An eighth-grader in Atlanta entered his school slam poetry competition and took home the first place prize for a piece that will give you chills.
The 14-year-old boy named Royce Mann recited a striking lyric titled, "White Boy Privilege" and began his spoken word with an apology to black people, women, immigrants, "and everyone that is not a middle- or upper-class white boy." In his four-minute message, Royce addressed issues surrounding race, inequality, sexism, and the societal structure of America. He bravely accepted that there is a ladder of privilege built in America, and that he — along with other white people — sit at the very top while most others start out on the bottom rung.
He eloquently addresses stereotypes placed upon minorities while acknowledging that there is a "white boy privilege safety blanket" that he and many others feel safe under. And while he vocally recognizes these things, he urges those with privilege to step off their ladder of separation and create a bridge to unify. His words were uploaded to YouTube on June 27 but are incredibly relevant and timely in the wake of last week's shootings.
There's no denying Royce's poem, bravery, and maturity are not only admirable but extremely thought-provoking. Don't let your day go by without giving this poem a listen.