The Naughty Baptist

Books that have helped me learn about racism

I'm currently in Chicago at the annual kickoff for the company I work for. The last part of the day was an empathy workshop, which honestly I was dreading. The person who led it, however, was phenomenal, and I learned a ton.

One thing she mentioned was trying to educate yourself about groups outside of your own. For a while I've been trying to learn more about the African American experience in particular, and racism in general. I was going to post some books that have been helpful to me in our company Slack, but decided to put it here so 1) it doesn't crowd the channel and 2) hopefully it'll be easier to find later.

These are all well written and researched, but are also hard to read. None of them are light. But I feel all should be required reading.

So, in no particular order:

Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?: And Other Conversations About Race by Beverly Daniel Tatum

This book has a terrible title (IMHO) but is a great introduction of how racial identities develop.

The Color of Compromise: The Truth about the American Church’s Complicity in Racism by Jemar Tisby

One of the best books I read in 2019. Tisby shows how the American Church, in many ways, actively furthered racist policies and ideas. Deep stuff, but essential reading, especially if you're a Christian.

The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism by Edward E. Baptist

Extremely difficult to read, but gives a well-researched, well-written overview of what American slavery was really like, and how it impacted our nation, and continues to impact it.

Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi

This one also made my list of best books I read in 2019. As the subtitle states, this is a history of racist ideas. The book focuses on 5 main people in US history, but covers a lot of ground. It introduces Dr. Kendi's idea of racist vs antiracist, which has been very useful to me, and goes well with...

How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi

I'm not done with this one yet, but have already gotten a lot out of it. Gives a good overview of antiracism, and how to act in a way that is explicity antiracist.

If you have other suggestions, I'd love to hear them