On this page, we've collated a range of books that have influenced our thinking, encouraged conversation and have often affected our perspectives on diversity and intersectionality.
If you're looking for diverse reading suggestions for young adults and children then we'd recommend following @WiderReads
If you'd like to recommend a read to be added to this page, please contact us.
Back to Black: Retelling Black Radicalism for the 21st Century
Back to Black traces the long and eminent history of Black radical politics. Born out of resistance to slavery and colonialism, its rich past encompasses figures such as Marcus Garvey, Angela Davis, the Black Panthers and the Black Lives Matter activists of today. At its core it argues that racism is inexorably embedded in the fabric of society, and that it can never be overcome unless by enacting change outside of this suffocating system. Yet this Black radicalism has been diluted and moderated over time; wilfully misrepresented and caricatured by others; divested of its legacy, potency, inclusivity and force for global change.
Barracoon: The Story of the Last Slave
Zora Neale Hurston
This account illuminates the horror and injustices of slavery as it tells the true story of one of the last-known survivors of the Atlantic slave trade. In 1927, Zora Neale Hurston went to Plateau, Alabama, just outside Mobile, to interview eighty-six-year-old Cudjo Lewis, who was abducted from Africa on the last "Black Cargo" ship to arrive in the United States. Of the millions of men, women, and children transported from Africa to America as slaves, Cudjo was then the only person alive to tell the story of this integral part of the nation’s history. Hurston was there to record Cudjo’s firsthand account of the raid that led to his capture and bondage fifty years after the Atlantic slave trade was outlawed in the United States.
Black and British: A Forgotten History
In this vital re-examination of a shared history, historian and broadcaster David Olusoga tells the rich and revealing story of the long relationship between the British Isles and the people of Africa and the Caribbean. Drawing on new genealogical research, original records, and expert testimony, Black and British reaches back to Roman Britain, the medieval imagination, Elizabethan ‘blackamoors’ and the global slave-trading empire. It shows that the great industrial boom of the nineteenth century was built on American slavery, and that black Britons fought at Trafalgar and in the trenches of both World Wars. Black British history is woven into the cultural and economic histories of the nation. It is not a singular history, but one that belongs to us all.
Black girls rock
From the award-winning entrepreneur, culture leader, and creator of the BLACK GIRLS ROCK! movement comes an inspiring and beautifully designed book that pays tribute to the achievements and contributions of black women around the world. Fueled by the insights of women of diverse backgrounds, including Michelle Obama, Angela Davis, Shonda Rhimes, Misty Copeland Yara Shahidi, and Mary J. Blige, this book is a celebration of black women’s voices and experiences that will become a collector’s items for generations to come.
Black, Listed: Black British Culture Explored
Who is a roadman really? What's wrong with calling someone a 'lighty'? Why do people think black guys are cool? These are just some of the questions being wrestled with in Black, Listed, an exploration of 21st century black identity told through a list of insults, insights and everything in-between. Taking a panoramic look at global black history, interrogating both contemporary and historical culture, Black, Listed investigates the ways in which black communities (and individuals) have been represented, oppressed, mimicked, celebrated, and othered.
Black Skin, White Masks
Few modern voices have had as profound an impact on the black identity and critical race theory as Frantz Fanon, and Black Skin, White Masks represents some of his most important work. Fanon's masterwork is now available in a new translation that updates its language for a new generation of readers. A major influence on civil rights, anti-colonial, and black consciousness movements around the world, Black Skin, White Masks is the unsurpassed study of the black psyche in a white world. Hailed for its scientific analysis and poetic grace when it was first published in 1952, the book remains a vital force today from one of the most important theorists of revolutionary struggle, colonialism, and racial difference in history.
Brit(ish): On race, identity and belonging
The Sunday Times bestseller that reveals the uncomfortable truth about race and identity in Britain today. You’re British. Your parents are British. Your partner, your children and most of your friends are British. So why do people keep asking where you’re from? We are a nation in denial about our imperial past and the racism that plagues our present. Brit(ish) is Afua Hirsch’s personal and provocative exploration of how this came to be – and an urgent call for change.
Dismantling Race in Higher Education
Jason Arday and Heidi Safia Mirza
This book reveals the roots of structural racism that limit social mobility and equality within Britain for Black and ethnicised students and academics in its inherently white Higher Education institutions. It brings together both established and emerging scholars in the fields of Race and Education to explore what institutional racism in British Higher Education looks like in colour-blind 'post-race' times, when racism is deemed to be ‘off the political agenda’.
The truth is, inclusion is better for everyone. In this empowering call to arms, June Sarpong MBE proves why. Putting the spotlight on groups who are often marginalised in our society, including women, ethnic minorities, those living with disabilities, and the LGBTQ+ community, Diversify uncovers the hidden cost of exclusion and shows how a new approach to how we learn, live and do business can solve some of the most stubborn challenges we face.
Does My Head Look Big in This?
School is tough enough without throwing a hijab into the mix... Amal is a 16-year-old Melbourne teen with all the usual obsessions about boys, chocolate and Cosmo magazine. She's also a Muslim, struggling to honour the Islamic faith in a society that doesn't understand it. The story of her decision to "shawl up" and its attendant anxieties (like how much eyeliner to wear) is funny, surprising and touching by turns.
Elouqent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers her Superpower
So what if it's true that Black women are mad as hell? They have the right to be. In the Black feminist tradition of Audre Lorde, Brittney Cooper reminds us that anger is a powerful source of energy that can give us the strength to keep on fighting. Far too often, Black women's anger has been caricatured into an ugly and destructive force that threatens the civility and social fabric of American democracy. But Cooper shows us that there is more to the story than that. Black women's eloquent rage is what makes Serena Williams such a powerful tennis player. It's what makes Beyoncé's girl power anthems resonate so hard. It's what makes Michelle Obama an icon.
Factories for Learning
Over half of England's secondary schools are now academies. While their impact on achievement has been debated, the social and cultural outcomes prompted by this neoliberal educational model has received less scrutiny. This book draws on original research based at Dreamfields Academy, a celebrated flagship secondary school in a large English city, to show how the accelerated marketization and centralization of education is reproducing raced, classed and gendered inequalities.
For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood... and the Rest of Y'all Too
Drawing on his own experience of feeling undervalued and invisible in science classrooms as a young man of color, Christopher Emdin offers a new lens on and approach to teaching in urban schools. Putting forth his theory of Reality Pedagogy, Emdin provides practical tools to unleash the brilliance and eagerness of youth and educators alike both of whom have been typecast and stymied by outdated modes of thinking about urban education. With this fresh and engaging new pedagogical vision, Emdin demonstrates the importance of creating a family structure and building communities within the classroom, using culturally relevant strategies like hip-hop music and call-and-response, and connecting the experiences of urban youth to indigenous populations globally.
The Good Immigrant
Bringing together 21 exciting black, Asian and minority ethnic voices emerging in Britain today, The Good Immigrant explores why immigrants come to the UK, why they stay and what it means to be ‘other’ in a country that doesn’t seem to want you, doesn’t truly accept you – however many generations you’ve been here – but still needs you for its diversity monitoring forms.
Hold Tight: Black Masculinity, Millennials & the Meaning of Grime
HOLD TIGHT is a book about being black, British and born after 1980. It's also about Grime. Celebrating over fifty key songs that make up Grime's DNA, Jeffrey Boakye explores the meaning of the music and why it has such resonance in the UK. Boakye also examines the representation of masculinity in the music and the media that covers it. Both a loving critique of Grime and an investigation into life as a black man in Britain today.
I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness
Austin Channing Brown
Austin Channing Brown's first encounter with a racialized America came at age 7, when she discovered her parents named her Austin to deceive future employers into thinking she was a white man. Growing up in majority-white schools, organizations, and churches, Austin writes, "I had to learn what it means to love blackness," a journey that led to a lifetime spent navigating America's racial divide as a writer, speaker and expert who helps organizations practice genuine inclusion.
Natives: Race and class in the ruins of the empire
From the first time he was stopped and searched as a child, to the day he realised his mum was white, to his first encounters with racist teachers - race and class have shaped Akala's life and outlook. In this unique book he takes his own experiences and widens them out to look at the social, historical and political factors that have left us where we are today.
On Being Included: Racism and Diversity in Institutional Life
What does diversity do? What are we doing when we use the language of diversity? Sara Ahmed offers an account of the diversity world based on interviews with diversity practitioners in higher education, as well as her own experience of doing diversity work. Diversity is an ordinary, even unremarkable, feature of institutional life. Yet diversity practitioners often experience institutions as resistant to their work, as captured through their use of the metaphor of the "brick wall." On Being Included offers an explanation of this apparent paradox. It explores the gap between symbolic commitments to diversity and the experience of those who embody diversity.
Other People's Children: Cultural Conflict in the Classroom
In a radical analysis of contemporary classrooms, MacArthur Award–winning author Lisa Delpit develops ideas about ways teachers can be better “cultural transmitters” in the classroom, where prejudice, stereotypes, and cultural assumptions breed ineffective education. Delpit suggests that many academic problems attributed to children of color are actually the result of miscommunication, as primarily white teachers and “other people’s children” struggle with the imbalance of power and the dynamics plaguing our system.
Slay in your lane: the black girl bible
Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uviebinené
‘Black women today are well past making waves – we’re currently creating something of a tsunami. Women who look like us, grew up in similar places to us, talk like us, are shaping almost every sector of society.' From education to work to dating, this inspirational, honest and provocative book recognises and celebrates the strides black women have already made, while providing practical advice for those who want to do the same and forge a better, visible future.
Souls of Black Folk
W E B DuBois
W. E. B. Du Bois, in full William Edward Burghardt Du Bois (born February 23, 1868, Great Barrington, Massachusetts, U.S.-died August 27, 1963, Accra, Ghana), American sociologist, the most important black protest leader in the United States during the first half of the 20th century. Du Bois graduated from Fisk University, a black institution at Nashville, Tennessee, in 1888. He received a Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1895. His doctoral dissertation, The Suppression of the African Slave-Trade to the United States of America, 1638-1870, was published in 1896. Although Du Bois took an advanced degree in history, he was broadly trained in the social sciences; and, at a time when sociologists were theorizing about race relations, he was conducting empirical inquiries into the condition of blacks.
So you want to talk about race
In So You Want to Talk About Race, Editor at Large of The Establishment Ijeoma Oluo offers a contemporary, accessible take on the racial landscape in America, addressing head-on such issues as privilege, police brutality, intersectionality, micro-aggressions, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the "N" word. Perfectly positioned to bridge the gap between people of color and white Americans struggling with race complexities, Oluo answers the questions readers don't dare ask, and explains the concepts that continue to elude everyday Americans.
Teacher Training and the Education of Black Children
This book is designed to challenge dominant educational discourses on the underachievement of Black children and to engender new understandings in initial teacher education (ITE) about Black children's education and achievement. Based in empirical case study work and theoretical insights drawn from Bourdieu, hooks, Freire, and Giroux, Maylor calls for Black children’s underachievement to be (re)theorised and (re)conceptualised within teacher education, and for students and teachers to become more "race"- and "difference"-minded in their practice.
Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom
In Teaching to Transgress,bell hooks--writer, teacher, and insurgent black intellectual--writes about a new kind of education, education as the practice of freedom. Teaching students to "transgress" against racial, sexual, and class boundaries in order to achieve the gift of freedom is, for hooks, the teacher's most important goal. Bell speaks to the heart of education today: how can we rethink teaching practices in the age of multiculturalism? What do we do about teachers who do not want to teach, and students who do not want to learn? How should we deal with racism and sexism in the classroom?
Tell It Like It Is: How Our Schools Fail Black Children
34 years ago Grenadian scholar Bernard Coard caused a social and political storm by telling it how it was in his seminal study How the West Indian Child is Made Educationally Sub-Normal in the British School System. Not only did he expose the plight of Black children in the education system, he also kick-started the Supplementary Schools System and many of the anti-racist and multi-cultural policies of the 1970s and 80s. Three decades on, our schools are still failing Black children. Tell it Like It Is brings the debate firmly into the 21st century.
We Real Cool: Black Men and Masculinity
"When women get together and talk about men, the news is almost always bad news," writes bell hooks. "If the topic gets specific and the focus is on black men, the news is even worse." In this powerful new book, bell hooks arrests our attention from the first page. Her title--We Real Cool; her subject--the way in which both white society and weak black leaders are failing black men and youth. Her subject is taboo: "this is a culture that does not love black males:" "they are not loved by white men, white women, black women, girls or boys. And especially, black men do not love themselves. How could they? How could they be expected to love, surrounded by so much envy, desire, and hate?"
White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism
Antiracist educator Robin DiAngelo first coined the term "white fragility" in 2011, and since then it's been invoked by critics from Samantha Bee to Charles Blow. "White fragility" refers to the defensive moves that white people make when challenged racially. These include emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and behaviors including argumentation and silence. In this book, DiAngelo unpacks white fragility, explaining the underlying sociological phenomena. She'll draw on examples from her work and scholarship, as well as from the culture at large, to address these fundamental questions: How does white fragility develop? What does it look like? How is it triggered? What can we do to move beyond white fragility and engage more constructively?
White privilege: The myth of a post-racial society
Why and how do those from black and minority ethnic communities continue to be marginalised? Despite claims that we now live in a post-racial society, race continues to disadvantage those from black and minority ethnic backgrounds. Kalwant Bhopal examines the shift in recent years from overt to covert racism. She explores how neoliberal policy-making has increased rather than decreased discrimination faced by those from non-white backgrounds. She also shows how certain types of whiteness is privileged, whilst other white identities, Gypsies and Travellers for example, remain marginalised and disadvantaged in society.
Whiteness: An Introduction
Making sociological sense of the idea of whiteness, this book skilfully argues how this concept can help us understand contemporary societies. If one of sociology's objectives is to make the familiar unfamiliar in order to gain heightened understanding, then whiteness offers a perfect opportunity to do so. Leaning firstly on the North American corpus, this key book critically engages with writings on the formation of white identities in Britain, Ireland and the Americas, using multidisciplinary sources. Empirical work done in the UK, including the author's own, is developed in order to suggest how whiteness functions in Britain.
Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?
Beverly Daniel Tatum
Walk into any racially mixed high school and you will see black youth seated together in the cafeteria. Of course, it's not just the black kids sitting together-the white, Latino, Asian Pacific, and, in some regions, American Indian youth are clustered in their own groups, too. The same phenomenon can be observed in college dining halls, faculty lounges, and corporate cafeterias. What is going on here? Is this self-segregation a problem we should try to fix, or a coping strategy we should support? How can we get past our reluctance to talk about racial issues to even discuss it? And what about all the other questions we and our children have about race?
Why I'm no longer talking to white people about race
This book is written as a result of a blog award-winning journalist Reni Eddo-Lodge wrote in 204 about her frustration with the way that discussions of race and racism in Britain were being led by those who weren't affected by it. The book explores issues from eradicated black history to the political purpose of white dominance, whitewashed feminism to the inextricable link between class and race. A necessary read.
The Working Class: Poverty, education and alternative voices
Ian Gilbert (various)
In 'The Working Class: Poverty, education and alternative voices', Ian Gilbert unites educators from across the UK and further afield to call on all those working in schools to adopt a more enlightened and empathetic approach to supporting children in challenging circumstances.
You Wouldn't Understand: White Teachers in Multiethnic Classrooms
You Wouldn't Understand looks at how white teachers regard ethnic diversity in their classrooms and how their views affect their teaching. It tells the story of one white teacher's developing understanding of how her own racial and ethnic background influenced the way she regarded and taught the mainly South Asian Muslim children in her classes. She began with a belief that the narrowness of the National Curriculum was the problem for the pupils but she came to see the bigger picture. The book charts her gradual realisation that many of the problems lay with her own lack of understanding of race, racism, and her own racial identity.