“When I see a police officer I see someone who is on my side”
“Dear everyone who isn’t a middle- or upper-class white boy, I’m sorry,” 14-year-old Royce Mann speaks into the microphone, “I have started life at the top of a ladder while you were born on the first rung.”
If you’re conflicted about what it means to be privileged, allow this 14-year-old from Atlanta, Georgia to analyze its depth in a slam poem called, “White Boy Privilege.” In a video uploaded to YouTube in June, Mann tackles a subject of utmost prevalence in today’s society that has so many hiding behind closed, politically-correct doors. Inspired by an eighth grade class called Race, Class and Gender, the young teen proves that with passion comes knowledge, as he pores over the issue of racial tension in this raw, honest poem.
Mann’s understanding of white privilege is chilling, as he says:
“I’m just saying that I’m fucking privileged and I’m not willing to give that away. I love it because I can say fucking and not one of you is attributing that to the fact that everyone with my skin color has a dirty mouth. I love it because I don’t have to spend an hour every morning putting on makeup 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.”
The video is quickly traveling across social media at a most relevant time, as tensions are at a peak following multiple shootings in early July. The final line of Mann’s poem proposes we turn the segregation of our country on its head and narrow in on the root of the issue once and for all: “It’s time to take that ladder and turn it into a bridge.” Watch Royce Mann’s performance of “White Boy Privilege” below.