The tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others, left many of us frustrated, angry, sad and exhausted by the systemic racism faced by the Black community. If you too have been reeling from the news and want to do something about it, we created this blog post as a resource to get you started. We’ve listed books, podcasts, videos, and web resources that CCIM faculty and staff  have found useful to deepen their understanding of racism, and the Black experience in America.

But first, we wanted to start with this quick video that establishes the ground rules by giving five tips for being an ally.

Cover Picture: The Ball State and Muncie community gathered on June 4 , 2020 at the peaceful Black Lives Matter march organized after the death of George Floyd. ©Ball State CCIM.


Blindspot book coverBlindspot:Hidden Biases of Good People
By Mahzarin Banaji and Anthony Greenwald
Delacorte Press, 2013
Category: Psychology

Note: Do you have unconscious racial biases? To find out, you can take Harvard’s Implicit Association Test (IAT) test at the Project Implicit web site.

How to be an Anti-Racist book coverHow to be an Antiracist
By Ibram X Kendi
One World, 2019
Category: Sociology

Note: Ball State’s Office of Inclusive Excellence just created a reading group dedicated to this book. To join Ball State colleagues in a conversation about the text, contact Melinda Messineo. Also check out Brené Brown’s Unlocking Us podcast. The latest episode features Ibram Kendi as a guest. Please see details in the Podcast section below.

Just Mercy book coverJust Mercy
A Story of Justice and Redemption
By Bryan Stevenson
Spiegel & Grau/Random House, 2015
Category: Autobiography

Note: The book was also published with a text adapted for a young adult audience (here). See the Films and Videos section for the movie adaptation of the book.

Real American book coverReal American: A Memoir
By Julie Lythcott-Haims
Henry Holt Company, 2017
Category: Biography

Book trailer


The Underground Railroad Records book coverThe Underground Railroad Records
Narrating the Hardships, Hairbreadth Escapes, and Death Struggles of Slaves in Their Efforts for Freedom
By William Still
Random House, 2019
Category: Civil War Period, Nonfiction Classics

Look inside the book

The Water Dancer book coverThe Water Dancer: A Novel
Oprah’s Book Club Pick
By Ta-Nehisi Coates
Penguin Random House, 2019
Category: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Historical Fiction

Look inside the book

White Fragility book coverWhite Fragility
Why it’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism
By Robin DiAngelo
Beacon Press, 2018
Category: Social Sciences

Note: How to tell if you exhibit white fragility traits? Take Beacon Press’ quizz to find out.

White Like Me book coverWhite Like Me
Reflections on Race by a Privileged Son
By Tim Wise
Soft Skull Press, 2011
Category: Social sciences, Memoir

“I found the book to be insightful in a way that my white students could hear.  Wise talks about about oppression of minorities isn’t just a minority problem, it’s a problem for everyone.  The book is full of statistics and and certainly made me think differently.” — Michelle O’Malley, Journalism Department

Why are all the black kids sitting together in the cafeteria book coverWhy are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?
And Other Conversations About Race

A Psychologist Explains the Development of Racial Identity
By Beverly Daniel Tatum
Basic Books/Hachett, 2017
Category: Psychology

Anti-racist researcher Victoria Alexander broke down book recommendations into four sections: anti-racist literature starter kit, intermediate kit, topic specifics, and biographies / non-fiction novels / personal narratives. See her tweet below.

See also: An Anti-Racist Reading List (New York Times)


1619 podcast thumbnail1619

“1619” is a New York Times audio series, hosted by Nikole Hannah-Jones, that examines the long shadow of American slavery. The podcast highlights how slavery has transformed America, connecting past and present through the oldest form of storytelling.

Start with episode 1 “The Fight for a True Democracy”.

Code Switch NPR podcast thumbnailCode Switch

“It’s the fearless conversations about race that you’ve been waiting for! Hosted by journalists of color, our podcast tackles the subject of race head-on. We explore how it impacts every part of society — from politics and pop culture to history, sports and everything in between. This podcast makes ALL OF US part of the conversation — because we’re all part of the story.”

Start with the latest episode (May 31) titled “A Decade Of Watching Black People Die

Justice in American podcast thumbnailJustice in America – The Appeal

Each episode explains a new criminal justice issue and features conversations with experts and advocates. The podcast sheds the light on mass incarceration and its multifaceted consequences on African Americans.

Start with the first episode on bail here.

The Stoop podcast thumbnailThe Stoop: Stories from Across the Diaspora

The Stoop podcast digs into stories that are not always shared out in the open. Hosts Leila Day and Hana Baba start conversations and provide professionally-reported stories about what it means to be black and how we talk about blackness.

To our students and alumni working (or aspiring to work) in media: start with episode 36 “Black on Air”.

Unlocking Us podcast June 3 episode thumbnailUnlocking Us with Brené Brown

We already talked about Brené’s podcast in a previous blog post, but we wanted to highlight the latest episode (released June 3) featuring Ibram Kendi on How to Be an Antiracist.

Listen to the episode here.

Films and videos

13th (2016)
Directed by Ava Duverney
A must-watch. The full feature is currently available for free on YouTube (see below).

“It’s a compelling synthesis of history, race, politics & media in America, and it’s guaranteed to stimulate discussion.  (I’ve watched it with students in my classes.)  In particular, toward its conclusion, there’s a masterful juxtaposition of imagery that weaves past and present, demonstrating with stunning clarity how history has repeated itself.” — Adam Kuban, Department of Journalism

Just Mercy (2020)
Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton

Note: With protests happening all over the country in reaction to George Floyd’s death, Warner Bros. has reacted by making Just Mercy available to stream for free for the month of June. You can watch the movie on all the platforms listed here.

Explained: The Racial Wealth Gap
In partnership with Vox Media Studios and Vox, this enlightening explainer series will take viewers deep inside a wide range of culturally relevant topics, questions, and ideas. In this episode: Cory Booker and others discuss how slavery, housing discrimination and centuries of inequality have compounded to create a racial wealth gap.

What Matters thumbnailWhat Matters

What Matters combines documentary narrative with interviews to illuminate specific, timely issues, aiming to create safe dialogue to promote freedom, justice, and collective liberation. It is a salve and a safe place where we can connect, learn, think freely, and transform the world.

New and upcoming episodes include interviews with Rep. Karen BassBLM South BendDonna BrazileDr. Cedric DarkJane Fonda, and Marc Lamont Hill.

See also: 12 Documentaries You Should Watch About Racism and Police Brutality in America (Vulture), 19 Netflix movies, shows and documentaries about race and racism (Evening Standard) and Talks to Help You Understand Racism in America (TED Talk playlist)

Articles and web resources

The 1619 Project is an ongoing initiative from The New York Times Magazine that began in August 2019, the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative. The project’s introductory essay by Nikole Hannah-Jones just won a commentary Pulitzer.

George Floyd, Central Park and the familiar terror they inspire (Los Angeles Times)

Check the Police: Learn how police union contracts make it more difficult to hold police officers accountable for misconduct.

National Museum of African American History and Culture Releases “Talking About Race” Web Portal (Smithsonian)

Thank you to the following CCIM faculty members for their contributions to the blog post: Beth Messner (Communication Studies), Gabriel Tait (Journalism), Michelle O’Malley ((Journalism), Adam Kuban (Journalism), Kirsten Smith (CICS), Dom Caristi (Telecommunications) and Paaige Turner (CCIM).