Social Work *: Antiracist/Anti-oppression Resources

Randall Information Center | USC School of Social Work

Getting Started

This page is a collection of scholarly and popular sources to support research and teaching about racism, oppression and injustice in social work and other social sciences. Check out the USC Libraries Diversity, Equity and Inclusion guide and the Antiracist Pedagogy guide.  

If you have any recommended resources relevant to social work research to add to this space, please contact me

Tips for Research

To find research articles and resources on antiracism within the library databases:

  1. Start with developing keywords around the topic. For example: antiracism, white supremacy, anti-Blackness, systemic racism, oppression
  2. Then, using the search strategies detailed on the research guide, combine some of your terms to form a search query. For example: systemic racism AND anti-Blackness
  3. Use the USC Libraries search or select one of the recommended databases and journals on the scholarly sources page of the social work research guide to find research materials. 

Teaching and Additional Resources

Recommended Syllabi

Documentaries and Other Films

Stream films and documentaries available through USC Libraries. Social and Systemic Injustice films and documentaries are available through Kanopy, and Black Thought and Culture is available through Alexander Street Press. 

Selected Twitter Hashtags

Antiracism in Social Work

Books about Race, Racism, Antiracism

book cover for Algorithms of Oppression by Safiya Noble

Algorithms of Oppression

In Algorithms of Oppression, Safiya Umoja Noble challenges the idea that search engines like Google offer an equal playing field for all forms of ideas, identities, and activities. Data discrimination is a real social problem; Noble argues that the combination of private interests in promoting certain sites, along with the monopoly status of a relatively small number of Internet search engines, leads to a biased set of search algorithms that privilege whiteness and discriminate against people of color, specifically women of color.   Through an analysis of textual and media searches as well as extensive research on paid online advertising, Noble exposes a culture of racism and sexism in the way discoverability is created online. As search engines and their related companies grow in importance--operating as a source for email, a major vehicle for primary and secondary school learning, and beyond--understanding and reversing these disquieting trends and discriminatory practices is of utmost importance. 

The End of Policing

"This book attempts to spark public discussion by revealing the tainted origins of modern policing as a tool of social control. It shows how the expansion of police authority is inconsistent with community empowerment, social justice--even public safety. Drawing on groundbreaking research from across the world, and covering virtually every area in the increasingly broad range of police work, Alex Vitale demonstrates how law enforcement has come to exacerbate the very problems it is supposed to solve."

Book Cover for The Fire This Time

The Fire Next Time

Warns citizens to examine the actual state of America, the role of blacks, and race relations after a century of Emancipation.

Book Cover for An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States

An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States

The first history of the United States told from the perspective of indigenous peoples. Today in the United States, there are more than five hundred federally recognized Indigenous nations comprising nearly three million people, descendants of the fifteen million Native people who once inhabited this land. The centuries-long genocidal program of the US settler-colonial regimen has largely been omitted from history. Now, for the first time, acclaimed historian and activist Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz offers a history of the United States told from the perspective of Indigenous peoples and reveals how Native Americans, for centuries, actively resisted expansion of the US empire. 

Book Cover for The New Jim Crow

The New Jim Crow

Praised by Harvard Law professor Lani Guinier as "brave and bold," this book directly challenges the notion that the election of Barack Obama signals a new era of colorblindness. With dazzling candor, legal scholar Michelle Alexander argues that "we have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it." By targeting black men through the War on Drugs and decimating communities of color, the U.S. criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control--relegating millions to a permanent second-class status--even as it formally adheres to the principle of colorblindness.

Book Cover for A People's History of the United States

A People's History of the United States

A People's History of the United States "a brilliant and moving history of the American people from the point of view of those...whose plight has been largely omitted from most histories." Packed with vivid details and telling quotations, Zinn's award-winning classic continues to revolutionize the way American history is taught and remembered. Frequent appearances in popular media such as The Sopranos, The Simpsons, Good Will Hunting, and the History Channel documentary The People Speak testify to Zinn's ability to bridge the generation gap with enduring insights into the birth, development, and destiny of the nation.

Stamped from the Beginning

The National Book Award winning history of how racist ideas were created, spread, and deeply rooted in American society. Some Americans insist that we're living in a post-racial society. But racist thought is not just alive and well in America -- it is more sophisticated and more insidious than ever. And as award-winning historian Ibram X. Kendi argues, racist ideas have a long and lingering history, one in which nearly every great American thinker is complicit. In this deeply researched and fast-moving narrative, Kendi chronicles the entire story of anti-black racist ideas and their staggering power over the course of American history. He uses the life stories of five major American intellectuals to drive this history: Puritan minister Cotton Mather, Thomas Jefferson, abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, W.E.B. Du Bois, and legendary activist Angela Davis. As Kendi shows, racist ideas did not arise from ignorance or hatred. They were created to justify and rationalize deeply entrenched discriminatory policies and the nation's racial inequities. In shedding light on this history, Stamped from the Beginning offers us the tools we need to expose racist thinking. In the process, he gives us reason to hope.

Toxic Communities

Toxic Communities examines the connections among residential segregation, zoning, and exposure to environmental hazards. Renowned environmental sociologist Dorceta Taylor focuses on the locations of hazardous facilities in low-income and minority communities and shows how they have been dumped on, contaminated and exposed. Drawing on an array of historical and contemporary case studies from across the country, Taylor explores controversies over racially-motivated decisions in zoning laws, eminent domain, government regulation (or lack thereof), and urban renewal.

Weapons of Math Destruction

A former Wall Street quant sounds an alarm on the mathematical models that pervade modern life and threaten to rip apart our social fabric. We live in the age of the algorithm. Increasingly, the decisions that affect our lives--where we go to school, whether we get a car loan, how much we pay for health insurance--are being made not by humans, but by mathematical models. In theory, this should lead to greater fairness: Everyone is judged according to the same rules, and bias is eliminated. But as Cathy O'Neil reveals in this urgent and necessary book, the opposite is true. The models being used today are opaque, unregulated, and uncontestable, even when they're wrong. Most troubling, they reinforce discrimination: If a poor student can't get a loan because a lending model deems him too risky (by virtue of his zip code), he's then cut off from the kind of education that could pull him out of poverty, and a vicious spiral ensues. Models are propping up the lucky and punishing the downtrodden, creating a "toxic cocktail for democracy."

Selected Organizations

Selected resources from other institutions

Selected Podcasts

The podcast episodes below are a selection that touch on issues like racism, violence, oppression, colonialism and living in overlapping margins or race, gender and sexuality.