Resources for White Allies Against Racism

Take a Deeper Dive
Library shelves books


We Are Charleston by Herb Frazier, Bernard Edward Powers Jr Ph.D., and Marjory Wentworth. Buy the book.

On June 17, 2015, at 9:05 p.m., a young man with a handgun opened fire on a prayer meeting at the Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in Charleston, South Carolina, killing nine members of the congregation. The captured shooter, twenty-one-year-old Dylan Roof, a white supremacist, was charged with their murders. Two days after the shooting, while Roof’s court hearing was held on video conference, the families of his nine victims, one by one, appeared on the screen—forgiving the killer. The “Emanuel Nine” set a profound example for their families, their city, their nation, and indeed the world.

What Does It Mean To Be White? Developing White Racial Literacy by Robin DiAngelo. Buy the book.

What does it mean to be white in a society that proclaims race meaningless, yet is deeply divided by race? Most white people cannot answer that question. Robin DiAngelo reveals the factors that make this question so difficult: mis-education about what racism is; ideologies such as individualism and colorblindness; segregation; and the belief that to be complicit in racism is to be an immoral person. These factors contribute to what she terms white racial illiteracy. Speaking as a white person to other white people, DiAngelo clearly and compellingly takes readers through an analysis of white socialization. Weaving research, analysis, stories, images, and familiar examples, she provides the framework needed to develop white racial literacy.

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander. Buy the book.

The New Jim Crow is a stunning account of the rebirth of a caste-like system in the United States, one that has resulted in millions of African Americans locked behind bars and then relegated to a permanent second-class status—denied the very rights supposedly won in the Civil Rights Movement.

White Awareness: Handbook for Anti-Racism Training by Judith Katz. Buy the book.

Originally designed for facilitators as a training handbook complete with exercises and tools to assist white people address racism, this book guides white people through the process of understanding, challenging, and confronting issues of racism. This training program provides a meaningful way to help create change in the white community.

Uprooting Racism: How White People Can Work for Racial Justice by Paul Kivel. Buy the book.

Uprooting Racism offers a framework for understanding institutional racism. It provides practical suggestions, tools, examples and advice on how white people can intervene in interpersonal and organizational situations to work as allies for racial justice. It directly engages the reader through questions, exercises and suggestions for action, and takes a detailed look at current issues such as affirmative action, immigration and health care. It also includes a wealth of information about specific cultural groups such as Muslims, people with mixed-heritage, Native Americans, Jews, recent immigrants, Asian Americans, and Latino/as.

Memoir of a Race Traitor by Mab Segrest. Buy the book.

Against a backdrop of nine generations of her family’s history, Mab Segrest explores her experience as a white lesbian organizing against a virulent Far Right movement in North Carolina.

Witnessing Whiteness: The Need to Talk About Race and How to Do It by Shelly Tochluk. Buy the book.

A blend of personal and analytical material that provides insight to white people and a tool for people of color to confront and transform white privilege.


Man Reading Tablet


White Fragility by Dr. Robin DiAngelo. Download full article. Read summary.

Why is it so hard for white people to talk about race? Dr. Robin DiAngelo explains why white people implode when talking about race.

White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by Dr. Peggy McIntosh. Download article.

Dr. Peggy McIntosh’s essay explores the unearned privileges that are conferred on white people and the effects of privilege.

Detour-Spotting for White Anti‐Racists by Joan Olsson. Download article.

Joan Olsson explores the “habits, attitudes and their attached behaviors, which divert” white people from dismantling racism.

The Costs of Racism to White People by Paul Kivel. Download chapter.

Paul Kivel explores the ways racism damages and devastates white folks.

12 Ways to Be a White Ally to Black People: Because Ferguson is happening right now, but systemic racism happens every day by Jamee Woods. Read article.

Ways for a white person to become engaged, thoughtfully and critically, in examining the crisis in Ferguson and systemic racism in America.

White Anti-Racism: Living the Legacy from the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance project. Read article.

What does “white anti-racist” mean? How can guilt get in the way? And what’s all this talk about being “colorblind”?

Towards the “Other America”: Anti-Racist Resources for White People Taking Action for Black Lives Matter by Chris Crass. Download the free book.

A call to action to end white silence and a manual on how to do it. In addition to his own soul searching essays and practical organizing advice in his “notes to activists”, Crass lifts up the voices of longtime white anti-racist leaders organizing in white communities for Black Lives Matter. Includes lessons and vibrant examples from around the country. Instructional and inspiring.

Meta-Analysis of Recent Polling Data on the Impact of Racism on American Society Today (Jan. 28, 2016). Download article.

Compiled by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in conjunction with the Northeastern University School of Journalism, this report includes an analysis of recent [Jan. 28, 2016] polling data on racism in America and the polling analysis conclusion by Dr. Gail C. Christopher.

Becoming an Anti-Racist White Ally: How a White Affinity Group Can Help by Ali Michael and Mary C. Conger with Susan Bickerstaff, Katherine Crawford- Garrett, and Ellie Fitts Fulmer. Download article.

This article examines ways in which a white anti-racist affinity group, White Students Confronting Racism, helped white students understand their racial identities and work to become effective anti-racist allies.

The Enduring Solidarity of Whiteness by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Read article.

Black poverty is fundamentally distinct from white poverty—and so cannot be addressed without grappling with racism.

     → Read all of Ta-Nehisi Coates’s columns in The Atlantic.

Color-Blindness Is Counterproductive: Many sociologists argue that ideologies claiming not to see race risk ignoring discrimination by Adia Harvey Wingfield. Read article.

The refusal to take public note of race actually allows people to ignore manifestations of persistent discrimination.



Silence Is Not Always Golden | Kat Morgan | TEDxCharleston

Speak up. Speak out. Speak loudly, especially in calling out racism. That’s the quick take-away of Kat Morgan’s compelling and heart-felt talk that we all need to hear, especially those of us who are white and may think racism isn’t “our issue.” Morgan shares personal history and a powerful message, especially for a Charleston audience amidst a racially charged time still in the shadow of the Emanuel AME massacre. 

Color Blind or Color Brave? Mellody Hobson | TED

The subject of race can be very touchy. As finance executive Mellody Hobson says, it’s a “conversational third rail.” But, she says, that’s exactly why we need to start talking about it. In this engaging, persuasive talk, Hobson makes the case that speaking openly about race — and particularly about diversity in hiring — makes for better businesses and a better society.

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Discussing Race Jay Smooth | TEDxHampshireCollege

Jay Smooth is host of New York’s longest running hip-hop radio show, the Underground Railroad on WBAI 99.5 FM in NY, and is an acclaimed commentator on politics and culture. In this talk, he discusses the sometimes thorny territory of how we discuss issues of race and racism, offering insightful and humorous suggestions for expanding our perception of the subject.

5 Tips for Being an Ally | Franchesca Ramsey

Franchesca “Chescaleigh” Ramsey (@chescaleigh), an “actress, comedian, blogger, graphic designer, consultant, natural hair geek,”  created this great, fast-paced, funny, and practice video to help folks step up as allies.

Change Attitudes Towards Bullying: Be An Ally | 

Comprehensive school-based and student-driven anti-bullying program profiled. This video should inspire educators, teachers, parents, and students. This one focuses on middle-school student-led workshops in schools on teaching youth how to stop bullying, not just be bystanders, but step up as allies. 

TED Playlist: Talks to Help You Understand Racism in America

For black Americans, the far-reaching effects of racism are felt daily. From passionate pleas for reform to poetic turns of phrase, these nine speakers take an honest look at everyday realities and illuminate the way forward.

Podcasts & Other Tools

Your Facebook Friend Said Something Racist. Now What? 

The National Coalition for Community and Justice developed the LARA process for responding to office remarks and handling strong disagreements. LARA = Listen, Affirm, Respond, Add. WNYC adapted this process for social media, and created a powerful graphic that outlines a decision-making process that can help you decide how to respond to offensive comments online. The podcast offers guidance.

The Code Switch Guide to Handling Casual Racism

NPR’s podcast about race and racism in the US addressed responding in real time to offensive remarks. Reporters talked about how they respond, and talked about their concerns and considerations. The team discussed a range of responses and illuminated just how complicated this can be.


Showing Up for Racial Justice

SURJ is a national network of affiliated groups working together to expand our collective capacity to organize White people for racial justice. Through community organizing, mobilizing, and education, SURJ groups and affiliates aim to move White people in motion to take action as part of a multi-racial majority for racial justice.  What the on the ground work looks like for each of SURJ’s Chapter affiliates varies from place to place, but each affiliate is committed to SURJ’s core values and mission.

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