News ID: 270077
Published: 0159 GMT June 12, 2020

Black US authors top New York Times bestseller list as protests continue

Black US authors top New York Times bestseller list as protests continue

Black American authors, including Michelle Alexander and Ijeoma Oluo, surged to the top of the latest New York Times’ bestseller list, marking the first time the top 10 entries on the “combined print and e-book non-fiction list” are primarily titles that focus on race issues in the US.

The new listings come in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd, a 46-year-old African-American man who died when white Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin forcibly kneeled on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds, the Guardian wrote.

Floyd’s killing during an arrest attempt and videoed by a bystander as he begged for mercy, saying “I can’t breathe,” and crying for “Mama,” has sparked one of the largest social uprisings in American history, spreading into a global movement against anti-black racism.

As some Americans have scrambled to educate themselves better on the societal and historical issues at hand, authors of these newly sought-after titles on Thursday addressed the protests’ impact on interest in their books.

“The demonstrations have literally rocked every part of the United States, from small towns to big cities,” Ibram X Kendi, who also appears at No. 3 on the list with ‘How to Be an Antiracist,’ and No. 6 with ‘Stamped from the Beginning’, said in a Twitter chat with the Reuters news agency.

“More white people than ever before, according to some recent surveys, recognize that racism is an essential problem and are demonstrating for antiracist change,” he added.

Making up the other bestsellers, in order, include ‘White Fragility’ by Robin DiAngelo at the top, and Oluo’s ‘So You Want to Talk about Race’ in second place. After Kendi, the remaining authors feature a mix of new and old releases from Layla F. Saad, Michelle Alexander, Richard Rothstein, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Glennon Doyle and Bryan Stevenson.

“In recent days, we’ve seen what it looks like when people of all races, ethnicities, genders and backgrounds rise up together,” Alexander wrote on a renewed focus on institutional racism.

Her 2010 release, ‘The New Jim Crow,’ made the New York Times’ bestseller list this week at No. 5. The book spelled out how mass incarceration harms communities of color. In a New York Times column, she offered “keys steps” for “those who are serious about rising to the challenge.”

“We must reimagine justice. The days of pretending that tinkering with our criminal injustice system will ‘fix it’ are over,” she wrote. “The system is not broken; it is functioning according to its design.”

As Black Lives Matter protests continue around the world, several bestselling authors have spoken out on policing, race relations and also diversity within the predominantly white publishing industry.

This week, author Reni Eddo-Lodge, along with Bernadine Evaristo, became the first black British woman to top the UK’s fiction and nonfiction paperback charts. She asked readers buying her book in the wake of Black Lives Matter protests to match the price they paid with a donation to the Minnesota Freedom Fund, a civil rights advocacy group. George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis on May 25, and laid to rest in Houston, Texas, where he grew up.

Eddo-Lodge said, “This book financially transformed my life and I really don’t like the idea of personally profiting every time a video of a black person’s death goes viral.”



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