The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together by Heather

Heather McGhee gives us an eye-opening, easy-to-read, compelling, fresh look and something different to consider besides the treatment and discrimination against people of color. She challenges the idea that racism is a zero-sum game by examining the hidden cost of racism to everyone. Drawing on her personal experiences and extensive research, she argues while giving examples of how racism manifests itself in different areas, such as how it limits healthcare, education, the environment, housing, and other essential services and, in turn, costs money that harms all.

Heather McGhee arguments and things to consider/ My takeaways

Slavery was one of the most profitable economic models, built on free labor from captured African people at little to no expense of slaveholders. They were a “silent profit.”

The “idea” that White people suffer due to the gains of people of color is a lie, and consider who benefits the most from this lie.

How do the disadvantages of people of color benefit middle-class or low-income white people, and how do racial resentment and dog whistle politics play into that?

The emotional cost to White Americans: feeling of hate, resentment, hate, and guilt leading to defensiveness, shame, and denial. Pitted against “them” and the cost and toll of living in a divided world with “us against them.” Would a fairer economy benefit more white Americans emotionally?

Separating and pitting communities against communities robs us of contact that reduces anxiety. The more we interact with people who are different from us, enhances our ability to empathize and connect to other communities.

She uses “the drained swimming pool” as a metaphor to show us how racism has harmed us all. Grand public pools were drained and cemented so that no white or black people could enjoy them.

“We live under the same sky,” McGhee writes. And she gives us plenty to think about and consider how we all can benefit together under that same sky. I highly recommend it!!

I received a copy from the publisher through NetGalley.