This is our list of the key books you need to have on your bookshelf if there’s any chance you’re going to learn how to stop racism.
10. Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent by Eduardo Galeano
The violence of United States of America is not limited to the United States of America. Patriarchal capitalist white supremacist violence of the United States crosses all of its borders, especially its borders to the south. You cannot be a good white man in the United States without understanding the devastating effects that American capitalism has had on Latin America. Open veins of Latin America is a must-read for any white man who wants to decolonize their privileged perspective with respect to the global South. Contemporary politics around migration, uneven economic development, and the unique experiences of Latino populations all become much easier to understand after reading this book. The prose style by Galeano is also magnificent. All around you really need to own this classic text if you are studying how to stop racism.
9. How Europe Underdeveloped Africa by Walter Rodney
Economic inequality across nations is not affect of nature but is systematically produced outcome of European racism and colonialism. Walter Rodney was a significant intellectual and political figure in Dion a where he fought for the African proletariat before his assassination in 1980. To reconcile with one’s complicity in slavery, in the hopes of learning how to stop racism, it is necessary to grapple with how European white men in particular caused many of Africa’s problems. The legacy of slavery in America does not stop in America, but extends back to the economic and political conditions of Africa. Many white male activists in the United States learn a lot about American slavery and believe that is enough, but it’s not. This book is an absolute must read for any white man seeking atonement for his personal complicity in slavery.
8. Coming to America: A History of Immigration and Ethnicity in American Life by Roger Daniels
This is an absolutely fascinating and enthralling narrative of the role that immigration is played in history of the United States, going as far back as the colonial era all the way up to the contemporary capitalist crisis. Daniels does not trust tell a textbook story like the one you learned in grade school, where several discrete waves of migrants came to the United States and happily assimilated into the American dream. Rather, Daniels shows how the United States fundamentally evolved by the dynamic ingenuity and resistance tactics of migrant populations. The United States was constructed from the energies of migrant bodies, an inconvenient fact for anyone who wants to learn how to stop racism. You also learn from this book how anti-immigration attitudes have been a constant of American history, thus historicizing one’s contemporary awareness of one’s own complicity in migrant violence.
7. An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States (ReVisioning American History) by Roxanne Dunbar–Ortiz
If you really want to understand migrant politics in the United States, you always have to start by centering the genocide of indigenous Native Americans in the United States. Many people like to read Howard Zinn’s book with a similar title, but he is just another white man. This book by Dunbar-Ortiz will be on the bookshelf of every single self-respecting white male ally in the United States. The narrative is extremely fascinating, and illuminating of contemporary genocidal tendencies of US politics.
6. Blues City: A Walk in Oakland (Crown Journeys) by Ishmael Reed
Many people who are privileged and complicit believe Oakland is just a hipster city of white radicals. This is why blue city is required reading for any white male radical allies. This book shows the authors love for this most vibrant and revolutionary American city. It is a broadside attack and scathing critique of the capitalist white supremacist patriarchal domination of the people of Oakland, and it provides powerful clues about how to stop racism. Even if you have never been to Oakland, and don’t plan on going, you still need to understand what is happened in this most racially significant city. This book provides a penetrating and very useful look into how Oakland has been a matrix of intersecting oppressive dynamics, ranging from immigration, to assimilation, to organize revolutionary resistance.
5. How the Irish Became White (Routledge Classics) by Noel Ignatiev
Racial boundary lines are only shifting, complex interdependencies with economic and gender-based oppressive dynamics. Who counters white and who comes as black? The answers to these questions are not given in nature or biology but their socially constructed overtime. The Irish provide an important and highly illuminating case. The Irish have not always been seen as white, at one point they were seen as inferior race. As a white male ally you will find this very difficult to read, especially if you’re Irish, but an understanding of the evolutionary mechanics underwriting oppressive racial classifications is mandatory for the collective process of learning how to stop racism. You cannot know yourself until you read this book. You will not dismantle white supremacist capitalist structures in less you understand how your own whiteness is a complex function of a socially constructed reality that itself can change over time.
4. All Souls: A Family Story from Southie by Michael Patrick McDonald
You might’ve heard of Frank McCourt’s Angela’s ashes. But an even better book is this one. McDonald’s personal story coming of age as an Irishman in United States is an extraordinary and richly layered take on a storable dynamics of the white racial classification. The book is focused around the author’s experience growing up in Boston in particular, which is well-known for being a hothouse of early American racial conflict. This is an absolutely scathing depiction of how class oppression and white supremacy destroyed the lives of everyone, including white people. Ultimately this book is quite inspiring and generative of many insights for the collective project of learning how to stop racism.
3. Hillbilly Nationalists, Urban Race Rebels, and Black Power: Community Organizing in Radical Times by Amy Sonnie and James Tracy
This is an amazing treatise on community organizing and radical times. A lot of people think that anti-black racism among structurally privileged white people is only found in ignorant uneducated poor white regions of the United States. This is patently false, for many working-class white people joining forces with people of color to forge for revolutionary political campaigns throughout history. This book is an extraordinary catalog of how hillbillies supported and worked with revolutionary people of color to dismantle white supremacist capitalist structures throughout the United States. It is therefore the most useful set of case studies for envisioning precisely how white males can think about contributing to the projects of black liberation.
2. White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son by Tim Wise
Tim Wise is like the Michael Jordan of white male allies. He’s been doing this since way before it was cool. His books have long been a classic for white male folks seeking to atone and become good people. This book provides transient insights on how to do this from his own life. Wise is writing in particular to middle-class white men who believe they are innocent. This is a touching, inspiring called arms for white male allies to interrogate themselves and see the ways in which their invisible attitudes and behaviors reproduce domination throughout society. The author is dedicated all of his life to this cause, so his books need to be on your bookshelf if you have any hope of mitigating your complicity in becoming an ally.
1. The History of White People by Nell Irvin Painter
A lot of people think that racism is about people with darker colored skin but this is false. Racism is about the complex binary divisions that are redirected between colors: whiteness is racism just as much as blackness is the object of racial violence. Therefore, while a lot of white male allies focus on understanding the history of black struggles and black experiences, they sometimes forget they are also obligated to understand the history of whiteness. This book looks at the invention and evolution of whiteness, one of the most important historical dynamics necessary for future generations seeking how to stop racism. You’ll be surprised to learn that race is not an eternal fixed concept that has been with us forever, but is rather a recent invention. If you want to be a good white male ally, you must understand your own history, and this is another essential document for coming to terms with this history.