Here are some amazing books to read during Black History Month and beyond. These have been chosen by the Conscious Youth team.
Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race
This award-winning book stemmed from a blog post Reni Eddo-Lodge wrote in 2014; when the blog post went viral, it was clear there was hunger for more open discussion about racism in our country. Eddo-Lodge covers history, white privilege, class and more in this necessary investigation into what it means to be a person of colour in Britain today.
How to Argue with a Racist
Rutherford approaches racism from a scientific slant, looking at how science and genetics has been used to support racist agendas in history, and then promptly debunks this pseudoscience. Did you know that because of how ancestry and family trees work, every white supremacist and racist will have African, Chinese, Indian, and Middle Eastern ancestors, to name but a few? That every Nazi had Jewish ancestors? Rutherford explains all of this and more in this fascinating book.
White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism
Antiracist educator DiAngelo explains what white fragility is, how it furthers racial inequality, and what we can do to more constructively engage in preventing racism.
Black and British: A Forgotten History
David Olusoga reaches all the way back to Roman Britain to walk us through centuries of Black British history, and the relationship between Britain and the peoples of Africa and the Caribbean. This is an insightful and unflinching history, which shows just how entwined Black British history is with the cultural and economical histories of the nation.
Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire
A very personal look into the interplay between race and class and how they have impacted and continue to shape our lives in Britain, this is part autobiography and part political history analysis. Using his experiences, backed up by hard facts, Akala opens up a wider discussion around race, class, racism and the true legacy of our imperial past.
It’s Not About the Burqa
Edited by Mariam Khan
Seventeen Muslim women, both British and international, speak frankly about the hijab and issues impacting Muslim women today that you won’t see discussed in traditional news: love and divorce, feminism, queer identity, sex, wavering faith, and the twin threats of a disapproving community and a racist country. Pushing past the stereotypes, this essay collection will provide a refreshing insight into life as an Muslim woman in the West.
Girl, Woman, Other
This lyrical Booker Prize-winning novel threads together the stories of 12 characters, mostly Black women, and explores identity, race, sexuality, womanhood, and the realities of life as a woman of colour in modern Britain.
Don’t Touch My Hair
From women’s solidarity and friendship to forgotten African scholars and the dubious provenance of Kim Kardashian’s braids, the scope of black hairstyling ranges from pop culture to cosmology, from prehistoric times to the (afro)futuristic. Uncovering sophisticated indigenous mathematical systems in black hairstyles, alongside styles that served as secret intelligence networks leading enslaved Africans to freedom, Don’t Touch My Hair proves that far from being only hair, black hairstyling culture can be understood as an allegory for black oppression and, ultimately, liberation.
The Hate U Give
Angie Thomas tells a story we know too well, the fatal shooting of a black unarmed teenager, Khalil, at the hands of a white cop. The story is told in the voice of his best friend, Starr, and follows her experience before, during, and after the shooting. How it rocks the community and affects her family in unimaginable ways. It is a story of racism and fear, of childhood friendship and love.
The Colour of Class: The educational strategies of the Black middle classes
Nicola Rullock & David Gillborn
How do race and class intersect to shape the identities and experiences of Black middle-class parents and their children? What are Black middle-class parents’ strategies for supporting their children through school? What role do the educational histories of Black middle-class parents play in their decision-making about their children’s education?