5 books to help others understand #blacklivesmatter
There’s always a good time to read and share these books - even more so right now as part of the Black Lives Matter movement
Recent events in America mean it’s more important than ever to keep up the fight against racism and injustice, whether that’s on the frontline or being allies in spirit. Education comes in many forms and books can be one of the most powerful ways to allow others, whatever their backgrounds, to understand the black experience.
Here are five to press into the hands of anyone who wants to learn and lend their name to the struggle…
1. Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People about Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
A non-fiction book inspired by a blog post Reni wrote, it became a massive talking point and thrust the brilliant journalist into the limelight. For her, racism wasn’t just about the violence of far-right extremists but a more nuanced kind that was found in everyday, respectable life. An excerpt reads: “I don’t have a huge amount of power to change the way the world works, but I can set boundaries. I can halt the entitlement they feel towards me and I’ll start that by stopping the conversation. The balance is too far swung in their favour. Their intent is often not to listen or learn, but to exert their power, to prove me wrong, to emotionally drain me, and to rebalance the status quo. I’m not talking to white people about race unless I absolutely have to.”
2. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
You’ll probably already know the premise of this book, but even if not, the story will seem all too familiar, and too close to home given the situation in the United States right now. Angie has taken a scenario that’s played out in real life all too often, with the killing of a black man by a police officer, and turned it into a young adult fiction book. It’s hugely powerful and no surprise it’s been such a massive seller.
3. Giant Steps to Change the World by Spike Lee, Tonya Lewis Lee, Sean Qualls
Education starts at home - and early on. It’s important for children to understand the world, even these more sensitive subjects. Who better than Spike Lee and his wife Tonya to lead the charge, with a wonderful illustrated book about positive people throughout history who’ve made ‘giant steps’ to make a difference. It encourages youngsters not to be discouraged by the idea that they’re not good enough and shows them how they can follow in the footsteps of the fearless before them.
4. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colour-blindness by Michelle Alexander
For a comprehensive and brilliantly told study of the prison system in the US, this book describes the ‘re-birth of a caste-like system’ which has resulted in millions of African Americans being locked up and relegated to second class citizens. The New York Times dubbed it the ‘secular bible of a new social movement’ and it’s the kind of non-fiction work that should be on the syllabus.
5. Slay in Your Lane: The Black Girl Bible by Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uviebinene
For anyone who wants to understand just what black women are up against, this should be top of their pile. Asked if this was a book for white men, Yomi replied: “We hope Slay In Your Lane ushers in a future where this question isn’t even asked. As women who have read about the experiences of white men our whole lives, we believe this book is crucial reading that everyone can learn from.”