Looking to learn more about anti-racism work and dismantling systems of oppression? Check out our recommendations for engaging with these issues.
Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
In Americanah, the story begins with Ifemelu and Obinze leaving their military occupied home in Nigeria. Ifemelu heads to the U.S. where, for the first time, she is forced to grapple with what it means to be Black. Obinze plans to join her, but is forced to flee to London after 9/11. Follow along as Ifemelu and Obinze find their way back to each other and their homeland in Nigeria.
Buffalo Shout, Salmon Cry, edited by Steve Heinrichs
Buffalo Shout, Salmon Cry is a series of essays written by authors of diverse racial backgrounds. The essays explore alternative theories of land use, creation, history and faith. As readers open their minds and hearts to new ideas presented in this book, editor Steve Heinrichs hopes that we can move towards deeper reconciliation.
Embrace: God’s Radical Shalom for a Divided Wolrd, by Leroy Barber
Leroy Barber has dedicated his life to breaking down the walls that separate us. He explains that although it may be easier to ignore uncomfortable conversations, God calls us to lean in and embrace those who are different than us. Barber shows us how to move into deeper, more loving relationships to pursue “peace on earth”.
Healing Racial Trauma: The Road to Resilience, by Sheila Wise Rowe
“People of color have endured traumatic histories and almost daily assaults on our dignity.” Sheila Wise Rowe is a professional counselor who seeks to uncover and address the racial trauma that has been inflicted on Black lives. Through interviews with Black people, she unpacks their stories of trauma and resilience.
How to be an Antiracist, by Ibram X. Kendi
“The opposite of racist isn’t ‘not racist.’ It is ‘antiracist,’” Ibram X. Kendi, founding director of the Antiracism Research and Policy Center, explains. But what does that really mean? Kendi breaks this idea down for us in his book. He highlights the ways white people can be complicit in perpetuating racism and helps us move from a place of racism to antiracism.
I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness, By Austin Channing Brown
In a time where schools, churches, universities and businesses claim to value diversity, Austin Channing Brown tells a different story. Growing up in majority-white schools and churches, Brown spent her whole life trying to figure out what it meant to love her Blackness. In I’m Still Here, Brown shows us the ways the church has participated in racial hostility and invites readers to confront their own racial apathy.
Is Christianity the White Man’s Religion?: How the Bible Is Good News for People of Color, by Antipas L. Harris
“If Christianity is for everyone, why does the Bible seem to endorse slavery? Why do most popular images of Jesus feature a man with white skin and blue eyes? Is evangelical Christianity “good news” or a tool of white supremacy?” Antipas L. Harris unpacks these questions and explores why so many young Christians have rejected the Christian faith they grew up with. Harris shows how the bible is a book of justice, and why it is good news for all.
Me and White Supremacy, by Layla Saad
Based on an Instagram challenge that went viral, Layla Saad offers a 28-day guide for readers to recognize and dismantle harmful privileges and prejudices existing within themselves.
The Book of Negroes, by Lawrence Hill
Based on a true story, award-winning novelist Lawrence Hill depicts the journey of Aminata, a young girl abducted from her village in Mali. After a dangerous journey on a slave ship to the U.S., she is caught in a cycle of slave work in various U.S. towns. Aminata eventually becomes a part of the abolitionist movement to free enslaved peoples. This book exposes the terrifying reality of slavery in the 1700s.
The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America, by Thomas King
The Inconvenient Indian is a personal meditation on what it means to be “Indian” in the U.S. Thomas King explains how pop culture and history books have shaped our notions of Indigenous identity.
The Warmth of Other Suns: the epic story of America’s great migration, by Isabel Wilkerson
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Isabel Wilkerson chronicles one of the great untold stories of U.S. history: the decades-long migration of Black citizens who fled the South for Northern and Western cities, in search of a better life.
Trouble I’ve Seen: Changing the Way the Church Views Racism, by Drew G.I. Hart
“What if all Christians listened to the stories of those on the racialized margins? How might the church be changed by the trouble they’ve seen?” In this enlightening book, Drew G.I. Hart examines how white faith leaders have turned a blind eye to racial injustice. He urges white Christians to examine their institutions when it comes to racial equity and offers concrete practices for churches to seek solidarity with the oppressed.
Twelve Lies That Hold America Captive: And the Truth That Sets Us Free, by Jonathan P. Walton
“America is a Christian nation.”
“All men are created equal.”
“We are the land of the free and the home of the brave.”
Jonathan Walton’s book exposes cultural myths like these that distort our perception of the reality for marginalized communities. He challenges readers to acknowledge these myths as distinctly different from the freedom God promises us.
White Jesus: The Architecture of Racism in Religion and Education, by Alexander Jun, Tabatha L. Jones Jolivet, Allison N. Ash, Christopher S. Collins
White Jesus is much different than the Jesus of the Gospels. Created to perpetuate colorism, power and racism, it showcases white supremacy and exclusion. This book works to reclaim the real Jesus, born in Bethlehem who embodied radical love.
White Fragility: Why It’s so Hard for White People to Talk about Racism, by Robin DiAngelo
This New York Times best-selling book explores the counterproductive reactions white people have when their assumptions about race are challenged. Robin DiAngelo explains how these reactions maintain racial inequality, and how we can dig deeper into these uncomfortable conversations.
When They Call You a Terrorist, by Patrisse Khan-Cullors and Asha Bandela
After the death of Trayvon Martin, three women – Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi and Patrisse Khan-Cullors – decided it was time to do something. Their cry was “Black Lives Matter,” which led to them being called terrorists. Asha Bandela recounts the inspiring story that led Khan-Cullors to become the founder of Black Lives Matter.
Did you know that Black children and stories are represented in only 3% of children’s books? Below are a few books that can be used as a starting place for conversation around race with your children and a celebration of Black people and their stories.
Antiracist Baby, by Ibram X. Kendi (ages 0-5)
Ibram X. Kendi engages young readers with the language for beginning critical conversations about race at an early age.
A Kids Book About Racism, by Jelani Memory (ages 5+)
A clear explanation for kids of what racism is and how to identify it.
Sulwe by Lupita Nyong’o (ages 4-8)
Sulwe follows the story of a young girl who wants her dark skin to be lighter. The story is ultimately about colorism and learning to love oneself, no matter one’s skin tone.
The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas (ages 14+)
Sixteen-year-old Starr’s life is turned upside down after witnessing a police officer shoot and kill her childhood best friend Khalil. As Khalil’s story becomes a national headline, Starr must grapple with society’s perception of Black men.
Interested in learning more about engaging young audiences? Check out The Brown Book Shelf
Wondering how to start talking to your children about race and racism? Check out this parent conversation guide.
In 1619, the first ship of enslaved Africans arrived in the English colony of Virginia. Four hundred years later, Nikole Hannah-Jones from The New York Times tells this story, including how Black people have been central to building U.S. democracy, music, wealth and more.
Nikole Hannah-Jones from The New York Times reports on a school that seems to have successfully stumbled on an idea that began to close the racial gap between achievements: integration.
In 1862, Mankato, Minnesota, was the site of the largest mass execution in U.S. history. But why do no Minnesotans talk about this event anymore? John Biewen went back to Minnesota to figure out what really happened 150 years ago and why there is so much silence.
Layla F. Saad, author of Me and White Supremacy, engages in conversation with change-makers and culture shapers around questions of race and justice.
Each week Rund Abdelfatah and Ramtin Arablouei “go back in time to understand the present.” For topics specifically about systemic racism in the U.S., we recommend “American Police,” “Mass Incarceration” and “Milliken v. Bradley.”
Eula Bliss, author of The New York Times article “White Debt,” explores words like “white guilt” and “complacency” and opens up an opportunity to talk about whiteness.
In this video web-series, Austin Channing Brown, Chi Chi Okwu and Jenny Booth Potter share an in-depth conversation with thought leaders and activists around racial justice. The Next Question is all about a community dedicated to learning from each other and leading together.
This short video takes a closer look at what racism is, and how it’s affected people of color in the U.S., including incarceration rates, redlining and predatory loans.
Public policy expert and researcher Heather McGhee shares how racist policymaking drains our collective economic potential. McGhee shares what we can do to move towards a more prosperous nation for all.
13th, titled after the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which freed the slaves and prohibited slavery, explores the intersection of race, justice and mass incarceration in the U.S.
Available on Netflix
In this adaptation of August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Denzel Washington stars as a former baseball player named Troy Maxon. Troy struggles to watch his son follow in his footsteps and he fears that racism will hold his son back from achieving his dreams.
I am Not Your Negro
“The story of a Negro in America is the story of America.” In this film, director Raoul Peck envisions the book James Baldwin never finished in 1979 – a radical narration about race in America, using the writer’s original words. He draws upon James Baldwin’s notes on the lives and assassinations of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King, Jr. to explore and bring a fresh and radical perspective to the current racial narrative.
Based on the life of an iconic American freedom fighter, Harriet tells the extraordinary tale of Harriet Tubman’s escape from slavery and transformation into one of the country’s greatest heroes.
MCC works with partner organizations to reach out to inmates through Christian discipling and training, and returned citizens through housing and employment opportunities.
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