Resources for Exploring Systemic Racism

Racism is woven into the fabric of American life, both overtly and subtly; within its institutions and policies. It divides us by delegating power and defining stations of superiority and inferiority. 

The United States has an immutable history of injustice and violence against Black people, and the effects of systemic racism towards Blacks also extend to other people of color.  

Racism affects us all because it dehumanizes us all. But it is our hope is that by sharing resources — books, articles, podcasts, videos, and training opportunities — we, as individuals will: 

  • EDUCATE ourselves about current and historical events of racial divide.
  • EXAMINE our own actions and how they play into racial inequity.
  • JOIN IN CONVERSATIONS. Be honest, genuine. Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know."
  • LISTEN with the intent to listen.

This list is only a starting place. It is a living document that we'll be updating regularly and we encourage your suggestions and thoughts.

Racism affects us all because it dehumanizes us all. Through education, examination and active listening, we can challenge ourselves to do better.

Kimberly McNeil, Diversity & Inclusion Director at DGHI and Associate Director for the Center for Health Policy & Inequalities Research



  • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • Blood Done Sign My Name by Timothy B. Tyson
  • Racism without Racists: Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in America by Eduardo Bonilla-Silva
  • Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria: And Other Conversations About Race by Beverly Daniel Tatum
  • The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
  • Dying of Whiteness: How the Politics of Racial Resentment Is Killing America's Heartland by Jonathan M. Metzl
  • The Racial Contract by Charles W. Mills
  • Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
  • To Live Woke: Thoughts to Carry in Our Struggle to Save America by Dr. Rupert Nacoste
  • Letter to My Daughter by Maya Angelou
  • Books on Racism by Joe Feagin
  •, a wonderful bookstore with a variety of resources


A 5-Decade-Long Friendship That Began with a Phone Call. An article about the enduring friendship between NPR reporter Nina Totenberg and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

• Telling the Truth About Race. Blog by Don Taylor, Duke professor of public policy.

For Black Scientists, the Sorrow is Also Personal. Op-ed by Kafui Dzirasa, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and biomedical sciences at Duke. This article was originally published in Cell Press and was reprinted in Duke Today.

• The Link Between Experiences of Racism and Stress and Anxiety for Black Americans. An article by Jessica Graham-LoPresti, Tahirah Abdullah, Amber Calloway and Lindsey West.

• The History Behind "When The Looting Starts, The Shooting Starts." NPR article by Barbara Sprunt.


• Risk of Police-Involved Death by Race/Ethnicity and Place, by Frank Edwards, Michael H. Esposito and Hedwig Lee, American Journal of Public Health

• Whose Culture Has Capital? A Critical Race Theory Discussion of Community Cultural Wealth, Race Ethnicity and EducationbyTara J. Yosso

Watching & Listening


Durham: A Self-Portrait. Sensationalized in national media and misunderstood in its own region, Durham, NC, has played a historic role in the story of race and class in the American South. 

• Let the Fire BurnPBS documentary film recounting the May 13, 1985, tragedy in Philadelphia.

• 13th. Netflix documentary by Ava DuVernay highlighting the criminalization of African Americans and the racism and injustice within the U.S. prison system. Now also available for free viewing on YouTube

• "A Riot is the Language of the Unheard" Martin Luther King Jr. Explained 53 Years Ago, in The Week

• The Other America. A recording of Martin Luther King Jr.'s 1967 speech.

An Unlikely Friendship. American Public Television documentary about the  unusual friendship that developed between a black activist and a Ku Klux Klan leader.

RBG. Documentary film about the life and career of US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg who developed a breathtaking legal legacy and became a pop culture icon.

Justice Ginsburg on Public Interest Law. A 2017 C-SPAN interview with US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg who talked about her life, legal career, equality and social justice.

Skin. Award-winning short film about a young man, raised by racist skinheads and notorious among white supremacists, who turns his back on hatred and violence with the help of a black activist and the woman he loves.



Zora's Daughters. A society and culture podcast that uses Black feminist anthropology to think about race, politics, and popular culture. Producers Alyssa A.L. James and Brendane Tynes dig deep into social issues in an accessible and entertaining way with the aim of empowering listeners to develop the tools and language that sparks conversations and change.



• Follow #BlackintheIvory on Twitter. The hashtag is being used by academics to express thoughts, emotions and solutions to dealing with racism in academic institutions in the U.S. and around the world.


    Resources from Duke

    Suggestions for Being an Ally

    • Listen to, receive, and believe the truth and hurt of People of Color when they relay incidents of racism and bigotry.

    • Spend time in diverse places and build meaningful, honest relationships with People of Color.

    • Invest in intentional anti-racist education.

    • Search these topics to learn more: Race-Based Traumatic Stress, the Biopsychosocial Model of Racism as a Stressor, and Adverse Childhood Experiences(ACEs) studies, such as the one in Philadelphia.

    Organizations & Training Resources

    Resources on the History of Durham

    • Durham, a Self-Portrait, a book by Steven Channing and the accompanying website and documentary

    Durham 150 website


    Merchandise & Other Resources