9 books on racism and racial justice to read right now

What to read if you want to be an ally and contribute toward racial justice.
/ Source: TODAY
By Rheana Murray

After a weekend of protests over the killing of George Floyd, which captured generations of fear, anxiety and injustice, many people across the country are eager to educate themselves about antiracism and the issues facing black people in America today.

If you want to learn more, but aren't sure where to get started, here's a list of what people are reading and bookstores are suggesting right now.

"Between the World and Me" by Ta-Nehisi Coates

This National Book Award winner is written as a letter to the author's teenage son. In the book, Coates writes about the exploitation of the black body throughout history and shares his own experience with being black in America.

"White Fragility" by Robin DiAngelo

DiAngelo, a professor who studies racial and social justice issues, explains how white people in America are insulated from "race-based stress" and the effect this has on our country — and what we can all do to work toward racial justice.

If it feels like everyone is reading this book right now, that's because they are. As of Tuesday, this book was the No. 1 bestseller on Amazon.

"The New Jim Crow" by Michelle Alexander

Alexander, an attorney and activist, writes that "we have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it."

Her award-winning book puts a spotlight on the millions of black Americans who are behind bars, and how the U.S. criminal justice system is rigged against them.

"How To Be An Antiracist" by Ibram X. Kendi

As Kendi explains, it's not good enough to simply be "not racist." To create a just society, we must be antiracist. His book, part memoir and part history lesson, asks readers to do some serious self-examination while also explaining how we can all move forward and create change.

And it's very popular right now: As of Tuesday, it was the No. 2 book on Amazon's bestseller list.

"Stamped" by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds

Another from Kendi, this book is a reworking of his previous book, "Stamped From the Beginning." The new version is intended for young people but recommended to everyone.

Kendi and Reynolds write about where racist ideas came from in the first place and how we got to where we are now, while also offering hope for the future.

"The Bluest Eye" by Toni Morrison

Is a novel more your speed? Try this classic from beloved author Toni Morrison, who died in 2019, which examines whiteness as a standard of beauty and follows a young black girl struggling to love herself.

"The Fire Next Time" by James Baldwin

Baldwin's bestseller from 1963, which commemorated the centennial of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, still resonates powerfully today.

The late author's book consists of two essays that examine racial injustice in America, including his own experience growing up as a black teenager in Harlem.

"So You Want to Talk About Race" by Ijeoma Oluo

Many bookstores are recommending Oluo's bestselling book about how to talk about racism. Her book has become a useful guide and workbook for people who are ready to start having difficult conversations.

"Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?" by Beverly Daniel Tatum

Tatum's 1997 book sparked a nationwide conversation about kids and racism. Twenty years later, she released a new edition, proving that the conversations are still as timely as ever. Tatum, a psychologist, takes a close look at our racial identities with a particular focus on young people.

Want more? Take a look at what black-owned bookstores are recommending on social media. Many, including Mahogany Books in Washington, D.C., and Semicolon Bookstore in Chicago, have been sharing great suggestions.

And Fulton Street Books & Coffee in Tulsa, Oklahoma, is offering "Ally Boxes," which include two titles like the ones above, plus other resources for people who want to educate themselves on how to help.