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Frequently Asked White Questions

A recommended reading list by the authors of Frequently Asked White Questions.

Book Cover Frequently Asked White Questions

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What brings all of these books together is how they show the historical trajectories of the structural racism we live in now, and they bring into focus why FAWQ discusses structure and agent so much. One racist comment today is not alone; it has a whole historical and material structure behind it, and these books will show you why.


Book Cover Insurgent Love

Insurgent Love: Abolition and Domestic Homicide, by Ardath Whynacht

It’s hard to overstate just how important and deeply moving this book is. In it, Ardath Whynacht explores the possibility of abolitionist justice and non-carceral alternatives to the “prison nation.” In doing so, she brilliantly excavates the roots of the carceral state and toxic masculinity in settler colonialism and capitalism. A groundbreaking text that pairs incisive critical analysis with a gripping personal narrative, Whynacht’s book is one of the best examples of socially-engaged social research.


Book Cover The Skin We're In

The Skin We're In: A Year of Black Resistance and Power, by Desmond Cole

In this book, Desmond Cole narrates a year in his life, through which readers are invited to witness the ubiquity and banality of racism in “Canada-the-good.” 2017 was an eventful year politically and as a journalist Cole followed numerous stories involving racial profiling and police brutality against racialized people. Refusing to turn away from these issues, Cole was fired from his job as a Toronto Star columnist and harassed by the police. Through personal examples, high profile cases of police brutality, and astute political analysis, Cole disturbs the complacent narrative of a fair and colour-blind Canada and outlines the structural operation of racism.


Book Cover We Were Not the Savages

We Were Not The Savages: Collision between Native American and European Civilizations, by Daniel Paul

This foundational text by Mi’kmaq historian Daniel Paul offers much more than a counter-history to the standard Canadian histories. While it covers the details of some 300 years of modern Mi’kmaq history in Mi’kma’ki, the very title of the book offers a mirror through which the hypocrisy of settler colonial historical accounts of the region must confront itself. The book offers maps, analysis, and empirical accounts that make the case that the Mi’kmaq lived in balance with the land for ages prior to the arrival of Europeans. While the Mi’kmaq largely welcomed the newcomers, European authorities sought to dominate Mi’kma’ki through moral, legal, and linguistic persecution and genocide. Originally published in 1993 and now in its fourth edition, this is a must-read primer for anyone interested in understanding Canadian, Mi’kmaq, and Maritime history, as well as the colonial present.


Book Cover Red Skin White Masks

Red Skin, White Masks: Rejecting the Colonial Politics of Recognition, by Glen Coulthard

In Red Skin, White Masks Dene Nation scholar Glen Coulthard excavates the relationship between capitalism and the settler-colonial dispossession of Indigenous Nations of land and political autonomy. He also takes aim at the dead-end of the liberal politics of recognition and reconciliation when it comes to achieving justice for Indigenous Peoples. Unlike other peoples who were forcibly turned into a new working class under capitalism, Indigenous Peoples were dispossessed, displaced, and disappeared as the first step in creating the settler-colonial reality. Coulthard emphasizes the necessity of anti-capitalism in Indigenous struggles for resurgence and the vital resources Indigenous Nations possess in building alternatives to the status quo.


Book Cover Policiing Indigenous Movements

Policing Indigenous Movements: Dissent and the Security State, by Andrew Crosby and Jeffrey Monaghan

This important text offers a detailed empirical account of how the Canadian state works with corporations to surveil and criminalize Indigenous people engaged in land and water defence. Using the Access to Information Act, Crosby and Monaghan show how security agencies use monitoring technologies to silence Indigenous resistance.


Book Cover Border and Rule

Border and Rule: Global Migration, Capitalism and the Rise of Racist Nationalism, by Harsha Walia

With sweeping geographic and historical scope, this book connects contemporary migrant and refugee crises with the beginnings of many borders. Harsha Walia asserts refugees and migration are inevitable outcomes of global capitalist and imperial exploitation. Connecting many different geographies through their shared logics of “border rule” shows how state violence protects borders, which work internationally to consolidate power for the ruling class by dividing a global working class.


Book Cover Policing Black Lives

Policing Black Lives: State Violence in Canada from Slavery to the Present, by Robyn Maynard

Canada has only just begun to reckon with its centuries-long oppression of Black people, preferring to understand itself as the destination of freedom compared to the US. But in this bestselling book, Robyn Maynard draws a picture of Canadian state violence against Black people from slavery onwards. With historical precision and analytical ferocity, this book is a must-read for understanding Black people’s contemporary position in Canada.


Book Cover The Truth that Wampum Tells

The Truth that Wampum Tells: My Debwewin on the Algonquin Land Claims Process, by Lynn Gehl

In this important text, Anishnaabe scholar Lynn Gehl develops and practices an Algonquin form of knowledge based on both heart and mind knowledge through the method of Debwewin. The book is simultaneously a work of resurgent Algonquin theory and method as well as a corrective to settler colonial histories. Drawing on Wampum belts as international relations alongside other important treaties and documents such as the Royal Proclamation of 1763, this book recasts Canadian and Algonquin history in a way that shows the ways through which Canada has undermined and dishonoured its obligations to the Algonquin in particular.


Book Cover As We Have Always Done

As We Have Always Done: Indigenous Freedom Through Radical Resistance, by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg author Leanne Betasamosake Simpson builds on her body of outstanding work in this critical book that asks bold questions that center Indigenous theory, history, and praxis. With an evocative pedagogical approach, Simpson can knock down colonial assumptions with her genre-bending work, including pieces such as “I am not a Nation-state” that offers a critique of modern nationalism by centring Indigenous approaches that have much longer histories and arguably offer much more hope for the future.


Book Cvoer Exalted Subjects

Exalted Subjects: Studies in the Making of Race and Nation in Canada, by Sunera Thobani

In this academic text, author Sunera Thobani details the history, politics, and theory underlying how Canada has systematically privileged whiteness. In Canada, Thobani argues, race and racialization has impacted the identity of the nation from Confederation on. The book is a must read to understand the nuances of race and nation-formation in the Canadian context.


Book Cover Frequently Asked White Questions

Learn more about Frequently Asked White Questions:

Are you a white person with questions about how race affects different situations, but you feel awkward, shy, or afraid to ask the people of colour in your life? Are you a racialized person who is tired of answering the same questions over and over? This book is for you: a basic guide for people learning about racial privilege. In Frequently Asked White Questions, Alex Khasnabish and Ajay Parasram answer ten of the most common questions asked of them by people seeking to understand how race structures our every day. Drawing from their lived experiences as well as live sessions of their monthly YouTube series Safe Space for White Questions, the authors offer concise, accessible answers to questions such as, “Is it possible to be racist against white people?” or “Shouldn’t everyone be treated equally?” With humour and compassion, this book offers relatable advice and a practical entry point into conversations about race.

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