Amid global protests in the wake of the death of George Floyd, Barnes & Noble sent an e-mail this week to its members listing books about antiracism and “ally-ship” to help bolster cultural and racial competency.
“It is in our power as readers to be informed, to react and to teach,” the company said in its e-mail. “Books are a conduit for learning, growing and providing insight into the lives and thoughts of those we may not know…but with whom we may discover we share much in common.”
The bookseller noted that during these “turbulent racially charged times, ignited by the ever-growing list of murdered black civilians, including Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and most recently George Floyd, we can seek ways to become both part of the conversation and part of the solution.”
The reading list includes 2019’s “How to Be an Antiracist” by Ibram X. Kendi, “White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism” by Robin DiAngelo with a forward by Michael Eric Dyson and published in 2018, and “The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America” by Richard Rothstein and published in 2018. Each book, like many others on the recommended reading list, are among The New York Times bestsellers.
While Rothstein’s book is described as a “forgotten history” of how the U.S. government segregated America. The author is a research associate at the Economic Policy Institute as well as a Fellow at the Thurgood Marshall Institute of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
Publisher’s Weekly noted in a review last year that Kendi’s book follows the author’s National Book Award–winning “Stamped From the Beginning,” “with a boldly articulated, historically informed explanation of what exactly racist ideas and thinking are, and what their antiracist antithesis looks like both systemically and at the level of individual action.” Kendi is the founding director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center, based at the American University.
DiAngelo is an antiracist educator and an academic and lecturer who focuses on “issues of racial and social justice for more than 20 years,” her biography stated, and also noted that DiAngelo “formerly served as a tenured professor of multicultural education at Westfield State University.”
The Barnes & Noble list also spotlighted books for teens, which included Kendi’s “Stamped From the Beginning,” and “The Bluest Eye,” the Toni Morrison novel from 2007.