ATLANTA (CBSNewYork) — A teenager’s poem titled “White Boy Privilege” is going viral following last week’s racial unrest that saw the police shooting deaths of two black men and five Dallas officers getting gunned down.
Royce Mann, 14, an eighth-grader who attends Paiedeia School in Atlanta, actually performed his poem during a poetry contest in May.
“To be honest, I’m scared of what it would be like if I wasn’t on the top rung, if the tables were turned, and I didn’t have my white boy privilege safety blankie to protect me,” Royce said in his poem.
Royce told CBS News he wanted to be “truthful” with his poem.
“I’m just trying to be truthful about how I wouldn’t trade places with somebody and that I think a lot of people sometimes aren’t so truthful about that,” he said.
Royce said in his poem that change is scary, “but equality shouldn’t be,” and also touched on how when he sees a police officer he feels safe.
“Everyone should have the privileges I have. In fact, they should be rights instead,” Royce said. “Everyone’s story should be written so all they have to do is get it read.”
“I’m not asking anybody to give up their lives to fight for equality, I have other dreams, too,” Royce explained to CBS News. “I’m just asking you to try to be an ally, do your share. When you see something that you think is wrong, it’s discrimination – speak up.”
The video of Royce’s “White Boy Privilege” poem has been viewed more than 8 million times.
“It’s time to let go of that fear. It’s time to take that ladder and turn it into a bridge,” Royce said in the poem.
The teenager ended up winning the school’s poetry contest.