Anti-racist education: Taking down white supremacy one book at a time

Anti-racist+education%3A+Taking+down+white+supremacy+one+book+at+a+time

Courtesy of Mia DiLorenzo

Mia DiLorenzo, page editor

In the wake of George Floyd’s murder, protests around the world, largely stemming from Minneapolis, have denounced the role of police in communities; instead, they’re pushing for abolition and a complete overhaul of the current carceral state. Though many people are hearing about these ideas and ideologies for the first time, it’s been discussed by Black revolutionaries for years, becoming popularized during the Civil Rights era. 

To start, below is a list of resources aimed at furthering the education of Edina residents and students. This list includes podcast episodes, books, documentaries, and articles that help any non-Black individual understand the systemic oppression of Black Americans and the systems that were created to uphold white supremacy. I’ve also included PDF links to books, but consider supporting a Black owned bookstore if you’re able to spend money on these items! The Hennepin County Library is also a fantastic resource for eBooks and audiobooks, if that source is preferable. 

Though education, anti-racism education in particular, is incredibly important, this knowledge must also be accompanied by action and a change in behavior. The resources to educate ourselves on systemic oppression already exist — placing any emotional labor on the Black community, especially as this issue is far from new, is disrespectful to those who have been working towards racial justice for years. This list was compiled to make self-education easier, though it is merely a step in a lifelong journey of anti-racism. We all must continue to follow the Black leaders and work towards dismantling anti-Blackness in our own community.

 

Whiteness

 

Anti-racism

  • Book: Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything your American History textbook got wrong by James W. Loewen. Though this is Loewen’s second time on this list, I can’t emphasize enough how critical his writing is to understanding the racism entrenched in predominantly white communities and schools. From painting Christopher Columbus as a savior to America’s idolization of racist founding fathers, Loewen’s textbook digs into the omissions of many U.S. history textbooks. This book isn’t for the faint of heart — it’s a massive, 500 page textbook to get through, so treat it as a reference guide for certain events rather than a book you read straight through. However, it still contains incredibly important information that isn’t typically taught in mainstream textbooks. The Edina School Board released a statement expressing their intentions to create a more equitable education system, saying that they will be working over the summer to “to have conversations on the important issues of race and equity” within Edina schools.
  • Book: Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. On the shorter side, this book is a quick, yet required reading. Written as a letter from Coates to his son, he recounts his experiences and how institutions were built upon anti-Blackness and forced labor, and how those practices continue today under many different guises. It’s one of the most beautifully written books I’ve read in a long time; and I can’t recommend it enough.
  • Book: Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi. 
  • Book: The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X and Alex Haley
  • Book: How to be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi 
  • Book: So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
  • Book: Black Feminist Thought by Patricia Hill Collins

 

Prisons, Policing, and Incarceration