Black History Book Review: Rich Thanks to Racism by Jim Freeman

Rich Thanks to Racism

By Rachel Cronin

4 stars

Leading US civil rights lawyer Jim Freeman reveals unbelievably hard truths in this ground-breaking work. North America’s ultra-wealthy hold an unyielding grip over minority groups in the US- as Freeman reveals over the course of some 250 pages.

Throughout his many years as a civil rights lawyer, Freeman has observed the effects of money-driven machines like systemic racism and oppression. Having attempted to thwart them from the inside for the majority of his career, the lawyer was made perilously aware of the deeper-rooted and interlinking factors that benefit America’s billionaires. Simultaneously, these puzzle-pieces are specifically formed (by no accident) to control minorities so the megarich can continue to churn out excessive profits for themselves.

This academic text which could prove challenging to some is made simpler to read through Freeman’s personal observations. As a white individual, it could be advised to seek knowledge on the subjects discussed from professionals of colour. However, Freeman’s perspective as an expert on civil rights leave him more than capable of educating others on systemic oppression- which his book does very well.

He summarises the incredibly complicated network of systemic racism in a simple and easily understood metaphor:

‘Imagine that there are a series of races pitting two teams against each other: Team A and Team B. In each race, Team A is given a huge head start- though most of its members somehow fail to notice it- and in most races, they win as a result. Their gloating, flaunting of their success, and general short-sightedness understandably irk team B, and over time hostilities grow between the teams. Meanwhile, the organisers of the race are desperately hoping that the disadvantages given to Team B, Team A’s pride in its victories, and the hostilities between the teams accomplish two things. First, that they prevent anyone from noticing that the organisers have taken most of the race’s prize money for themselves. Second, that the teams never stop to ask themselves, ‘Wait, why are we even competing against each other in the first place?’.


Rich Thanks to Racism was selected as part of Combined Academic Publisher’s KeY Reads collection for October 2022.

What is KeY Reads?

The CAP KeY Reads are a curated collection of the most celebrated and significant publications in academic publishing.

Chosen for their importance and foundational insight, a new set of KeY Reads is selected every month with a specific subject area focus. In line with Black History Month, the theme for October 2022 was Race & Ethnic studies.

As a KeY Read, throughout October 2022 the Rich Thanks to Racism eBook was available to buy with a 25% discount, or a 40% discount if you subscribe to the KeY Reads newsletter.

Learn more and become a subscriber at the CAP website: