Destruction in Italy, and a despicable backlash towards Leslie Jones

Before I begin, allow me let my Italian brethren know that I did not forget about you.

As you are all aware, a devastating earthquake struck central Italy early Wednesday, all but destroying one town, decimating several others, and killing at least 250 people.

After discussing Louisiana’s flooding the day before, though, I thought it would be a little too demoralizing to talk about another natural disaster immediately after.

It’s tough to imagine people buried under rubble, unable to shout for help or even move. But that’s the reality in parts of Italy right now.

The only silver lining that is a common theme in these disasters is the extraordinary efforts that people will make to help the victims. Out of the ashes, there’s always a glimmer of light that shines through to remind us that people are good.

Italy earthquake.jpg

But besides the normal methods like donating blood and money, a neat response has come in a different form from Italian restaurants. Eateries across the world, like these ones in New York City,  will donate portions of their sales to the relief efforts.

So you get to eat delicious Italian food and help others. What’s better than that?

Now before I move onto my main topic, it’s absolutely worth noting that Ryan Lochte’s troubles continue. He’s now being summoned to Italy (not extradited) to testify before a Brazilian judge about his version of events from the notorious Olympics after-party fiasco that caused a stir around the world.

This is pure drama at its finest.

OK, as much as I’d love to keep discussing the Lochte Ness Monster, I want to touch on a pretty sensitive issue that’s come up this week that carries a little more cultural significance — racism against Leslie Jones.

The Saturday Night Live cast member is definitely one of those comedians that you either really enjoy, or don’t see the appeal. I’m not going to lie — whenever she makes an appearance on the show’s Weekend Update, which she does regularly, I tend to fast forward my DVR.

Her shtick is pretty simple — she yells. She’s loud and abrasive. And it just doesn’t really do anything for me. But just because her comedic style is not my cup of tea doesn’t mean that I have anything against her as a person.

However, many others apparently do. I suppose that, for many, it’s hard to see Leslie Leslie Jones.jpgJones — a middle-aged black women with spiky hair — and her loud nature, and not be able to disassociate her from the color of her skin. If for no other reason because any one who yells regularly will draw a lot of attention to him or herself.

And for many in this country who still haven’t quite gotten the grasp that America is a place built on tolerance and diversity, and that all men and women are created equal — it’s caused a problem.

It’s a problem that Leslie Jones has been dealing with for quite some time. For months she’s been the victim of cyber-bullying. And this week, her site was hacked, featuring images of primates and explicit photos.

This isn’t ambiguously or even borderline racist.

People hate Leslie Jones because she is black. And that is despicable.

We wonder why our country doesn’t match up to the standards that we all think it should. We wonder where the hateful actions that occur at a certain politician’s rallies come from.

We shouldn’t wonder. It’s something that’s here, and has always been here, and if you need further evidence than just look at what’s happened to Leslie Jones.

Leslie, I may DVR through your SNL bits, and I may never have any desire to see Ghostbusters, but I sure as hell have a whole lot of respect for you as a person.

Hey, it may not mean much, but a little solidarity during a dark time never hurt any one.

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