books about race

Sandrine’s Letter to Tomorrow, by Dedra Johnson

Books about race

This HuffPo article, 16 Books About Race That Every White Person Should Read, is a good cross-section of books for white people. Contrary to the white-privilege stereotype, many white people want to understand what black folks go through. It includes classics like The Invisible Man and To Kill a Mockingbird. The list also contains Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Check it out, and pick up a couple of these. No, don’t stop with Mockingbird and say you understand black people, please.

Systemic problems

There are a lot of systemic problems in our society that black folks “in their place” that white people simply do not consider. They don’t understand the perspective of non-white people in this country. A white person can’t follow a black friend around for a few days to understand how they’re viewed by the world. The mere presence of the “white friend” skews things. A cop on the street sees a lone black man, and treats him differently from a black guy walking with a white guy.

So, go read. Read about the world through the eyes of your black friend, and his father. That’s the best way to get a feel for what they’re trying to tell you.

In addition to these sixteen books,here’s one more, particularly for my New Orleans friends. Check out Sandrine’s Letter to Tomorrow, by Dedra Johnson. This novel is a coming-of-age novel. It’s often compared to I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. While that is high praise, it also fits well as an addendum to this list of books about race. Sandrine is an eight-year old girl, growing up in 1970s New Orleans. Her desire to attend an all-girls Catholic high school in the city. That goal is challenged almost daily by forces out of her control. Locals will recognize neighborhoods and character archetypes from the streets of the city.

In conclusion, go read. It empowers all of us!