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Dear Suzy Lee Weiss, I Took Your Spot At Harvard

harvard_logo-web-300x290Dear Suzy,

You probably don’t know who I am but after reading your op-ed in the Wall Street Journal about not getting into any of the Ivy League schools you applied to, I felt I had to reach out. You see, I’m the girl who took your spot at Harvard.

I know this with absolute certainty. On my acceptance letter from Harvard, your name had been crossed out and mine had been written above it.

I know this must be really upsetting for you. You worked really hard for four years. You took all of the AP classes your high school offered. Your parents paid for expensive SAT prep courses and you did really well on the test. You did all kinds of volunteer work even though you had hours of TV unwatched on your DVR. Basically, you earned this.

I mean, don’t get me wrong. I did some work, too. I went to class and paid attention when the lesson wasn’t disrupted by a fight in the hallway. My textbooks might still reflect a Cold War world but not needing to know the names of all the Soviet republics made it much easier to study for global studies exams. Much less to memorize that way. That’s probably the only reason I managed an “A” in that course.

But when my parents got divorced and my mom came out of the closet and hooked up with the ¼ Navajo lady neighbor, I closed my textbooks and put down my pen. I figured—why bother? I’m a black female from the inner city with divorced parents, a gay mother, and a part-Native American stepmother. Every college was going to recruit me like I had a great jump shot.

Not only did Harvard accept me and shower me with financial aid, they put my photo on the cover of all of their recruiting materials. You were totally right—being a minority in 21st Century America only has upside!

It must be really tough to learn that you didn’t get what you totally deserved, but I’m sure you’ll do well at a state school. And I’m certain your parents will be able to find it in their hearts to love a daughter without an Ivy League pedigree.

As for me—I’m set for life. Obama is president, racism has ended, and law schools have already come a-callin.

Best to you in life,

Aaliyah Martin


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