one for those who like it told as it is.

Listen on Apple Podcasts.

The Code Switch

With a title that references the ways in which black people often have to adjust the way they speak to suit predominantly white spaces, The Code Switch unpacks the way race affects everything from the workplace to portrayals in the media. Listen to this for fascinating insights into moments in black history that you won’t have been taught in school.

Listen on NPR.

Bound For Justice

If you're looking for more reading material to pore though, this podcast engages with books and authors who draw from history to discuss how racism shows up today. From books that revisit the harrowing story of Emmett Till to the unpacking of the term White Fragility, there's plenty here to add to your reading list.

Listen on Apple Podcasts.

Read more

How to donate to Black Lives Matter and the George Floyd memorial fund