Podcasts, books, and films to deepen your understanding of racism and anti-Blackness in America.

By Kimberly Truong and Kimberly Truong
Jun 01, 2020 @ 3:46 pm
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Since the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man who died because Minneapolis police officers handcuffed him and pinned him to the ground, thousands of people have taken to the streets in protests worldwide to demand justice — not only for Floyd, but also for Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and the countless other Black people killed at the hands of police, or in Arbery's case, at the hands of armed white men who were only arrested after footage of the incident circulated months later.

If you're looking to take action, in addition to attending protests and donating money to show support for the Black Lives Matter movement, keeping yourself informed is one place to start. Below, you can find a list of just a few books, podcasts, and films to get started on deepening your understanding of racism and anti-Blackness in America.

Books

(You may want to consider purchasing these books from a local bookstore owned and operated by Black people — you can find a directory here.)

Ijeoma Oluo's New York Times bestseller is a guide on discussing racism through a wide array of topics, from intersectionality to model minorities.

In her 1981 book named after Sojourner Truth's "Ain't I a Woman?" speech, bell hooks examines the impact of racism and sexism on Black women. 

Audre Lorde's Sister Outsider is an essential collection of essays and speeches on sexism, racism, ageism, homophobia, and class. 

James Baldwin's 1963 book was published just as the civil rights movement was in full swing in the U.S., and consists of two essays on the role of race in American history as well as the relationship between race and religion. 

In her impactful 2010 book, Michelle Alexander argues that "we have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it," and examines the discrimination in the mass incarceration system in the U.S.

Antiracist educator Robin DiAngelo's 2018 book illuminates the phenomenon of white fragility and how we can engage more constructively with each other. 

Ibram X. Kendi's 2019 book discusses the concept of anti-racism, asking us to think about how we can all play a role in actively building an anti-racist society. 

Podcasts

Intersectionality Matters! is a podcast hosted by Kimberlé Crenshaw, a leading scholar of critical race theory who coined the term "intersectionality." In each episode, Crenshaw discusses race theory and civil rights, and has tackled topics like voter suppression and the intersection of racism and ageism.

Hosted by Nikole Hannah-Jones, 1619 is part of the New York Times's project of the same name, tracing the consequences of slavery to the modern-day.

Films

Ava DuVernay's 2016 documentary explores the criminalization of African-Americans and the U.S. prison boom. Available to stream on Netflix.

This 2011 documentary examines the evolution of the Black Power Movement in America in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Available to stream on YouTube and iTunes.

A 2016 documentary on racism in the U.S., told through James Baldwin's writing on civil rights leaders Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King Jr. Available to stream on YouTube, Amazon Prime, and iTunes.

2016's Kiki focuses on the drag and ballroom culture in New York City among young LGBTQ+ people of color. Available to stream on Hulu, Amazon Prime, YouTube, and iTunes.

Other resources

Activist Rachel Cargle has put together a playlist of speeches and lectures from revolutionaries such as Malcolm X, Angela Davis, and Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Black Lives Matter has put together action toolkits, including organizing tips for white and non-Black people.