The Root’s Clapback Mailbag: Why?

Illustration: Oscar Bustamante (The Root/G-O)

Y’all know me.

Each Friday, I use my black privilege to attack poor hapless white souls who were only trying to live their lives and, maybe, occasionally, blurt out a “nigger” or two.

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And you’re part of it, too. The only reason we sift through tweets, emails, comments and direct messages is that we feel compelled to satiate your ravenous appetites for watching white people being bullied into submission. I honestly tried to stop doing this column but y’all motherfuckers be like:

WTF happened to the Clapback Mailbag?

So here it is.

It’s your fault.


I received a lot of emails about this article:

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Curiously, the flood came days after the article first appeared on The Root. Then I realized why. Apparently there are a bunch of anti-black feminists who believe that black men and the “woke media” have created a coordinated effort to destroy the pure white woman.

From: Amber T
To: Michael Harriot
Subject: hate

I found your article on beckycon to be very offensive. Not only did you attack women like Bette, Kim Kardashian and Miley Cyrus who have been committed to diversity, but you repet the 53 percent narrative that has already been disproven.

You are proof that feminism can or will never be intersectional because men like you will always attack women and use their privilege to psychologically rape the most vulnerable among us.

From: She
To: Michael Harriot
Subject: Woke media

Don’t hind behind your “intersectionality” bulletproof glass th throw stones at white women. You might think you’re funny but you’re not. I bet the only thing that keeps you from killing other niggers is your obsession with white omen.

I bet your gorilla dick can’t even get hard.

fuck off, monkey

From: Reba
To: Michael Harriot

You’re funny btut Reba is not short for Rebecca.

And why does everything have to be about race?

Dear various versions of Beckery,

Ooh, I love this game where we go back and forth roasting each other!

OK. My turn:

I bet you smell like a goat milk scrambled egg omelet. I bet the bottom of your feet look like you have a part-time job as a chimney sweep and you still put your toes where they don’t belong. I bet you have 36-year-old aunts whose skin looks like God unballed some crepe paper and said “That’ll do. Everyone knows white women expire like unpasteurized milk.” I bet you do shit like washing your hair with dog shampoo and staying silent when your husband and brother murders 15-year-olds in Mississippi. You probably spend your time advocating for white women while praying none of that insufferable nigger blood splatters on your chastity belt, you old-bag-of-nickels-smelling, complicit-in-actions-and-in-silence, wilting-piece-of albino-iceberg-lettuce-masquerading-as-feminist ass face.

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And Reba,

Here’s why I have to make everything about race:

Because I’m black.

I’m not a person “who happens to be black.” I like being black. In fact, when you assert that we are “all just one race – the human race,” it is an implicit admission that American society views blackness as a defect. This is because, apparently, the only way even non-racist white people can possibly imagine a black person as an equal human being is through an existential exercise where they strip the person of their color, culture, and history. I want you to see my blackness and still treat me like a human being. If I wanted my blackness to be erased or become invisible, I would only listen to polka music and only use a pinch of salt when I cook.

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I would also ice skate.

Of all the things that I have seen white children do, including arguing with their mamas in public, touching shit in grocery stores, and having their mediocrity celebrated at every turn, perhaps their ability to ice skate is the thing I most envy. White people can ice skate like a motherfucker! I’ve seen little white toddlers glide across the ice with no problem. Even with all of black people’s athletic ability and balance, we can’t fuck with you guys when it comes to rink-related sports. That’s probably why you dominate figure skating, hockey and speed skating.

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And, contrary to your belief, white people are also pretty good when it comes to “making things about race.”

Black people didn’t build a society based on race-based slavery; white people did. When slavery ended, black people didn’t create Jim Crow; white people did. Black people had nothing to do with the creation of redlining, sharecropping, poll taxes, “separate but equal,” the Southern Strategy, the war on drugs, housing projects, the school-to-prison pipeline, COINTELPRO or Tucker Carlson.

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If you are a black person in America, driving a car means you are more likely to be stopped, searched or killed by a police officer. Despite using drugs at the same rate as white people, being black means you are more likely to be arrested. If you are convicted of a crime, you prison sentence will be 20 percent longer. Living in a black neighborhood means your home is automatically worth $48,000 less than an identical home in a white neighborhood—even if the neighborhoods’ crime rates, amenities and resources are exactly the same. According to multiple studies, you will have to wait longer to vote if you live around black people. Sending your child to school in a majority-black school district means their school will receive $2,226 fewer dollars per student. Having black skin means you will be paid less than white people with the same education and experience. Your resumé will be tossed in the trash if your name sounds like it belongs to a black person. Black people pay higher interest rates on mortgages and car loans than white people with the same credit history. Your sons will be viewed as older and more dangerous. Your daughters will be perceived as unruly and more sexual.

Every nook and cranny of black existence is defined by race, but black people did not create this paradigm, nor do they perpetuate it. And despite what I said earlier, white people are not even better ice skaters. Their parents just have the money to purchase ice skates and pay for skating lessons.

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And that is white supremacy.

It is the asinine belief that the people who are gracefully gliding across this placid patch of ice are somehow superior to the people who trying to traverse the cold and slippery surface in their bare feet. It is purposely ignoring the fact that some people were given a set of hockey blades at birth while others were born into families who were forbidden from learning how to skate. It is pretending that this country didn’t actively prevent us from entering the rink or practicing the sport. It is hoarding all of the skates but wondering why everyone keeps falling when they try to walk across the frozen pond.

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And if someone ever subverted your illusion of dominance by asking you to walk this impossibly perilous path wearing our shoes, you couldn’t make it a fraction of the distance that we have. But I’d love to see you try, just so I could stand over your frozen, dazed body after you bust your ass, and arrogantly ask:

Why does everything have to be about skates?”

Your turn.


I have no idea what this was about:

From: Unapologetic White Man
To: Michael Harriot

How the heck are you still on Twitter? You are an obvious racist. You and your followers are basically a hate group. You are getting reported, Better if you was executed but hey, at least i can do my part to your removal from society. Screw you and your racist bs.

Please provide your details, your address. I will come meet you and have a little talk.

Thank you.

The unapologetic white man.

Well... that was something.


These motherfuckers are back:

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Dear Jan,

Last week, in a fit of absolute common sense, I referred to a woman as “a swamptwat,” something I truly regret. It was not my intention to insult swamps and—as many people will testify, I have always loved and respected twats—even those that hail from humid, temperate areas.

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I too would like to offer my support for Sarah Braasch.

In fact, I see that she has been using the incident to fundraise. Because calling the police on someone and portraying herself as the victim might be the whitest thing that ever happened, I would like to nominate Sarah Braasch to the White Womaning Hall of Fame. Her credentials are impeccable. Not only has she shown herself to be a valuable member of the police-calling community, but she plays the victim better than 99 percent of Sarahs (who, historically, are responsible for producing 72 percent of all white tears).

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But my favorite part of this entire thing is the hilarious parade of mediocre unsocked wearers of Birkenstocks and flip flops who have doused themselves in the scent of white feminist intellectualism by invoking wispy phrases from the thesaurus of white womanism. Goddamn, do they think they sound smart!

I guarantee you that Jan (seriously, her motherfucking name is Jan, y’all) has reread her 11th-grade diary, I-bet-they-think-I-write-like-Emily-Dickinson Twitter thread no less than 43 times because Jan is so fucking impressed with Jan.

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And I know some of y’all think that if I leave Sarah alone she will just go away, but I kinda want her to stay and it is readily apparent that Sarah needs and craves the attention she’s getting from fucking with me. I like Sarah in the way that I like knowing that somewhere out there, there is a squatgoblin who used dark cherry Koolaid as eyeshadow and believes that the entire world is against her even though no one has done a single thing to her ever.

Sometimes, when I open an email from a racist cravenly spitting the n-word, I think to myself how difficult this job can be. But just when I am feeling down and wondering if any of this matters, I will wander over to Sarah Braasch’s page are remember that as long as she exists, there is, indeed, a reason for all of this.

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And that’s why I do this.

For Sarah.

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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.