New Anti-Racism Titles
by Sammy Fogel, ISIP Intern
There has arguably never been a moment in American history quite like the one we are currently living through. As the world quarantined, the senseless murder of yet another unarmed black man, George Floyd of Minneapolis, awakened lively protests across the country and the world. Similarly heinous crimes have brought sustained protests in the past, but rarely, if ever before, with both the zeal and longevity that the current moment holds. But to dub this movement a mere “moment” is to erase the systemic injustices which have been leveled against people of color for centuries, injustices without which there would be no United States of America. “Black Lives Matter” is not just a trendy slogan to be adopted haphazardly by every corporate PR team in the country, but a necessary reorientation of the fabric underpinning American life.
The books below are by no means an exhaustive list, nor do they intend to provide a complete picture of how to think or feel about racism in America and its institutions. The intent is to provide a jumping off point, perhaps towards more reading, but more importantly, towards more anti-racist work, towards a fight against the institutions which constrain black lives day in and day out.
The End of Policing by Alex Vitale
The author traces the structure of American policing as a tool of social control and ultimately advocates for the complete abolition of the police.
Futures of Black Radicalism edited by Gaye Theresa Johnson & Alex Lubin
An anthology of black radical thinkers discussing the future of black radicalism, with contributions from renowned thinkers such as Angela Davis and Ruth Wilson Gilmore, linking the past to the present, the domestic to the international, and the struggle for black liberation to the struggle against capitalism.
Inside This Place, Not of It edited by Robin Levi & Ayelet Waldman
Narratives from thirteen women detailing their horrific experiences in women’s prisons, ultimately becoming a critique of the prison system.
Presumed Criminal: Black Youth and the Justice System in Postwar New York by Carl Suddler
An accessible volume which examines in detail how “black youth became over-policed and under-protected” in New York City, the spiritual home of famous brutal policing tactics such as “broken windows policing” and stop and frisk.
Incarcerating the Crisis: Freedom Struggles and the Rise of the Neoliberal State by Jordan T. Camp
Retells the history of the intertwined development of contemporary mass incarceration and cementing of neoliberal capitalism through the quashing of radical social movements, drawing on the Watts Uprising of 1965, the LA riots of 1992, and post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans to frame his argument.
Badges without Borders: How Global Counterinsurgency Transformed American Policing by Stuart Schraeder
Details the decades-long effort by the US to assist regimes around the world in violently silencing dissent, after which those same tactics were brought home, manifested in increasingly militarized police departments throughout the country.
When Ivory Towers Were Black: A Story About Race in America’s Cities and Universities by Sharon Egretta Sutton
The School-to-Prison Pipeline: Education, Discipline, and Racialized Double Standards by Nancy A. Heitzeg
A sociological outline of the origins and current impacts of the school-to-prison pipeline.
This Is Not A Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and Education by Jose Vilson
A collection of essays from a middle-school math teacher in uptown Manhattan calls for fundamental reforms to the education system, changes that prioritize social justice.
Six by Ten: Stories from Solitary edited by Mateo Hoke & Taylor Pendergrass
A series of profound, in-depth stories on the human impact of solitary confinement and its widespread use throughout America’s sprawling prison-industrial complex.