An invitation for you to engage with resources about racism and racial justice. To discover and learn the truth about race, unlearning what we think we know and what we were taught. An opportunity to listen to people of color, seeking to hear and understand their experiences and perspectives. This is important soul care work that each of us must do.
25+ Recommended Resources for Learning About Racism
We are here to shine some light on how racism persists in our communities and in our religious and spiritual communities. Too many walk by the victims of racism without looking deeply at their wounds or the pain inflicted on them. Many of these wounds have festered over centuries.
Today’s continuing disparities in education, housing, employment, economic well-being, and leadership are not disconnected from our country’s shameful history of slavery and systemic racism. Any act of racism injures the perpetrator and the victim, threatening the dignity of both. The failure to act to end systemic racism, which is often animated in our laws, policies, and structures, hurts those who are victimized and denies all of us the opportunity to benefit from the gifts of diversity.
The sin of racism
“Racism is a sin: a sin that divides the human family, blots out the image of God among specific members of that family, and violates the fundamental human dignity of those called to be children of the same Father” (Brothers and Sisters to Us: U.S. Bishops’ Pastoral Letter on Racism in Our Day, 1979). In “The Challenge of Racism Today,” one bishop writes: “To address racism, we need to recognize two things: that it exists in a variety of forms, some more subtle and others more obvious and that there is something we can do about it. We must confront the issue with the conviction that in some personal ways we can help to resolve it.”
For us to truly flourish in the way God intended, all must be able to flourish. As Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote in Letter from the Birmingham Jail, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” Because of this, it’s not enough that we are simply “not racist.” Instead, we all must actively be anti-racist, choosing to be part of dismantling the systems of white supremacy anywhere we find them.
Seeing reality and learning to heal
Too many times, miseducation has blocked the path to racial healing. Too many times, apathy has hindered the road to racial healing. People of faith are called to attend to the wounds of racism with prayer and action—to move out of pain to healing by transforming systems and structures that perpetuate injustice.
This requires that we learn the truth about race, unlearning what we think we know and what we were taught. And it requires that we listen to people of color, seeking to hear and understand their experiences and perspectives. This is important soul care that each of us must do.
Many people are embarking on this work for the first time, and it can feel daunting to figure out where to begin. I’ve gathered several recommendations and placed them here as a reference so you can easily access them and begin this important work.
Recommended resources about racial justice
These resources have been chosen because they help us understand more of our history and the issues surrounding the social construct of race. You’ll note there are resources on race in general, the history of being black in America, the history of Indigenous people in America, the history of Asian Americans, and more. You’ll also find different mediums: books, articles, and videos. I pray these resources are helpful to you. Please let me know how they impact your soul care.
The following books feature a wide range of angles to the topic of racism. There are memoirs, how-to books, history books, and more.
You can purchase these books anywhere, but I invite you to consider purchases them used or from a local retailer. We also recommend Bookshop, an online bookstore committed to strengthening the fragile ecosystem and margins around bookselling and keeping local bookstores an integral part of our culture and communities.
As an affiliate, Soul Care receives a 10% commission on every sale and independent bookstores receive a matching 10%. Bookshop wants to give back to everyone who promotes books, authors, and independent bookstores!
- I’m Still Here: Black Dignity In A World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown
- How to Fight Racism: Courageous Christianity and the Journey Toward Racial Justice by Jemar Tisby
- Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson
- Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
- The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Color Blindness by Michelle Alexander
- How to be an Anti-Racist by Dr. Ibram Kendi
- This Book Is Anti-Racist: 20 Lessons on How to Wake Up, Take Action, and Do the Work by Tiffany Jewell
- Dear White Peacemakers: Dismantling Racism with Grit and Grace by Osheta Moore
- White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People to Talk About Racism by Dr. Robin DiAngelo
- So You Want To Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
- Prophetic Lament: A Call for Justice In Troubled Times by Soon Chan Rah & Brenda Salter McNeil
- Unsettling Truths: The Ongoing, Dehumanizing Legacy of the Doctrine of Discovery by Mark Charles and Soong-Chan Rah
- The Very Good Gospel: How Everything Wrong Can Be Made Right by Lisa Sharon Harper
- Native: Identity, Belonging, and Rediscovering God by Kaitlin B. Curtice
- Disunity in Christ: Uncovering The Hidden Forces That Keep Us Apart by Christena Cleveland
- Jesus and the Disinherited by Howard Thurman
- The Cross and The Lynching Tree by James Cone
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
- Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? by Beverly Daniel Tatum
- Many Colors: Cultural Intelligence for a Changing Church by Soong-Chan Rah
- An Indigenous People’s History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
- An African American and Latinx History of the United States by Paul Ortiz
- Trouble I’ve Seen: Changing the Way the Church Views Racism by Drew Hart
- The Color of Life: A Journey Toward Love and Racial Justice by Cara Meredith
- White Awake: An Honest Look at What It Means to Be White by Daniel Hill
- Be the Bridge: Pursuing God’s Heart for Racial Reconciliation by Latasha Morrison
- The Color of Compromise: The Truth About the American Church’s Complicity in Racism by Jemar Tisby
- Woke Church: An Urgent Call for Christians in America to Confront Racism and Injustice by Eric Mason
My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies by Resmaa Menakem
- What is Systematic Racism? from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops
- Equal Justice Initiative Calendar: Each day this organization shares stories of racism from our nation’s history. You can bookmark this link to see the stories each day or follow them on social media to see the history each day.
- 1619 Project (New York Times) The 1619 Project is an ongoing initiative from The New York Times Magazine that began in August 2019, the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative.
- “Why you should stop saying ‘all lives matter’ explained in 9 different ways” by German Lopez (Vox)
- “The Case for Considering Reparations” by Ta-Nehisi Coates (The Atlantic)
- “‘Implicit Bias’: The problem and how to interrupt it. Plus, the beads test.” by Michelle Sharpe Silverthorn (Chicago Tribune)
- “Choosing A School For My Daughter In A Segregated City” by Nikole Hannah-Jones (New York Times)
- “I’ve Had Enough of #Solidarity” by Veronica Gilliard (Red Letter Christians)
- “Who Gets to Be Afraid in America?” by Ibram X. Kendi (The Atlantic)
- “My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant” by Jose Antonio Vargas (New York Times Magazine)
- “Meet the Last Surviving Witness to the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921” (NPR)
- Document compiled by Sarah Sophie Flicker and Alyssa Klein with tons of resources specifically for white people
Movies and Videos
- The Next Question (Web Series)
- Reverse Racism (Fear of A Brown Planet) by Aamer Rahman
- “Color Blind or Color Brave” (Melody Hobson – TED Talk)
- “How to raise a black son in America” (Clint Smith – TED Talk)
- “We need to talk about Injustice” (Bryan Stevenson – TED Talk)
- “The Danger of a Single Story” (Ted Talk by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie)
- Race: The Power of An Illusion (PBS)
- Asian Americans (PBS)
- When They See Us (Netflix)
- 13th (Netflix)
Select interviews from the Everything Is Spiritual podcast featuring people from east-central Illinois talking about the intersection of racial justice and spirituality.
- Getting Sick And Getting Well In Community with Karen Simms
- Kimberly Otchere: Social justice, inclusion, and activism grounded in faith
- Nicole Anderson Cobb: Your faith life is a journey
- Lyndsey Scott: Song and the heart of KINDSHIP with others