Summary of Leveraging Privilege for a Greater Good

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Part spoken-word performance and part activism playbook, this presentation by 16-year-old Royce Mann contextualizes a young man’s work of art and social justice. Mann, the self-proclaimed embodiment of white male privilege, starts with a performance of his competition-winning viral poem, “White Boy Privilege,” and then shares how he came to be a poet and thought leader for his generation. The influential teen includes the profound, sometimes humbling lessons he learned on his advocacy journey.

About the Speaker

Royce Mann is an activist and poet. His spoken-word poem “White Boy Privilege” has garnered more than a million views on YouTube.



White males who understand that their privilege is a social injustice may still fear and resist change.

Anyone who’s not a white male pays the price of white male privilege; that is, people of other genders, races and cultural backgrounds suffer lifelong disadvantage and bias. Yet would an enlightened white male surrender his privilege to correct this social injustice? “Probably not,” admits poet Royce Mann, the self-stated embodiment of middle- to upper-class white male privilege.

Privilege is a “safety blankie” – that is, an ease and a comfort – and the alternative is frightening, he says. For instance, Mann never has to worry that his proclivity for swearing will fuel stereotypes about his race. He doesn’t fear law ...

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