Chair's Book Club

FOR MEMBERS Chair's Book Club

What We’re Reading:
The Sum of Us
by Heather McGhee


Our latest Chair’s Book Club selection is Heather McGhee's bestselling examination of cost of racism in American life, The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together.

 

How to participate:

First, join the Chair’s Book Club. From there, you choose how to engage – read the book, join a discussion group, attend events. Take part in one activity or join us for all!

 

1) Read the book.


2) Join a discussion and share your thoughts.

We’ve started a private group on Goodreads so members can discuss the book with each other, ask questions, and share their thoughts on topics and themes from the work. New to Goodreads? Visit Goodreads online to get started and create an account. To join the discussion, go to our Chair’s Book Club page on Goodreads.

Zoom – offers a free Basic Plan with a 40-minute time limit on video conferences with three or more participants. The free plan includes most features and can accommodate up to 100 participants in a meeting.
Skype – the Meet Now option lets you start a chat or meeting without having to sign up for an account or download the app to your desktop. Users will need to download the Skype app to use the service on their phone. Allows for up to 50 people with no time limit.
FaceTime – if everyone in your group is on Apple devices, you can start a Group FaceTime from the FaceTime app or from a group conversation in the Messages app and add up to 32 people. See this link for more information and instructions.
Google Meet – formerly Hangouts Meet, this tool is now being rolled out to all Google users. Google is providing unlimited meeting time through September 30, 2020, and you can host up to 100 participants. Hosts and participants must have a Google account.
Slack – provides a free option for small groups to create an online discussion forum with messaging. Video conferencing is available for 1:1 calls, but not groups. Best for ongoing or asynchronous discussions between group calls.
 

3) Attend upcoming programs.
 

As a Chair’s Book Club participant, you’ll have the opportunity to read The Sum of Us while sharing the experience with other Philanthropy Southeast members through events addressing the topics in the book, as well as online discussions. Stay tuned for upcoming events!

 

 

About the Book:

Heather McGhee’s specialty is the American economy - and the mystery of why it so often fails the American public. From the financial crisis of 2008 to rising student debt to collapsing public infrastructure, she found a root problem: racism in our politics and policymaking. 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?

 

McGhee embarks on a deeply personal journey across the country from Maine to Mississippi to California, tallying what we lose when we buy into the zero-sum paradigm - the idea that progress for some of us must come at the expense of others. Along the way, she meets white people who confide in her about losing their homes, their dreams, and their shot at better jobs to the toxic mix of American racism and greed. This is the story of how public goods in this country - from parks and pools to functioning schools - have become private luxuries; of how unions collapsed, wages stagnated, and inequality increased; and of how this country, unique among the world’s advanced economies, has thwarted universal healthcare.

 

But in unlikely places of worship and work, McGhee finds proof of what she calls the Solidarity Dividend: the benefits we gain when people come together across race to accomplish what we simply can’t do on our own. The Sum of Us is not only a brilliant analysis of how we arrived here but also a heartfelt message, delivered with startling empathy, from a black woman to a multiracial America. It leaves us with a new vision for a future in which we finally realize that life can be more than a zero-sum game.

 

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.


About the Author:


Heather McGhee is an expert in economic and social policy. The former president of the inequality-focused think tank Demos, McGhee has drafted legislation, testified before Congress, and contributed regularly to news shows including NBC’s Meet the Press. She now chairs the board of Color of Change, the nation’s largest online racial justice organization. McGhee holds a BA in American studies from Yale University and a JD from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law.

Current Selections

 · The Sum of Us: (Coming soon)

 

Past Selections

 · The Hate U Give: Discussion Questions
 · The Hate U Give: Discussion Guide

 · The Color of Law: Discussion Questions
 · The Color of Law: Discussion Guide & Additional Resources

 · The Sun Does Shine: Discussion Questions
 · The Sun Does Shine: Discussion Guide & Additional Resources


View our webinars from Past Selections in our Archived Programs.

If you have questions about the Chair's Book Club, please contact Stephen Sherman, Director of Research & Data, at stephen@secf.org or (404) 524-0911.

 


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