A few weeks ago, we began the inaugural Wypipo World Tournament that pitted the worst wypipo in the world against one another. When this idea first emerged, there was a very intense meeting that ended—as most meetings at The Root do—with, “OK, Mike, you piss wypipo off all the time. You do it.”
I didn’t argue because the idea seemed like a fun piece of satire that would keep me busy for a few weeks, and—to be honest—engendering Caucasian outrage is probably the only reason I have a job here. Although they refused to put “Senior Writer in Charge of White Tears” as my position on my business card, it’s kind of my thing.
Anyway, as the project gained steam, I received a lot of emails, DMs and comments from butt-hurt people of no color calling me a racist hack, which is to say: I received the same number of emails I normally receive, with the same subject matter. However, one email stuck out to me when it popped up in my inbox:
Although I have redacted his name for purposes of publication, I had no idea who this person was, but for some reason, his level of outrage intrigued me. Maybe it was the idea that he thought I’d be equally outraged if he started a “blkpipo tournament” (I wouldn’t be). Maybe it was because he thought the term “blkpipo” was clever. (It is not. At first I thought he was either talking about “bulk people” or “block people,” which would have been far more interesting.)
Even though I found his compliment that I was “hypermelanated” to be flattering, I decided I’d mess with him by responding to him. I recently learned that there is nothing low-IQ people or narcissists hate more than when people address them by the wrong name, so I decided to reply with an email addressing someone who wasn’t even him—as if he’d received the email by mistake. So I wrote this:
I knew he wouldn’t find it funny, but I didn’t care. This was purely for my own amusement. To my surprise, he wrote me back!
To be fair, I might be dumb, too, because I had no idea what any of that meant. But now I was all in, and I responded with this:
Then, on Friday, I had a seven-hour road trip to make. I found myself repeatedly checking my email. I prayed that my anonymous new friend hadn’t abandoned me. I waited. I put his email address in my “VIP” list. The racism of some anonymous, troglodyte troll was now my joy and strength. It was keeping me alive. Just when I thought he was gone, my email alert made a joyful noise.
Awww, how cute! He was trying to use my own joke against me—kinda like he thought initially that I’d be upset by his use of the word “blkpipo.” I gave him a C-minus for his effort.
Stop laughing at him! Honestly, if he had a few more brain cells, his email might’ve been funny. You try being clever and racist at the same time! It’s hard, but the fact that he knew the song “Becky” impressed me a little bit. I imagined him dancing to it. This was beginning to thrill me!
I knew it would get boring quickly if I started a battle of wits with a racist email troll, so I decided to throw him a curve when he was expecting another fastball:
Guess what, y’all? He responded again. Honestly, there are few things wypipo hate more than being called racist—even if they started the conversation by calling you “hypermelanated” and explaining how your dark skin makes you inferior. Even if that is the definition of racism, I wanted to see if he would backtrack and refute my name-calling, or if he was proud to be racist.
Come on, you already know the answer: He was both.
Fuck!!! He ruined everything!
Damn it, dude, by explaining how I am stymieing racial progress and hurting white people’s feelings, you became like everyone else. Even if I excused that, the banal “I help poor, underprivileged black people all the time at my job” is like every one of the other arguments every black person hears all week.
I thought you were different, Jim (not his real name). Well ... I actually thought you were racist, but still ... I thought you’d be different from all the other racists, but you turned out to be as fragile and dim-witted as all the rest of them.
Just when this was getting fun, too.
I guess all good things must come to an end, so I put on “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday” by Boyz II Men and wrote my weeklong pen pal a lovely farewell letter:
He will be missed.