14-Year-Old’s “White Boy Privilege” Poem Pisses Off Reddit, YouTube
Do you watch slam poetry even when someone other than Samuel L. Jackson is doing it? Do you enjoy chasing down internet douchebags? Then this is the story for you.
There are plenty of valid reasons to have emotions about the poem above. Maybe you love it because you’re inspired by 14-year-old Royce Mann taking a stand on privilege and systemic racism and sexism. Maybe you hate it because it doesn’t meet your standards for poetry — I mean, come on, his only metaphor is about the ladder of privilege and he barely goes anywhere with it. Or maybe you’re a slam poetry purist like me and you can’t believe he went so far over his three minute time limit without being penalized. (You get a ten second grace period, TOPS, kiddo!)
Now, before I go after the people who went into a frothy rage over this video, I want to point out that the more moderate among them kinda sorta have a point. This youngster’s message, though well-intentioned, comes off as pretty white guilt-y. No one should apologize for their identity, and cis straight white men aren’t automatically the devil. Even though he’s trying to make a point about the many effects of privilege, apologizing for benefiting from it seems to be more self-flagellation than promoting positive change. Plus, it’s less a poem than it is a lecture with the occasional rhyme — though, again, this kid is in middle school; you almost certainly can’t say your poems from that age were any better.
But then you see comments like these:
“White women: the most entitled overall demographic of human beings on the face of the planet.”
“this seems like some kind of throwback to how nazi’s or other sick groups treated a racial group they were mad at. except feminists are doing it to all men.”
“It’s legitimately sad to see children indoctrinated to be faggots like their parents.”
“PC and FemiNazi indoctrination will be the fall and demise of Western Civilization.”
“White Privilege is being able to go home and say, “Hi, Dad”.”
Yeesh. Where do you start? Can you… not be total dicks for a second? Let’s go with this: comparing the fight for equal gender rights to the freaking Holocaust is beyond messed up. White privilege, male privilege, straight privilege, and cis-gendered privilege all totally exist, and the fact that you have nothing bigger in your life to worry about than yelling at people who point those things out on YouTube is just one of the many, many pieces evidences of that.
What do you think? Do you stand with Royce Mann, do you hate him, or do you fall somewhere in between? Let us know in the comments below or @WhatsTrending on Twitter!