Prejudice is a form of discrimination that separates and divides us according to our differences. Books about prejudice can provide insight into how it affects people, why it happens, how to confront it, and why our differences should be celebrated. Sharing these books can help spread awareness and create dialogue about this important issue. This is the first in a series of book recommendations from the Mosaic Institute that aims to spread awareness and educate people on subjects relating to social justice and dismantling prejudice. We hope to generate thought-provoking discussions and self reflection on subjects ranging from anti-black racism to health equity and women's reproductive rights. The series supports our ongoing work towards creating a more inclusive world where everyone is accepted regardless of race, gender identity, or anything other difference.
"Policing Black Lives: State Violence in Canada from Slavery to the Present" by Robyn Maynard
Robyn Maynard's book Policing Black Lives is a powerful critique of the way that racism and prejudice have shaped the criminal justice system in Canada.
Through extensive research and analysis, Maynard demonstrates how Black communities have consistently been targeted and marginalized by law enforcement, with devastating consequences for individuals and families.
One of the key ways that Maynard dismantles prejudice in this book is by highlighting the ways in which systemic racism has shaped the way that Black people are perceived and treated by the criminal justice system. She shows how Black people are more likely to be stopped and searched by police, more likely to be charged with crimes, and more likely to receive harsher sentences than their white counterparts.
In addition to exposing these stark inequalities, Maynard also offers a vision for a more just and equitable society. She advocates for reforms such as community policing and restorative justice, which prioritize the needs and perspectives of marginalized communities and seek to repair the harm caused by the criminal justice system. By presenting these alternatives, Maynard challenges readers to consider the ways in which their own prejudices and biases may be contributing to ongoing systemic injustices.
STAND OUT QUOTES
“Black migrant communities were systematically de-skilled upon their arrival is an often-overlooked facet of understanding Black poverty in Canada today. Indeed, it represents the power of anti-Blackness to transcend even economic interests: even in moments when Canada required highly educated professionals, Black migrants meeting those exact criteria were nonetheless largely streamlined into low-skilled work and relative powerlessness.”
“The imposition of different categories of citizenship, in effect, delineate who "belongs" to the realm of humane treatment and state protections, and who is excluded—deemed "temporary", "illegal" and disposable.”
Book recommendation by Amal Absiye, Program Manager (Community), Next Generation; Amal is an aspiring community builder with skills in policy writing, community organizing stakeholder engagement, and mentorship.
"So You Want To Talk About Race" by Ijeoma Oluo
In So You Want to Talk About Race, Ijeoma Oluo offers a contemporary, accessible take on the racial landscape in America, addressing head-on such issues as privilege, police brutality, intersectionality, micro-aggressions, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the "N" word.
Perfectly positioned to bridge the gap between people of color and white Americans struggling with race complexities, Oluo answers the questions readers don't dare ask, and explains the concepts that continue to elude everyday Americans.
STAND OUT QUOTES
“When we identify where our privilege intersects with somebody else's oppression, we'll find our opportunities to make real change.” - Ijeoma Oluo
“Being privileged doesn't mean that you are always wrong and people without privilege are always right. It means that there is a good chance you are missing a few very important pieces of the puzzle.” - Ijeoma Oluo
“You have to get over the fear of facing the worst in yourself. You should instead fear unexamined racism. Fear the thought that right now, you could be contributing to the oppression of others and you don't know it. But do not fear those who bring that oppression to light. Do not fear the opportunity to do better.” - Ijeoma Oluo
Recommendation by Abigail Shakespeare, Former Manager, Development; Abigail is a bubbly and enthusiastic community connector with skills in public and stakeholder engagement, communications, public relations, strategic planning, development, and mentorship.
"Imagine If...: Creating a Future for Us All" by Sir Ken Robinson PHD and Kate Robinson
Imagine if..., is Sir Ken Robinson's love letter to humanity--a celebration of our potential, if we create the right conditions. As a society faced with complex challenges and systemic injustices, Robinson's manifesto reminds us that the imagination that has created such an environment also has the power to recreate it. An inspiring introduction to rethinking education and the opportunities it holds for individuals and society.
STAND OUT QUOTES
“Education should enable young people to engage with the world within them as well as the world around them.” - Sir Ken Robinson
“Imagination is the source of every form of human achievement. And it's the one thing that I believe we are systematically jeopardizing in the way we educate our children and ourselves.” - Sir Ken Robinson
“Human communities depend upon a diversity of talent not a singular conception of ability.” - Sir Ken Robinson
“Educating children by age group assumes that the most important thing they have in common is their date of manufacture.” - Sir Ken Robinson
Recommendation by Stephanie Ta, Program Manager, Next Generation; As a child and youth care counsellor with a specialization in addictions and mental health, Stephanie's practices are deeply rooted in a client centered and trauma informed framework.
"The Raje Series", by Sonali Dev
This 4-book series is a diverse re-telling of Jane Austen’s classics Pride & Prejudice; Emma; Sense & Sensibility; and Persuasion. Sonali Dev takes the themes of intergenerational prejudice, stereotypes, classism, peer pressure, gender norms and conflicting politics and applies them to the lives of a multi-generational Indian family living in San Francisco.
Topics such as shadeism, substance abuse, intergenerational trauma, sexuality, and multicultural relationships are navigated with sensitivity and a dash of romance and comedy. Classical literature buffs will appreciate the modern application of Austen’s themes, while new readers will enjoy the realistic portrayal of what it means to navigate living all of your truths.
STAND OUT QUOTE
“The fact that you have the things you have isn’t wrong. Not understanding what you have is.”
― Sonali Dev, Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors
Recommendation by Rachel Mansell, Vice President,
Programs & Operations; Rachel is a detail oriented, people-focused strategist, with a passion for conflict resolution practised through the lenses of human rights, diversity, and inclusion.
"Strong Helpers’ Teachings: The Value of Indigenous Knowledges in the Helping Professions", by Cyndy Baskin
I first read this book when taking “Aboriginal Worldviews” at Toronto Metropolitan University. While this book is for those in social work, the content is applicable to every sector and every person. Developing understanding and recognizing the value of Indigenous worldviews, teaching and cultural practices is beneficial to all people to create a stronger, more inclusive and diverse society.
STAND OUT QUOTE
“When someone can live as a whole person, then they can connect to everything around them and attend to their responsibilities. In Indigenous worldviews a focus on individual and collective responsibility for all members of one’s community is highlighted.” - Cyndy Baskin
Recommendation by Leigh Naturkach, Executive Director;
Leigh is a value-based non-profit leader, committed volunteer & social justice advocate.
"Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism", Dr. Safiya Noble
Algorithms of Oppression is a text based on over six years of academic research on Google search algorithms, examining search results from 2009 to 2015. The book addresses the relationship between search engines and discriminatory biases. Noble argues that search algorithms are racist and perpetuate societal problems because they reflect the negative biases that exist in society and the people who create them.
STAND OUT QUOTE
“Algorithmic oppression is not just a glitch in the system but, rather, is fundamental to the operating system of the web.” - Dr. Safiya Noble
Recommendation by Alexis-Carlota Cochrane, Program Manager, UofMosaic; Alexis (she/her) is a passionate educator, activist, and communications strategist, actively working to build community, mobilize knowledge, and deconstruct oppressive systems.