Everyone has a different life story that is unique to their own experiences. Although we can not fully understand each other’s life experiences, it’s extremely important to stay informed on topics of diversity. Education provides us with the tools that we need to create a space of embraced inclusion and acceptance. One of the best ways to educate yourself on diversity is by reading books on history from different perspectives. These are all fantastic resources on diversity that are worth your time and will instigate change in your life and in your community!
1) So You Want To Talk About Race, Ijeoma Oluo
This book is a great starting off point for your diversity reading list. It was recently published in 2018 and is a New York Times Bestseller. This is a wonderful book that discusses topics of diversity, racism, black experiences in America, and how different systems have contributed to systems of oppression and racism. Oluo is a very honest writer and is very talented when it comes to explaining how to address white supremacy, everyday racism, intersectionality, and affirmative action. How can you recognize and respond to racist remarks? How do you explain white privilege to a white and privileged friend? Oluo addresses these ideas head-on and writes for an audience of any race about these topics. This book is for anyone who is curious or committed to engaging in productive anti-racist life.
2) All Boys Aren’t Blue, George M. Johnson
One crucial part of education on diverse topics is to listen to stories of people’s life experiences. Memoirs are books that share real experiences that are educating themselves. Johnson weaves essays together that specifically discusses his experiences in the LGBTQIA+ community. This book deals with topics in diversity, gender identity, toxic masculinity, black experiences, family, consent, and structural marginalization. The collection of essays highlights stories of hardships and victories that black queer men have faced. This book is a voice in the black queer community and should be heard by the community and anyone who is an ally for the community. Listen to these voices! Johnson’s book is a reminder that humanity is shared, imperfect, and beautiful.
3) Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From, Jennifer De Leon
This is a brand new book that creatively tells a story that explores themes of race, prejudice, and immigration & immigration in the American LatinX community. De Leon creatively tells a story drawn from real experiences that invite the reader to understand the world from a first-generation American LatinX girl. The genre of creative realistic fiction takes readers through a described experience to better understand racism in the everyday. This book is entertaining, but also eye-opening. Use creative stories like these to better understand the society we live in. How can we do better? What does this story teach us? How can we relate and respond?
4) Unapologetic: A Black, Queer, and Feminist Mandate For Radical Movements, Charlene Carruthers
This book calls for action and engagement. Carruthers explains and features important lessons and experiences that highlight 100+ years of black struggles and triumphs. This book brings a critical perspective on the past and the present and calls for creative change in the present. The book shares Carruthers’s brilliant vision of freedom and paints a masterpiece on the black movement and liberation struggles in America. This is an inspirational read that invokes passion and action. For anyone who is committed to liberation and freedom, this is an important read!
5) We Should All Be Feminists, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
This is a shorter essay read that is extremely powerful and worth the read. Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie defines feminism in the twenty-first century and explores what feminist inclusion and awareness should look like. Feminism in regards to all people is a perspective that should be explored more often and this book does just that. This book is not just for women, but for all people. What does it mean to be a woman right now? What are the often masked realities involved in sexual politics? This book is important and needs to be on your reading list!
6) How To Be An Anti-Racist, Ibram X. Kendi
This book is a fresh and reorienting perspective on race and racism. Kendi introduces and explains the concept of anti-racism and provides anti-racist ideas to act upon. Kendi sheds light on how racism is a system that is powerful and ‘creates false-hierarchies on human value’. This book equips readers with tools to recognize racism and ways to ‘contribute to the formation of a just and equitable society’. This book is highly recommended to everyone and anyone.
7) Hood Feminism, Mikki Kendall
This book is an insightful and powerful critique of modern-day feminism. Kendall introduces feminism on the front-lines and shares experiences and life stories that provide important perspectives. Feminism is discussed not only in terms of women but also in terms of race. How can we support marginalized women in the feminist movement? What does feminism look like today?
8) White Fragility, Robin Diangelo
This is a book that discusses why it is hard for white people to talk about racism and it is a must-read… especially if you are white! This book brings explanations and language to racism in everyday lives. This book is written in clarity and is highly recommended for your list of reading on diversity. This book engages the reader and raises questions in everyday life racism. If you are wondering what exactly white-fragility is, then this is a read that you need to check out.
9) Stonewall Riots: Coming Out In The Streets, Gayle E. Pitman
This book is a well-written history that is both informative and liberating. These riots are what sparked the LGBTQ community today and are an important part of our culture’s history. This book is also full of primary sources that engage the reader and guide them through queer history and how it aligns with history overall. This is a very informative and fantastic read!
10) We Are Not Here To Be Bystanders: A Memoir Of Love And Resistance, Linda Sarsour
This is a fantastic book that is worth your time. Sarsour is a co-organizer of the Woman’s March and is a leading activist. This book shares a journey of hardships and triumphs following Sarsour’s life experience as a Palestinian Muslim American, feminist, immigrant, and influencer. Themes of race, economics, social justice, and gender are all explored in this beautifully written memoir.
Words are powerful. These books on diversity are just a few of the brilliant literature available, and these are all fantastic resources. We hope that these books spark action in your own life and communities.
Let us know your reactions to these books and other books on diversity that you have found in the comments!
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Julia grew up in a town just outside of Chicago. She currently lives in Memphis, Tennessee where she is a junior Creative Writing and Literature major at Rhodes College. Julia prefers to spend her days outside writing stories for others to find joy in. Other than story-telling, you will find Julia running on her college track and field team and traveling the world.