Antiracist Books You Need to Read

My Favorite Antiracist Books to Learn About Antiracism

Antiracism is a new word for many white-dominated organizations and white households.  At it’s core, antiracism means to actively engage in the movement to end systemic racism.  It means doing your part in your community, your organization, and in your home to be inclusive to all races.  With the racial justice social movements of the summer, to police brutality and protesting, many Americans are wondering what they can do to be antiracist.  The first step is education, followed closely by activity.

Well-intentioned allies do not know where to start.  They need education to get on the journey to being an ally.

To know how best to help it is important to listen first to understand the real issues, before engaging in activity.  The failure to do so often results in white savorism where white people want to save the day for people of color.  This is harmful and often worse than doing nothing at all.  To better equip yourself as an antiracist, consider these books.

These are my favorite recommended reads for clients, organizaitons, friends and family wanting to learn more about antiracism.

How to be an Antiracist by Ibram Kendi:  This poignant read navigates all the unique systems effectiving racism.  Ibram shares his own personal narrative and missteps along the way with specific calls to action for readers wanting to be antiracists.

The Person You Mean to Be by Dolly Chugh:  Dolly shares her own struggles with allyship and finding a way to be an ally for people of color.  Through her research, she helps readers understand the difference between impact and intention in the antiracism conversation, and why engaging well-intentioned people is critical to the future of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Black Fatigue by Mary-Frances Winters :  For people of color and Black people, living with racism is nothing new.  For white people waking up to the reality that racism does still exist is new.  Mary-Frances helps readers understand the emotional toll of antiracist work, and how to support our Black communities in times of Black fatigue.

Caste by Isabel Wilkerson-Frances:  We are not taught the full history of racism in school.  Isabel’s work helps us understand our real racial history with authentic storytelling to help readers navigate this new set of facts that is often in conflict to previous held beliefs about history.

The Memo by Minda Harts:  Minda takes us on her own personal journey through Corporate America and her lived experience as a woman of color.  She offers tangible strategies for people of color and Black women to apply to their careers right away with helpful tips to be inclusive as the majority group.

I’m Still Here by Austin Channing Brown:  This book hit home for me.  I found Austin’s stories so captivating and her depiction of white guilt and compassion fatigue were spot on.  She has a gift for words and strikes an emotional chord with her personal journey with tools every ally can learn from.

Biased by Jennifer Eberhardt:  Jennifer has deep expertise in policing and teaching bias with law enforcement.  Her data, own lived experiences, and stories of police officers provides a window into the world of police brutality and how we can get better as a culture.

So You Want ot Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo:  Ijeoma bridges together her own intersectional experiences as a woman of color with ways to have candid conversations about race.  Her helpful tools and thought questions give an actionable guide for those that want to be allies for people of color.

Inclusify by Stefanie Johnson:  Stefanie’s data tells the story of why diversity, equity and inclusion are still elusive today in Corporate America.  She builds the case for true inclusion through belonging and uniqueness along with helpful leadership pitfalls to avoid to be an effective ally.

White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo:  The only white person on the list I recommend, yet I deeply believe in Robin’s work.  Reading this book a few years ago changed my whole perspective on race and whiteness.  We need all voices included if we want to advance diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace.

Pick a book, read it with a friend or ally.  Share what you learned with someone.  Being an antiracist is a journey.  Educating yourself is the first part, it is what you do with the information that matters next.  

Curious to learn more?

Check out my latest interviews with diversity, equity, and inclusion experts on the Next Pivot Point podcasttake our free team diversity and inclusion assessment, and schedule time with Julie to talk live about ideas.