Black Lives Matter + Books To Read Right Now

The last few days have been very educational for me. I’ve learnt a lot from listening, watching and reading and it’s been amazing to watch so many people stand up and fight for this. I hope we can continue to carry this same energy and same passion for the issue, for we will not ‘solve’ systeic racism in one week nor can we change institutions this quickly, we need to continue to carry this same energy and passion for a long time to come.

For a few days I have been thinking long and hard about what I should post on social media. As someone who is white I know my role in this is to listen, learn and support where I can by signing petitions, spreading material created by black people and starting conversations with people who look like me.

Yesterday I posted a lot on my personal and bookstagram instagram stories about what I was learning from, and I will continue to do that in this time. However, I was unsure of what to post on my blog or my bookstagram feed, I wondered whether it was right for me to create any creative content at all (my blog posts from Monday and Tuesday of this week were schelduled in advance, and whilst I did attatch my TTT post to one other page to promote it I was unaware at the time it was #blackouttuesday – though I did participate in that later in the day, but I deeply regret doing that and would like to say I’m sorry for it.) As a white person my role is not to post content that is meant to educate you, my role is to listen and so I’ve been thinking about how I can do that with my content.

I’ve decided for the next week or so I will only post content that supports black authors and black voices, this will be the same on my bookstagram also. This way I can continue to create creative content that I enjoy, but at the same time I can use the relatively small voice I have to promote voices that matter. It’s why in this post I’m going to be listing eight books that if you haven’t read yet, I think you should be reading.

I’d also like to take the time in this post to talk about how we can all help. I understand due to the pandemic not everyone is able to donate or go to a protest, but those are not the only ways we can stand up and make a difference.

THIS is a link of ways to help, it’s split into: petitions, text/calling, donating, resources, things for protestors, FAQ.

THIS is a youtube video where all ad revenue from it will be donated to associations that are helping people at the moment (bail funds, funeral costs and more). Please ensure you watch all the ads fully on this video and read the despcription as there are lots of petitions listed!

THIS is a petition to stop the UK from exporting tear gas, rubber bullets and riot shields to the USA.

THIS is a petition that calls for ‘Good Immigrant’ by Nikesh Shukla and ‘Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race’ by Reni Eddo-Lodge to the GSCE reading list.

THIS is a petition to ensure British children are taught more about their country’s colonial past.

THIS is a petition calling for justice for George Flyod.

THIS is a very short and brief video that gives a quick overview of how systemic racism in the USA works.

This is not a definitive list of all the ways you can help or educate yourself and I highly recommend you look into it yourself (if you haven’t already!)

Books To Read Right Now

I’ve personally not read all of these books, I have read some and other are ones I’m planning to read in the very near future. Please leave comments of books you also think are important to read right now!

Pictures link back to Goodreads and synopsises are also from Goodreads.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

‘Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr. But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.’

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

‘Queenie Jenkins is a 25-year-old Jamaican British woman living in London, straddling two cultures and slotting neatly into neither. She works at a national newspaper, where she’s constantly forced to compare herself to her white middle class peers. After a messy break up from her long-term white boyfriend, Queenie seeks comfort in all the wrong places…including several hazardous men who do a good job of occupying brain space and a bad job of affirming self-worth. As Queenie careens from one questionable decision to another, she finds herself wondering, “What are you doing? Why are you doing it? Who do you want to be?”—all of the questions today’s woman must face in a world trying to answer them for her.’

The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates

‘Young Hiram Walker was born into bondage. When his mother was sold away, Hiram was robbed of all memory of her — but was gifted with a mysterious power. Years later, when Hiram almost drowns in a river, that same power saves his life. This brush with death births an urgency in Hiram and a daring scheme: to escape from the only home he’s ever known. So begins an unexpected journey that takes Hiram from the corrupt grandeur of Virginia’s proud plantations to desperate guerrilla cells in the wilderness, from the coffin of the deep South to dangerously utopic movements in the North. Even as he’s enlisted in the underground war between slavers and the enslaved, Hiram’s resolve to rescue the family he left behind endures.’

Hood Feminism: Notes From The Women That A Movement Forgot by Mikki Kendall

‘Today’s feminist movement has a glaring blind spot, and paradoxically, it is women. Mainstream feminists rarely talk about meeting basic needs as a feminist issue, argues Mikki Kendall, but food insecurity, access to quality education, safe neighborhoods, a living wage, and medical care are all feminist issues. All too often, however, the focus is not on basic survival for the many, but on increasing privilege for the few. That feminists refuse to prioritize these issues has only exacerbated the age-old problem of both internecine discord and women who rebuff at carrying the title. Moreover, prominent white feminists broadly suffer from their own myopia with regard to how things like race, class, sexual orientation, and ability intersect with gender. How can we stand in solidarity as a movement, Kendall asks, when there is the distinct likelihood that some women are oppressing others?’

Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race by Renni Eddo-Lodge

‘In 2014, award-winning journalist Reni Eddo-Lodge wrote about her frustration with the way that discussions of race and racism in Britain were being led by those who weren’t affected by it. She posted a piece on her blog, entitled: ‘Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race’ that led to this book. Exploring issues from eradicated black history to the political purpose of white dominance, whitewashed feminism to the inextricable link between class and race, Reni Eddo-Lodge offers a timely and essential new framework for how to see, acknowledge and counter racism. It is a searing, illuminating, absolutely necessary exploration of what it is to be a person of colour in Britain today.

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

‘Sent by their mother to live with their devout, self-sufficient grandmother in a small Southern town, Maya and her brother, Bailey, endure the ache of abandonment and the prejudice of the local “powhitetrash.” At eight years old and back at her mother’s side in St. Louis, Maya is attacked by a man many times her age—and has to live with the consequences for a lifetime. Years later, in San Francisco, Maya learns that love for herself, the kindness of others, her own strong spirit, and the ideas of great authors (“I met and fell in love with William Shakespeare”) will allow her to be free instead of imprisoned.’

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

‘As the United States celebrates the nation’s “triumph over race” with the election of Barack Obama, the majority of young black men in major American cities are locked behind bars or have been labeled felons for life. Although Jim Crow laws have been wiped off the books, an astounding percentage of the African American community remains trapped in a subordinate status–much like their grandparents before them. In this incisive critique, former litigator-turned-legal-scholar Michelle Alexander provocatively argues that we have not ended racial caste in America: we have simply redesigned it. Alexander shows that, by targeting black men and decimating communities of color, the U.S. criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control, even as it formally adheres to the principle of color blindness. The New Jim Crow challenges the civil rights community–and all of us–to place mass incarceration at the forefront of a new movement for racial justice in America’

Black and British: A Forgotten History by David Olusoga

In Black and British, award-winning historian and broadcaster David Olusoga offers readers a rich and revealing exploration of the extraordinarily long relationship between the British Isles and the people of Africa. Drawing on new genetic and genealogical research, original records, expert testimony and contemporary interviews, Black and British reaches back to Roman Britain, the medieval imagination and Shakespeare’s Othello. It reveals that behind the South Sea Bubble was Britain’s global slave-trading empire and that much of the great industrial boom of the nineteenth century was built on American slavery. It shows that Black Britons fought at Trafalgar and in the trenches of the First World War. Black British history can be read in stately homes, street names, statues and memorials across Britain and is woven into the cultural and economic histories of the nation. Unflinching, confronting taboos and revealing hitherto unknown scandals, Olusoga describes how black and white Britons have been intimately entwined for centuries.’

2 thoughts on “Black Lives Matter + Books To Read Right Now

  1. Amazing books on that list and definitely some I want to read. The Hate U Give is one of my favourite books. I will probably read Queenie this month as I have it on my shelf. The Water Dancer sounds great and so do some of those non-fiction titles.

    Liked by 1 person

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