19 Books About White Supremacy & How To Combat It
The United States is in the midst of a domestic terrorism crisis. I've picked out 19 must-read books about white supremacy and white nationalism, which should help you understand why racist violence is such a huge domestic threat, and how to combat it.
Although the U.S. was founded upon, and has been governed by, the ideals of white supremacy, white nationalists are a threat to life in this country. In the aftermath of the weekend mass shootings in El Paso, TX and Dayton, Ohio, white nationalists took to social media to laud the El Paso terrorist as a "saint," and to promote his ideas and actions. On its Hatewatch blog, the Southern Poverty Law Center reported that some were praising the El Paso attack as an act of "accelerationism" — or "the belief among some far-right extremists that committing acts of terrorism will cause society to collapse," providing the "opportunit[y] to build a country for only white, non-Jews."
Hate crimes rose nine percent over the last year, according to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, and researchers at the University of North Texas found that "counties that had hosted a 2016 Trump campaign rally saw a 226 percent increase in reported hate crimes over comparable counties that did not host such a rally." The rise of the so-called Trump Effect has been charted by numerous groups, including America's Voice. Popular opinion holds the White House's rhetoric responsible for white supremacist attacks like the one in El Paso. It's time to get educated and take action.
'The History of White People' by Nell Irvin Painter
If you've ever heard the argument that "the Irish were slaves, too," or had to endure complaints of "historical inaccuracy" over the inclusion of a nonwhite person in a work of fiction, this is the book you're going to want to read. In The History of White People, Nell Irvin Painter traces the history of racial concepts from ancient tribalism to modern-day whiteness, which came to be defined through exclusion in the 19th and 20th centuries.
'White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide' by Carol Anderson
A National Book Critics Circle Award winner, Carol Anderson's White Rage was composed in the aftermath of the Ferguson protests. This book examines the history of the ideas and organizations that have systematically prevented social, political, and economic equality for black Americans.
'How to Be Less Stupid About Race' by Crystal M. Fleming
A plainspoken social critique, Crystal M. Fleming's How to Be Less Stupid About Race takes on the myths and misconceptions of race and racism in the U.S., held by people across the political spectrum. This book is a must-read for anyone who believes that there are "very fine people on both sides."
'Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism' by Michelle Goldberg
'Proud Boys and the White Ethnostate: How the Alt-Right Is Warping the American Imagination' by Alexandra Minna Stern
Although we've moved past calling them the "alt-right" to naming them as the white nationalists they are, Alexandra Minna Stern's Proud Boys and the White Ethnostate takes a searing look inside one of the newest white supremacist movements in the U.S.
'Mothers of Massive Resistance: White Women and the Politics of White Supremacy' by Elizabeth Gillespie McRae
Little is often said about white women's role in the propagation of white supremacy, which is what makes Mothers of Massive Resistance such an important read. Elizabeth Gillespie McRae's book examines how white women helped to enforce and maintain segregationist policies throughout the 20th century.
'White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism' by Robin DiAngelo
White people's refusal to acknowledge racial privilege and bias is one of the myriad reasons why white nationalism and white supremacy flourish in this country. In White Fragility, Robin DiAngelo explores the cause and effect of white people's vitriolic reactions to accusations of bigotry and the notion of institutional racism.
'How We Fight White Supremacy: A Field Guide to Black Resistance,' edited by Akiba Solomon and Kenrya Rankin
A collection featuring Ta-Nehisi Coates, Tarana Burke, Alicia Garza, and Patrisse Khan-Cullors, How We Fight White Supremacy is a how-to guide for new members of the resistance.
'White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America' by Nancy Isenberg
Focusing on the unique socioeconomic history of poor whites in America, Nancy Isenberg's White Trash offers an unflinching look at the ways in which white people of lower economic classes have been denied the social mobility promised by the American dream, and how their tenuous position has been preyed upon by politicians.
'So You Want to Talk About Race' by Ijeoma Oluo
Tackling major arguments surrounding race in the U.S., from affirmative action to police brutality, Ijeoma Oluo's So You Want to Talk About Race is a must-read primer on the politics of American racism.
'Behold, America: The Entangled History of "America First" and "the American Dream"' by Sarah Churchwell
Although they're often conflated today in Trump's "Make America Great Again" slogan, the concepts of the American Dream and "America First" were once at odds. Sarah Churchwell traces the intertwining histories of American isolationism and the promise of a better tomorrow in Behold, America.
'White Identity Politics' by Ashley Jardina
Conservatives may decry "identity politics" of racial and ethnic minority communities, but, as Ashley Jardina shows, huge portions of the white population amass and vote to maintain white supremacy in the U.S. Read about the hows and whys of this phenomenon in White Identity Politics.
'Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America' by Kathleen Belew
Tracing the history of white nationalist movements from the 1970s to today, Kathleen Belew offers readers a shocking glimpse inside the politics and planning of domestic terrorism in Bring the War Home.
'Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race' by Reni Eddo-Lodge
An exploration that began with a viral blog post, Reni Eddo-Lodge's Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race is a lauded treatise on racial tension in the UK. With Brexiter and Trump favorite Boris Johnson recently elected Prime Minister, our allies across the pond may have some valuable insight into America's racism problem.
'The Long Southern Strategy: How Chasing White Voters in the South Changed American Politics' by Angie Maxwell and Todd Shields
Believe it or not, the American South was once deeply blue, before a sea change that swapped the priorities of the Democratic and Republican parties. In the midst of that transition, then-presidential candidate Richard Nixon deployed "the Southern strategy" — a unique form of dog-whistle politics — to win the South for the GOP. For a fascinating look at the continued use and ramifications of the Southern strategy, check out Angie Maxwell and Todd Shields' The Long Southern Strategy.
'Racism, Public Schooling, and the Entrenchment of White Supremacy: A Critical Race Ethnography' by Sabina E. Vaught
White supremacy has created, maintained, and widened the achievement gap between white students and students of color in the U.S. Sabina E. Vaught examines the origins and contemporary realities of this problem in Racism, Public Schooling, and the Entrenchment of White Supremacy.
'Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-create Race in the Twenty-First Century' by Dorothy Roberts
Is race coded in your DNA? If you said yes, you should read Dorothy Roberts' Fatal Invention, which explores the ways in which contemporary science projects merely rehash the same bad-faith efforts to categorize race.
'Segregation by Design: Local Politics and Inequality in American Cities' by Jessica Trounstine
Decades after integration, the United States remains deeply racially divided along geographic lines. Jessica Trounstine examines the history of city-level segregation in Segregation by Design.
'The Future of Whiteness' by Linda Martín Alcoff
What will whiteness look like when whites are no longer the majority race in the U.S.? That's the question Linda Martín Alcoff seeks to answer in The Future of Whiteness — a wake-up call for any white person who wants to end white supremacy and white nationalism forever.