It may seem obvious that racism is bad, but turn on the news or look around in your own community and it becomes quite obvious that it’s out there, it’s happening, and it’s time to stand up against it.
For people who aren’t sure where to begin or what they can do to help, reading a book is a start. This Book Is Anti-Racist is a great tool to learn about the origins of racism and oppression with “20 lessons on how to wake up, take action, and do the work.” The book is written by Tiffany Jewell, a Black biracial writer and anti-racist educator, and illustrated by Aurélia Durand, a Paris-based artist who portrays women of color standing proudly and fiercely in her work.
The book is written for all ages, with tips and lessons for kids who need help speaking up against racist adults, kids who feel lost from trying to fit into the dominant culture, and kids who have suffered because people have neglected to stand up for them. Parents, teachers, and administrators can benefit from reading it as well.
Readers can examine concepts of social identity, ethnicity, and racism with the book’s examples of oppression throughout history, including when indigenous Americans and Australians were shipped off to boarding school to be “civilized” and when the UK enacted strict immigration laws to threaten Caribbean immigrants with deportation. Obviously, racism is a heavy topic, but the book also includes stories of strength, hope, and revolution, such as when former slave Toussaint Louverture led the rebellion against white planters that eventually led to Haiti’s independence.
The book is also interactive, featuring 20 activities that readers can do to work against racism inside themselves while also giving them tools to work at being anti-racist. It discusses languages and phrases that people can use to interrupt and disrupt racism, as well as tips on how to act the next time someone hears a microaggression or a racial slur.
This Book Is Anti-Racist is available at major bookstores and you can also support Black-owned bookstores by searching for it online.