Published on July 30, 2020

23 Books About Racism to Inspire You to Embrace Race and Do Good

23 Books About Racism to Inspire You to Embrace Race and Do Good

Written by some of the most influential authors in the world, these books about racism will touch your heart in the most unexpected way. With a focus on different angles of racism and its effects[1] on society, each book would surely instill in you the significance of the Black movement and why it is essential to put an end to racism in order to contribute to the wellbeing of humanity.

Hopefully, after reading one of the books I’ve listed, you’ll find in yourself the desire to push the conversation around race in a positive direction.

This list incorporates such worthwhile books that have been included on the highly esteemed New York Times Best Seller list. Furthermore, these books have enjoyed their fair share of glory as they were deemed profoundly insightful and motivational by the likes of magazines such as Publishers Weekly.

Educating and enlightening our readers on how to deal with racism has been my primary aim of creating this list. The books included here inspire individuals to embrace their skin color so that they can prompt others to stand up against racism and collectively work their way to completely uproot it.

1. How to Be an Antiracist

    A New York Times Bestseller, this book by Ibram X. Kendi lays out a practical methodology to eradicate racism and completely uproot it from our chauvinist society.

    Buy this book!

    2. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

      This compelling book by Michelle Alexander accentuates the devastating truth about the US criminal justice system and how it discriminates and disregards the African American community of the US.

      Buy this book!

      3. The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America

        One of the Publishers Weekly’s 10 Best Books of 2017, The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein exposes the US government and how it carried out racist segregation in the many metropolitan areas of the United States.

        Buy this book!

        4. White Rage

          This riveting piece of work by Carol Anderson, which happens to be a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, singles out the powerful mass forces that were antagonistic towards the development of the African American community in the US.


          Buy this book!

          5. Between the World and Me

            Another New York Times Bestseller, Ta-Nehisi Coates’ book outlines the critical elements for enabling the reader to understand the history of the United States and what factors led to the ongoing racial crisis.

            Buy this book!

            6. Stamped From the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America

              Stamped From the Beginning is a deeply researched account in which the author, Ibram X. Kendi, jots down the story of anti-black racist ideas and their tremendous effect on the African American community throughout US history.

              Buy this book!

              7. Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?

                Beverly Daniel Tatum illustrates a veracious picture of a typical high school where students of different races are clustered in their own groups, thus, emphasizing that interracial communication is vital.

                Buy this book!

                8. Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race

                  This book by Reni Eddo-Lodge highlights how futile it is to discuss racism with individuals who are ignorant about its severity. Furthermore, the author offers an essential framework to tackle racism.

                  Buy this book!

                  9. So You Want to Talk About Race

                    Ijeoma Oluo offers her perspective on racism in the US and addresses issues such as police brutality, the Black Lives Matter movement, and privilege.


                    Buy this book!

                    10. The Color of Water

                      In this book by James McBride, the winner of the National Book Award for Fiction, the author re-enacts his mother’s story, depicting her journey and all the hardship she had to endure when she migrated to America.

                      Buy this book!

                      11. The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row

                        This book by Anthony Ray Hinton and Lara Love Hardin features a compelling story of a man who was wrongfully incarcerated for a crime he didn’t commit. The book showcases that, in the end, love trumps all.

                        Buy this book!

                        12. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

                          This enthralling chronicle by Maya Angelou depicts the gut-wrenching story of the author, what she had to deal with when she was sent off to live with her grandmother, and how fitting words can make everything right.

                          Buy this book!

                          13. The Autobiography of Malcolm X

                            In one of Time’s ten most influential nonfiction books by Malcolm X and Alex Haley, Malcolm X narrates the remarkable story of his life, the augmentation of the Black Muslim movement, and his take on the restrictions and lies of the American Dream.

                            Buy this book!

                            14. The Bluest Eye

                              Toni Morrison wrote this gripping account of a young black girl who yearns for blond hair and blue eyes to fit into society. This book offers a much-needed reality check and asks some essential questions around race.


                              Buy this book!

                              15. Becoming

                                This book enjoyed a staggering first spot on New York Times Bestseller’s list. Michelle Obama, one of the most influential women of our era, narrates the mesmerizing experiences that molded her persona and enabled her to be the first African American First Lady of the US.

                                Buy this book!

                                16. Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption

                                  From the New York Times Bestseller’s list, this book by Bryan Stevenson is an indelible account of a young lawyer and his commendable efforts in pursuing true justice. His first case was that of an innocent young man who was on a death row for a murder he didn’t commit.

                                  Buy this book!

                                  17. The Underground Railroad

                                    Winner of the deemed Pulitzer Prize, The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead features the life of Cora, a slave, and the hurdles she had to face, particularly when she decided to escape.

                                    Buy this book!

                                    18. The Warmth of Other Suns

                                      This book by Isabel Wilkerson happens to be a National Book Critics Circle Award Winner. In this chronicle, Isabel Wilkerson relates the stories of black citizens of the US and their search for a better life.

                                      Buy this book!

                                      19. The Nickel Boys

                                        Winner of the Kirkus Prize, this story by Colson Whitehead is an account of Elwood Curtis, a black boy who was unjustly incarcerated in a juvenile center known as Nickel Academy, and how, consequently, his life became a living hell.


                                        Buy this book!

                                        20. The Souls of Black Folk

                                          This book by W.E.B. Du Bois is the pioneering edifice that helped pave the foundation of African American literature. It played a pivotal part in the development of strategies that orchestrated the early 20th-century black protests in the US.

                                          Buy this book!

                                          21. Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do

                                            This book by Jennifer L. Eberhardt explores the issue of racism and deduces how racial bias has failed American society. It is a pivotal read for anyone who is even mildly interested in the current Black movement in the US.

                                            Buy this book!

                                            22. Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do

                                              Claude M. Steele renders the first-hand experience of his research on American stereotypes, such as the athletic superiority of black men, and provides a means of reshaping American identities.

                                              Buy this book!

                                              23. 12 Years a Slave

                                                This book by Solomon Northup tells of the real-life encounter of Solomon Northup, a free man in New York, and how he was kidnapped, drugged, and sold as a slave. This book also proved to be the edifice on which the Academy-Award winning movie 12 Years a Slave was produced.

                                                Buy this book!

                                                Final Thoughts

                                                This comprehensive list incorporates some of the most acclaimed books on racism, offering in-depth insight on these issues. Furthermore, these books will cultivate the fervor you need to fight racism and completely curb it.

                                                More Insightful Books

                                                Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via


                                                [1] Journal on Race, Inequality, and Social Mobility in America: Investigating Vigilance: A New Way to Account for the Account for the Effects of Racism on Health Inequities

                                                More by this author

                                                Anna Chui

                                                Anna is a communication expert and a life enthusiast. She's the Content Strategist of Lifehack and loves to write about love, life, and passion.

                                                10 Essential Books on Relationships To Help You Understand Love Why a Life Without Pain Is the Guarantee to True Suffering 20 Useful Things to Learn Now That Will Change Your Life How Self-Doubt Keeps You Stuck (And How to Overcome It) 23 Books About Racism to Inspire You to Embrace Race and Do Good

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                                                1 Take Back Control of your Life with Positive Emotions 2 Had a Bad Day? 7 Ways to Rebound From It and Feel Good Again 3 I Don’t Know What to Do With My Life! 5 Steps to Get Unstuck 4 This Is How Mentally Strong People Deal With Guilt 5 The Art of Humble Confidence

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                                                Last Updated on October 14, 2020

                                                Had a Bad Day? 7 Ways to Rebound From It and Feel Good Again

                                                Had a Bad Day? 7 Ways to Rebound From It and Feel Good Again

                                                Today didn’t turn out as you planned, but it doesn’t mean you’re weak. It simply means that you’re human, and you’re not bad just because you had a bad day.

                                                “Not everyday is a good day but there is something good in every day.” -Alice Morse Earle

                                                It’s not the end of the world when you find yourself thinking “I had a bad day,” but it can feel like it. You may have had plans that fell apart, experiences that set you back, and interactions that only did harm.

                                                You may have started the day thinking you could take on it all, only to find you could hardly get out of bed. When you have a bad day, you can forget to look at the good.

                                                Sometimes, self-care helps us to remember why we are worth it. It helps us to recharge and reset our mindset. It helps us to know that there are still options and that the day isn’t over yet.

                                                Love yourself today, no matter how hard it’s been. That’s the way to find yourself amidst the hardships you have. That’s how you center yourself and regain focus and live a more meaningful life. Give yourself some credit and compassion.

                                                Here are 7 ways to rebound from a bad day using self-compassion as a tool. If you had a bad day, these are for you!

                                                1. Make a Gratitude List

                                                In a study on gratitude, psychologists Dr. Robert A Emmons and Dr. Michael E. McCullough conducted an experiment where one group of people wrote out gratitude lists for ten weeks while another group wrote about irritations. The study found that the group that wrote about gratitude reported more optimistic mindsets in their lives[1].

                                                Overall, having a gratitude list improved well-being and made one truly grateful by counting the blessings in their lives.

                                                Write a list of what you are grateful for if you had a bad day. Make it as long as you like, but also remember to note why you’re grateful for each thing you write.

                                                What has given you the most joy? What has set you up for better days? Keep a tally of triumphs in mind, especially when you do have the bad days.


                                                The day doesn’t define you, and you still have things of value that surround you. These could be material things, spiritual connections and experiences, relationships, basic needs, emotional and mental well-being, physical health, progress towards hopes and dreams, or simply being alive.

                                                Here are some other simple ways to practice gratitude.

                                                2. Write in a Journal

                                                Journaling affects your overall mental health, which also affects physical health and aids in the management of stress, depression, anxiety, and more[2].

                                                All you need is a pen and paper, or you could do an online, password-protected journal such as Penzu. The key is to get started and not pressure yourself on how polished or perfect it is. You don’t need to have prior experience to start journal writing. Just start.

                                                Write out everything that is bothering you for 15 minutes. This helps with rumination, processing problems, and can even aid with brainstorming solutions.

                                                However you approach it, you can find patterns of thinking that no longer serve you and start to transform your overall mental state. This will impact all areas of your life and is a great coping skill.

                                                3. Meditate

                                                Meditation can help you overcome negative thought patterns, worrying about the future, dwelling on the past, or struggling to overcome a bad day[3]. It shifts your mentality and helps you focus on the present or any one thing you truly want to focus on.

                                                Here is an example of a meditation you can do:

                                                Get into a comfortable position. Close your eyes. Rest your body, release tension, and unclench your jaw. Tighten and release each muscle group in a body scan for progressive muscle relaxation.

                                                Focus on your breath, taking a few deep breaths. Let your belly expand when you breathe in for diaphragmatic breathing. Empty yourself completely of air, then return to normal breathing.

                                                Next, focus on the idea of self-love and let it erase negative thoughts. Think about the ways you’ve been judging yourself, with the narratives coming up that your mind may create.


                                                Give yourself unconditional love and release judgment. Take your time meditating on this because you matter. This is particularly important if you had a bad day.

                                                Check out this article for more on how to get started with a meditation practice.

                                                4. Do Child’s Pose

                                                Yoga Outlet says:

                                                “Child’s Pose is a simple way to calm your mind, slow your breath, and restore a feeling of peace and safety. Practicing the pose before bedtime can help to release the worries of the day. Practicing in the morning can you help transition from sleeping to waking.”[4]

                                                When you do Child’s Pose, it can be between difficult positions in yoga, or it can be anytime you feel you need a rest. It helps you recover from difficulties and relax the mind.

                                                It also has the physical health benefits of elongating your back, opening your hips, and helping with digestion[5].

                                                To do Child’s Pose, rest your buttocks back on your feet, knees on the floor. Elongate your body over your knees with both arms extended or tucked back, with head and neck resting on the floor[6].

                                                Had a bad day? Try Child's Pose.


                                                  Do this pose as a gift to yourself. You are allowing yourself to heal, rest, get time for yourself, recover, and recharge. When you’ve had a bad day, it’s there waiting for you.

                                                  5. Try Positive Self-Talk

                                                  Engage in positive self-talk. This is essentially choosing your thoughts.


                                                  When you have a negative thought, such as “I can’t do this,” replace it consciously with the thought “I can do this.” Give yourself positive affirmations to help with this.

                                                  Negative self-talk fits into four general categories: personalizing or blaming yourself, magnifying or only focusing on the negative, catastrophizing or expecting the worst to happen, and polarizing or only seeing back and white[7].

                                                  When you stop blaming yourself for everything and start focusing on the positive, expecting things to work out, and seeing the areas of grey in life, you reverse these negative mindsets and engage in positive self-talk.

                                                  When you speak words of kindness to yourself, your brain responds with a more positive attitude. That attitude will affect everything you do. It’s how you take care of yourself if you had a bad day.

                                                  Check in with yourself to know when you are having negative self-talk. Are you seeing patterns? When did they start to become a problem? Are you able to turn these thoughts around?

                                                  6. Use Coping Skills and Take a Break

                                                  Use your coping skills. This means not letting your thoughts take control of yourself.

                                                  You can distract yourself and escape a bit. Do things you love. You can exercise, listen to music, dance, volunteer or help someone, be in nature, or read a book.

                                                  It isn’t about repression. It’s about redirection. You can’t stay in thoughts that are no longer working for you.

                                                  Sometimes, it’s okay to get out of your own way. Give yourself a break from the things going on in your head. You can always come back to a problem later. This may even help you figure out the best course of action as sometimes stepping away is the only way to see the solution.

                                                  If you had a bad day, you may not feel like addressing what went wrong. You may need a break, so take one.

                                                  7. If a Bad Day Turns Into Bad Days

                                                  “I believe depression is legitimate. But I also believe that if you don’t exercise, eat nutritious food, get sunlight, get enough sleep, consume positive material, surround yourself with support, then you aren’t giving yourself a fighting chance.” –Jim Carrey

                                                  If you’ve been feeling out of control, depressed, or unstable for more than a few weeks, it’s time to call a mental health professional. This is not because you have failed in any way. It’s because you are human, and you simply need help.

                                                  You may not be able to quickly rebound from a bad day, and that’s fine. Feel what you feel, but don’t let it consume you.

                                                  When you talk to a professional, share the techniques that you have already tried here and whether they were helpful. They may tell you additional ideas or gain insights from your struggles of not being able to rebound from a series of bad days.

                                                  If you’re having more than just a bad day, they will want to know. If you don’t have the answers, that’s okay, too. You just need to try these tools and figure out how you’re feeling. That’s all that’s required of you.

                                                  Keep taking care of yourself. Any progress is progress, no matter how small. Give yourself a chance to get better by reaching out.

                                                  Final Thoughts

                                                  If you had a bad day, don’t let it stop you.

                                                  Know this: It’s okay not to be okay. You have a right to feel what you feel. But there is something you can do about it.

                                                  You can invest in yourself via self-care.

                                                  You are not alone in this. Everyone has bad days from time to time. You just need to know that you are the positive things you tell yourself.

                                                  More Things You Can Do If You Had a Bad Day

                                                  Featured photo credit: Anthony Tran via


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