The best books about white privilege 📚

Browse the best books on white privilege as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

Coming Fall 2022: The ability to sort this list by genre (signup here to follow our story as we build a better way to discover books).

Book cover of How Jews Became White Folks and What That Says About Race in America

How Jews Became White Folks and What That Says About Race in America

By Karen Brodkin

Why this book?

Now that I’ve raised the issue of whiteness – ways in which American structures and institutions reflect the agendas and interests of white people, and the role those structures play in shaping opportunity and life experiences -- here I want to bring it front and center. Many white people don’t recognize how they benefit from having white skin (called “white privilege”) and many white ethnic groups, including many white Jews in the U.S., deny their white privilege altogether, insisting that they too have been the victim of white discrimination, and that anti-Black racism is no different. Brodkin offers a powerful…

From the list:

The best books on Black-Jewish relations

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Book cover of Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry Into the Value of Work

Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry Into the Value of Work

By Matthew B. Crawford

Why this book?

Talk about white privilege. This guy gets a doctorate in Philosophy, has a comfy career telling wealthy people what they want to hear, but throws it all away to skin his knuckles in a dingy shop teasing old motorcycles back to life for crap pay and occasional social abuse. Why? Read this book and find out: that working with your hands is satisfying, and good for the soul, connecting you with your essential humanity (so put the book down and go work with your hands). I actually hate this book, really, because he makes many points close to my heart,…

From the list:

The best books on working with your hands

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Book cover of Notes from No Man's Land: American Essays

Notes from No Man's Land: American Essays

By Eula Biss

Why this book?

This essay collection isn’t exclusively about New York, but the four essays that open the collection are, and they are excellent. Biss writes personally about race relations in the city, and the United States. Her insights still feel relevant more than a decade later. She also refreshingly tackles the myth of New York, and the way that it is, as she says, overimagined. 

From the list:

The best books on Post-9/11 New York City

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Book cover of Everybody's Son

Everybody's Son

By Thrity Umrigar

Why this book?

Bombay-born Indo-American Thrity Umrigar tells the story of Anton, a neglected biracial boy adopted into a white family. Umrigar stretches past boundaries of race, class, and gender to bring us a tale of moral choices made from power, helplessness, or the neighborhood we live in – and the uncomfortable truths that ensue. I am always impressed by Umrigar’s transparent prose that allows her story and characters to shine through, but even more so in this novel where her characters are not brown but black or white. 

From the list:

The best books by writers breaking cross-cultural boundaries

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Book cover of Lowborn

Lowborn

By Kerry Hudson

Why this book?

Hudson revisits the towns and cities that formed the backdrop of her, somewhat chaotic, childhood. She excavates the effects of poverty on the UK’s working and underclasses from this peripatetic experience. Lowborn is a vibrant, witty, and often poignant social commentary. Like all aforementioned books, it unwittingly challenges the notion of white privilege. 

From the list:

The best books about Scottish working class culture

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Book cover of Jews Without Money

Jews Without Money

By Michael Gold

Why this book?

This 1930 novel (but really, it’s a memoir) takes the reader back to the Lower East Side at the beginning of the 20th century. The shit-poor, packed neighborhood was the first stop for the thousands of Jews then debarking daily from immigrant ships. One of them was my grandfather, who found himself eating out of a garbage can one day and nearly decided to go back to Russia. Michael Gold grew up in this brutal world, became a card-carrying Communist, and wrote this, his only book, as a cri de coeur against the exploitation of immigrant Jewish workers under…

From the list:

The best books about terrible, beautiful New York

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Or, view all 7 books about white privilege

Bookshelves related to white privilege

Browse books by…