One of the underrated parts of being a journalist is that people send you free books. There are stacks and stacks of books sitting just a few feet from my desk. I rummage through the stacks every now and the to see if there’s anything that catches my eye. Usually there’s just stuff from local authors looking to get a book review, or a bunch of stuff that I probably wouldn’t take the time to actually read. So, it shocked me when I found a brand new copy of Charlamagne Tha God’s book, Black Privilege buried at the bottom of stack number three this week.
For those of you that don’t know him, Charlamagne co-hosts The Breakfast Club, a nationally syndicated hip-hop morning show hosted on Power 105.1 FM along with Angela Yee and DJ Envy. I listen to their interviews almost daily, so naturally I had to pick up Charlamagne’s book and see what he had to say.
Charlamagne’s concept of Black Privilege is based on religion. He believes that God created him exactly the way he was supposed to be and that therefore he has as much if not more privilege than anybody else. He urges his readers to adopt the same attitude.
“You must believe –strongly– that you’ve got Latino privilege, Asian privilege, Tall-Guy privilege, Smart-Girl privilege, whatever your situation may be,” writes Charlamagne. “And you’ve got to have complete faith in your privilege. This book is only for those who believe that they can create their own opportunity.”
This is a powerful belief. Charlamagne says that no matter who you are, you can draw privilege from the fact that you are custom-made by God. If you know Charlamagne’s story you can see how this belief that a short guy from a small town in rural South Carolina could become one of the biggest radio personalities in New York City has guided his life.
When I really look at it, I am blessed with black privilege, tall-guy privilege, nerd privilege and big-city privilege because of my hometown. I really am a nerd at heart. I just never got beat up because God made me 6’6″. I thank him for blessing me with that.
These privileges are fundamentally different from white privilege, which is an entirely different beast of its own. The American economy, government, media outlets, law enforcement agencies, and educational institutions are all controlled by mostly white people and have historically shown bias (that’s putting it very lightly) against people of color.
Charlamagne’s point is that no matter what, you still have some privilege and should embrace it. I think that’s a beautiful message. Be proud of who you are. Harness your God-given power. Be grateful that you are here on this earth. Embrace the motto of Charlamagne’s home state, South Carolina. Dum spiro spero. While I breathe, I hope.
Shout out to Charlamagne for writing something that sparked my interest and inspired me to create something new. This first post is dedicated to you. I look forward to finishing the book and telling the world what I think about it.