Books About Race for Adults

AsianAmerican.jpg Asian American Dreams
by Helen Zia

Award-winning journalist Zia traces the changing politics and cultures of Asian Americans by examining the incidents that helped galvanize them. This well-written book is an important addition to the growing field of Asian American studies. The result is a vivid personal and national history, in which Zia guides us through a range of recent flash points that have galvanized the Asian-American community.

Pact says: This is the best book we have found to give an overview of the Asian American experience.

Beyond the Whiteness of Whiteness
by Jane Lazarre

A mother’s recognition of white economic, social, and moral complicity in the power structure of racism. “I am Black,” Jane Lazarre’s son tells her. This book is her memoir about learning to look at race in a way that passionately informs the connections between herself and her family.

Pact says: This book is fabulous; clear-eyed, thoughtful and moving. It is not about adoption but is about the experience of a white parent of Black children. Jane Lazarre is a terrific writer..

black-male-handbook.jpg The Black Male Handbook
by Kevin Powell

In his collection of essays for Black males on surviving, living, and winning. Kevin Powell taps into the social and political climate rising in the Black community, particularly as it relates to Black males. The Black Male Handbook creates a different kind of conversation—man-to-man and with Black male voices, all of the hiphop generation. The book tackles issues related to political, practical, cultural, and spiritual matters, and ending violence against women and girls.

Pact says: A welcome addition to any parent of Black children. Note: The book largely takes a traditional Christian viewpoint.
Black-Stats.jpg Black Stats: African Americans by the Numbers in the Twenty-First Century
by Monique W. Morris

Black Stats—a comprehensive guide filled with contemporary facts and figures on African Americans—is an essential reference for anyone who wants to check their facts about the African American population in 2014. With fascinating and often surprising information on everything from incarceration rates, lending practices, and the arts to marriage, voting habits, and green jobs, the contextualized material in this book will better attune readers to telling trends while challenging commonly held, yet often misguided, perceptions.

Pact says: Bravo to Ms. Morris. This book should be a reference in every school, every library and every family who cares about the well-being of Black children and families in America.

Can We Talk About Race: And Other Coversations in an Era of School
By Beverly Daniel Tatum

Tatum starts with a warning call about increasing but underreported resegregation of America. A self-described “integration baby” born in 1954, Tatum believes that schools can be key to forging connections across the racial divide. Her strong voice calls into question many of the assumptions and approaches that schools have taken in addressing (or not) the success of children of color (and particularly Black children).

Pact says: We consider Beverly Daniel Tatum to be one of the truth-tellers about our current state of race relations and issues.

colorblind web store.jpg Colorblind
byTim Wise

Wise presents a very good argument that we are in no way living in a post-racial era. He takes the arguments often put forth by the liberal left and the conservative right and picks them apart one by one, using facts, details and statistics that are hard to argue with. If you already agree that we are a very long way from being “beyond” the issue of race, Wise will give you a detailed analysis to support that claim and a very nuanced picture of the many ways in which race impacts politics and public policy.

Pact says: Very interesting, well-written and accessible. If you are a reader who does believe in being “colorblind” Wise will give you a great deal to think about. Highly recommended.
Debating Race
by Michael Eric Dyson

Having risen from poverty to become an ordained minister and a tenured professor, Dyson has been called the Voice of Black America because of his ability to combine intellectual rigor with popular culture. Collecting 27 transcribed conversations with 27 thinkers, scholars and pop-political commentators, Dyson and company tackle practically every angle in America’s experience of race, including the legacy of the civil rights movustement, immigration reform, affirmative action, urban poverty and the war on terror.

Pact says: Dyson is controversial and provocative, offering real insight into the state of race in America.

Does Anybody Else Look Like Me?; A Parent's Guide to Raising Multiracial Children
by Donna Jackson Nakazawa

This book takes a developmental look at raising multiracial children. The author is the white mom of Hapa (Asian/white) children. She asserts that race matters and offers concrete suggestions for how parents can talk with and shore up their kids to handle the racism and scrutiny they will face.

Pact says: A very accessible book, but the focus is limited to parents of two different races raising a child of mixed racial heritage.

FirstR062.jpg First R, The; How Children Learn Race and Racism
By Debra Van Ausdale & Joe R. Feagin

A study of 3-and 4-year-olds in progressive multicultural day care centers showing that young children have a sophisticated knowledge of how race/ethnicity is used in our society to rank people—AND that they know this racial hierarchy makes many adults anxious, so they try to cover their knowledge.

Pact says: An extremely useful book that underlines the importance of explicitly teaching about race and tolerance. Although the book is academic in tone, the content makes this a worthwhile read.

GirlWhoFell.jpg Girl Who Fell from the Sky, The
by Heidi Durrow

In her first novel, Durrow draws her own experience of growing up biracial through Rachel who, like Durrow, is the daughter of an African American man and a Danish woman. Rachel struggles with racial identity when her family moves from Europe back to the United States, as she responds to peoples expectations of her and how they expect her to act out her blackness.

Pact says: This is a great read that explores the intersection of race and class as well as the challenges and assumptions from both the white and black communities about how education, speech and her looks place her within the racialized continuum of her identity as a member of the African Diaspora.

going natural webstore.jpg Going Natural
by Mireille Liong-A-Kong

Filled with suggestions and pictures of natural hairstyles, this is a great book that explores the how-to’s of natural hair care combined with ideas and support for feeling beautiful as an African American woman. Mireille grew up in South America and is all about helping Black women celebrate their beauty and hair.

Pact says: Great support and information for African American hair care and styles for girls and women (although the information can be applied to boys as well!)

Half and Half webstore.jpg Half and Half
by Claudine C. O'Hearn

Personal essays from seventeen writers, including Julia Alvarez, Indira Ganesan, James McBride, David Mura and Lori Tsang, this anthology reveals the constancy of the human concern to find the place that feels right, and the challenge of addressing and incorporating dual ethnic identity.

Pact says: This outstanding work offers food for thought for all readers, but in particular for those interested in transracial families or multiethnic identity.

Heart of Whiteness, The: Confronting Race, Racism, and White Privilege
by Robert Jensen

A personal discourse on being white and the necessity of owning white privilege in order to stop it and make change in the racial landscape in which we live. Gives good insight into ways in which white privilege pervades and the reasons it matters.

Pact says: It is time for white people to acknowledge that they are at the heart of the race problems in America—this book is a call to action.

It's All Good Hair webstore.jpg It's All Good Hair: The Guide to Styling and Grooming Black Children's Hair
by Michele Collinson

Learn how to do coils, knots, twists, and more. Featuring hair-care and styling tips from a variety of experts, and learn the secrets to braiding, relaxing, and locking,. Detailed instruction on how to care for a variety of hair textures from bone straight to wavy, to tightly coiled and everything in between. This book covers parting to combing to cornrows, twists and braiding. It also covers some basic style for boys.

Pact says: Nice reminders for readers about the importance of telling their children that they are beautiful and smart as they spend time together combing and styling.

kids talk hair webstore.jpg Kids Talk Hair
by Pamela Ferell

As Ferrell writes in the introduction, "Hair care the hard way has left some tearful and unpleasant hair experiences. ... I imagine that all this trial and error stuff could be avoided if there were simple, user-friendly hair care instructions for grown-ups ... that explain: how kids' hair grows; how to shampoo or get gum out of hair; how to deal with head lice, ringworm and comb-out disasters and, mostly, how to make pretty hair styles."

Pact says: A practical and colorful book, essential for parents of African American daughters.

Measure of Our Success webstore.jpg Measure of Our Success
by Marian Wright Edelman

An inspirational book by America's premier advocate for children. In this book, written for her own children, Ms. Edelman details the lessons for life she hopes to pass along to the next generation.

Pact says: Marian Wright Edelman is a powerful role model. Beautifully written and highly recommended.

Mixed webstore.jpg Mixed: An Anthology of Short Fiction on the Multiracial Experience
Edited by Chandra Prasad, Introduction by Rebecca Walker

This anthology of nineteen essays examines the complexities of multiple heritage for those of Asian and Pacific Island heritage. Section one takes a historical view, section two focuses on family and identity, three looks at community and politics, and four explores the impact of mixed Asian heritage outside of the US.

Pact says: Prasad begins each piece with a biographical sketch of the writer and concludes each with a commentary, which makes for an absorbing and thought-provoking collection.

Multiplication-is-for-White-People.jpg Multiplication is for White People
by Lisa Delpit

Delpit is an impassioned advocate for the needs of children of color and at the center of her book is a message what the debate about the achievement gap desperately needs.

Pact says: Parents and educators who are concerned about the education of children of color can learn a great deal from Delpit’s knowledgeable, passionate and thoughtful analysis.

jimcrow.jpg New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
by Michelle Alexander

Alexander reviews American racial history from the colonies to the Clinton administration, delineating its transformation into the war on drugs. She offers an acute analysis of the effect of this mass incarceration upon former inmates who will be discriminated against, legally, for the rest of their lives, denied employment, housing, education, and public benefits.

Pact says: Most provocatively reveals how both the move toward colorblindness and affirmative action blur our vision of injustice.

Of Many Colors
by Peggy Gillespie

The families include transracial, interracial, same-race blended, adoptive, single parent, and two-parent families, both heterosexual and homosexual.

Pact says: A beautiful contribution. In this moving and intimate look at multiracial family life, the compelling photograph of each family is accompanied by revealing text culled from interviews with the family members—children as well as adults—who describe in their own voices the joys and challenges of life in a multiracial family.

push_out_image.jpg Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in School
By Monique W. Morris, EdD.

Pushout begins to fill the gap in the literature with a deeply intersectional analysis of Black girls and the school-to-prison pipeline. Drawing on interviews and focus groups with Black girls in four states (CA, NY, LA, and IL), as well as observations of classrooms in alternative school and juvenile detention settings, Morris explores the experiences of some of the most vulnerable Black girls as they navigate school settings that are poorly equipped to support Black girls but well-equipped to punish them.

Pact says: There is much to like about the book, particularly its intersectional approach to this long-neglected subject.

Tripping on the Color Line
by Heather Dalmage

Dalmage describes how people of all races support their own sense of racial identity and safety by erecting and maintaining "racial borders" - welcoming people of their own race inside and keeping those of other races out. Multiracial people, transracially adopted people, and all members of first-generation multiracial families share many experiences as they cross these racial borders.

Pact says: This is an accessible and stimulating read, useful for anyone interested in racial identity issues.

Wake Up, Little Susie
by Ricki Solinger & Elaine Tyler May

A highly readable history of the difference in services provided to African American women facing unplanned pregnancies compared to white women in the United States, including the impact this had on whose children were available for adoption and how the “race factor” played into the development of a child-welfare system that underserves children of color and their birth parents.

Pact says: An exceptionally clear statement of the effects of racism on women and children in crisis. Highly recommended.

Wavy, Curly, Kinky: The African American Child's Hair Care Guide
by Deborah Lilly

In Wavy, Curly, Kinky, renowned stylist Deborah Lilly shows parents the best ways to style and maintain African American boys’ and girls’ hair from infancy to the preteen years. She presents clear, easy-to-follow hair care guidelines for the three different types of African American hair and gives you expert recommendations for the best products and techniques for each hair type.

Pact says: Another good addition to your hair care library.

WhiteLikeMe webstore.jpg White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son
by Tim Wise

Racial privilege shapes the lives of white Americans in every facet of life, from employment and education to housing and criminal justice. Using stories from his own life, Tim Wise shows that racism not only burdens people of color, but also benefits those who are “white like him” — whether or not they’re actively racist.

Pact says: All of us can learn from Wise’s honest self-assessment.

Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together In the Cafeteria?
by Beverly Tatum

Young people can be observed segregating themselves by race. Tatum explains this tendency as a way of affirming racial identity and outlines the process of developing racial pride through a series of predictable stages. Includes differences between races.

Pact says: A fascinating and clearly presented map of steps toward integration of racial identity, this book affirms the need to understand the process and to talk about it. Highly recommended.

Yellow: Race in America beyond Black and White
by Frank Wu

A leading voice in the Asian American community tackles what is means to be Asian American in contemporary America. Wu suggests that the widespread stereotyping of Asian Americans, while "superficially positive," is inherently damaging. Mixing personal anecdotes, current events, academic studies, and court cases, Wu not only debunks the myth of a "model minority" but also makes discomfiting observations about attitudes toward affirmative action, what he calls "rational" discrimination, mixed marriages, racial profiling, and assimilation versus multiculturalism.

Pact says: A fascinating and clearly presented discussion of the Asian American experience.

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