Resources on Race and Racism

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I get a fair amount of requests from individuals asking me for resources to study on race and racism in America. I do my best to respond to each and every person who asks, and I try to tailor the resource list to their immediate questions and concerns. However, some simply want a general resource list as a place to start. That’s what this page is for, a list of accessible resources regarding race and racism in America.

I will update this list on a regular basis as new information comes in or new resources come to my attention. All of these resources are available either online, through Amazon, or through Overdrive–a great, free way to download e-books from your local library. This list is in no way comprehensive, nor does it strive to be. Rather the purpose is to be a starting point, an accessible and generalized list for you to access and expand your understanding.

First Updated: 11/21/16
Last Updated: 2/21/17

BOOKS


No Name in the Street
by James Baldwin.
Baldwin’s 1972 book is as prophetic for today as it was then. Baldwin has a tremendous ability to draw you in with his narrative style just before hitting you hard with truth. In No Name in the Street, Baldwin walks through the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr, Malcom X and Medgar Evers while revealing the then present state of race relations. Spoiler alert: It reads as if he were writing today. There are segments of the book that align with the new Oscar nominated documentary, I Am Not Your Negro. When I went to watch the documentary there were segments that read almost exactly like this book. They make for great companions.

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The Fire Next Time
by James Baldwin.
This is a masterpiece of historical literature. Baldwin opens with an essay to his 14-year old nephew detailing the struggle of race and what it means to be black in America. It was, perhaps, the inspiration for Ta-Nehisi Coates book Between the World and Me (described below). It is interesting to read this essay and Coates work back-to-back to see the difference between the times. There isn’t much. Baldwin’s second essay in this book details the role of race and religion, including his own religious upbringing and the paradox he faced there within.

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The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks about Race

Edited by Jesmyn Ward.
Ward brings together a group of important voices to speak about their experiences and their pain as black men and women in America facing the never-ending cycle of racism. These essays, reflections, poems, and insights into the reality of life as a black person in America is an emotional journey that points out the realities of our day. Ward fashions this work in the timeless piece of James Baldwin’s collected essays in The Fire Next Time. The contributors include Carol Anderson, Jericho Brown, Garnette Cadogan, Edwidge Danticat, Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah, Mitchell S. Jackson, Honoree Jeffers, Kima Jones, Kiese Laymon, Daniel Jose Older, Emily Raboteau, Claudia Rankine, Clint Smith, Natasha Trethewey, Wendy S. Walters, Isabel Wilkerson, and Kevin Young.

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Stand Your Ground: Black Bodies and the Justice of God by Kelly Brown Douglas.
In the wake of the 2012 killing of Trayvon Martin and his the subsequent acquittal of his killer, Douglas wrestles through the sociological and theological tension that exist within the black church and her own self as a black mother. As an accomplished scholar, Douglas presents the historical context of racism within America, its roots, and its far reaching effects on today’s society. She does this while wrestling theologically with the question of God’s Justice.

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The Cross and The Lynching Tree
by James Cone.
Theologian James H. Cone examines the the history of the African American experience of lynching in America through the lens of the Cross. He takes these two emotionally charged symbols (the cross and the lynching tree) and explores their interconnection in the history of black folk.

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The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
by Michelle Alexander.
Legal scholar Michelle Alexander examines the imbalance of the U.S. criminal justice system and its targeting of black men in particular and people of color in general. “We have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it,” she argues and the effects of the War on Drugs have unfairly targeted and decimated communities of color.

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The Souls of Black Folk
by W. E. B. Du Bois.
A seminal work that outlines and describes the black experience post-Emancipation, outlining both the struggles and the challenges that were foisted upon an entire people. Du Bois goes a step further in this collection of essays (first published together in 1903) to affirm both the dignity and the humanity of the black individual.

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Citizen: An American Lyric
by Claudia Rankin.
“A provocative meditation on race.” Claudia Rankin’s poetic expression of the mounting racial aggression and encounters in twenty-first-century daily life, in what is often described as a “post-racial society,” challenges the non-black assumptions and expectations of what life in America is like and how the collective effects of racism are manifest. Rankin utilizes essay, image, and poetry powerfully to give a clearer picture of the black experience.

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Between The World and Me
by Ta-Nehisi Coates.
What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden? Between the World and Me is Ta-Nehisi Coates’s attempt to answer these questions in a letter to his adolescent son. Coates shares with his son—and readers—the story of his awakening to the truth about his place in the world through a series of revelatory experiences.

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Howard Zinn on Race by Howard Zinn.
This is a collection of shorter writings and speeches by Zinn that demonstrate and reflect his views on the questions and issues of race, specifically around the Civil Rights movement. During this period, Zinn was the chair of the history department at Spelman College, a historically all black women’s college in the South. He firmly believed that bringing people of different races and nationalities together would create a more compassionate world, where equality is a given and not merely a dream.
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PODCASTS

On Being with Krista Tippett
“On Being is a Peabody Award-winning public radio conversation and podcast, a Webby Award-winning website and online exploration, a publisher and public event convener. On Being opens up the animating questions at the center of human life: What does it mean to be human, and how do we want to live?”

* Isabel Wilkerson: The Heart is the Last Frontier
* Vincent Harding: Is America Possible?
* Ruby Sales: Where Does It Hurt?
* Michelle Alexander: Who We Want to Become Beyond The New Jim Crow
* Maya Angelou, Elizabeth Alexander, & Arnold Rampersand: W. E. B. Du Bois and The American Soul

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Code Switch from NPR
“Ever find yourself in a conversation about race and identity where you just get…stuck? Code Switch can help. We’re all journalists of color, and this isn’t just the work we do. It’s the lives we lead. Sometimes, we’ll make you laugh. Other times, you’ll get uncomfortable. But we’ll always be unflinchingly honest and empathetic.”

* Black and Blue
* 46 Stops: The Driving Life and Death of Philando Castile
* Can We Talk About Whiteness

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Pass the Mic
Pass The Mic is the premier podcast of the Reformed African American Network. Every month Jemar and Phillip sit down with voices from across the reformed movement with the mission of addressing the core concerns of African Americans biblically.

* Processing Donald Trump with Jemar Tisby
* Interview: Soong-Chan Rah
* Sho Baraka’s Narrative and 13th
* Current Events: Keith Lamont Scott, Terrence Crutcher, and NMAAHC

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ARTICLES

* Everything I Know About Racism I Learned in the Church by Christena Cleveland
* Letter from a Birmingham Jail by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
* Could Black People in the U.S. Qualify as Refugees? by Raha Jorjani
* Why Jesus’ Skin Color Matters: That he was an ethnic minority shapes how we minister today by Christena Cleveland
* When Christians Won’t Say #BlackLivesMatter” by Kevin Wright
* White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by Peggy McIntosh
* There Is No Such Thing As Race By Robert Wald Sussman
* Does Race Exist? Two Perspectives by C. Loring Brace & George W. Gill
* Race: The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy by Michael James

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VIDEOS

I Am Not Your Negro [Documentary]

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13th

A thought-provoking documentary on NETFLIX filled with scholars, activists, and politicians who describe and analyze the criminalization of African-Americans. The particular lens through which they examine is the exponential growth of the U.S. prison population and the “loophole” of the 13th amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Check out the trailer

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NY Times Documentary: Conversations on Race
NY Times Documentary

* A Conversation with my Black Son
* A Conversation about Growing Up Black
* A Conversation with White People on Race
* A Conversation with Police on Race
* A Conversation with Black Women on Race

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RACE – The Power of an Illusion [PBS Documentary]
Race: The Power of an Illusion
* RACE – The Power of An Illusion – Episode 1: The Difference Between Us (PBS Documentary)
* RACE: The Power Of An Illusion – Episode 2: The Story We Tell (PBS Documentary)
* RACE: The Power Of An Illusion – Episode 3: The House We Live In (PBS Documentary)