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13 Best Books, Movies & Podcasts To Educate Yourself About Racism

How To Educate Yourself About Racism With The Best Anti-Racist Books, Movies & Podcasts

As we continue into another week of protests in response to the unjust killing of George Floyd, many people are becoming increasingly aware of the history of fear and racial injustice in America.

These protests prove that the voices of black people need to be heard in order to move towards equality. And it's imperative that non-black people educate ourselves on race and racism so we can be effectively anti-racist. 

Confronting racism, both past and present, is the first step to overcoming it.

We must constantly educate ourselves and listen to the voices of the Black community so we know how to assist them in their fight. Staying informed on race issues is a constant process and some people don’t know where to start.

Luckily, there's a wealth of material out there from black writers, actors, filmmakers, journalists, and activists who voice generations of racial inequality.

Here are the best anti-racist books, movies, and podcasts about racism to help you educate yourself (and others) on issues of race and inequality.    

RELATED: What White Parents Must Teach Our Kids About George Floyd, Christian Cooper & Ongoing Racism In America

Read these books...

1. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

Angelou’s autobiography is a captivating critique of racism.

It chronicles her early years as she learns to cope in a world that punishes her for her race and gender. The book highlights the need for the voice of black women on issues of racial injustice. 

Find it on: Amazon

2. So You Want To Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo

Oluo is one of the most prolific and powerful black writers writing today.

The non-fiction book is a definitive breakdown of everything you need to know about race, intersectionality, police brutality, everyday racism, and the school-to-prison pipeline. 

Find it on: Amazon

3. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

The intersection of gender and race is captured beautifully in Hurston’s famous fiction novel.

Written during the Harlem Renaissance, it voices the experience of black women in a way that is both painful and proud. The structure and aesthetic of the novel draws inspiration from blues music so it becomes a celebration of black art. 

Find it on: Amazon

RELATED: Why I Support Black Lives Matter Even Though Both Of My Parents Are Police Officers

4. Notes Of A Native Son by James Baldwin

This book is a collection of 12 non-fiction essays that tackle issues of race in both America and Europe.

Baldwin details his struggle to find his own identity in a world of constant backlash towards his race. Racism is explored across a variety of global contexts, proving that it's an issue deep-rooted in Western society. 

Find it on: Amazon

5. White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo

DiAngelo speaks to white people’s reluctance to accept their role in racism in this non-fiction book. It reads almost like a handbook, detailing how racism cannot be overcome until people fully acknowledge the role they play in racial injustices. 

Find it on: Amazon

Watch these films...

6. 13th 

This is one of Netflix’s most popular documentaries — and for good reason.

The film probes the racism embedded in our justice system and shows how modern-day slavery carries on in the American prison system that disproportionately targets black people. 

Watch it on: Netflix

RELATED: Being A Black Man In America Means Never Feeling Safe

7. Queen & Slim

Master of None star, Lena Waithe, wrote the script of this film, and it’s possibly one of the most beautifully shot romance films of the last year.

It celebrates black culture against a backdrop of racial injustice as two African-Americans are on the run in fear for their life after accidentally killing a cop. 

Watch it on: Amazon

8. When They See Us

This is a drama based on true events that saw 5 young black men as the targets of a racist manhunt after they were wrongfully accused of attacking a woman in Central Park.

The series exposes how black communities are mistreated by law enforcement. Ava DuVernay is the mastermind director behind this series, 13th and Selma, to name just a few. 

Watch it on: Netflix

9. Crime + Punishment

Delving into police brutality, this documentary follows black and Latino NYPD over the course of 4 years as they bravely try to expose and change the policing system.

It features many explosive allegations that reveal how police deliberately target minorities in an attempt to reach arrest quotas.

Watch it on: Hulu 

RELATED: What Is It Going To Take For Black Lives To Finally Matter In America?

Listen to these podcasts...

10. 1619 from The New York Times

This is a painful but worthwhile listen. It takes its name from the year in which the first slave ship was brought to America before it was even America.

The podcast exposes what is so often left out of American history, and details how the nation was built on slavery and racist ideology. 

Listen on: Spotify, Apple Podcasts

11. The Code Switch Podcast from NPR

The experience of black women in the corporate world is filled with discrimination and challenges. This podcast is hosted by three working women who share their stories and advice, bringing the issue of modern racism to the forefront of their discussions. 

Listen on: SpotifyApple Podcasts

12. Pod Save The People from Crooked Media

Host and activist DeRay McKesson situates single cultural events in their wider social context in each podcast.

This analysis of interlinking new stories allows us, as listeners, to see how social injustices manifest in everyday life and is part of an ongoing cultural phenomenon. 

Listen on: Spotify, Apple Podcasts

13. About Race Podcast from Reni Eddo-Lodge

From the author of the outstanding Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race (which you should also read if you haven’t already), this podcast delves into the conversation about race by speaking to key anti-racist voices.

The podcast often makes links between the complicated history of racism and today’s politics.  

Listen on: Spotify, Apple Podcasts

RELATED: It's Not Black People's Job To Solve Racism

Alice Kelly is a writer with a passion for lifestyle, entertainment, and trending topics.

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