What ‘Black Privilege’ Means To Me

Charlamagne Tha God, the candid co-host of Power 105’s The Breakfast Club recently debuted his first book — Black Privilege: Opportunity Comes to Those Who Create It. No, there isn’t a racist undertone. Charlamagne is open about that, and the title is simply a belief that he has. To him, black privilege is as real as white privilege — and that’s something that’s very real. Additionally, Asian privilege, short girl privilege, fat guy privilege are also real.

At its core, it’s an autobiography. The reader gets the full, unfiltered story of Charlamagne’s rise to where he is now. It’s wildly entertaining and brutally honest. But it makes you learn a thing or two… or eight. Each chapter has a lesson, and he ties his experiences in to help illustrate a particular thesis. I don’t have any similarities to Charlamagne. I’m a white millennial who grew up in a middle-class neighborhood on Long Island. I haven’t experienced what he’s experienced, but that’s what makes an outstanding book.

The reason Charlamagne believes in privilege is, um, because of the subtitle. If you work hard and smart, you create your own privilege.

It’s about authenticity, a relentless work ethic and doing anything and everything possible to put yourself in a position to succeed. If I had to guess, I believe that’s why his book is getting such a great reception. Not everyone can relate to going to jail or selling crack, but getting paid nothing (or dirt) at an internship and having to hustle on the side just to be able to inch closer to your dream isn’t far-fetched.

Something else that plays a role in its success is timing.

Race is a touchy subject. But, America has a racism issue. There’s no denying it — if you’re saying to yourself that it doesn’t exist because you never experienced it, I want you to shut up. If two people sit down for a job with the exact same resume and one’s black and the other is white, who has a better chance of getting the job? Well, it depends on the interviewer. And that was a fascinating point Charlamagne brought up.

If it’s a white person conducting the interview, the person who’s the same color has an edge. And vice versa. This, for some reason, was eye-opening. It’s something so subtle. Conversely, if the black interviewee was a member of the same fraternity as the white interviewer, he might have the edge over anyone else. It’s small but is grounds for forming a relationship with someone.

If you get the chance to read this book, I highly suggest it. It’s not long at all, maybe five hours or so, but it’s full of insight and nuance.

Don’t let the title deceive you. It’s an honest account of striving for success. The market isn’t racist; if you’re good at what you do, your time will come. If it doesn’t, go and take it.


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