With many issues of racism and prejudice still being prevalent today, placing focus on educating our children about it is very important. Though I am a huge advocate of ensuring that children understand what racism and prejudice consist of, I believe that it's equally pressing for adults to be educated on the matters first. Many people only know what they're taught in school, which, let's be honest, isn't always accurate. So self-educating and checking out some books to read to learn more about racism is something that should be on everyone's to-do list.
If the goal is to educate and teach children that racism is not proper, then the ones teaching that lesson have to make sure that they are properly educated first. Knowing about racism is more than just saying "white people don't like black people" or "white people have so much privilege." The discussion is deeper than what's on the surface. It's talking about where it stems from, how it's been seen throughout history, how the mind works, and how it leaves victims with devastation that causes a lifetime full of internal issues. Being properly educated on racism is the only way we can strive to make it better.
Though there are many books — both fiction and nonfiction — that take a look at racism throughout the years, these 13 novels are a great way to get started on expanding your mind.
1. 'To Kill A Mockingbird' by Harper Lee
Harper Lee's incredible story To Kill a Mockingbird has been on my list of favorites for years. If you're looking for an interesting and attention grabbing spin on racism, this should be your first pick.
2. 'Ain't I A Woman?: Black Women And Feminism' by bell hooks
Supplying a tale of feminism, racism, and oppression, Ain't I a Woman? by Bell Hooks gives a historic look at the black woman's journey through time.
3. 'Black Like Me' by John Howard Griffin
Telling the story of a white man who got his skin temporarily darkened to see what life would be like being black, John Howard Griffin's non-fiction novel Black Like Me will open the eyes and minds of all those reading.
4. 'White Like Me: Reflections On Race From A Privileged Son' by Tim Wise
Based off of John Howard Griffin's novel Black Like Me, White Like Me gives an interesting look at white privilege and racism through his own accounts with both his family and community.
5. 'Between The World And Me' by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Ta-Nehisi Coates's novel Between the World and Me gives readers a look into what it means to be black through a letter the author writes to his son. Offering a way to look forward to change in the future, this book is a great option to learn more about racism.
6. 'The Bluest Eyes' by Toni Morrison
Unfortunately, throughout time, many young black girls have wished to be lighter to be seen as beautiful. Toni Morrison's story, The Bluest Eyes, is an example of how being black was never deemed as beautiful in the past and how white privilege stood tall.
7. 'The Color Purple' by Alice Walker
Though I'm sure many have seen the film by the same name, giving Alice Walker's book The Color Purple a read will help reiterate the issues that many black women faced in the early 1900s.
8. 'Roll Of Thunder, Hear My Cry' by Mildred D. Taylor
Mildred D. Taylor's Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry is technically a story for kids, but will teach adults lessons on racism, privilege and value, too. It's also as captivating for grownups as it is for children.
9. 'The Grass Is Singing' by Doris Lessing
Taking place in 1950 Zimbabwe, The Grass is Singing exposes the politics and issues between whites and blacks in the country at that time. Highlighting a tale that is familiar to many about racism, this novel is one that guarantees a good read.
10. 'I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings' by Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou's timeless and iconic novel I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings delivers a story that's like none other. Teaching lessons on prejudice, self-love, and overcoming the past, this book will open the mind of anyone who reads.
11. 'The Secret Life Of Bees' by Sue Monk Kidd
Like Alice Walker's The Color Purple, the impact of The Secret Life of Bees has been overwhelming.
12. 'Grant Park' by Leonard Pitts, Jr.
Guaranteed to evoke a series of emotions from readers, Leonard Pitts Jr.'s novel, Grant Park, is one that should be on your top books to read this year because of its relevance to what's occurring now.
13. 'The House Behind The Cedars' by Charles W. Chesnutt
The House Behind the Cedars by Charles W. Chesnutt delivers an interesting story of a mixed-race brother and sister who live their lives as white citizens in the early 1900s. Digging into the controversy that surrounds interracial dating, Chesnutt's novel is a definite read for those looking to learn more about racism.