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Top 10 Must-Read Books About Racism


Racism has been a part of our history and its vestiges continue to live in the present times as well. Today, the most powerful country in the world, the United States of America has a black President. So you can say racism has finally reduced even if it has not been eradicated. But the foundation for the present was laid by books about racism.

Several books about racism have been written published and widely appreciated. The anti-racism authors who dared to present these books to a hostile audience deserve full credit for their efforts. Books about racism were mainly written by Black authors who had first hand experience of dealing with racist attitudes. Many black women writers like Toni Morrison and Maya Angelou have given us unforgettable books about racism.

But if you think that only there are no white anti-racism authors then you are wrong. The first books about racism were written by white authors. We also have the likes of Doris Lessing who took personal interest in describing racist attitudes that were prevalent in society.

Here are some of the most unforgettable books about racism that were ever written.


Uncle Tom's Cabin: Harriet Beecher Stowe

Uncle Tom's Cabin released and published in 1852 was one of the first books about racism. The book describes the life on Southern farm were the realities of slavery and human trading are made apparent.


The Colour Purple: Alice Walker

Alice Walker's novel, the Colour Purple talks about life in Southern America in the late 19th century. The novel unfolds a series of letters written by a partially literate black woman. It tells the plight of the black woman in a society dominated by men and whites.


The Bluest Eye: The Bluest Eye

A little African-American girl in small town has but one wish; that her eyes should turn blue like those of the white girls. She thinks that if her eyes turn blue, all the ugliness around her will turn into beauty.


The Grass Is Singing: Doris Lessing

Doris Lessing's novel The Grass Is Singing is set in a Central American plantations. It talks about the patent attitude of a white woman towards a black man that is tinged with disdain and attraction.


To Kill A Mocking Bird: Harper Lee

Narrated through the eyes of an eight year old child, this novel unfolds in a small Southern town. The plot of the story revolves around a black man who has been accused of raping a white girl.


Song Of Solomon: Toni Morrison

A masterpiece from Toni Morrison, talks about the differences between the African Americans in Northern and Southern America. It also takes us back to times when the Blacks brought as slaves to America yearned for their homeland.


I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings: Maya Angelou

A little girl in Southern America is a mute spectator to racism as a part and parcel of life. She tells the story of impoverished cotton pickers of the Southern America.


Things Fall Apart: Chinua Achebe

The Nigerian writer describes life in an African village before the Whites can go to Africa with a mission to civilize the Blacks. This heart wrenching story describes the slow breakdown of a culture that was once rich and thriving.


Robinson Crusoe: Daniel Defoe

Robinson Crusoe was a castaway who found himself at a deserted island. He was lucky to find a sub-human companion, Friday. This Caliban-like character is described as part-human and thoroughly exploited by Crusoe. It reeks of a White man's attitude of superiority and sense of duty to civilise the wild people.


The Secret Life Of Bees: Sue Monk Kidd

This is a teenage white girl's view of the American South that touched the cords of our hearts. The book is set in 1964 when the Civil Rights Act was passed in USA.

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Story first published: Friday, May 17, 2013, 20:00 [IST]