Jokes at Raymond House’s expense must be critiqued

On Nov. 3rd, 2016, a publication that held problematic sentiments was published on The Clove, a Vassar unaffiliated satirical publication website, written by a first-year student. The article was entitled, “Everybody Loves Raymond.”

As Raymond House Team, we have felt the need to address some of the more pressing issues that made a mockery of serious topics while also perpetuating toxic misconceptions about Raymond House as a whole.

The mockery that was present in this article had ableist tones and perpetuates the stigmatization of mental health, an act that Raymond House has not and does not condone.

The depiction of Raymond residents as mentally unfit is a malicious and false pretense that targets residents who are actively trying to build community and pride within their house.

The author goes as far as to state that Raymond residents need professional help from Vassar psychologists.

As a House Team, we are fully against this characterization of the Raymond Residence because of its further stigmatization of seeking help.

We believe that finding ways to better yourself actively through counseling, treatment or any other means is something to be proud of, not ashamed of. In fact, taking care of yourself is wonderfully badass.

This article was particularly problematic in its Stockholm Syndrome diagnosis of all Raymond residents.

This ableist commentary uses a real, serious condition as an object of ridicule.

To compare the opportunity to live and study on Vassar’s campus to a scary, difficult and confusing mental health condition is disrespectful and ill-judged.

The article also makes fun of Raymond residents that display Ray Pride and are generally happy with their house.

This is hypercritical and unfair since it is ridicule people for being happy. Attributing a Raymond resident’s happiness to mental health issues is disrespectful to the hard work we as a House Team put in to foster community.

Further, the article was written by a resident of a different house.

They inaccurately yet purposefully attack Raymond’s facilities for the purpose of a satirical article.

While we are aware that Raymond does need to be updated, we also find that the article directs a bit of blame about the lack of recent renovations on residents of our house, which is also unfair.

Raymond has some structural issues but once again to reiterate, a lot of the problems brought up are not unique to only Raymond, including pests and structural issues with bathrooms.

We believe that pitting the dorms against each other with these harmful comparisons is wholly unproductive.

All in all, the intention behind this article was not to create change but spread malice and hatred. The public shaming of Raymond is something too commonly faced by our residents.

To make judgment calls about the physical, emotional, mental or any state of any House is wrong.

No one wants to come home, feeling ashamed of where they live due to a hyperbolic depiction of their House. Please don’t speak on behalf our residents, principally since this article perpetuates privileged world views.

Simply put, we, as the Raymond House Team, say together–we don’t accept anybody making fun of our House.

We welcome anyone who wants to help us advocate for our much needed renovations–we do not welcome this at the expense of the stigmatization of mental illness and the ostracization of your fellow peers.

Much love and Ray Pride,
Raymond House Team

4 Comments

  1. This is great. I have to admit that when I was a student at Vassar in the 1970s we made fun of Raymond. So, this pattern of indignity is rooted in history!

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