Bullying Humor against Minorities: Case of Suzy Lee Weiss vs. the Ivy Leagues

Posted on April 6, 2013 by

2


I don’t know Suzy Lee Weiss, or what applicants got in to the schools that she applied to.

If you don’t know, she’s a high school senior who wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal to all the Ivy League schools who rejected her.

I know the tone of her article was to be taken in a joking, satirical way.  I even agree that there is insane competition to get into colleges.

But it’s a bit unsettling that she can say “I wish I was some kind of minority to get in.”

Why is this unsettling?

  1. She gets a major platform to air out her diatribes against groups of peers she doesn’t know, but since she jokes about watching Housewives, the diatribe is supposed to be dismissed as something innocuous or innocent.  Why didn’t I get to write a diatribe when I was a high school senior getting rejected left and right?
  2. By stating that “if it were up to me I would’ve been any diversities”, she assumes that all the minorities who got in didn’t do so on their own merits but rather on their disadvantaged identities.
  3. By stating “I would have gladly worn a headdress to school”, she trivializes any disadvantages minorities face.  Race, and ethnicity for her are just additional tools used to get in, they don’t come with any disadvantages or unnecessary struggles at all for her.
  4. Ultimately, a discourse of ignorance about is allowed to fester under the guise of humor.

Usually when I would argue against an offensive article passed off under the guise of humor, I would get a label of being “politically correct,” as if I don’t understand what a joke is.

It’s like a bullying type humor, the humor where you just laugh at how inadequate something already considered small and insignificant is.  Its one thing to laugh at how bumbling a bunch of professionals or would-be experts would be:  joking about them slices them down back to life size.  But joking about how a homeless person is a drunk reduces the person even further.  There’s no real point other than being a prick.

Yes I understand that we all have to laugh at ourselves once in a while, but everyone, especially in a publication with a large circulation, should have the chance to laugh without their identities being reduced or trivialized.  Jokes and humor are a playful way to humanize what seems inhuman, and make inhuman what is human.