Teen boy’s ‘Privilege’ poem goes viral

Royce Mann's poem, "White Boy Privilege" has gone viral. Are school kids being indoctrinated in ideas of gender, class and privilege, or is this just self-awareness?

Graphic credited to The Daily Beast
Graphic credited to The Daily Beast

WASHINGTON, July 17, 2016 — A piece of creative writing by a teenage boy and dubbed the “Privilege Poem” has gone viral.

Royce Mann, a 14-year-old living in Atlanta, penned a poem that hasn’t gone unnoticed, and not just because he won the contest, or “poetry slam,” hosted by the private school he attends. The poem, which is about his feelings about having white privilege and male privilege, was presented by him in May. It caught the attention of various media outlets a few days ago, and now it’s gone viral.

The boy’s mother posted the poem, called “White Boy Privilege,” on YouTube on June 27, and so far it has reached 667,000 views.

Black lives, privilege and poor, white trash

Reactions to the viral video vary. Many proclaim their admiration for the teen, while others express to skepticism and even annoyance.

A lot of people on social media seem to believe Mann has been brainwashed by his mother. But the boy insists that, despite the poem, he doesn’t feel shame because of his privilege.

Responding to the backlash, Royce explained in an interview with cable network HLN that there are people who do deny that white privilege and male privilege exist.

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. … 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.

Privilege, especially what social justice warriors call “white privilege” or “white male privilege” is the idea that one is awarded certain life advantages simply for being white, male or both. That’s why Mann made a point to apologize to women, black people and other minorities.

Transgendering America: Confusing equality with privilege

But if he doesn’t feel ashamed of being male or white because he was “born this way” and “that’s an uncontrollable thing,” then why does he feel the need to apologize, in a poem, no less, for conditions that were beyond their control as well?

Could it be because educational systems across America are now teaching students that being white is a privilege?

According to the Daily Caller, a New York City school is using techniques of segr egation to help its students learn about white privilege.

According to school presentation slides, the white students will “Understand and own European ancestry and see the tie to privilege,” “Raise awareness of the prevalence of Whiteness and privilege,” and “Challenge notions of colorblindness.”

The parents of these students aren’t happy about this curriculum. According to the New York Post,

The Post notes that even the school’s liberal parents are upset about the curriculum. “Ever since Ferguson, the school has been increasing anti-white propaganda in its curriculum,” one parent told the Post.

“One-hundred percent of the curriculum is what whites have done to other races,’ another parent said.

In January 2013, a school in Wisconsin got in trouble for teaching what one parent called “white guilt” to white students. The mother, who was not named, had an 18-year-old son attending the school at the time of the incident.

The mother complained to the school district superintendent, who validated her concerns. According to a Fox News article published at the time, the superintendent said, “I’m out of an old-fashioned school … I believe in helping kids understand the basic objectives of curriculum and not use some radical material to get a student to support some kind of a special theory.”

There is no evidence that the school for which Mann wrote and performed his poem is teaching a concept of radical leftist ideology, but the poem does show just how far the idea of privilege has penetrated America’s youth.

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