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

book in front of bookshelf

As we continue to grapple with the legacy of racism in every aspect of society, educators have an important role to play given the well-documented impact racism and systemic oppresion have on our youth. There is still a great need for a better understanding and commitment to action when it comes to racism. Heather McGhee’s book, The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together is an excellent resource that can help readers come to a better understanding of the complex issue of racism in society. 

McGhee’s book gives a unique perspective on racism and does an excellent job of using extensive research to give insight into the social dynamics that prevent us from transforming the status quo. The concepts presented in The Sum of Us identify problems that divide us and also provide solutions to creating an inclusive society. The chapters in the book discuss racism in the workplace, housing, education, and other topics. This book has extensive notes on each chapter and a discussion guide which are both very useful.

One of the best features of The Sum of Us is the qualitative research McGhee completes during her travels across the United States. Her many interviews provide a real connection to the individual stories of people that most of us can relate to on some level. These stories demonstrate our similarities and the individual mental shift necessary for everyone to experience better outcomes.

Although this book is focused on America, there is much Canadians can learn from it as there are many parallels. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to have a better understanding of race relations. This is a must-read for people in positions of leadership and policy makers.

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