Books, Films, and More to Delve into Antiracism Work

A media list compiled by the Union for Reform Judaism

Want to be more actively antiracist but feel unsure where to start? To help guide those who are curious about antiracism and allyship on the right track, the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) has assembled a robust list of resources that provide an informative and engaging look into institutional racism, privilege, and the lived experiences of Jews of Color.

We invite you to review and reflect on these resources on your own and to share and discuss them within your congregations and communities. We also encourage you to use these resources as a starting point to generate thought-provoking discussions and to support you in the social justice and antiracism work that lies ahead.

For more on the topic of racial justice, including action items and legislative updates, visit the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism's racial justice page.

Reading List

The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism has created discussion guides for several social justice-themed books, including three on topics related to racial justice. Learn more about how to start a social justice book club to discuss these books and the topics explored within as a group.

Here are additional books that touch on these topics. 

Looking for children's books? See "The Multi-Cultural Library: Books Suggestions for Children."

Relevant Articles

Films and TV Shows  

Though nearly two decades older, we also recommend Race the Power of an Illusion (2003), a three-part PBS mini-series with a downloadable discussion guide. 

  • Episode I: "The Difference Between Us": Focuses on human variation and confronting our myths about race
  • Episode II, "The Story We Tell": Focuses on history and origins of the racial idea
  • Episode III, "The House We Live In": Focuses on systemic racism, including how institutions and policies preference some groups at the expense of others.

Podcasts

Short Clips/Videos

  • "Who Counts? Race and the Jewish Future": The way we talk about ourselves as a Jewish community matters. Who tends to be counted, and who tends to be left out of the story? In this 15-minute ELI Talk, Ilana Kaufman issues a challenge to the Jewish community to think about racial diversity in our own spaces. 
     
  • "How to Overcome our Biases: Walk Boldly Toward Them": Our biases can be dangerous, and even deadly, as we've seen in the cases of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and others. Diversity advocate Vernā Myers looks closely at some of the subconscious attitudes we hold, and in this 16-minute TED Talk, she makes a plea to all people: Acknowledge your biases, then move toward, not away from, the groups that make you uncomfortable. In a funny, impassioned, important talk, she shows us how. 
      
  • Video Series: "What is Systemic Racism?": This series of short videos from Race Forward focuses on unpacking how significant aspects of our society are organized and impacted by race, including the wealth gap, employment, housing discrimination and government surveillance. 
     
  • "How to Tell Someone They Sound Racist": This three-minute video from Jay Smooth unpacks the difference between the “what you did” conversation and the “who you are” conversation. It’s a great way to open a discussion about confronting racist language, ideas and practices without getting lost in issues of character or motive.

See also:

Additional Resources for Congregations and Communities

These racial justice resource lists are just a fraction of what is available from the Union for Reform Judaism. We also encourage you to request and download the URJ Audacious Hospitality Community Assessment, a starting point for reflection, conversation, and action within yourself and your community. See also:

What else are you reading, watching, listening to, and learning from? Find us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to share additional resources that have been helpful to you.