As our lives have slowed down and social contact has decreased over the last year, many of us have felt a need to fill in our free time with activities aimed to fulfil our mental and physical needs. With that being said, educating and entertaining oneself with a (diversity and inclusion) book has been in almost everyone’s lockdown list. 

In a world where most countries/cultures seem to be progressing when it comes to embracing diversity at its fullest. One must not forget that there are still millions of people who are oppressed, judged, segregated and/or profiled based on their race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, etc… Therefore, education is key when it comes to aiming for a more inclusive world.

Focusing on SPEAK’s purpose, today I am bringing you a Top 7 of books related to inclusion and diversity. Hopefully, some of these can be included in your To-Read List. Check the links for reviews and critiques.

Why I’m No Longer Speaking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge

This is the one I am presenting to you first, as it currently holds a special place in my bed stand. In May 2020, we all saw the magnitude of the Black Lives Matter protests worldwide. The UK was no exception. The author goes back centuries to bring the reader’s attention to some key facts. The writer touches upon colonization, police brutality, lynchings and slavery that took part in the UK.

Moreover, it approaches the structural and institutional racisms that take place in people’s homes, work offices and communities. Places no one seems to be talking about. Ms Eddo-Lodge emphasises the fact that hatred, police brutality and hostility towards non-white people still exist in the 21st century.

To finalize, it is clear that the author believes that in order to build a more fair society, we urgently need to start talking more about race. We need to distance ourselves from a colour-blind perspective and stop turning this topic into one that is taboo.

Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People by Mahzarin R. Banaji, Anthony G. Greenwald

Whilst I have not yet read this book, I can guarantee that my most trusted and conscious friends have. Hopefully, they will lend me their copy soon. The authors are psychologists and investigate the hidden biases every single one of us carries. Simply because we have all been exposed to a lifetime of damaging cultural attitudes. Whether regarding gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion, social class, sexuality, nationality, the list goes on.

The “Good People” are the ones that wish to align their behaviour with their intentions (being inclusive and not discriminative). By gaining awareness of these biases, it is possible for people to adapt their own beliefs and actions in order to be fairer to others. 

The Good Immigrant – edited by Nikesh Shukla

This book is a compilation of 21 essays written by 21 different people on what it means to be an ethnic minority in the UK today.

These first-hand testimonies are focused on their own experiences of xenophobia, discrimination and new forms of racism that tend to be more subtle than what their ancestors were used to but are not less hurtful.

It contains some funny stories as well, which makes it easy for the reader to stay engaged. 

Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Perez

The following suggestion is a must-read for everyone, as it explores stories and facts regarding a woman’s position in six different areas: Daily Life; The Workplace; Design; Going to the Doctor; Public Life; and When it Goes Wrong.

It approaches situations most women never even thought of such as how the design of a car is meant for men-usage, making women more likely to be severely injured when they get in a car accident.

After reading this piece, you will find yourself more curious about your surroundings. 

35 dumb things well-intentioned people say by Dr. Maura Cullen

This book provides the reader with some tips regarding communication with others and how to make it more effective. With that being said, it consists of a guide on how to become more inclusive.

Despite being a short-read, it explains why statements such as “I don’t see colour” are troublesome, and offers some suggestions on how to answer such statements.

This is the perfect alternative for a light reader who is trying to get back to constant reading habits, for instance. 

The difference: How the power of diversity creates better groups, firms, schools, and societies by Scott E. Page

In this book, the author tries to put the way we understand our relationships with others in perspective.

It is all about the way our wisdom as a community goes beyond the sum of all of its parts.

Moreover, it provides actual data on how diverse groups of people working together will reveal more progress than lone thinkers with high IQs, meaning that diversity leads to better outcomes. 

Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in The Cafeteria? by Beverly Daniel Tatum

To finalize, I am bringing you a book that aims to reflect on whether this phenomenon of sitting together in the cafeteria happens due to self-segregation or serves as a coping mechanism.

Tatum is an expert in the psychology of racism and even though this book was published for the first time around 20 years ago, it is still constantly revised as new issues surface in the United States, such as the elections of former Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump, the Black Lives Matter movement etc…

The U.S. population is more diverse now than it was 20 years ago, but these patterns of segregation still happen in many environments. 

To sum up, reading one of these diversity and inclusion books will deepen your understanding of issues in our society. As it’s important to understand the issues privileged people, such as myself, have always tended to ignore as they did not affect me directly. As I am growing older, reading about these issues has really helped me become more aware and try to actively make a change. Hopefully, the same will happen to you. 

diversity and inclusion

NOTE: To start your journey through diversity and inclusion topics, you can purchase the ebook version of the titles mentioned in this article. But, if you are one of those people who need to get the whole experience of getting a new book (the smell, turning the pages…), try to support a local independent bookstore in your community.

Don't stop here! If you like reading about Diversity and Inclusion. You might also like "Culture: Books as Tools to Promote Diversity and Inclusion"

Author: Catarina Martins

Catarina is a Community Marketing intern at SPEAK Lisboa. She loves reading a good book whilst drinking a cup of coffee and taking long walks with her dog Benji.

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