What is a White Bonus?

The White Bonus | Blurbs | Definition | Data Viz: Tracie | Your Bonus | Reporting Backup | Press kit


  • Definition: The money white people receive, or save, when racism works in their favor.
  • Components: A white bonus is made up of a family bonus and a social bonus:
  • The family bonus is a rough tally of money given to, or spent on, a person by family members after they turn eighteen or leave home, whichever comes first.
  • The social bonus is a rough tally of financial advantages white people receive, and financial costs they may have avoided, because racism works in their favor.
  • Source: Public policies and private practices that enable a white person to get more money than a Black person of a similar class, whether through higher income, lower costs, or inherited wealth.
  • “The cash value of racism”: Subjects’ bonuses comprise advantages that range in size and source. For example, Tracie inherited $25,000 from a banker grandfather in 2004—money he had because of the job he had held at a white ban and because of a home he owned, which had been restricted to white owners until 1948, long after he’d built it.
  • The cost of racism to all of us”: After showing how racism has made it politically impossible to enact public health care; weakened white support for public education; and obliterated white support for taxation for public services in general, McMillan shows how racism ultimately hurts any white American without sufficient wealth to pay for those things out of pocket.

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