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The Sum of Us

Heather McGhee

The Sum of Us

by Heather McGhee

The Sum of Us

Heather McGhee

5 min
3 key insights
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The Sum of Us eschews moralistic finger-pointing in favor of clear-eyed rationalism to unravel the financial and societal costs of racism in the U.S.

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The Sum of Us

by Heather McGhee

The Sum of Us

Heather McGhee

Overview

Imagine an America where the biggest industries are regulated, labor is unionized, citizens are well paid and the wealthy are adequately taxed. Sounds like a progressive's dream, right? From the mid-1930s to the mid-1960s, it was America's reality.

So how did the United States, one of the world's wealthiest countries, become so cruel to its own citizens? Economic researcher and former president of Demos, a liberal think tank, Heather McGhee has an answer that many won't like, yet her meticulous research makes it hard to contest.

In The Sum of Us, McGhee uses data-driven journalism to examine the costs of racism. Literally. The sum-zero ideology that underlies racism isn't inevitable. Uncovering the myth of the divide-and-conquer strategy that's plagued American politics since its inception can help Americans see what's lost by continuing the buy-in, and how much more there is to gain by moving beyond it.

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Favorite Quote

"Black people and other people of color certainly lost out. But did white people win? No, for the most part, they lost right along with the rest of us. Racism got in the way of all of us having nice things."

Heather McGhee

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The Sum of Us

Heather McGhee

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