Public policy expert Heather C. McGhee says she geeks out about tax policy and economic infrastructure. In 2016, she was speaking about it on a public television live call-in show, when she was called by a white man who said he held some prejudiced beliefs. While he shared them with her, he also said he wanted to change. To this, McGhee had said: “thank you”. The exchange had gone viral.
In her TED talk, McGhee says she thanked him for “admitting his prejudice, for wanting to change, and for knowing somehow that would make him a better American”.
“Racism is bad for white people, too,” she says. In the speech, McGhee explains how costly racism can be, and how taxpayers’ money can go to waste, be under-utilised or be utilised inappropriately, just because some people judge others by the colour of their skin.
“You know, it costs us so much to remain divided. This zero-sum thinking that what’s good for one group has to come at the expense of another, it’s what has got us into this mess. I believe that it is time to reject that old paradigm and realise that our fates are linked. An injury to one, is an injury to all… We can keep pretending that we are all not in the same team, we can keep sabotaging our success, or we can let the proximity of so much difference reveal our common humanity. And we can finally invest in our greatest asset: all of our people,” McGhee says in conclusion.
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