Skip to content

UW Health Sciences schools announce the 2020-2021 Common Book: How to Be an Antiracist

Out of dozens of books nominated, the Health Sciences Service Learning and Advocacy group (HSSLA) has selected “How to Be an Antiracist”, by Ibram X. Kendi, as our Common Book for 2020-2021.

Each year, the UW Health Sciences schools select from a list of titles nominated by the Health Sciences community, a Common Book that we hope will serve as a platform for health sciences staff, students and faculty to engage and learn together on a matter of common importance. Each year, HSSLA centers on issues relevant to all UW Health Sciences students.

This year, we hope that our selection of How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi, will help to further our conversations on race, public health and equity within the Health Sciences community. In light of the current public outrage over the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man by police in Minnesota and others, coupled with the growing body of evidence on racial inequities related to COVID-19, we hope that this book will offer our students, faculty and staff an additional tool to expand their knowledge around the history of race and racism in the US, and a path forward in the work to reach our objectives of justice, equity, civility, and community.

Please join the UW Health Sciences community in reading this year’s common book. Throughout the school year, students will have the opportunity to participate in a series of interprofessional events and discussions that address the issues raised in the book.

About the book (From the National Book Review):

Kendi, founding director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University, has written a more personal book. Blending memoir, social analysis, and manifesto, it speaks out against the word “racist,” which has been rendered meaningless, freezing people into inaction. The more activist term “antiracist” – as opposed to “not racist” – is an essential addition to our national vocabulary, Kendi argues, calling on antiracists to confront racial inequality.

Ibram X. Kendi mini-bio:

IBRAM X. KENDI is one of America’s foremost historians and leading antiracist voices. He is a #1 New York Times bestselling author and the Founding Director of The Antiracist Research & Policy Center at American University in Washington, DC. A professor of history and international relations, Kendi is a contributor at The Atlantic and CBS News. (Author website)

Accessing the book:

UW Libraries has one ebook copy of this title, which can be used one at a time. We know the public libraries (Seattle and King County) have many copies of the ebook and audiobook. While the waiting lists are long, they do move fairly quickly, so please consider signing up at your local public library as well.

For purchase, E-copies cost roughly $15 and paper copies cost $25-$30. E-copies are readily available for purchase online and we encourage you to utilize Black-owned booksellers as much as possible. An resource for this is HERE.

This year, HSSLA received more nominations than ever. View the nomination list:
  • A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities that Arise in Disaster by Rebecca Solnit
  • And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic by Randy Shilts
  • Anti-Diet: Reclaim Your Time, Money, Well-Being, and Happiness Through Intuitive Eating by Christy Harrison, MPH, RD
  • Beyond Guilt Trips: Mindful Travel in an Unequal World by Anu Taranath
  • Beyond Survival: Strategies and Stories from the Transformative Justice Movement by Leah L. Piepzna-Samarasinha
  • Big Chicken: The Incredible Story of How Antibiotics Created Modern Agriculture and Changed the Way the World Eats by Maryn McKenna
  • Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice by Leah L. Piepzna-Samarasinha
  • Climate Change and Indigenous Peoples: The Search for Legal Remedies by Randall Abate and Elizabeth Ann Kronk Warner
  • Cutting for Stone (fiction) by Abraham Verghese
  • Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick by Maya Dusenberry
  • Don't Be Such a Scientist: Talking Substance in an Age of Style by Randy Olson
  • Dreadnought (fiction) by April Daniels
  • Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic by Sam Quinones
  • Dying of Whiteness: How the Politics of Racial Resentment is Killing America’s Heartland by Jonathan Metzl
  • Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond
  • Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World – and Why Things Are Better Than You Think by Hans Rosling, MD, PhD
  • Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital by Sheri Fink
  • From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death by Caitlin Doughty
  • Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight by Linda Bacon
  • Homegoing (fiction) by Yaa Gyaasi
  • Hunger: A Memoir of my Body by Roxanne Gay
  • I’m Telling the Truth, But I’m Lying: Essays by Bassey Ikpi
  • I’m Afraid of Men by Vivek Shraya
  • In the Country (fiction) by Mia Alvar
  • In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts by Gabor Mate (2013-2014 Common Book)
  • Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline C. Perez
  • Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
  • Lazy, Crazy, and Disgusting: Stigma and the Undoing of Global Health by Alexandra Brewis and Amber Wutich
  • Like a Mother: A Feminist Journey Through the Science and Culture of Pregnancy by Angela Garbes
  • Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans by Harriet Washington
  • Moving the Rock: Poverty and Faith in a Black Storefront Church by Mary Abrums (UWB Nursing Professor)
  • The Nordic Theory of Everything: In Search of a Better Life by Anu Partanen
  • Our Wild Calling: How connecting with animals can transform our lives – and save theirs by Richard Louv
  • Patient. (poems about medical experimentation on black women) by Bettina Judd
  • Severance (fiction) by Ling Ma
  • So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo (2019-2020 Common Book)
  • Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Pandemic by David Quammen
  • Superior: The Return of Race Science by Angela Saini
  • The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get things Right by Atul Gawande
  • The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Adversity by Nadine B. Harris
  • The Great Influenza by John Barry
  • The Man-Not: Race, Class, Genre, and the Dilemmas of Black Manhood by Tommy Curry
  • The Scalpel and the Silver Bear: The First Navajo Woman Surgeon Combines Western Medicine and Traditional Healing by Lori Alvord
  • The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman (2012-2013 Common Book)
  • The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett
  • The Undying: Pain, Vulnerability, Mortality, Medicine, Art, Time, Dreams, Data, Cancer by Anne Boyer
  • The Witches are Coming by Lindy West
  • There, There (fiction) by Tommy Orange
  • Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn
  • Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion by Jia Tolentino
  • Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy by Cathy O’Neill
  • White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo
  • Why We’re Polarized by Ezra Klein