14-year-old’s ‘White Boy Privilege’ poem wins first place
A video of a 14-year-old white boy delivering a slam poem on white privilege has gone viral.
Royce Mann took home first place for the poem, titled “White Boy Privilege,” during a competition at his Atlanta high school in May.
“Dear women, I’m sorry. Dear black people, I’m sorry. Dear Asian-Americans, dear Native Americans, dear immigrants who came here seeking a better life, I’m sorry,” Royce recited at The Paideia School, CNN reported. “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.”
“When I was born I had a success story already written for me. You — you were given a pen and no paper,” he continued. “I know it wasn’t us 8th-grade white boys who created this system, but we profit from it every day.
“Dear white boys: I’m not sorry,” Royce declared. “I don’t care if you think 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.”
A YouTube video of Royce’s poem has been viewed more than 470,000 times, but the reactions have been mixed.
After a considerable amount of backlash, Royce explained to HLN that there are people “who do deny that white privilege and male privilege exist.”
“Some people feel that I’m ashamed of my race. … In reality, I’m not ashamed at all. Nobody should be ashamed of their race because that’s an uncontrollable thing. I was born this way, and nobody should be ashamed of that,” he said, CNN reported. “I’m not the hero of this movement or anything. There are definitely a lot of people who’ve done a lot more than me. I’m just trying to do my part.”
Royce’s mother, Sheri Mann Stewart, said she didn’t help him with his poem at all.
“It was totally his thing. I thought he might get some mixed reaction … but never wanted to discourage him from doing it,” she told HLN.