You Have to Watch This 8th-Grader's Viral Apology for His #WhiteBoyPrivilege
The teen won his school's poetry slam contest with this powerful message about white privilege.
Meet Royce Mann.
He's the 14-year-old from Atlanta who crushed his school poetry slam competition back in May, taking home the first place prize for his moving performance of White Boy Privilege.
All I can say is: You. Must. Watch.
Not only are Mann's spoken words brutally honest and incredibly thought-provoking, but his impassioned delivery is spot-on, and we started getting some serious Eminem vibes from the minute the eighth-grader grabbed the mic and boldly began issuing an apology.
"Dear women, I'm sorry," he begins. "Dear black people, I'm sorry. Dear Asian-Americans, Dear Native-Americans, Dear immigrants who come here seeking a better life... Dear everyone who isn't a middle or upper class white boy, I'm sorry."
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What does a boy his age have to be sorry for? Being born at the top of the ladder of American privilege. "I know it wasn't us eighth-grade white boys who created this system," he explains. "But we profit from it every day. We don't notice these privileges though, because they don't come in the form of things we gain, but rather the lack of injustices that we endure."
Ok, so this kid totally gets at just 14 what so many grown Americans simply cannot. And that's not all. Mann also bravely owns the fact that being privileged is basically awesome, and says he probably wouldn't trade places with anyone stuck down at the bottom, even if he could
"I'm not saying that you and me on different rungs of the ladder is how I want it to stay, I'm not saying that any part of me has for a moment even liked it that way," he clarifies. "I'm just saying that I f*cking love being privileged, and I'm not ready to give that away."
He also cops to being afraid to live without the "white boy privilege safety blanket" that gives him the freedom to say things like 'f*cking' without anyone attributing it to his skin color.
"I love it because I don't have to spend an hour every morning putting on make-up to meet other people's standards," he clarifies.
"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."
Chilling words, in light of last week's shootings.
Then he flips it around and brings the whole thing home with a call to action.
"Hey white boy," he says at the end of the now-viral video. "It's time to take that ladder and turn it into a bridge."
Can we get an amen? #Mann2020!