As protests over the death of George Floyd continue, many people are looking to educate themselves and expand their understanding of race-related issues. Some seem to have turned to books to try to learn more.
As of Wednesday, books about race and anti-racism dominate the bestseller lists of retail giants Amazon and Barnes & Noble. At the time of publication, nine out of the 10 bestselling books at Barnes & Noble and eight of Amazon’s top 10 sellers center on race-related issues.The books and novels cover a wide-range of topics, from white supremacy, to the treatment of black people throughout history to how to speak to children about race. Many books on the list challenge readers, especially white readers, to expand their understanding of race in society — and confront their own prejudices. Floyd, who was black, died in Minneapolis on May 25 after a white police officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck and held it there for nearly nine minutes while Floyd was handcuffed. In a now-viral video of the incident, Floyd is heard repeatedly saying, “I can’t breathe.” Four Minneapolis police officers have since been fired and all are facing charges in connection to his death. Floyd’s death has sparked protests all across America and many parts of the world.
This doesn’t happen everyday. 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 @amazon right now are two books challenging racism. This is you. 🖤🙏🏾🖤🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/jglXmlEfeY— Ibram X. Kendi (@DrIbram) June 2, 2020
New York Times Best Seller “White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism,” by Robin DiAngelo nabbed the number one spot on Amazon’s list, while “How to Be an Antiracist,” by Ibram X. Kendi topped Barnes & Noble’s charts as of Wednesday. The books on the lists may reflect that parents are trying to learn more, as well as discover new ways to teach their children about racism and prejudice. Sesame Street picture book “We’re Different, We’re the Same” and Kendi’s “Antiracist Baby” both top the charts.
“This doesn’t happen everyday,” tweeted Kendi on Tuesday, when two of his books held the top two spots on Amazon’s list. “The #1 and #2 overall bestsellers @amazonright now are two books challenging racism. This is you.”Customers aren’t just hoping to flip through the pages of new work, but are turning to groundbreaking books of generations past as well. Barnes & Noble’s list appears to show customers are clamoring to read Maya Angelou’s “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” and “The Autobiography of Malcolm X,” by Malcolm X and Alex Haley. The publications are so popular that many of the chart-toppers are out of stock or only available as ebooks or audiobooks. However, interested readers can still purchase the books through both sites to be delivered at a later date.