Stand Against Racism Reading List (Nonfiction)

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Stand Against Racism Reading List (Nonfiction)

Categories: COVID-19, Eliminating Racism, News

Stand Against Racism provides the opportunity for communities across the United States to find an issue or cause that inspires them to take a #StandAgainstRacism. It is a time to unite our voices to educate, advocate, and promote racial justice. This year, the annual Stand Against Racism campaign will take place April 23 – 26, 2020. Although we are not able to gather together physically due to social distancing and safety measures to help stop the spread of COVID-19, it’s not going to stop us altogether.

woman lounges on a couch reading a book, text in top right corner says "Stand Against Racism Reading List"YWCA Greater Lafayette is a multi-issue organization that seeks to improve the material lives of women and girls in our community, while acknowledging the complexities that exist across many personal, cultural and political contexts of the clients and populations we serve. In order to do this, we must regularly measure and evaluate our progress toward fulfilling our mission of eliminating racism and empowering women.

Throughout our 90-year history, women of YWCA Greater Lafayette have worked to build an inclusive organization. Like all organizations and the country at large, we have to address challenges related to race and racism, tensions and failures on our journey of inclusion. To ensure our commitment to our mission and ability to best serve our community, we must continuously seek knowledge and acquire new tools and skills that enhance our capacity to do the work of seeking justice and be an inclusive organization. In doing so, we commit to a lifelong journey of learning, listening, and un-learning the conditioning of a society that is steeped in historical, structural and systematic racism.

We invite you, our YWCA supporters and family, to join us on this life-long journey. Below, you will find a list of non-fiction titles that can start or deepen your understanding of race and racism in the United States, and how you can take actions every day to Stand Against Racism. This is by no means a complete list, and we’d love to know what you’re reading.

Where to Access Books

As we’re all hunkered down at home due to Indiana’s stay at home order, there are still great options to get your hands on the books below while supporting small local businesses and public services.

Local Bookstores

Even though stores are closed and you can’t go browsing the shelves, Main Street Books and Second Flight Books both operate online stores. Order online and have your purchases shipped to your home while supporting locally-owned independent bookstores.

PUblic Library – Libby by Overdrive

Have a library card that is gathering dust while libraries are closed due to COVID-19? Use the Libby app by Overdrive to use your public library card to access thousands of books and audio books for free.

Start Here

  • Me & White SupremacyLayla Saad. New York Times Bestseller.
    • Me and White Supremacy: A 28-Day Challenge to Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor leads readers through a journey book cover for Me and White Supremacy by Layla Saadof understanding their white privilege and participation in white supremacy, so that they can stop (often unconsciously) inflicting damage on black, indigenous and people of color, and in turn, help other white people do better, too. The book goes beyond the original workbook by adding more historical and cultural contexts, sharing moving stories and anecdotes, and includes expanded definitions, examples, and further resources.
  • White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People To Talk About RacismRobin DiAngelo. New York Times Bestseller.
    • “The New York Times best-selling book exploring the counterproductive reactions white people have when their assumptions about race are challenged, and how these reactions maintain racial inequality.”
  • How to Be an AntiracistIbrahim X. Kendi. New York Times Bestseller.
    • “Ibram X. Kendi’s concept of antiracism re-energizes and reshapes the conversation about racial justice in America–but even more fundamentally, points us toward liberating new ways of thinking about ourselves and each other. Instead of working with the policies and system we have in place, Kendi asks us to think about what an antiracist society might look like, and how we can play an active role in building it. “
  • So You Want to Talk About Race?Ijeoma Oluo. New York Times Bestseller.
    • “In So You Want to Talk About Race, Ijeoma Oluo guides readers of all races through subjects ranging from intersectionality and affirmative action to ‘model minorities’ in an attempt to make the seemingly impossible possible: honest conversations about race and racism, and how they infect almost every aspect of American life.”

Centering Black Experiences

  • Between the World and MeTa-Nehisi Coates. New York Times Bestseller.Cover for I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown
    • “Americans have built an empire on the idea of ‘race,’ a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men—bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion. 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?”
  • I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for WhitenessAustin Channing Brown
    • “From a powerful new voice on racial justice, an eye-opening account of growing up Black, Christian, and female in middle-class white America.”
  • The Warmth of Other SunsIsabel Wilkerson. National Bestseller, Winner of the Pulitzer Prize.
    • “In this epic, beautifully written masterwork, Pulitzer Prize–winning author Isabel Wilkerson chronicles one of the great untold stories of American history: the decades-long migration of Black citizens who fled the South for northern and western cities, in search of a better life.”

Examining Systemic Racism

  • Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools – Monique MorrisBook cover for Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in School by Monique Morris
    • “Monique W. Morris (Black StatsToo Beautiful for Words) chronicles the experiences of Black girls across the country whose intricate lives are misunderstood, highly judged—by teachers, administrators, and the justice system—and degraded by the very institutions charged with helping them flourish.”
  • The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness – Michelle Alexander. New York Times Bestseller.
    • The New Jim Crow is a stunning account of the rebirth of a caste-like system in the United States, one that has resulted in millions of African Americans locked behind bars and then relegated to a permanent second-class status—denied the very rights supposedly won in the Civil Rights Movement.”
  • White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of our Racial Divide – Carol Anderson, PhD
    • “From the Civil War to our combustible present, acclaimed historian Carol Anderson reframes our continuing conversation about race, chronicling the powerful forces opposed to black progress in America.”


  • An Indigenous People’s History of the United StatesRoxanne Dunbar-OrtizCover of An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States by
    • “Now, for the first time, acclaimed historian and activist Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz offers a history of the United States told from the perspective of Indigenous peoples and reveals how Native Americans, for centuries, actively resisted expansion of the US empire.”
  • They Were Her Property: White Women as Slave Owners in the American SouthStephanie Jones-Rogers
    • “Bridging women’s history, the history of the South, and African American history, this book makes a bold argument about the role of white women in American slavery […] By examining the economically entangled lives of enslaved people and slave?owning women, Jones-Rogers presents a narrative that forces us to rethink the economics and social conventions of slaveholding America.”
  • Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in a AmericaIbrahim X. Kendi. New York Times Bestseller
    • “Some Americans insist that we’re living in a post-racial society. But racist thought is not just alive and well in America–it is more sophisticated and more insidious than ever. And as award-winning historian Ibram X. Kendi argues, racist ideas have a long and lingering history, one in which nearly every great American thinker is complicit.”

For Kids & Youth

  • This Book is Antiracist: 20 Lessons on How to Wake Up, Take Action, and Do the WorkTiffany JewellBook cover for This Book is Antiracist by Tiffany M. Jewell
    • “This book is written for EVERYONE who lives in this racialized society—including the young person who doesn’t know how to speak up to the racist adults in their life, the kid who has lost themself at times trying to fit into the dominant culture, the children who have been harmed (physically and emotionally) because no one stood up for them or they couldn’t stand up for themselves, and also for their families, teachers, and administrators.”
  • We Are Not Yet Equal by Carol Anderson is a YA adaptation of White Rage  for teen and pre-teen readers. The book is written in an approachable narrative style that provides readers with additional context to these historic moments and includes photographs and additional resources.
  • An Indigenous People’s History of the United States for Young People by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, adapted by Jean Mendoza and Debbie Reese
    • “Spanning more than 400 years, this classic bottom-up history examines the legacy of Indigenous peoples’ resistance, resilience, and steadfast fight against imperialism… The original academic text is fully adapted by renowned curriculum experts Debbie Reese and Jean Mendoza, for middle-grade and young adult readers.”

For more books to read with young children: “31 Children’s books to support conversations on race, racism and resistance” from