A video of a white eighth grade boy performing a slam poem he wrote called “White Boy Privilege” is now making the “viral video” rounds.
Back in May, 14-year-old Royce Mann participated in a poetry slam at his private school in Atlanta, Georgia, taking home the first place prize for his honest depiction of racial and gender inequality. Since his mother posted the performance to YouTube, it’s received over 150,000 views.
“Dear women, I’m sorry,” he starts. “Dear black people, I’m sorry. Dear Asian-Americans, dear Native Americans, dear immigrants who come here seeking a better life, I’m sorry. Dear everyone who isn’t a middle or upper class white boy, I’m sorry. I have started life on the top of the ladder while you were born on the first rung.
“I say now that I would change places with you in an instant, but if given the opportunity, would I? Probably not.”
Mann eventually goes on to describe all the things he loves about his privilege:
“I love it because I can worry about what kind of food is on my plate instead of whether or not there will be 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. If I lived a life lit by what I lack, not by what I have, if I lived a life in which when I failed, the world would say, ‘Told you so.’ If I lived the life that you live.
“When I was born I had a success story already written for me. You were given a pen and no paper. I’ve always felt that that was unfair but I’ve never dared to speak up because I’ve been too scared.”
“Dear white boys: I’m not sorry,” he says. “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 bulls***. I get that change can be scary, but equality shouldn’t be. Hey white boys: it’s time to act like a woman. To be strong and make a difference. It’s time to let go of that fear. It’s time to take that ladder and turn it into a bridge.”
Talk about a mic drop.
The poem has gotten an overwhelmingly positive response. Even Taraji P. Henson, actress on the hit show Empire, shared the video on her Instagram with the caption: “#TheTRUTH GOD BLESS THIS LITTLE BRAVE ANGEL!!!”
You can watch the performance in its entirety here: