12 Books You Should Read to Understand Systemic Racism

Around the country, people protesting in the streets and on social media are making themselves heard. Millions are coming together to demand justice for the killing of George Floyd, a Black man — now-viral video footage showed a white police officer holding Floyd down with his knee until long after he was made unconscious. Celebrities like Chrissy Teigen are joining in the crowdsourcing efforts to raise money for protesters’ bail, and Beyoncé, George Clooney, and Barack and Michelle Obama have also spoken out about the continued pain of police brutality and anti-Black violence.

Elsewhere on social media, many people are asking their white and non-Black friends to avoid putting the onus on Black people to explain their trauma to them, as doing so is asking an already stressed and strained group of people to take on even more emotional labor. Instead, it’s better to pick up a few books, many of which are readily available, to research and educate yourself — and then talk about what you’ve learned and unlearned with your other non-Black friends.

From writers like Ibram X. Kendi, Mikki Kendall, Ijeoma Oluo, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and Claudia Rankine —  these books can help start you on your path towards restorative justice.

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