For Inland 360
For many people, talking about issues like race, bias, discrimination and privilege can be uncomfortable, awkward and challenging. These topics can raise difficult questions: Does acknowledging race make me a racist? What does white privilege mean? What if I talk about race wrong?
Thankfully, there are a number of incredible books tackling this subject. These books can help you explore hidden biases, work towards productive and more meaningful conversations, and offer the perspective of “other.” All the books listed are available through area librarys’ Valnet catalog at www.valnet.org.
“Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor” by Layla Saad (2020)
Layla Saad’s viral Instagram challenge #meandwhitesupremacy and her digital “Me and White Supremacy Workbook” inspired her to write an entire book about taking ownership of racist behavior and making changes that are not easy, convenient or comfortable. In the text, Saad offers straightforward, actionable, but not easy, beginning steps to work towards antiracism that is “designed to help readers slowly and intentionally unpack white privilege, acknowledge their participation in the oppressive system of white supremacy, and begin dismantling the system for themselves and within their communities.” – Library Journal
“So You Want to Talk About Race” by Ijemoa Oluo (2018)
Ijemoa Oluo, a Seattle-based, New York Times bestselling author and a 2019 Washington State Book Award winner, tackles the sensitive, hyper-charged racial landscape of contemporary America. She discusses issues of privilege, police brutality, intersectionality and microaggressions. Oluo offers straightforward and practical advice to anyone trying to better understand racism. Consider this a friendly, non-shaming, user-guide to improving conversations, because, as Oluo explains when, “we’re not acknowledging race, we’re saying white all the time.”
“Waking Up White, and Finding Myself in the Story of Race” by Debby Irving (2014)
Despite her best intentions, for many years Debby Irving, an arts administrator, sensed inexplicable racial tensions in her personal and professional relationships. After an “aha” moment, she embarked on an adventure of discovery and insight that shifted her worldview and upended her life plan. “Waking Up White” is a honest and, at times, cringe-worthy personal narrative that delves into Irving’s long-held beliefs about color blindness, being a good person and how these well-intentioned mindsets perpetuated ill-conceived ideas about race.
“Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?: And Other Conversations about Race” by Beverly Daniel Tatum (2017, second edition)
Tatum’s classic is a crash-course in the psychology of racism. She argues that straight talk about our racial identities is essential if we are serious about enabling communication across racial and ethnic divides. This fully revised edition is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the dynamics of race in America.
Kolb is the adult services librarian at Asotin County Library. Her love for reading began at a young age with the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle series. Let her know what books you’re into now at: email@example.com