Graphic shows black and white photos of Heather McGhee and Erin Heaney in front of a rainbow gradient. Text reads "Beyond Zero Sum: Heather McGhee and Erin Heaney on white people's shared interest in racial and economic justice"

Beyond Zero-Sum: Heather McGhee on white people’s shared interest in racial and economic justice

“The narrative that white people should see the well-being of people of color as a threat to their own is one of the most powerful subterranean stories in America. Until we destroy the idea, opponents of progress can always unearth it and use it to block a collective action that benefits us all.” – Heather

McGhee, The Sum of Us “White privilege is real, but it’s not an organizing strategy.”– Erin Heaney, SURJ National Director

As we fight to protect civil liberties and block white nationalism in the days ahead, white people must have a clear understanding of why we’re in this work.

At SURJ, we believe that racism is employed by the wealthy elite to make white people believe they have more in common with a white billionaire than the people of color in their neighborhoods. From the inception of this country– from the creation of white identity to the racist backlash to Civil Rights– this is a strategy that has continually been employed to keep power in the hands of the few. 

The truth is, white people have so much to gain— a shared interest– in fighting for racial and economic justice. 

All of us will benefit from a world where our communities have the resources they need. In these times when organizing white people away from the Right and corporate power is critically important, SURJ organizes white people around the reality of shared interest.

On Thursday, August 4th at 5 pm PT / 8 pm ET, join us in conversation with Heather McGhee, political strategist and author of “The Sum of Us,” to explore the history of strategic racism and how white people can organize their own communities away from a “zero sum” mentality and towards an understanding of their shared interest in fights for justice. 

Scroll to Top