Charlamagne Tha God stopped by The Late Show With Stephen Colbert on Wednesday (June 3) to share his thoughts about racial inequity and the need to dismantle systemic racism in the U.S.
“None of it surprises me,” the radio host said of the protests happening in a reported 380 cities and towns across America in recent days. “I always say that right now, America’s being exposed for the illusion it’s always been. America advertises itself as an all-inclusive resort, but it’s really a private club founded by old rich white men for rich white men, and they make the rules. We’re all caught up in this web of white supremacy and nothing is gon’ get us out of that web until you have more privileged white men who are willing to dismantle that system.”
According to Charlamagne, that type of transformative change can only come about once the country “atones” for its history of slavery through a combination of both legislation and reparations. “No good is gon’ come to America until that happens,” he said. “America’s gon’ continue to reap what it sows. Like, this is America’s karma. You can’t advertise liberty and justice for all but only offer liberty and justice for white folks.”
During the wide-ranging chat, the author also touched on the purpose of protesting (“People have the right to be angry and they have the right to express it”) as well as his history of growing up in South Carolina (“I was just always taught to look racism in the eye and fight”). He also broke down the moral logic behind economic reparations, saying, “We need economic justice for what this country did to our ancestors. We need economic justice because systemic racism was designed to marginalize black people, so now we need systemic retribution to reform our communities. Simple as that.”
Charlamagne Tha God also addressed his recent headline-making interview on The Breakfast Club with presumptive presidential candidate Joe Biden, who drew backlash for telling the host, “If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.”
“I honestly thought it was like a great-great-grandad joke,” he said of Biden’s comment. “And honestly my initial reaction was exactly what I said to him afterwards. I said to him, ‘It’s not about Trump, it’s about me wanting something for my community.’ … I want my elected officials to go into the White House and dismantle this thing called white supremacy and really do something to uplift the black community in a real meaningful, tangible way.”
However, the radio host admitted that he did take issue with the way the former vice president handled the fallout of his gaffe. “He told Don Lemon I baited him,” Charlamagne said. “I didn’t bait you. Vice President Biden volunteered that fish. I didn’t throw no bait out there for that fish whatsoever. And I didn’t like him saying he was being ‘too cavalier.’ … That word is defined as not showing much concern, and he needs to show concern about the black community.”
Check out Charlamagne Tha God’s full interview with Colbert, during which he discussed why his recent debate with Rush Limbaugh about white privilege and supremacy “wasn’t productive.”