Recommended reading from Writers & Readers: Black America: Owning Your Future.
Read books by John McWhorter
John McWhorter is author of more than a dozen books including The Power of Babel: A Natural History of Language, Losing the Race: Self Sabotage in Black America, and Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: The Untold History of English. In 2016 he published Words on the Move: Why English Won’t – and Can’t – Sit Still (Like, Literally). He also regularly contributes to newspapers and magazines including The New Republic, Time, and The Atlantic, including his article on how immigrants change languages and an essay on policing the “N-word.”
Listen to discussions by Coleman Hughes
Coleman Hughes writes about race, public policy, and applied ethics and hosts the podcast Conversations with Coleman which he describes “as a platform that champions free speech, free thought, and open debate – values that I believe play a pivotal role in a liberal society.”
The Content of Our Character: A New Vision of Race in America by Shelby Steele
In this controversial essay collection, award-winning writer Shelby Stelle illuminates the origins of the current conflict in race relations–the increase in anger, mistrust, and even violence between black and whites. With candor and persuasive argument, he shows us how both black and white Americans have become trapped into seeing color before character, and how social policies designed to lessen racial inequities have instead increased them. The Content of Our Character is neither “liberal” nor “conservative,” but an honest, courageous look at America’s most enduring and wrenching social dilemma.
Keepin’ It Real: Essays on Race in Contemporary America by Elwood Watson
The past decade has been one of the most racially turbulent periods in the modern era, as the complicated breakthrough of the Obama presidency gave way to the racially charged campaigning and eventual governing of Donald Trump. Keepin’ It Real presents a wide-ranging group of essays that take on key aspects of the current landscape surrounding racial issues in America, including the place of the Obamas, the rise of the alt-right and White nationalism, Donald Trump, Colin Kaepernick and the backlash against his protests, Black Lives Matter, sexual politics in the black community, and much more.
America’s racial problems aren’t going away any time soon. Keepin’ It Real will serve as a marker of the arguments we’re having right now, and an argument for the changes we need to make to become the better nation we’ve long imagined ourselves to be.
Black futures by Kimberly Drew and Jenna Wortham
Black Futures is a collection of work–art, photos, essays, memes, dialogues, recipes, tweets, poetry, and more–that tells the story of the radical, imaginative, bold, and beautiful world that black artists, high and low, are producing today. The book presents a succession of brilliant and provocative pieces–from both emerging and renowned creators of all kinds–that generates an entrancing rhythm- Readers will go from conversations with hackers and street artists to memes and Instagram posts, from powerful prose to dazzling paintings and insightful infographics. A generational document that captures this fast-moving generation in its own dynamic and expansive language. While shaped in the tradition of other generational statements, from The New Negro to Black Fire to Toni Morrison’s landmark The Black Book, Black Futures does not have a retrospective air. It showcases the present, but points to the future. We live at a time when black culture–whether it’s created by Ava DuVernay or Donald Glover, Kendrick Lamar or Cardi B, meme-makers or YouTubers–is opening our imaginations and offering new paths forward, a multi-voiced, utopian alternative to a world of walls and white nationalism. Black Futures captures this expansive vision and energy and makes it available to any reader, of any color, who wants to explore this exciting cultural moment and see the next one coming.
Critical Race Theory: An Introduction by Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic
Since the publication of the first edition of Critical Race Theory in 2001, the United States has lived through two economic downturns, an outbreak of terrorism, and the onset of an epidemic of hate directed against immigrants, especially undocumented Latinos and Middle Eastern people. On a more hopeful note, the country elected and re-elected its first black president and has witnessed the impressive advance of gay rights.