A great deal of civil unrest has been seen across the world, particularly in the United States, following the killing of George Floyd by US police officers. Protests have been seen in a number of countries and discussions on racial equality are on everyone’s lips. It should come as little surprise that in both the UK and the US, books tackling the topics of racism and white supremacy have seen an increase in sales over the past week.
As The Guardian reports, Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People about Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge is the bestselling book on Amazon in the UK, and is so in demand that it is currently out of stock. Layla F Saad’s Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor stands at No. 5 in the UK’s Amazon charts, and at No. 6 is Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire by Akala.
Eddo-Lodge has implored those who purchase her book to match the price they paid with a donation to the Minnesota Freedom Fund. She Tweeted: “Because of the past week’s horrible and tragic events, I’ve noticed a marked uptick in people recommending my book. This book financially transformed my life and I really don’t like the idea of personally profiting every time a video of a black person’s death goes viral.” She has herself made a donation of $1,000.
Across the pond, Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism is No. 1 in Amazon’s book charts and is also currently out of stock. The remaining top 10 includes titles suchas So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo, Ibram X Kendi’s How to Be an Antiracist, as well as the Sesame Street picture book We’re Different, We’re the Same, which helps explore themes of race with young readers.
Kendi Tweeted: “This doesn’t happen every day. It is fitting it happens on the day we are blacking out for black lives and hopefully supporting our local independent bookstores, too. The #1 and #2 overall bestsellers right now are two books challenging racism. This is you.”
Responding to the increase in readers, Oluo tweeted: “I am happy people are reading my book. But if you read my book and think ‘oh – now I understand racism!’ You have a lot more books to read. My book was intended as an introduction. It is a tool to help you discuss issues of racism in your workplace, your towns, your schools. But ‘how can I better talk about this’ isn’t even step 1 – it’s the beginning of your research on the way to step one.”
She urged followers to pick up “revolutionary books” by authors such as Assata Shakur, Angela Davis, Audre Lorde, Octavia Butler and James Baldwin. “If we want to end violent white supremacy it will take more than talk and more than mutual understanding,” she wrote. “Understand that for hundreds of years black people have been documenting and analysing this murderous system and that there is no one book that will capture it all. You owe this work your time and respect.”