ATLANTA – An Atlanta eighth-grader’s “White Boy Privilege” slam poem recorded at an end of school event is gaining acclaim from social justice warriors, and providing insight into how race issues are framed in public schools.
Royce Mann, 14, took first place at an end of the year slam poem contest at The Paideia School this year and a YouTube video of his rant “White Boy Privilege” is now going viral online, RollingOut.com reports.
In the video, Mann – a white boy – apologizes to black people, Asian Americans, Native Americans, immigrants and “everyone who isn’t a middle or upper class white boy.”
“I have started life on the top of the ladder while you were born on the first rung,” Mann said. “I say now that I would change places with you in an instant, but if given the opportunity, would I?
“Probably not,” he said.
Mann then went into how great it is to be white.
“I’m just saying that I’m f**kin’ privileged and I’m not willing to give that away. I love it because I can say ‘f**kin’ and not one of you is attributing that to the fact that everyone with my skin color has a dirty mouth,” he said.
“I love it because I don’t have to spend an hour every morning putting on make-up to meet other people’s standards.
“I love it because I can worry about what kind of food is on my plate instead of whether or not there is food on my plate.
“I love it because when I see a police officer I see someone who is on my side.
“To be honest I’m scared of what it would be like if I wasn’t on the top rung if the tables were turned and I didn’t have my white boy privilege safety blankie to protect me,” he said.
Mann told the mixed race audience that “when I was born I had a success story already written for me.
“You were given a pen with not paper.”
The teen spoke about being scared to speak up about injustices to minorities and professed embarrassment from his warped world view.
“It is embarrassing that we still live in a world in which we judge another person’s character because of the size of their paycheck, the color of their skin, or the type of chromosomes they have,” Mann said.
“It is embarrassing that we tell our kids that it is not their personality, but instead those same chromosomes that get to dictate what color clothes they wear and how short they must cut their hair.
“But most of all, it is embarrassing that we deny this. That we claim to live in an equal country, an equal world.”
Mann lectured the audience about the invisible privileges enjoyed by white boys that “don’t come in the form of things we gain, but rather the lack of injustices that we endure,” such as eating “at a fancy restaurant without wait staff expecting me to steal the silverware.”
Mann is privileged because his parents earn a decent income, he said.
“Dear white boys: I’m not sorry,” the teen concluded.
“I don’t care if you think that the feminists are taking over the world, that the Black Lives Matter movement has gotten a little too strong, because that’s bullshit,” he said before calling on his white, privileged classmates to “act like a woman.”
“It’s time to take that ladder and turn it into a bridge,” he said.
Mann told Fusion he was inspired by his school lessons to pen the profanity-laced social justice white privilege poem.
“That was the first time I did slam poetry,” he said. “I wrote it because I became aware of white privilege this year. We have a class called Race, Class and Gender that everyone has to take, and I got really passionate about how unfair it is.”
The Paideia School posted Mann’s diatribe on its Facebook page in May but couldn’t control the comments so they shut it down, Mann said.
Since he reposted the video to YouTube about two weeks ago, it’s been viewed more than 150,000 times.