[Ed. – Your bookshelf may have been colonized without your consent.]
Books, when people come to them early enough or at the right time, have the power to be transformative. And for a lot of readers, this is the right time — witness the many anti-racist book lists circulating on social media. We must recognize the inherent value that good literature has, and the ability of language to strike an emotional chord. But someone, at some point, has to get down to the business of reading — as Lauren Michele Jackson writes at Vulture. Simply handing someone a book cannot automatically make them care. This is something I remind myself whenever anti-racist lists start to make the rounds online.
Grown white men in their 40s — for example — cracking open James Baldwin or Toni Morrison for the first time, after cities are already ablaze, are not going to eradicate racism. It will not put an end to the systemic injustice that has plagued this country for more than 400 years.