Thursday, April 11, 2013

Who Needs Reality TV when Real Life is Just As Ridiculous?

A few days ago, a girl by the name of Suzy Lee Weiss penned an open letter to the Ivy League schools that rejected her from admission. A copy of her letter can be found here. The gist of the letter basically goes like this: you rejected me because I'm white.

In her sassy, bitter, and sarcastic letter, Weiss writes,

"had I known two years ago what I know now, I would have gladly worn a headdress to school. Show me any closet, and I would've happily come out of it. If it were up to me, I would've been any of the diversities: Navajo, Pacific Islander, anything."

As you can probably imagine, the responses to her letter were highly negative. Some people agreed, but mostly people just had a lot to say.

Somewhere down the road, another sassy and eloquent girl by the name of Kendra James penned a rebuttal letter to Weiss titled: To (All) the White Girls Who Didn't Get Into the College of Their Dreams. A major difference between Ms. Weiss and Ms. James? Kendra James is black.

In what I feel is the most critical aspect of James' letter, she writes, 

"[By] singling out diversity as your issue, you're eliminating half the ollege applying population from your debate. By your logic, if a white girl with your background doesn't get into an Ivy Leage college, it's because there weren't enough spots for white students that year. But, if a non-white girl with an identical profile is rejected, who do they blame? No one. They don't have the excuse; they simply weren't good enough. We don't get to make ourselves feel better by engaging in a smear campaign against the fictional Cherokee girl that took our Ivy League slot."

To be fair, Weiss, a privileged white girl who's been told over and over again that blacks are bleeding the system dry, has every reason to believe that the chances of her admission came down to the color of her skin. Affirmative action, right? (And trust me, there's enough debate on that to last a lifetime). But what bothers me is how blatantly single-minded her belief is--her belief that she is so deserving of a position among the elite, as if changing her skin color alone could turn her into a more desirable candidate. Maybe Weiss should have stopped for a second to think about how someone exactly like her except with black, brown, yellow, blue, red, or purple skin might have been a totally different candidate altogether. That maybe they just weren't looking for her, but someone completely and utterly unlike her to fill that spot in their incoming freshmen class.

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