I stand with Leslie.
I chose not to write about the Leslie Jones Hack yesterday because frankly I found the injustice almost too much to bear. However, as a black woman who bears the exact same features for which Leslie is being targeted, I feel obligated to not only share this story, but to also share how it affects me personally.
Yesterday, a hacker took over Jones’s website and iPhone, and posted nude photos of the actress, as well her passport, license and other identification. The hacker also replaced Jones’ picture with a photo of the slain gorilla, Harambe. The attack comes just weeks after Leslie revealed the constant racism to which she is subjected on twitter. She was also vocal about not finding designers who would give her a gown to wear to the premier of GhostBusters.
Let me also say that Leslie’s comedy is not my favorite. I’ve often felt that she makes fun of her own blackness to get the “White laugh,” if that makes sense. I’ve never been a fan. But I respect her talent. I respect her as fellow dark skin black woman who is simply trying to survive in a world where people who look like us struggle to be seen as human beings, as equals.
I’ve spoken openly about the fact that entrepreneurism isn’t something I chose to pursue. It chose me. After years of trying to understand why someone with my work ethic and education couldn’t seem to hack it working for “the man,” I decided to chart my own destiny. Which is cool, and exciting, and scary. But I’ve never forgotten what it’s taken to get here. It’s also difficult to explain to people what racism looks like in the work place. No one’s going to call you the N word to your face, but you might notice that folks who look like you never hold positions of management unless they “Uncle Tom” it, presenting themselves as subservient or less capable, or even less competent than they truly are. Think of Samuel L. Jackson’s role in Django. During one interview at Harvard Business School, the professor who was to make the call about hiring me looked at me with a smirk on his face, and said, “Well, you seem very confident, don’t you?” I knew then I wasn’t getting the job, and that a white woman would. And she did.
Colorism also exists, with dark skinned women finding it even more difficult to rise beyond menial positions. Some of us are adept at fooling our white supervisors into being at ease enough with us so that they feel comfortable promoting us to the positions we deserve. But those instances are rare. If you are Black person who is not capable of mastering the skill of disarming white folks, you’re doomed in the work place.
But what’s all this got to do with Leslie Jone’s website being hacked? I guess it just feels like another example of how when we think we’re making progress and that we are accepted, we never really are. It feels like another weight. It feels Black. And I’m just not sure how much more of this we can stomach.