5 Non-Fiction Books About Race Relations in America

Books about race relations provide you with a better understanding of what people of different races went through over the years. While some of these books trace the idea of race all the way back to the slavery days, others focus more prominently on the civil rights movement and race relations in the modern era. These books can change the way you think.

History Buffs

History buffs like books about race relations that come from those who lived through those issues. One of those books is "The Fire Next Time" by James Baldwin. Though the book originally came out in the early 1960s, it shows that little changed in this field. Baldwin used half of his book as a way to speak out and warn his teenage nephew and other black men of the same age. The second half of the book focuses more on the issue of how religion relates to race.

Criminal Justice Advocates

"The Next Jim Crow" by Michelle Alexander is a book that might make your jaw drop and one that will certainly make you think. Unlike other books about race relations that focus more on the past, this book deals with the present day. Alexander uses the idea of Jim Crow laws to show how segregation still occurs today. While those laws are now illegal in the United States, Alexander believes that the American prison system serves as a new version of that law. She discusses how black men go to prison more often than white men do and how the criminal justice system keeps those young men down.

Memoir Readers

Memoir readers may prefer books that come from men and women who experienced racial segregation in their own lives. One of the more powerful memoirs is the 2013 book "Men We Reaped" by Jesmyn Ward. Ward lived her life in a small Mississippi town and saw how poverty impacted the lives of those around her. Her book talks about the close friends and family members that she lost over the years and how many of those men died because they could not better their lives. It shows you that race is still a major issue.

Parents and Educators

"Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?" by Beverly Daniel Tatum is one of the books about race relations that both parents and educators should read. Tatum is a psychologist who wanted to answer this question and launch effective talks about racism in America. Her research looks at why people often seek out others with the same skin color and how this can change the way an individual acts in his or her professional and personal lives.

Medical Professionals

One of the best books about race relations for those working in the medical or healthcare industry is "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" by Rebecca Skloot. The Huffington Post included this book on its list of must read books for those interested in race relations. Though Lacks helped millions of people, few know her name. This book looks at how doctors used cells stolen from Lacks to conduct their own research, create vaccines and cure others without her knowledge or consent. It will show you that the issue of race goes beyond skin color.

Race is a topic that seems to never go away. The Black Lives Matter movement is similar to the civil rights movement that once swept the nation. If you want to learn more about race and see how race impacts your own lives and the lives of those around you, read some of the best books about race relations.

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