In summer 2020, author Kimberly Jones was known for her young adult novel, I’m Not Dying with You Tonight, co-authored with Gilly Segal. At a protest in Atlanta in the aftermath of George Floyd‘s murder, she broke down the racial inequities plaguing Black communities in a six-minute viral video that has now inspired a new book.
How We Can Win: Race, History and Changing the Money Game That’s Rigged, out this week, explores systemic racism and the economic disparities holding back Black Americans. Henry Holt and Co. is the publisher.
In the video that was viewed by millions across social media platforms, a quote about comparing the socioeconomic factors at play with the game of Monopoly resonated with viewers and contributed to the book’s title, she revealed in a CBS Mornings interview with Gayle King, Nate Burleson, and Tony Dokoupil.
So if I played four hundred rounds of Monopoly with you and I had to play and give you every dime that I made, and then for fifty years, every time that I played, if you didn’t like what I did, you got to burn it like they did in Tulsa and like they did in Rosewood, how can you win? How can you win?Kimberly Jones
Though some viewers stereotyped her as an angry Black woman for how she delivered her speech on camera in 2020, Kimberly called it “righteous anger.”
“I think sometimes in righteous anger you get to express to people your pain, and I think that’s what people saw,” she said on the news show. “Even though they saw an angry woman, they saw a hurt woman, so they felt that and they were like, ‘Omigod, the pain is visible.'”
She also explained that viewers had reached out to her and said her delivery in the video enlivened the argument well enough to the point they forwarded it to their loved ones in hopes they better understand systemic racism.
“There’s no way to nurture empathy in people if they don’t know the full story,” she said. I think one of the greatest mistakes that we have made is we talk a lot about the miseducation of the Black child, but it’s really the miseducation of the American child that has allowed us to live in a way that we don’t have empathy for each other because it’s in that education, it’s in that knowledge that you can empathize.”
Kimberly teamed up with Gilly Segal a second time for the YA novel Why We Fly that came out last October from indie publisher Sourcebooks Fire.