A powerful exploration of Black achievement in a white world based on honest, provocative, and moving interviews with Black leaders, scientists, artists, activists, and champions.
"I remember the day I realized I couldn't play a white guy as well as a white guy. It felt like a death sentence for my career."
When Chad Sanders landed his first job in lily-white Silicon Valley, he quickly realized that to be successful at work meant playing a certain social game. Each meeting was drenched in white slang and the privileged talk of international travel or a folk concert in San Francisco, which led Chad to realize that he could only be successful if he emulated whiteness.
So Chad changed. He changed his wardrobe, his behavior, his speech--everything that connected him with his Black identity. And while he finally felt included, he felt awful. Carrying the unbearable weight of his imposter syndrome--the constant burden of not being true to himself--left Chad exhausted and ashamed. Instead, he decided to give up the charade. He reverted back to methods he learned at the dinner table, or at the Black Baptist church where he'd been raised, or the concrete basketball courts. And it paid off. Chad began to land more exciting projects and eventually got promoted. He earned the respect of his colleagues and clients. Accounting for this turnaround, Chad believes, was something he calls Black Magic, namely: resilience, creativity, and perseverance, forged in his experience navigating America as a Black man. Black Magic has emboldened his every step since. Leading him to wonder: was he alone in this discovery? Were there others who felt the same?
In Black Magic, Chad tells his own incredible story while also interviewing other Black leaders, scientists, artists, business people, parents, innovators, and champions, to get their take on Black magic. This revelatory book uncovers Black experiences in predominantly white environments while demonstrating the importance of staying true to yourself.