Professor Shares Generation Z’s Dark Humor & Mental Health Realities

Generation Z faces multiple mental health challenges that are both perplexing and concerning. While many have speculated that the rise of social media or the ongoing pandemic is the root cause, a college history professor’s research reveals a different aspect of Gen Z’s struggles.

In a TikTok video, the professor, Lil Maverick, explores the dark and sometimes suicidal humor that characterizes this generation.

Dispelling Misconceptions

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Contrary to popular belief, the professor asserts that blaming social media alone for Generation Z’s mental health struggles oversimplifies the issue. She emphasizes,

“It was never social media or the pandemic.”

As a college history professor, she solidifies her standpoint by saying,

“The more you believe that, the more people are gonna wanna ban TikTok and not actually help Gen Z and have compassion for them because too many older people are insulting them and not understanding them. And those social media can be unhealthy for everybody.”

The college professor emphasizes empathy and understanding for Gen Z rather than criticism. Recognizing social media’s potential positive and negative impacts on mental health, the content creator calls for a comprehensive evaluation.

The quote underscores the need to foster a compassionate understanding of Gen Z’s experiences and challenges negative perceptions.

Understanding Generation Z’s Distinct Humor

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During the pandemic, her classes were moved online. The professor taught US history and covered various generations, including the lost and silent generations, Baby Boomers, and Generation Z.

The professor tasked students to share their insights about their respective generations on a discussion board, requiring them to include a meme from TikTok or any social media platform to represent their generation. She then shares how Gen Zs are by saying,

“So I have a lot of Gen Z, a lot of millennials, and even a few Gen X, and they immediately notice there is something different about Gen Z because their humor is suicidal. They have a dark, unliving sense of humor. And that’s what I saw, and it stood out starkly.”

The professor noticed a significant pattern that caught her attention during this period. Among the various submissions, one, in particular, stood out, which the professor points to and suggests pausing to view. The meme in question says,

“Gen Z culture is debating if it’s milk before cereal or vice versa in class and then having that one kid come in and go ‘I put my bleach before cereal’ and then dabbing as the rest of the class laughs and goes ‘same’ while your Gen X teacher looks horrified.”

Initially, the professor contemplated the potential influence of parents as a contributing factor to these observations. However, she ruled out the possibility that their child or people they knew could be experiencing these issues. She added,

“Can’t be my kid. It can’t be people that I know. There must be some parents, you know, some Karen, some helicopter parents.”

Placing the blame solely on external factors may hinder genuine efforts to understand and support this generation effectively. This assumption arose from a struggle to comprehend the situation, as there seemed to be no apparent answers or explanations available at that time.

Unraveling the Mystery

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The professor collected a year’s worth of data through extensive research by engaging with their Gen Z students in dual-enrollment high school courses and traditional college classes.

During this investigation, the professor encountered a pervasive atmosphere of assumption and projection toward Gen Z. Challenging the notion that social media alone was responsible, the professor was determined to uncover the truth behind Gen Z’s humor.

“And then it hit. My own child. My own son loved and catered to, and adored his whole life. It hit him, and I asked everybody. It was everyone in my family, every neighbor. It was the entire faculty.”

The professor’s quest for understanding extended beyond their personal experience, encompassing a collective search for understanding among those close to them and within their professional community.

A Widespread Issue

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As what the professor’s findings suggest that the prevalence of this dark humor extends beyond a few individuals or specific backgrounds. After arriving at her study’s conclusion, she further added her claims by saying,

“The dean said, it’s the children of all the faculty. I have yet to find one Gen Z that’s really okay. The children of Congress, men and women. It’s everybody.”

Driven by a desire to comprehend the underlying factors impacting Gen Z’s mental health, the professor’s pursuit of understanding went beyond their personal experience. Instead, she engaged in a collective search for insight, involving those close to them and seeking knowledge within their professional community.

Gen Z’s responses to the topic showcased a range of viewpoints. One individual shared a light-hearted perspective, suggesting,

“We’re all doomed. Why not make it funny?”

Another expressed dissatisfaction,

“It’s the crippling late-stage capitalism. doesn’t feel like there is anything left for us.”

Meanwhile, a different commenter said,

“Honestly, it’s a coping mechanism; I think millennials started the doom-humor trend.”

Research on GenZ mental health
♬ original sound – LilmaverickProf

Martha A. Lavallie
Martha A. Lavallie
Author & Editor | + posts

Martha is a journalist with close to a decade of experience in uncovering and reporting on the most compelling stories of our time. Passionate about staying ahead of the curve, she specializes in shedding light on trending topics and captivating global narratives. Her insightful articles have garnered acclaim, making her a trusted voice in today's dynamic media landscape.