The Root’s Clapback Mailbag: Beckys and Bad Suits

Photo illustration by Omar Bustamante/The Root/GMG

Once again, it’s Friday, which means it is time to sort through The Root’s mailbag and soak in our readers’ reactions to the content posted this week. It has been an interesting seven days here, and this week’s correspondence reveals an interesting mix of white tears, white fragility and butt-hurt Beckys. And yet we remain committed to answering your concerns because you, dear readers, are the reasons we exist. Let’s see what you had to say this week:


Dear Beckys,

First of all, Christine M. Carter, stop laughing. Sure, I’m laughing, too, but I’m giggling at the hilarity of a group of actual Beckys Beckying about an article about Beckys. I’m laughing at how meta this all is. But you, Christine, are cyberbullying. It’s different.


Second, to both Beckys, and to the Beckys around the globe, I’d like to apologize. I separated Beckys into specific categories, but I was obviously wrong. I had no idea that there was an unrecognized class of Becky that managed to fit into every single category. You, dear sweethearts, are a rare find, and I apologize for leaving you out.

I’d also like to commend you on the degree of difficulty of your tweets. This is the first time I have ever seen a “not all white women” combined with the gymnastics of a #BlackLivesMatter, a 180-degree reverse-racism ending with a white-tears landing. I give it a 9.7, even though the Russian judge might disagree.


I would also like to address your fear of the terrible prospect of radical Becky terrorism sweeping the nation. While I specifically said that “not all white women are Beckys,” perhaps I was not strong enough in my repudiation of Beckyphobia. I condemn both the anti-Becky violence and the Mike supremacists. There were bad people ... on both sides.



Dear David,

I was about to ask you why you tweeted this bullshit, but when I looked at your Twitter feed, I saw where you tweeted or retweeted swipes at Muslims, Jews, transgenders, blacks, little people and even Native Americans. And that was just this week! I won’t even paint you as a bigot for fucking with Yesha Callahan. That would be unfair. You are just a hateful, small little man.


Instead, I’d like to use this opportunity to talk to you about your suits.

David, even though your pastime might be the childish act of belittling others on social media, you have gotta do something about your suit game, bruh. You can’t just walk into J.C. Penney and grab a two-for-one deal and expect people to treat you seriously when you walking around looking like this.


What the fuck, David? You’re a grown man, David. I’m not even trying to be elitist, but you look like you’re going to court and borrowed a suit from your uncle.

And David, you’re white! You’re letting the entire white community down when you walk around in that ill-fitting bullshit. You look like a “before” picture. You look like you bought that suit from Walgreens. You look like ...


Wait. Oh, my God, David! Are you wearing black Reebok 5411s, Dave? No, Davey! Tell me you aren’t wearing the “security-guard specials” with your Walmart suit, Dave! Say it!

I listened to some of your music, David, and it actually sounded pretty good. I said that to show you that I am being forthright and honest with you. You play a pretty mean piano, even if you look like you bought your outfit after staring into the eclipse.


Maybe you don’t care what I say, Dave. I’m willing to bet you are probably evolved enough to think, “Why should I concern myself with this petty asshole who doesn’t even know me and hopped on his computer for nothing else but a desperate attempt to make me feel bad?”

Exactly, Dave.


From: Jim P.
To: Michael Harriot
Subject: Assimilate into whiteness

In your article “Charles Barkley Is A Great Example Of A Black White Supremacist” you wrote:

“Does anyone even listen to him at this point? Let’s set aside his basketball commentary for a minute (where I still find him to be the NBA’s most consistently entertaining and insightful commentator). Is there anyone who thinks that Barkley’s statements about race reveal anything other than his repeated willingness to throw black people under the bus for our stupid unwillingness to assimilate into whiteness?”

Could you please explain to me what: “assimilate into whiteness” means ?? Thank you very much.


Dear Jim,


From: Mike S.
To: Danielle Belton
Subject: Information Desimination

On my phone I receive news alerts by choice. I just clicked on one concerning Megan Kelly. I was dismayed and deeply insulted (not an easy accomplishment at my age) over the unnecessary characterizing of Fox news viewers and any degree of a “fan of Ms. Kelly. Why do you find it necessary and purposeful to promote stereotypes and divisiveness? A great many of us resist and simply won’t fit your ideological boxes. I watch Fox, CNN,and MSNBC equally. I can tolerate Ms. Kelly and voted for Trump by default. Does this make me a “hater” and the other nasty attributes accorded in your commentary? And with that you have it; just report the news as your premise promises. Otherwise get a blog or write a book so at least the unwitting reader knows what’s coming. Am unsubscribing as we speak, so now you have collateral damage with those just trying to inform. Again to quote Reba “WHY”???


Hey, Old White Mike,

No, I’m not stereotyping by calling you “old” and “white.” I’m basing my assumption on the fact that the median age for the Fox News Channel’s audience is 68, which means half its viewers are older than 68, and 92 percent of FNC’s viewers are white. Plus, I guessed you were old because you seem to be unaware that all of the news you get on your phone comes from a “blog.” I’m sorry to inform you that Danielle Belton isn’t a news genie sitting at a desk watching the news and yelling, “Quick, where’s my wand? I gotta send this to White Mike’s phone! He might like this!”


The fact that you can tolerate Megyn Kelly, voted for Donald Trump and will fire off an email to defend Fox News tells me that you actually fit into an ideological box, and that box probably wouldn’t like it here. The magician who sent that article to your phone probably wasn’t aware of that fact.

But your email raises a larger point, Mike. I bet you hate Hillary Clinton as much as the elf who typed that article inside your telephone dislikes Kelly. I bet your reasons are valid. You probably think she’s a liar and a shady old lady who deletes emails and faints all the time. I think she is, too. And even though I would rather have her for president than Pumpkin Spice Pol Pot, neither my dislike of Trump, your dislike of Clinton nor the cellphone fairy’s dislike of Kelly is divisive.


The tiny little sprite typists at The Root are often criticized for spreading divisiveness every time we point out racism. People (and by “people” I mean wypipo) accuse us of further dividing America by shining a light on white supremacy. We are even called racists because we always talk about race, which is as stupid as accusing a doctor of making you sick because he or she is always talking about illness and disease.

I’m sorry you unsubscribed, White Mike, but this probably wasn’t the place for you. We have already recalled our little gnome from inside your phone. Thank you for your email.


The next comment comes from the following article:


Wait, lordofb, don’t go!

I didn’t mean it. I’m sorry Monique Judge laughed. She probably thought the idea of a light poke at white people was funny. She probably had no idea that anyone could possibly be so fragile that they would take that little section of a lighthearted sentence and blow it up into being butt-hurt. She probably thought that someone who knows how to log onto the internet was aware that there is a little-known combination of language and humor called a “joke.”


Monique was wrong.

I’m willing to bet you that if you asked Monique, she had no idea that her laughter could hurt someone. I bet Monique is so insensitive that she laughs at most jokes. I bet she laughs at the Popeyes commercial with the gospel singer wailing about fried chicken. I bet she laughs every time she hears the words “inner city” or “urban,” knowing that most cities and urban areas are predominantly white. I bet she laughs when politicians are asked about black topics and they default to talking points about crime and unemployment. I bet she laughs her ass off.


You know what else, lordofb? I am willing to bet—and Monique has never told me this personally, so I’m just guessing here—that maybe every now and then she hears a joke that pokes fun at white people. I’m sure she doesn’t hear it often, because it has never, ever been a thing in comedy, journalism or America. But I’m going to suspend my disbelief and say it happens every now and then. Maybe it’s while she’s reading The Root or maybe it’s while ... umm ... OK, let’s say it’s only when she’s reading The Root.

Let’s say, in that moment, someone makes an innocuous joke about white people. Let’s say they call a white woman a “Becky” or slip in a half-sentence about Caucasians’ predilection for sticking their noses into everything.


Even though there are only a few places that she can even hear that premise about white people, and she can literally hear some form of that premise everywhere about black people, Monique shouldn’t take that opportunity to smile. Even if neither the joke nor her chuckle injures a single white soul. Even if they will still be exempt from the hate, prejudice, sly looks and exclusion that Monique wades through every moment of her goddamn life, what gives her the right to smile, lordofb? How fucking dare she?

I’m going to have a word with her about this.

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About the author

Michael Harriot

World-renowned wypipologist. Getter and doer of "it." Never reneged, never will. Last real negus alive.