Heather McGhee Ted Talk Explores Racism’s Impact on People and Public Policy Decisions

A TED Talk by Heather C. McGhee examining the economic and emotional trauma of racism on whites as well as people of color will be released at 11 am this morning at go.ted.com/heathercmcghee. Ms. McGhee, a former president of Demos and one of the nation’s leading thinkers on economic and social policy, delivered the presentation in December at the TEDWomen 2019 conference.

“I tell the story of traveling the country over the past two years – visiting empty parks where towns decided to drain public swimming pools rather than integrate them, hearing about white factory workers voting against a union because ‘the Blacks are voting for it,’” she says.  “I also tell stories about the magic that happens when people of different backgrounds come together to build community and feel the solidarity that’s uniquely possible in our land of all nations.”

The TED Talk is based on McGhee’s forthcoming book, The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together, which will be published in February by One World, an imprint of Random House.  The book can be pre-ordered HERE.

Embarking on a deeply personal journey across the country, McGhee studied issues ranging from the 2007 financial crisis to declining wages to collapsing public infrastructure. She determined all were influenced by racism.  “But not just in the obvious ways that hurt people of color,” she says.

“Racism has costs for white people, too. It’s the common denominator in our most vexing public problems, even beyond our economy. It is at the core of the dysfunction of our democracy and even the spiritual and moral crises that grip us. Racism is a toxin in the American body and it weakens us all.”

McGhee is the Distinguished Senior Fellow at Demos, an NBC News Political Analyst and has testified in Congress, drafted legislation and developed strategies for organizations and campaigns that resulted in changes that improved the lives of millions.

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