Author Nic Stone Wants Us to Read Books About Black People, Not Just About Racism
In a recent Instagram post, writer Nic Stone urged followers to read more books about the normal lives of Black people.
The New York Times best-selling author wrote that reading books about racism is not enough; people must also read about Black people “ just being human.”
Stone’s own work features Black youth as the main characters. Her books, such as Odd One Out and Dear Martin, portray three-dimensional Black characters with unique problems and aspirations.
To encourage readers to engage with Black stories, Stone listed several books that have Black children as the main characters in her post. She mentioned Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender, How to be Remy Cameron by Julian Winters, and many others.
View this post on Instagram
Read all the books about racism. All of them. ⠀ Recognize that racism, racist acts, racist ideas, and racist terror are and have always been about dehumanization. “Those beings aren’t (insert illusorily elevated trait) like us, so we are human and they are not.” Once we become less human in someone else’s sight, we become less worthy of compassion, empathy, space, existence, justice, fairness. Less worthy of love. Peace. Power. ⠀ Less worthy of of oxygen. Of life. ⠀ So while you’re reading those books about racism, please also read books about explicitly black people–especially black kids–just being human. Doing things humans are allowed to do in our imaginations: falling in love, dealing with illness, navigating time travel, questioning other aspects of their identities, saving their country, fighting with their parents. The stack here isn’t exhaustive. Just some of my faves I could find in the chaos. ⠀ Because once you can accept that black people are PEOPLE, that we think and feel and love and lose and get pissed and want to be accepted and need connection and like to snuggle and love our loved ones fiercely and FEEL… once you realize that we are just as human as you are, that we have the same emotional range that you have, that we are not some strange breed of humanoid thing that is unthinking and unfeeling and unloving, once you SEE us… ⠀ You’ll be able to see you. (And like… start fixing some stuff.) ⠀ #FelixEverAfter #TheStarsAndTheBlacknessBetweenThem #TheBoyInTheBlackSuit #Shuri #TheLastLastDayOfSummer #OddOneOut #HowToBeRemyCameron #IWannaBeWhereYouAre #ReadBlackStories #SeeBlackPeople #BlackEverydayLivesMatter
After sharing this message on Instagram, Stone published an opinion piece in Cosmopolitan on the topic that received wide praise. In her article, Stone discusses how the books we read and shows we watch influence the way we see the world. As a child, Stone says she couldn’t find characters like herself in books. She writes, “As far as I knew then, Black girls like me didn’t exist in books.”
Ooh lookit me I wrote a thing in my favorite magazine to sneak-read as a teen! 🥰🥰🥰 https://t.co/LO9vKrRwjP
— Nic (@getnicced) June 8, 2020
As protests against police brutality and white supremacy continue, more and more people are working to educate themselves about racism in America. While learning about the concept of racism is important, we must also learn by reading the loving, complex, funny, mournful, and human stories of Black authors and their characters.