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Race and Inequality

Stack of books with yellow backgroundWhy books?

Books are perfect starting places to learn more about any topic. There is an abundance of books that are about race, racism, oppression, white privilege, and the lived experiences of marginalized people. Below are suggested reads; some are available online for free, and some can be borrowed from libraries (with the current COVID situation, this may be difficult to currently do). 

Image of stack of books, yellow background (from Canva)

There are many ways to access books online. The majority of the books listed below are on Internet Archive. Internet Archive is a "non-profit library of millions of free books, movies, software, music, websites, and more." It oversees one of the world's largest book digitization project, and has nearly 3 million public-domain books.

Some books on the Internet Archive may require you to set up a FREE account in order to borrow certain books for 2 weeks. 

Another source that is available for a limited time is Project Muse's "MUSE in Focus: Confronting Structural Racism." This is a "selection of temporarily free books and articles from a wide range of publishers and perspectives about the history of racism in America, its endurance throughout society, and how the country can respond now to enact meaningful and lasting reform."

Prefer print? Look at our suggestions under "Tredway Library Print Books" and "I-Share Books," or, if you would like to order any of these books, look at our "Black-Owned Bookstores" information!

Anti-racist reading lists are circulating heavily right now. Did you know that the first anti-racist reading list was created by a black female children's librarian in 1941? Below are some suggestions to get you started on what books to seek out! 

Remember that while reading is a vital and important step to understanding the history and context behind racism and oppression, learning about it doesn't stop there. Read this article by librarian Nicole A. Cooke to learn more steps. 

Note about White Fragility:

Robin DiAngelo's best selling book, White Fragility, appears on many anti-racist readings lists (including some of the ones listed above), and has received many positive reviews. The Tredway Library has this book in our print collection, and can be found in most other libraries. However, it's important to be aware that this book has also been subject to serious critiques: 

What's Missing From "White Fragility," by Lauren Michele Jackson

White Fragility is Real. But "White Fragility" is Flawed, by Carlos Lozada 

Ordering directly from BIPOC-owned bookstores (and other businesses) is a great way to show support. Look at the bookstore recommendations below, and read why it's important to support black-owned businesses here