Books for White Folks Part 9: Identities and American Culture

Some might think that this list is overkill or poorly executed, but alas, I couldn’t think of any better way to describe it.  There’s such a rich mixture of books from sociology to critical studies to African American studies to psychology to legal works and so on that discuss race, identity and privilege.  As you’ll notice this list overlaps with so many of the previous lists.  In some ways, I feel like this pulls together books from education to history to peripherals to systematic view to education and more.  Maybe so, I still think they may a good list on their own.  


Book cover to Invisible No More by Andrea J Ritchie
Yet again, there are so many damn create books to choose from, but I will settle on one:  Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color by Andrea J. Ritchie.  Ritchie’s writings are a powerful exploration of women, girls, and transwomen of color and their challenges in modern society with regards to the criminal justice system.  There are heart-wrenching and frustrating moments to this book but also the powerful ideas and ways by which Ritchie’s prose illuminates the injustices opens ways of understanding that move the reader.  This intersectional exploration to life in America should have white folks rethinking so many of our assumptions (conscious or otherwise) about how skin color results in fundamentally different experiences in our country.  

The Recommendations

  • White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide by Carol Anderson
  • Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin
  • The Third Reconstruction: Moral Mondays, Fusion Politics, and the Rise of a New Justice Movement by William J. Barber II 
  • Suspicion Nation: The Inside Story of the Trayvon Martin Injustice and Why We Continue to Repeat It by Lisa Bloom 
  • They Take Our Jobs!: And 20 Other Myths about Immigration by Aviva Chomsky
  • We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • Imbeciles: The Supreme Court, American Eugenics, and the Sterilization of Carrie Buck by Adam Cohen
  • 35 Dumb Things Well-Intended People Say: Surprising Things We Say That Widen The Diversity Gap by Maura Cullen
  • Policing the Black Man: Arrest, Prosecution, and Imprisonment edited by Angela J. Davis
  • Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America by Michael Eric Dyson
  • Racecraft: The Soul of Inequality in American Life by Karen Fields
  • The New Urban Crisis: How Our Cities Are Increasing Inequality, Deepening Segregation, and Failing the Middle Class—and What We Can Do About It by Richard Florida
  • The White Scourge: Mexicans, Blacks, and Poor Whites in Texas Cotton Culture by Neil Foley
  • Letters to a Young Muslim by Omar Saif Ghobash
  • Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class by Ian Haney-López
  • Watching Race: Television And The Struggle For Blackness by Herman Gray
  • The Sisters Are Alright: Changing the Broken Narrative of Black Women in America by Tamara Winfrey Harris
  • Scenes of Subjection: Terror, Slavery, and Self-Making in Nineteenth-Century America by Saidiya Hartman
  • All the Agents and Saints: Dispatches from the U.S. Borderlands by Stephanie Elizondo Griest
  • A Colony in a Nation by Chris Hayes
  • Third World America: How Our Politicians Are Abandoning the Middle Class and Betraying the American Dream by Arianna Huffington
  • The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama by Gwen Ifill
  • Planet India: How the Fastest Growing Democracy Is Transforming America and the World by Mira Kamdar
  • Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word by Randall Kennedy
  • Unequal Childhoods: Class, Race, and Family Life by Annette Lareau
  • The Making of Asian America: A History by Erika Lee
  • The Name of War: King Philip's War and the Origins of American Identity by Jill Lepore
  • The Possessive Investment In Whiteness by George Lipsitz
  • Love and Theft: Blackface Minstrelsy and the American Working Class by Eric Lott
  • Immigrant Acts: On Asian American Cultural Politics by Lisa Lowe
  • Basic Call to Consciouness by  Akwesasne Notes
  • Invisible Men: Mass Incarceration and the Myth of Black Progress by Becky Pettit
  • American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century by Kevin Phillips
  • Good Booty: Love and Sex, Black and White, Body and Soul in American Music by Ann Powers
  • Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine
  • Arab in America by Toufic El Rassi
  • Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color by Andrea J. Ritchie
  • White Male Privilege: A Study of Racism in America 50 Years After the Voting Rights Act by Mark Rosenkranz
  • Reefer Madness: Sex, Drugs, and Cheap Labor in the American Black Market by Eric Schlosser
  • Whistling Vivaldi: And Other Clues to How Stereotypes Affect Us by Claude Steele
  • I Can't Breathe: A Killing on Bay Street by Matt Taibbi
  • Multiculturalism by Charles Taylor
  • Who's Afraid of Post-Blackness? What it Means to Be Black Now by Touré
  • Big Girls Don't Cry: The Election That Changed Everything for American Women by Rebecca Traister
  • The Great Awakening: Reviving Faith and Politics in a Post-Religious Right America by Jim Wallis
  • Dear White America: Letter to a New Minority by Tim Wise

You can find the full list of books in the genre of race, identity, and privilege on Goodreads.  For all posts in this series, check out:

  1. The Introduction
  2. The Ambassadors
  3. The Fiction
  4. The Classics
  5. The Memoirs and Personal Accounts
  6. The Comics
  7. The Histories
  8. Education
  9. Identities and American Culture
  10. The Systematic Critiques
  11. The Peripherals
  12. Since I Started...



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