An Antiracism Listening List

The fight for racial justice is up to all of us. If you’re not sure where to start, these listening recommendations can help.

The brutal killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor have ignited nationwide protests and trauma, and are only the most visible and recent examples of racism, violence, and systemic injustice inflicted upon people of color in this country.

While the stories we choose to hear are only one part of the equation, we believe that change can start with listening—especially to stories from Black and Brown voices that provide first-person perspectives and context. Whether you want to gain a deeper understanding of America’s racist history, be a better ally, learn how to talk to your children about racism, or simply see your lived experience reflected and validated, these are some of the listens we’ve found helpful. On the journey toward an antiracist mentality and world, think of them as necessary steps on a path that will also include candid conversations, activism, and real solutions. And we know this list is not comprehensive, so we invite you to share further listening suggestions with us by using #AntiracismListening with your own recommendations.

We are also working to make antiracist titles, as well as antiracist stories for younger listeners, more broadly available to students for free. Please explore our collection of vital listens illuminating the range of Black experiences.

The Sum of Us

The Sum of Us

In this personal and insightful listen, political commentator and strategist Heather McGhee dives deep into the economic impact of systemic racism—from the financial crisis to student loan debt—and how it hurts all Americans. She travels across the country to highlight real Americans’ stories and paints a portrait of a future where the success of some does not come at the expense of others.

Four Hundred Souls

Four Hundred Souls

Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain edit this monumental one-volume community history of African Americans over the past 400 years. Each taking on five years of that history, 90 writers have come together to assemble this unique collection, which is narrated by a full cast of incredible Black voices, including Angela Y. Davis, Samira Wiley, Bahni Turpin, Robin Miles, Kevin R. Free, and more.

Caste (Oprah's Book Club)

Caste (Oprah's Book Club)

The Pulitzer Prize-winning writer of The Warmth of Other Suns returned in 2020 with this expansive history exploring the hidden caste system that exists within American culture and how the insidious undertow of this system affects the lives of Americans—including forthright reflections from the author’s own life as a Black journalist and scholar. The legendary Robin Miles voices this superb account.

The Autobiography of Malcolm X

The Autobiography of Malcolm X

This classic audiobiography of one of the most important Black figures of the 20th century is boldly performed by Oscar-nominated actor Laurence Fishburne, whose performance earned him the Audie Award for Best Male Narrator. Originally published in 1965, the activist’s story proves as relevant and timeless as ever today.

Black, White, and The Grey

Black, White, and The Grey

Set in a formerly segregated bus terminal turned restaurant, Black, White, and The Grey is an antiracism listen disguised as a food memoir. Mashama Bailey and John Morisano—the founders of The Grey—detail their differing experiences, trials, and triumphs in life and restauranteurship. Their relationship (and story) show that every little bit counts when it comes to challenging racism and the internal and external biases that help perpetuate it. And performed by the authors themselves, this listen is perfectly suited for audio.

How to Be an Antiracist

How to Be an Antiracist

It is not enough for an individual to claim that they are not racist—instead, we must all strive to be actively “antiracist” in order to disrupt the status quo and drive meaningful change. In this audiobook that details the concept and transformative nature of antiracism, author and historian Ibram X. Kendi encourages listeners to reconsider outdated beliefs about inequality. Through the lens of history, law, ethics, and the author’s own lived experience, How to Be an Antiracist is a pivotal guide to understanding how prejudice persists, how communities enable it, and how working towards building an antiracist society offers a glimpse in the possibility of a fully equitable future.

So You Want to Talk About Race

So You Want to Talk About Race

If you are white in America, it is up to you to recognize your privilege and educate yourself on the institutionalized biases that favor you while obstructing people of color. In So You Want to Talk About Race, writer Ijeoma Oluo tackles issues that plague BIPOC—from police brutality to micro-aggressions—and offers listeners thoughts on how they may better understand and address these injustices in their own communities. Her lively, vibrant writing style and head-on approach to unearthing, explaining, and challenging ideas on race and power in America will resonate with listeners engaging in difficult conversations and provide them with the information and perspective they need to defiantly stand up and fight against racism.

Between the World and Me

Between the World and Me

In this memoir written in the form of a letter to his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates explores the complicated subject of race in America with unapologetic starkness. Coates describes the evolution of his identity as a Black man through various settings—from growing up in Baltimore to attending Howard University to traveling the world. His narrative style instantly draws listeners in as he examines the implications of being Black in the United States, a nation deeply stained by a history of systematic racism and injustice. Coates also passionately challenges every listener to confront the truth about racial issues of the past and present. The anguish, fear, and frustration in his voice is palpable throughout, crafting an unmatched audio experience that will stay with you long after the final word.

White Rage

White Rage

In White Rage, historian and Emory University professor Carol Anderson unearths the violent and damaging history of white backlash, a reactionary measure that has stifled the advancement of Black Americans. Anderson goes in depth on landmark historical events in Black history—from the Reconstruction Era to Brown v. Board of Ed—detailing how, in each instance, white rage contributed to opposition movements that undermined opportunities at racial equality. This critical listen is a stark look at how resentful countermeasures taken by white people and lawmakers have consistently contributed to the oppression of Black communities. It is a history long unexplored, but one that cannot be ignored.

The Radical King

The Radical King

Few historical figures are as frequently whitewashed and misrepresented as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.—his legacy as an agitator for necessary, radical change is often forgotten or ignored. The Radical King offers listeners the opportunity to hear King’s speeches, as organized and edited by activist Cornel West, in the voices of an assortment of Black artists and performers, including Gabourey Sidibe, Wanda Sykes, Levar Burton, and Michael K. Williams. The 23 selected sermons, speeches, and essays embody the kind of revolutionary change King championed and serve as a reminder of how far we still have to go to achieve the future he dreamed of. This listen is imperative for anyone who wants to better understand the Civil Rights movement, and glean valuable insight from one of the most pivotal voices in Black history.

Good Talk

Good Talk

Good Talk explores the challenges of finding answers to difficult questions, both for yourself and your child. Mira Jacob’s poignant memoir glimmers with both humor and heart, and centers on her attempts to navigate tough topics—like American identity and interracial families—with Z, her super-inquisitive six-year-old son. Jacob affectionately captures the range of emotions involved in everyday conversations between a mother and child, including questions from Z such as “Can Indians be racist?”, “Is it bad to be brown?”, and “What does real love between different people look like?”. Listening in on Jacob’s very real, pained answers captures what it’s like to explain instances of racism (like the murder of Michael Brown in 2014) to children in real time. This listen is an excellent resource for any family looking to begin having open, honest dialogues about race and discrimination with their children.

White Fragility

White Fragility

What are the internal barriers to allyship? And how does white reluctance to confront racism and have uncomfortable conversations about privilege directly contribute to the perpetuation of white supremacy and inequality? Author and academic Robin DiAngelo explores this phenomenon—which is often referred to as “white fragility”—exploring the defensive, counterproductive reactions that white people have when challenged on topics of race. This anger, guilt, and denial compounds into equally damaging hostility and silence, entirely preventing crucial discourse while fortifying systemic inequality. If you’re looking for a thought-provoking listen to understand how to better understand privilege and power, disrupt dangerous patterns, and engage meaningfully, White Fragility is definitely a good place to start.

The New Jim Crow

The New Jim Crow

Many history books tell us that Jim Crow, the hateful and racist laws that ruled over the American South through the 19th and 20th centuries and disenfranchised millions of Black men and women, ended in 1965. But what civil rights lawyer Michelle Alexander makes clear in The New Jim Crow is that these laws and injustices never ended—they just took on a new form: mass incarceration. In this extensively researched work, Alexander highlights many of the systematically oppressive aspect of the United States criminal justice system: from the massive disparities that exist in policing to the disproportionate enforcement of laws. This is an essential listen for anyone who wants to understand how broken our justice system truly is and what steps we can take towards reform.

Me and White Supremacy

Me and White Supremacy

Two years ago, author Layla Saad began a social media challenge utilizing the hashtag #MeAndWhiteSupremacy in which she shared ways in which she challenged white people to share and take responsibility for the ways they have been complicit in bolstering white supremacy. In her audiobook of the same name, Saad offers listeners a guide to help them better understand their privilege so they may tackle their own racist attitudes or behaviors and stop subconsciously participating in the maintenance of white supremacy. Made all the more compelling with additional historical and anecdotal contexts, this is a crucial resource for anyone looking to better serve the antiracism movement.

Until the Flood

Until the Flood

Pulitzer Prize nominee Dael Orlandersmith wrote and performed this one-woman drama about the 2014 murder of Black teenager Michael Brown at the hands of a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. Throughout this gorgeous, moving work, Orlandersmith lends her voice to unearthing and dismantling the unspeakable truths of racism—that so long as it exists as an institution, Black men and women are in imminent danger. Until the Flood was born from extensive interviews with Missouri residents following Brown’s death and is fleshed out further by the darkness that lingers in American history. When coupled with Orlandersmith’s tender, compassionate performance, the result is a work of theater that captures the agony wrought time and again by systemic racism.

The Color of Law

The Color of Law

One of the biggest victories in the Civil Rights Act of 1968 was the passage of the Fair Housing Act, enacted to end discriminatory practices against Black homeowners and renters. But what historian Richard Rothstein’s The Color of Law proves, with overwhelming evidence, is that these practices were, and continue to be, deeply engrained in laws at the state, federal and local levels. Well researched and unquestionably thought provoking, The Color of Law is a must for history buffs and casual listeners alike. It offers remarkable insight into the history of housing in the United States and how the infamous practice of redlining was intentionally instituted to segregate Black and white Americans to this day.

In Love and Struggle

In Love and Struggle

Recorded live at the Minette Lane Theatre, In Love and Struggle is a work created by a collective of Black women representing every area of life and culture, from politics to literature to academia to art to comedy. This narrative, which champions intersectionality and rejects racist and sexist notions of whose voice matters most, offers important, underheard perspectives on celebrating Black joy and identity. Those seeking to challenge their own biases, embrace and champion antiracism, and learn from and amplify a slate of Black voices—including actor Sarah Jones, law professor Anita Hill, commentator Brittany Packnett Cunningham, model and speaker Aaron Philip, poet Mahogany L. Browne, writer Bassey Ikpi, scholar Salamishah Tillet, author Jodie Patterson, and hip-hop artist Mumu Fresh—will no doubt benefit from listening in.

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