Audiobook: The Sum of Us

by Heather McGhee
Read by the author
Support your local independent bookstore: buy it there!
Or listen at
Content: It deals with some tough issues, and there is some swearing. It’s in the Sociology section of the bookstore.

Heather McGhee, a lawyer, former president of Demos, and someone who specializes in how the American economy works tackles how the idea of a “zero-sum game” between Black and white people is a losing proposition, and not just for people of color. For everyone. She looks at the economy, the housing market, environmental regulations, education, among other areas, and breaks down how racism is at the root of, well, pretty much everything, and how that is costing everyone. It’s especailly relevant for a white person to read: to be shown how white people, especially poor white people, will vote against their interests because the Powers That Be have convinced them that, well, at least they’re not Black (or Latinx, or an immigrant, or…)

I do have to admit up front that I’m not sure I got all her arguments and data, because I listened to the book and sometimes my attention wanders. And I was somewhat unsatisfied that there really wasn’t any clear solutions laid out, except for just “get out of your comfort zone, work with people not like you, and do better”. Which, in reality, is probably not a bad solution. There is a sense of urgency, though: things aren’t just going to get better on their own. If we want things to improve (and maybe we don’t because we’re white, and well-off, and maybe They should just Work Harder?), then we need to get involved. Start local. 

McGhee was a good narrator, and I think this is one of those books that i will think about for a long time. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s