Read these six books to help you to become an anti-racism activist: Curated by Anita Heiss

Last Updated on 16/06/2021 by National Justice Project

We asked Anita Heiss to prepare for our community an essential list of reading material which amplifies the voices of multicultural Australian communities and inspired action against racism.

Anita Heiss is an Australian author, a proud Wiradjuri woman and member of the National Justice Project Advisory Board. She is also a judge in the 2021 Naomi Williams Wiradjuri Poetry Prize, and her most recent book Bila Yarrudhanggalangdhuray (River of Dreams), is an epic story of love, loss and belonging set on Wiradjuri country.

Talking To My Country

“To proclaim myself as an indigenous person is a political act, something to be negotiated between our bloodline and the law imposed on us.” Stan Grant writes. 

Talking to My Country is a powerful call to all Australians to strive for a more united Australia and to consider the realities of the ‘Australian Dream’. Released one year after Adam Goodes was booed at an AFL game, Grant’s book encourages readers to reflect upon Australian history and systemic racism against Indigenous people.

Adam Goodes brought the treatment of Indigenous people into the spotlight in 2015 with his brave stand against racism in AFL and Stan Grant’s book maintains the conversation around the treatment of First Nations people in modern-day Australia.

Growing Up Asian in Australia

“Asian-Australians have often been written about by outsiders, as outsiders. Here, they tell their own story.”

A conversation about diversity and intersectionality, Alice Pung’s collection of stories in Growing Up Asian in Australia reflects the diverse experience of growing up Asian in Australia.  Witty, insightful and inspiring, Pung’s anthology provides a unique look at the significance of connecting with one’s language and culture, especially when in another country.

This selection of works from some of the best Asian Australian authors will at times make you laugh but more importantly, it will make you contemplate the meaning of identity, belonging and family.

The Hate Race

“I don’t want sympathy. I want to un-hear what I just heard, un-experience what just happened. If racism is a shortcoming of the heart, then experiencing it is an assault on the mind” Maxine Benenba Clarke writes.

The Hate Race details the experience of growing up black in Australia and the racism that is experienced by migrants, their children and grandchildren. This book will encourage you to think about how the remnants of the White Australia Policy still impact our society to this day.

Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia

“We are diverse peoples and that’s exactly what growing up Aboriginal means today in Australia.”

Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia features well-known First Nations voices and up-and-coming writers, and addresses themes of racism and Aboriginality. This anthology dispels social narratives about First Nations people and to showcase the true diversity and richness of Aboriginal people. It articulates why we must continue working to showcase First Nations voices.

The Little Red Yellow Black Book

The Little Red Yellow Black Book has been teaching readers for almost three decades about the rich culture and history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It provides a comprehensive overview of First Nations history and culture, and provides insight into the unique contributions First Nations people make to Australian society.

The Little Red Yellow Black Book will encourage you to challenge your perspectives about the oldest living civilisation in the world and equip you with the knowledge to advocate for First Nations voices.

Growing Up African in Australia

It was when I first realised we were different, and that people may not have liked us because of that,” South African actor Kirsty Marillier writes.

Growing Up African in Australia is the product of a Twitter conversation between the anthology’s editor and co-curators. The anthology highlights the vibrancy of African culture, which the Australian media often fails to represent. The anthology creators’ connection between apartheid in South Africa and the genocide of Australian First Nations people makes for a moving and thought-provoking collection of stories.