ATLANTA (MEDIA GENERAL) — Video of Royce Mann reading his poem “White Boy Privilege” for a school competition has gone viral this week and the timing couldn’t feel more important in the wake of last week’s shootings in Baton Rouge, LA, Falcon Heights, MN, and Dallas.
Dear woman, I’m sorry.
Dear black people, I’m sorry.
Dear Asian Americans, Native Americans, immigrants that 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 started life on 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 because to be honest being privileged is awesome!
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 one moment liked it that way.
I’m just saying that I f——- love being privileged and I’m not ready to give that away.
I love it because I can say f—– and not one of you was attributing it 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’s 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’s on my side.
To be honest I’m scared of what life would be like not on the top rung.
If the tables were turned and I didn’t have my white boy’s safety blanket to protect me.
If I lived a life by what I lack not what I have.
If I lived a life that when I failed the world would say I told you so.
If I lived the life 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 thought that was unfair, but I’ve never dared to speak up because I’ve been too scared.
Now I realize there’s enough blanket to be shared.
Everyone should have the privileges that I have!
In fact, they should be rights instead!
In fact, everyone’s story should be written so all they have to do is get it read.
It’s embarrassing that we live in a world where we judge one’s character by the size of their paycheck,
the color of their skin or the type of chromosomes they have.
It’s embarrassing that we tell our kids it’s not their personality but instead those same chromosomes that dictate what color clothes they can wear and how short they must cut their hair.
But most of all it is embarrassing that we deny this.
We claim to live in an equal country in an equal world.
We say that women can vote, well guess what?
They can run a country, own a company and throw a nasty curveball as well.
We just don’t give them the chance to.
I know it wasn’t us 8th-grade white boys who created this system,
— 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,
— rather the lack of injustices we endure.
Because of my gender,
I can watch any sport on tv and feel like that could be me one day.
Because of my race,
I can eat in a fancy restaurant without the waitstaff expecting me to steal the silverware.
Thanks to my parent’s salary,
I go to a school that brings my dreams closer, instead of pushing them away.
Dear white boys — I’m not sorry.
I don’t care if you think feminists are taking over the world.
The black lives matter movement has gotten a little too strong.
I get that change can be scary, but equality shouldn’t be.
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