Reading Recommendations for Self-Education, Anti-Racism, and Empathy

From baby books to essay collections, senior recommends tools for education

Eliot Mitchell, Contributing Writer

One of the most powerful tools to fight racism is education. People in places of privilege must take it upon themselves to educate themselves and become anti-racist instead of complacent. Here are five of my top recommendations for books that will leave you feeling educated and empowered.

Audre Lorde’s Sister Outsider is a collection of essays and speeches from 1976 to 1984 that challenge traditional ideas of class, sexuality, and race. She gives a perspective as a Black, lesbian parent and a partner in an interracial relationship. Lorde believes that differences between people are empowering, and can be used to create change in the world.

Trevor Noah, host of The Daily Show, shares his sensational story of growing up in South Africa with a Black South African mother and a white European father during apartheid. Trevor used his wit and humor to navigate life under a racist government. This genuine and moving memoir shows how he transcended to create an inspiring future for himself.

Yes, this is a baby picture book. However, Antiracist Baby, written by Ibram X. Kendi and illustrated by Ashley Lukashevsky, is still moving and empowers people of any age to uproot racism in society and themself. Itís a great way to take your first stepsñfiguratively or perhaps even literallyñto building a more equitable world.

How We Get Free is a collection of essays and interviews edited by activist and scholar Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor. It reflects on the legacy of The Combahee River Collective, a pathbreaking group of radical black feminists, and their contributions to Black feminism. It will educate you on a part of U.S. history often left out of the textbooks.

If you’re looking for a more casual read, Black Klansman by Ron Stallworth is for you. Part memoir, part comedy,  Stallworth writes about his undercover investigation into the Ku Klux Klan in Colorado. The humorous story is a great read and provides meaningful knowledge into law enforcement agencies and civil rights groups.