Looking to learn more about anti-racism work and dismantling systems of oppression? Check out our resource recommendations for engaging with these issues.
Black Life, by Idil Abdillahi and Rinaldo Walcott
In Black Life, Idil Abdillahi and Rinaldo Walcott examine Canadian history, literature, music and public policy through the lens of racism. Abdillahi and Walcott challenge any notions that we live in a “post-racial” society and call readers to further action.
Buffalo Shout, Salmon Cry, edited by Steve Heinrichs
Buffalo Shout, Salmon Cry is a series of essays written by authors of diverse racial backgrounds. The essays explore alternative theories of land use, creation, history and faith. As readers open their minds and hearts to new ideas presented in this book, editor Steve Heinrichs hopes that we can move towards deeper reconciliation.
From the Ashes, by Jesse Thistle
Jesse Thistle, a Métis-Cree man from Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, writes a gripping memoir about his painful experience with abuse, abandonment and addiction. From living in the foster care system to being stuck in a cycle of addiction on the streets of Toronto, Thistle details how he broke free and found his way back to his Indigenous culture.
How to be an Antiracist, by Ibram X. Kendi
“The opposite of racist isn't not racist. It is antiracist,” Ibram X. Kendi, founding director of the Antiracism Research and Policy Center, explains. But what does that really mean? Kendi breaks this idea down for us in his book. He highlights the ways white people can be complicit in perpetuating racism and helps us move from a place of racism to anti-racism.
Is Christianity the White Man's Religion?: How the Bible Is Good News for People of Color, by Antipas L. Harris
"If Christianity is for everyone, why does the Bible seem to endorse slavery? Why do most popular images of Jesus feature a man with white skin and blue eyes? Is evangelical Christianity "good news" or a tool of white supremacy?" Antipas L. Harris unpacks these questions and explores why so many young Christians have rejected the Christian faith they grew up with. Harris shows how the bible is a book of justice, and why it is good news for all.
Me and White Supremacy, by Layla Saad
Based on an Instagram challenge that went viral, Layla Saad offers a 28-day guide for readers to recognize and dismantle harmful privileges and prejudices existing within themselves.
Policing Black Lives: State Violence in Canada from Slavery to the Present, by Robyn Maynard
Policing Black Lives delves behind Canada’s veil of multiculturalism, diversity and tolerance to dig deeper into the realities faced by many Black people in Canada. Robyn Maynard sheds light on the legacy of slavery and the ways Black poverty, unemployment and incarceration are perpetuated in Canada.
The Book of Negroes, by Lawrence Hill
Based on a true story, award-winning novelist Lawrence Hill depicts the journey of Aminata, a young girl abducted from her village in Mali. After a dangerous journey on a slave ship to North America, she is caught in a cycle of slave work in various American towns. Aminata eventually becomes a part of the abolitionist movement to free enslaved peoples. This book exposes the terrifying reality of slavery in the 1700s.
The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America, by Thomas King
The Inconvenient Indian is a personal meditation on what it means to be “Indian” in North America. Thomas King explains how pop culture and history books have shaped our notions of Indigenous identity.
The Skin We’re In: A Year of Black Resistance and Power, by Desmond Cole
For anyone who believes Canada is “post-racial” or that discrimination is only a problem for the United States, The Skin We’re In tells a different story. Desmond Cole exposes the racist actions of the Toronto police force and details the dozens of times he has been subject to racial profiling.
Settler: Identity and Colonialism in 21st Century Canada by Emma Lowman, Adam Barker
Emma Lowman and Adam Barker uncover a Canadian history that we don’t share in our history books. Settler takes a deeper look into how the violence of colonialism has shaped almost every aspect of life in Canada. Lowman and Barker teach the steps settlers must take – including accepting this identity – in order to move towards greater healing and reconciliation with our Indigenous neighbours.
Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death, and Hard Truths in a Northern City, by Tanya Talaga
A shocking true story of the seven young Indigenous students who were found dead in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Award-winning journalist Tanya Talaga delves into the history of this small northern city that has come to manifest Canada’s long struggle with human rights violations against Indigenous communities.
Unsettling the Word: Biblical Experiments in Decolonization, edited by Steve Heinrichs
Our history with the Bible in Canada is complicated. Historically used by settler colonies to take land and culture away from Indigenous people, the Bible has been used to justify hate. Unsettling the Word stirs up questions like: "Is it possible for marginalized groups to reclaim the bible? Can we use the bible as a tool for justice and equality? Where do we begin?" This book entangles Indigenous and settler voices to wrestle and engage with scriptures in a new way.
Trouble I've Seen: Changing the Way the Church Views Racism, by Drew G.I. Hart
“What if all Christians listened to the stories of those on the racialized margins? How might the church be changed by the trouble they've seen?” In this enlightening book, Drew G.I. Hart examines how white faith leaders have turned a blind eye to racial injustice in North America. He urges white Christians to examine their institutions when it comes to racial equity and offers concrete practices for churches to seek solidarity with the oppressed.
White Awake: An Honest Look at What It Means to Be White, by Daniel Hill
“When white culture comes in contact with other cultures, it almost always wins.” After Daniel Hill was confronted by this reality, he began a journey of understanding his own identity. Hill urges us to address and confront racial and systemic injustices through seven stages of cultural awakening. This book will empower you to be an agent of reconciliation in our increasingly divided world.
White Fragility: Why It's so Hard for White People to Talk about Racism by Robin DiAngelo
This New York Times best-selling book explores the counterproductive reactions white people have when their assumptions about race are challenged. Robin DiAngelo explains and how these reactions maintain racial inequality, and how we can dig deeper into these uncomfortable conversations.
White Jesus: The Architecture of Racism in Religion and Education, by Alexander Jun, Tabatha L. Jones Jolivet, Allison N. Ash, Christopher S. Collins
White Jesus is much different than the Jesus of the Gospels. Created to perpetuate colorism, power and racism, it showcases white supremacy and exclusion. This book works to reclaim the real Jesus, born in Bethlehem who embodied radical love.
When They Call You a Terrorist, by Patrisse Khan-Cullors and Asha Bandela
After the death of Trayvon Martin, three women – Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi, and Patrisse Khan-Cullors – decided it was time to do something. Their cry was "Black Lives Matter," which led to them being called terrorists. Asha Bandela recounts the inspiring story that led Khan-Cullors to become the founder of Black Lives Matter.
Did you know that Black children and stories are represented in only 3% of children's books? Below are a few books that can be used as a starting place for conversation around race with your children and a celebration of Black people and their stories.
Antiracist Baby, by Ibram X. Kendi (ages 0-5)
Ibram X. Kendi engages young readers with the language for beginning critical conversations about race at an early age.
A Kids Book About Racism by Jelani Memory (ages 5+)
A clear explanation for kids of what racism is and how to identify it.
All Because You Matter by Tami Charles and illustration by Bryan Collier (ages 4-8)
All Because You Matter is a beautifully illustrated and heartfelt letter to Black and Brown children everywhere: reminding them how much they matter, that they have always mattered and they always will.
Sulwe by Lupita Nyong'o (ages 4-8)
Sulwe follows the story of a young girl wants her dark skin to be lighter. The story is ultimately about colorism and learning to love oneself, no matter one's skin tone.
The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas (ages 14+)
16-year-old Starr's life is turned upside down after witnessing a police officer shoot and kill her childhood best friend Khalil. As Khalil's story becomes a national headline, Starr must grapple with society's perception of Black men.
Interested in learning more about engaging young audiences? Check out The Brown Book Shelf
Wondering how to start talking to your children about race and racism? Check out this parent conversation guide.
Layla F. Saad, author of Me and White Supremacy, engages in conversation with change-makers and culture shapers around questions of race and justice.
Eula Bliss, author of the New York Times article "White Debt," explores words like "white guilt" and "complacency" and opens up an opportunity to talk about whiteness.
Why don't we talk about race in Canada? Denise Balkissoon and Hannah Sung from the Globe and Mail take a crack at breaking the code of silence through honest conversations with friends, family, comedians and professors.
This podcast uncovers why Thunder Bay has the highest homicide and hate crime rates in the country and why nine tragic deaths of Indigenous high schoolers occurred.
CBC radio episodes:
This episode explores the collective silence of Indigenous and Black slavery in Canada.
Award-winning author Thomas King takes an in-depth look at North Americans' relationship with Indigenous peoples and the stories we tell that shape history.
In 2016, Colten Boushie, a young Indigenous man, was shot and killed by a white man on a farm in Saskatchewan. This series documents the trail that invoked racial tensions across Canada.
In this video web-series, Austin Channing Brown, Chi Chi Okwu, and Jenny Booth Potter engages in conversation with thought leaders and activists around topics of racial justice. The Next Question is all about fostering a community dedicated to learning from each other and leading together.
The film Reserve 107 explores how the Young Chippewayan Band, Mennonites and Lutherans work together to repair the wrongs of the past in Laird, Saskatchewan.
Overwhelmed by racism in our world but don’t know where to start? MCC Canada’s Advocacy Toolkit can guide you through the who/what/where/when and why to start advocating for a more just and peaceful world.
When we care deeply about a justice issue, it can be easy to silence those that argue the other side. Although originally created as an election resource, this guide offers a helpful framework for entering into hard conversations about race with your friends and family.