Are you interested in learning about racism and racial equity? It is a complex and painful topic, so the prospect can seem daunting at first. But if we are willing to find out what we don't know (or what we think we know), there are Library resources like articles, books, webinars, and videos to help us begin. There isn't just one article, one book, or one author that has all the answers, but by looking at some of the resources listed here you can start to uncover key concepts, vocabulary, history, and perspective to get started.
Given the national attention on the topic lately, some publishers and content providers are making some high-demand content freely available with no waitlists. Below are several notable resources and their availability:
No Wait e-Books and Audiobooks
Four books have been made available on the OverDrive e-book and audiobook platform for various weeks throughout June and July as part of a program called Black Lives Matter: Community Read. The titles "focus on #ownvoices and are intended to help borrowers read, listen, learn, and grow as they expand their knowledge of race relations."
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
"Michelle Alexander provocatively argues that we have not ended racial caste in America: we have simply redesigned it...The New Jim Crow challenges the civil rights community - and all of us - to place mass incarceration at the forefront of a new movement for racial justice in America."
Available: June 15 | Availability Expires: July 15 | Format: audiobook
The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas
"After witnessing her friend's death at the hands of a police officer, Starr Carter's life is complicated when the police and a local drug lord try to intimidate her in an effort to learn what happened the night Kahlil died."
Available: June 22 | Availability Expires: July 19 | Format: e-book or audiobook
So You Want to Talk about Race by Ijeoma Oluo
"A current, constructive, and actionable exploration of today's racial landscape, offering straightforward clarity that readers of all races need to contribute to the dismantling of the racial divide."
Available: June 29 | Availability Expires: July 26 | Format: audiobook
If you don't have an IndyPL library card we can help you get a library card. If you have never used your IndyPL library card to borrow an e-book or audiobook from OverDrive/Libby, directions are available: App Directions, Browser Directions, and Video Tutorial. These titles are also available as print copies from the Library, though demand is high which may cause waitlists. If you are not an Indianapolis resident note that many public libraries across the country use the OverDrive platform.
No Wait Listening on Spotify
The audiobook Stamped from the Beginning - The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendhi is currently available for free on Spotify, a music and podcast platform/app that does not require a Library card. The book was winner of the 2016 National Book Award for Nonfiction, a New York Times Bestseller, a Washington Post Bestseller, and named one of the Best Books of the Year by the Boston Globe, Washington Post, and Chicago Review of Books.
Available now - no announcement of end date at this time.
Note that there is an adaptation of this book, intended for young adults, titled Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi. Reynolds and Kendi collaborated on this version to help explain these complex concepts to young people. It is available as an e-book through the Library.
No Wait Streaming Video
Use your Library card to instantly stream documentaries and videos focused on social and systemic injustice and racism in America on Kanopy. Titles include I Am Not Your Negro, P.S. I Can't Breathe, White Like Me - Race, Racism, and White Privilege in America, Race: The Power of an Illusion, and more. You can also stream movies from the Hoopla category Black Lives Matter. Titles include Maya Angelou And Still I Rise and Just Mercy.
If you have never used your IndyPL library card to from Kanopy or Hoopla, directions are available:
Additionally, for video content check out these TED talks to help you understand racism in America.
Booklists and Reading Recommendations from IndyPL
Additional Lists and Resources
The National Museum of African American History & Culture's Talking About Race Portal provides "tools and guidance to empower your journey and inspire conversation." It is broken up into three online modules for different audiences: I am an Educator, I am a Parent or Caregiver, and I am a Person Committed to Equity. The modules include embedded videos, diagrams, and question prompts to help illustrate and support the processing of complex ideas.
You also might find helpful this list from NPR's Code Switch which includes both films and podcasts in addition to books. Code Switch is a multi-racial, multi-generational team of NPR journalists who cover race and identity. The Code Switch list is called This List Of Books, Films And Podcasts About Racism Is A Start, Not A Panacea.
Also, consider a visit to the Center for Black Literature & Culture at Central Library. The CBLC is dedicated to celebrating the vibrant and resilient heritage and triumphs of those born of African roots. This space is for all who are interested in exploring the rich heritage that has influenced nations across the globe.