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Golden Hour Books

The White Bonus: Five Families and the Cash Value of Racism in America by Tracie McMillan (4/23/24)

The White Bonus: Five Families and the Cash Value of Racism in America by Tracie McMillan (4/23/24)

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Award-winning journalist Tracie McMillan combines gripping memoir, top-notch original reporting, and rigorous research to measure the cash value of being white in America.

When we talk about racism in America, we usually talk about what’s been denied to people of color. But what if we started measuring what white people get? In The White Bonus, McMillan examines the monetary value of whiteness in this country through her own experiences and a broader societal examination.

McMillan had a turbulent and difficult upbringing, and her early adulthood was marked by real hunger and struggle, but she was able to get by and move up. When her reporter’s curiosity prompted her to measure her white privilege in her experience of upward mobility, she realized she needed to look at not only social advantages, but also money.

The White Bonus follows three generations of McMillan’s family, tracing the sources of their wealth. That personal narrative tethers a wider investigation into the laws and norms that give white Americans more opportunity than minorities. Measuring their cumulative material effect on her life, McMillan also expands the investigation beyond her own family, alternating her story with profiles of five other subjects of various classes and places, taking a look at their respective white bonuses.

McMillan showcases an ecosystem of institutions and practices that are supposed to treat all Americans the same but usually only benefit white people. For readers of Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility, Richard Rothstein’s The Color of Law, and Stephanie Land’s Maid, The White Bonus will address the white working-class experience as it relates to race, quantifying the amorphous problem of racial privilege and investigating what we can do about it.

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