Though she is 6 feet tall. Though she is 48 years old. Though she is a TV and movie star. I know that those bullies touched the 6-year-old Black girl, with skinned knees and plaits that came undone in the middle of the day. So, if I were here mother, I’d sit her between my legs on the floor, let her rest her head on my right thigh, part and grease her scalp as we watched an old, Black comedy until our tears turned to happy ones just like the old days. She’d remember that we’d survived bullies and bad times before –and that we would again.
Were she my sister, I’d be trying to figure out in which basements we could find the middle-aged, socially awkward fucks, whose best and only friends have been named Dell and Mac since they were pimply-faced 12 year olds, and whose only excitement (and social activity) is carefully trolling others’ lives and getting attention by attempting to destroy them. I don’t care how big they were, I know that I could whup ‘em.
Were she my best friend, I’d gather the crew at my crib, make a few pitchers of margaritas. We’d put on some old, 80s R&B, talk trash, dance, act silly, laugh, and remind her of who she is. “Girlfriend, look at you” we’d say! “Ghostbusters is a hit! You are on Saturday Night Live! Whooooweeee! It don’t get no betta! You made it! Remember when yo ass got booed so bad that the audience even booed us cause they knew we were your friends?”
All day, I’ve wanted to be all those people for Leslie Jones. I’ve wanted access to her—have a way to comfort her because though she is not my daughter, my sister, or my best friend, she is my sista. She is me.
We are Black women — and some in the world seem determined to convince us that we aren’t enough—regardless of what we do, how much we accomplish. And while it feels like a personal attack, it’s not personal. These people don’t even see us.
Let me explain.
The best birthday party I’ve ever been to was a destination party in Jamaica. I didn’t know many of the attendees, but got to know them fairly well after spending 4 fabulous days in paradise with them.
Fast forward to two weeks ago: I was out on a double date and the maître d sat us. I found out later that the maître d was one of the women that I had spent a significant amount of time with in Jamaica. She recognized me, but didn’t say anything, since I didn’t acknowledge her. Though I distinctly remember speaking to the woman (I worked in restaurants all through high school and college, so am particularly nice to restaurant employees), I didn’t see her. I saw a matre D. I didn’t see the person.
Most people don’t see us. They see a Black person and any accompanying stereotypes they have about Black people. So it is nothing to attack and tear apart this caricature — particularly for people who mainly live their lives in front of a computer screen.
So Leslie, please know that these perpetrators do not see you honey. This has nothing to do with you.
But, we do know you, my Dear, your Tribe of Sistas — sisters, mothers, and friends. We see you. We truly see YOU and all of your accomplishments. We applaud you. And we stand with you.
Oh baby They sho is tryin so hard to make you break. Don’t they know that Black don’t crack? Or did they foolishly think that sayin' just referred to our skin? -Randi Bryant