Leslie Jones' Crime: Being a Vocal Black Woman

Such women are 'criminalized' in our society, writes columnist
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 25, 2016 12:10 PM CDT
Leslie Jones' Crime: Being a Vocal Black Woman
Leslie Jones arrives at the ELLE Women in Comedy Event at Hyde Sunset on Tuesday, June 7, 2016, in Los Angeles.   (Photo by Rich Fury/Invision/AP)

The latest awful online attack endured by Leslie Jones reminds Paste writer Shannon Houston of a sad reality: Our society can't seem to tolerate "carefree black girls." Houston argues that people are fine with black women if they are calm and gracious, like, say, Michelle Obama or the woman who went viral by standing up in front of the Baton Rouge police. Jones, however, does not fit this category. "She is, in so many ways, everything many black women are taught from a very young age is not okay—she’s loud, she’s both bodacious and self-deprecating and she’s unapologetic about the space she takes up," writes Houston.

That's why Jones' first go-round with internet trolls was so "infuriating," writes Houston. "We only have so many publicly carefree black girls—and so few who look like Jones—the criminalizing of her very existence was, I suppose, inevitable." Athletes Serena Williams and Gabby Douglas have been treated similarly. In fact, about the the only place it's safe for such women is in the pages of poetry and literature. "Poetry is everything—but until the poets are running this country and reorganizing this very American, very racist and sexist society we call home—it’s not nearly enough," writes Houston. Click for her full column. (Read more Leslie Jones stories.)

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