Profile has acquired Heather McGhee's investigation The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together.
Described as "deeply compassionate and meticulously argued", the book examines the the economic costs of racism and investigates why white voters so often act against their own interests.
The synopsis asks: "Why do they block changes that would help them, and even destroy their own advantages, whenever people of colour also stand to benefit? Their tragedy is that they believe they can’t win unless somebody else loses. But this is a lie, and McGhee marshals overwhelming economic evidence, and a profound well of empathy, to reveal the surprising truth: even racists lose out under white supremacy.
"As McGhee shows, it was racist lending policies that triggered the 2008 financial crisis, and there can be little prospect of tackling global climate change until its zero-sum delusions are defeated. America’s racism is everybody’s problem. The Sum of Us is a heartbreaking, panoramic insight into the workings of prejudice – and a timely invitation to solidarity among all humans, ‘to piece together a new story of who we could be to one another’."
McGee, the former president of the inequality-focused not-for-profit think tank Demos, is an expert on economic and social policy. She has drafted US legislation, testified before Congress and appeared on numerous news discussion shows. She chairs the board of Color of Change, America’s largest online racial justice organisation. Her TED Talk on how racism makes the economy worse has received over two million views to date.
Commenting on the book, she said: "I’m thrilled that Profile is bringing The Sum of Us to UK readers. I hope that the book will explain what happened to the once-thriving American middle class and serve as a cautionary tale for other nations. While the political hymns in the US and the UK are in different keys, they sure do rhyme. A fairer, more inclusive and more prosperous economy is available to all of us if we reject zero-sum narratives and start aiming for a solidarity dividend."
Editorial director Ed Lake bought UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, from Anna Dixon at WME. Lake said: "The Sum of Us is the most astonishingly moving and empathetic book, a study of the effects of racism with an abundance of compassion for those who damage their own lives in the name of zero-sum politics. It shows that racism isn’t even good for racists. The rapturous response it has received in the US is just the beginning. This is a book with profound lessons, both economic and spiritual, for everyone, and Heather McGhee is a voice we all need."
UK publication is scheduled for 15th April.