Book notes: The Sum of Us by Heather McGhee

The Sum of Us by Heather McGhee book summary review and key ideas.

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

Synopsis:

One of today’s most insightful and influential thinkers offers a powerful exploration of inequality and the lesson that generations of Americans have failed to learn: Racism has a cost for everyone – not just for people of color. 

“This is the book I’ve been waiting for.” (Ibram X. Kendi, number-one New York Times best-selling author of How to Be an Antiracist)

Heather McGhee’s specialty is the American economy – and the mystery of why it so often fails the American public. From the financial crisis to rising student debt to collapsing public infrastructure, she found a common root problem: racism. But not just in the most obvious indignities for people of color. Racism has costs for White people, too. It is the common denominator of our most vexing public problems, the core dysfunction of our democracy and constitutive of the spiritual and moral crises that grip us all. But how did this happen? And is there a way out? 

But in unlikely places of worship and work, McGhee finds proof of what she calls the Solidarity Dividend: gains that come when people come together across race, to accomplish what we simply can’t do on our own. The Sum of Us is a brilliant analysis of how we arrived here: divided and self-destructing, materially rich but spiritually starved and vastly unequal. McGhee marshals economic and sociological research to paint an irrefutable story of racism’s costs, but at the heart of the book are the humble stories of people yearning to be part of a better America, including White supremacy’s collateral victims: White people themselves. With startling empathy, this heartfelt message from a Black woman to a multiracial America leaves us with a new vision for a future in which we finally realize that life can be more than zero-sum.” -Audible


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Book notes: The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander book summary review and key ideas.

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The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

Synopsis:

“Seldom does a book have the impact of Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow. Since it was first published in 2010, it has been cited in judicial decisions and has been adopted in campus-wide and community-wide reads; it helped inspire the creation of the Marshall Project and the new $100 million Art for Justice Fund; it has been the winner of numerous prizes, including the prestigious NAACP Image Award; and it has spent nearly 250 weeks on the New York Times best seller list.

Most important of all, it has spawned a whole generation of criminal justice reform activists and organizations motivated by Michelle Alexander’s unforgettable argument that “we have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it”. As the Birmingham News proclaimed, it is “undoubtedly the most important book published in this century about the U.S.”” -Audible


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Book notes: White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo

White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo book summary review and key ideas.

White Fragiliy: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo

Synopsis:

The New York Times best-selling book exploring the counterproductive reactions white people have when their assumptions about race are challenged and how these reactions maintain racial inequality.

In this “vital, necessary, and beautiful book” (Michael Eric Dyson), antiracist educator Robin DiAngelo deftly illuminates the phenomenon of white fragility and “allows us to understand racism as a practice not restricted to ‘bad people'” (Claudia Rankine). Referring to the defensive moves that white people make when challenged racially, white fragility is characterized by emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt and by behaviors including argumentation and silence. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium and prevent any meaningful cross-racial dialogue. 

In this in-depth exploration, DiAngelo examines how white fragility develops, how it protects racial inequality, and what we can do to engage more constructively.” -Audible


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Book notes: Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi

Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi book summary review and key ideas.

Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi

Synopsis:

“Some Americans cling desperately to the myth that we are living in a post-racial society, that the election of the first Black president spelled the doom of racism. In fact, racist thought is alive and well in America – more sophisticated and more insidious than ever. And as award-winning historian Ibram X. Kendi argues in Stamped from the Beginning, if we have any hope of grappling with this stark reality, we must first understand how racist ideas were developed, disseminated, and enshrined in American society. 

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. Stamped from the Beginning uses the life stories of five major American intellectuals – Puritan minister Cotton Mather, Thomas Jefferson, abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, W.E.B. Du Bois, and legendary activist Angela Davis. – to offer a window into the contentious debates between assimilationists and segregationists and between racists and antiracists.”

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