The Root's Clapback Mailbag: 10 Things I Love About White People

Illustration for article titled The Root's Clapback Mailbag: 10 Things I Love About White People
Illustration: Oscar Bustamante
Clapback MailbagEach Friday, we select the best (or worst) emails, tweets, DMs and comments from our readers and respond to them in the The Root's Clapback Mailbag.

I know I’ve made fun of white people in the past but I hate being negative all the time. So today’s Clapback mailbag is dedicated to all the things I truly admire about our Caucasian brethren.


Alexa, play “My Favorite Things.”

Our first letter contains four things I love about people who stick their feet out of car windows and comes from someone who stumbled across an old article.

From: David
To: Michael Harriot

Black people who preach hatred against white people, as you do all day every day, are considered social justice activists and civil rights heroes and it only leads to more career opportunities. White people who say anything mildly offensive about black people, like suggesting that not every problem and failure of black people is the result of white people and white racism, they have their lives ruined. And your takeaway from this is that blacks must be braver than whites because you’re a typical nigger who can’t formulate any thoughts other than “white = bad, black = good”.

Also, why are countless numbers of Africans trying to move to America, Europe, Canada, Australia if we’re so oppressive? No one’s stopping you from moving to Africa, right? I’m sure it would be just like the movie if there were no cavebeasts around, na’m saying muthafucka? And I can’t help but notice that blacks in South Africa had better living standards under apartheid than under the ANC.

10. When white people are offended: The first thing I love about white people is the Caucasianwide belief that Black people hate white people. They said it about Martin Luther King Jr., who preached love. They said it about Malcolm X, who preached self-reliance. They said the same thing about the nonviolent resistance as they said about the Black Panthers. No matter what Black people say; no matter how we say it, white people can transform any position on anti-racism into something about anti-whiteness, which begs the question:

Why worry about offending white people?

If anything a Black person says about their own oppression is inherently offensive to white people, then why would anyone couch their speech in some Pollyanna-ish, benign form of rhetoric? Make those motherfuckers mad! Why the fuck would anyone tiptoe around a racist’s feelings, anyway? What the fuck are they going to do, be more racist?


No, my friend, Black people don’t hate white people. They hate racism.

Wait... are you trying to argue that Black people hate all white people because all white people are...


You said it, not me.

9. When white people are offensive: Whenever a mayosapien begins to explain why Black people are too sensitive, you can bet they’re about to say some foul shit. I was just about to dig through a pile of old emails to illustrate this point when I realized this motherfucker defended “White people who say anything mildly offensive about black people” and then called me a “typical nigger” in the next sentence.


It doesn’t get any better than that.

8. When white people have the answers: I love when white people insist that they have the answers to racism because it always involves a variation of “get over it” and never addresses the actual shit we have to get over. It’s like bashing someone’s leg with a crowbar and asking:


“Why are Black people always talking about that time I broke their leg? Typical nigger—always demanding crutches.”

7. When white people talk about Africa: I love every single version of “Go back to Africa” because white people really know a lot about Africa... except for the fact that white people did the same shit over there. I wonder if he knows that white people actually stopped us from going. It’s like bashing someone in the leg with a crowbar and asking:

“Why don’t you go back to Africa?”

White people like crowbars.

6. When white people give financial advice: I absolutely love that white people think there’s some kind of huge profit in explaining the realities of white supremacy but white supremacy gives them no financial advantage.


Or, maybe they just keep forgetting to mail my race-baiting residuals.

Keith was big mad at Zack Linly for writing something about white people. I’m not going to link to the article he was talking about because, honestly, it could have been anything Zack wrote.

From: Keith Johnson
To: Zack Linly

I read your article— “caucasity”.... really? Bigot. It’s people like you writing crap like that which fans the flames of racial divide, lawlessness, retardedness and cowardice. Nobody thinks police are perfect and there are plenty of black officers that might have your smug attitude but your portrayal is nothing but a fucking lie. You are the biggest here.


5. When black people are the real racist. Because it takes one to know one.

4. When white people know which came first, the racist chicken or the racist egg: The notion that talking about racism is what causes racism is one of my absolute favorite forms of whitesplaining because the book of Ginnuhsis in the King Linly version of the Bible actually tells the origin story of racism

1 In the beginning Jerome T’Challa G’od created the heaven and the earth.

2 And the earth was without form, and void like the inside of Donald Trump’s brain; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. 3 And God said, “Let there be light:” and there was not light because he had not paid the deposit for the light bill. 4 And God said: “What the fuck is a light bill?” 4 And God saw the electric bill, and paid a small deposit and did not set up autopay because he don’t trust those motherfuckers at the power company like that. 5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night, and told the angels in Heaven they better not be running in and out his Pearly Gates running up his light bill.

And the evening and the morning were the first day.

6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters.  7 But no one knew what a “firmament” was so he said: “The sky, nigga!”  9 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. 10 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and then there was watermelon and sweet potatoes.

11 And the evening and the morning were the second day.

12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God took some of the herbs, grass and seedlings, rolled them in a leaf and said: “That’s it for today, fellas. “Y’all wanna hit this?”

13 And the evening and the morning were the third day.

14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: 15
And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.

 16 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and someone said: “Remind me again, which one is the firmament?” And God said: “Bring me some of the good herbs but this time, leave out the seedlings. Y’all working my last nerve.”

17 And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.

18 And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. 19 And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind. 20 And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.

21 And someone said: “Hey, God...” So God said: “If you ask me about that damn firmament one more time, I’mma smite your ass.” And someone said, “Nah, I was just gonna ask if you had some more of that herb. The one without the seedlings. I’ll pay you for some.” And God did give some of the seedlingless herb to his angels. And as they sat under the moon and stars and partook in the herbs of the earth, the archangel asked: “Hey... Do you ever think someone will go to the moon up there in the firmament.” And God says: “Probably not. Ain’t shit up there.” And the angel said “Yeah... You’re right. Also...What does ‘smite’ mean?”

22 And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.

23 And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

24 And an angel said: “Hey God...” And God said: “We can’t smoke up all the herb, bruh.” And the angel said: “No worries, I was just gonna ask if you have ever thought about what those winged fowls and that cattle would taste like if we put it on the barbecue grill?” God tried it. But there were leftovers. And God said: “who’s going to eat all this barbecue?”

25 So God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 26 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And he even put some of the fish in the grease.

27 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. 28 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.

29 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And God, who was still eating on a pork chop said: “I’m glad there are no white people here.” And an angel said: “What’s white people?” And God said: “It’s kinda like the man I already made, but kinda racist.”

30And the angel asked: “What does racist mean?” And God said: “Hold up. I’ll show you...”

“But first, we’re gonna need more herbs.”

And that’s why talking about racism created racism.

See? It’s in the Bible.

Finally, some people objected to our article about the Virginia Military Institute and used three of our favorite white things to explain their anger:

Name: Daniel M Herold
Subject: Your recent article reference VMI

Sir, I began to read your article about VMI and I had to stop. I stopped because of your blazing ignorance. Apparently you either don’t know or don’t care that no one on the Confederate side was charges with treason for the very simple reason that there was not an oath taken to pledge allegiance to the U.S...

The oath that were taken prior to the civil war were to the states a person resided in. Hence, Jefferson Davis, a creep of the 1st order was held for a long period of time and released with no charges. Perhaps you could do more and better research before you make allegations ? Thank you, Dan Herold

From: Greg Wright
To: Michael Harriot
Subject: “Black people built America”

I just want to let you know that your statement that “Black people built America” is a clear sign that you may be mentally ill. You should take a look at what sub-Saharan Africa looked like before white explorers made contact with the primitive Black tribes that inhabited that region. They were living a Stone-Age existence without the invention of the wheel. That is probably as a result of the average IQ of 75 that pure Blacks have. The best thing that ever happened to the progeny of Black slaves is that their ancestors were brought to the US. Otherwise, Blacks would still be living a primitive existence to this day.

When is it that primitive, 75 IQ African Blacks were going to invent the iPhone, airplanes, computers, etc.? You should be thankful that you are in a position to enjoy the fruits of the brilliance of non-Blacks. You are just along for the ride and you think that you “built America.”

You didn’t and you can’t build anything. You sure do know how to tear down and to demand hand-outs, though. Blacks are experts at demanding other peoples’ property. Now sit down and shut up and continue to let White people feed and clothe you.


3. When white people are smarter than black people: White people are so smart that they needed to steal labor from Africans, firearms from Asians and every bit of knowledge, art and technology from other cultures to build the superior civilizations that they created through theft, murder and mayhem.

And everyone else is savage.

2. When white people deny the existence of racism: Apparently, all of the black students at VMI are telling the same lie. And, somehow, they are working with all of the black alumni, faculty and former cadets to paint VMI as a racist institution.


Even though these people have nothing to gain from this narrative, they all mysteriously manufactured similar stories independent of each other just so they could embarrass a school that they admit that they still love and only want to make better. And they devised this elaborate hoax despite the fact that exposing the racism at VMI will cause them more headaches than it will benefit them.

The only other possibility is that the VMI’s white stakeholders, who haphazardly throw around the N-word, historically excluded non-whites and worship monuments to white supremacy, are lying to protect white supremacy.


Which one seems more true?

1. When white people don’t believe the shit that actually happened: This is my absolute favorite thing about white people.


See, white people work harder than everyone else. They have better morals and of course, they are smarter than every non-white person on the planet. But nothing pleases me more than how they have deluded themselves into believing a Caucasian-friendly, whitewashed version of history that is kinda sorta based on an almost true story.

Take Greg, for instance. He suggested that I should “take a look at what sub-Saharan Africa looked like before white explorers made contact with the primitive Black tribes that inhabited that region,” so I did.


Well, kinda.

See, I knew that sub-Saharan African explorers actually made contact with white people when white people were still trying to figure out how science works. When Plato and Socrates learned “Greek Philosophy”; When Archimedes calculated Pi after Africans taught him; when Euclid became the “Father of Geometry after Africans taught it to him; studied in Alexandria and Egypt, white people like to think that all that information they took from the cities that were the world capitals of knowledge somehow rained out of the sky and landed in northern Africa. Who do you think brought science and engineering there? Who do you think built the pyramids, reversed the flow of the Nile and built all that shit in Egypt that was just replicas of shit that already existed all over sub-Saharan Africa?


Why do you think Mansa Musa crashed the Western European economy if they were so backward and poor? Why did Jesus go there and come back as a savior? Why were sub-Saharan Africans inoculating their people from diseases centuries years before white people?

Or, take Daniel and Shari.

Daniel claims that “no one on the Confederate side was charges with treason” so I replied to Daniel with an actual document showing that Robert E. Lee had to be pardoned for his treasonous acts against their country. In fact, Lee’s citizenship wasn’t restored until 1975—and Jefferson Davis was arrested and charged with treason but the trial never happened because Andrew Jackson issued a blanket pardon for Confederates.


I received a shitload of letters explaining how VMI and the Confederacy weren’t racist but perhaps the most revealing moment came when Managing Editor Genetta Adams asked why VMI’s Director of Communications and Marketing signed the school’s response to our request for comment this way:

Illustration for article titled The Root's Clapback Mailbag: 10 Things I Love About White People
Screenshot: Michael Harriot

She wanted to know if the “Virginia Militia” was a newspaper or something. So I informed her that Virginia law actually mandates an “unorganized militia” led by the governor, composed of the students and administrators at VMI.

In 1788, at Virginia’s state Constitutional Convention, George Mason and Virginia and Gov. Patrick Henry refused to ratify the US Constitution because they were afraid that black people would take up arms.


The NY Times explains:

Mason and Henry raised many arguments against ratification. One concerned the militia. To appreciate their arguments, we must bear three things in mind about the time and place of the debate.

First, the majority population in eastern Virginia were enslaved blacks. Whites lived in constant fear of slave insurrection...

Second, the principal instrument for slave control was the militia. In the main, the South had refused to commit her militias to the war against the British during the American Revolution out of fear that, if the militias departed, slaves would revolt...

Third, previously the militias were creatures of state governments. The new Constitution changed that...

During the debate in Richmond, Mason and Henry suggested that the new Constitution gave Congress the power to subvert the slave system by disarming the militias. “Slavery is detested,” Henry reminded the audience. “The majority of Congress is to the North, and the slaves are to the South,” he said.


So, to convince the slaveowners in one of the most important colonies to become part of the United States, Madison agreed to change the whole document by sliding in a single sentence. It is just a relic of white supremacy and white people’s fear of a Black uprising. It still remains the shortest Constitutional amendment:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.


And that’s why every student and administrator at VMI is technically a member of a slave patrol.

White people don’t know shit.

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


Gameface doesn`t play nice with others

I used to teach my middle schoolers about the Universities in Kemet (Alexandria) and Timbuktu. And how the people of Kemet was just and extension of the people of Kush and others further north on the Nile (south on a map.) Then I would show evidence of the pyramids of varying designs there - that predate Kemet (Egypt) to show that those civilizations were established and fostered by the Black people that lived there. There was a whole lot of Black folk whom I made sure to re-install into the history I was given to teach them as well. Years later, I have gotten a number of letters or communication where some of my students chose to study further into “history” and not only validate the things they learned years before, but also to give ammunition, if you will, when people - of every color - eliminate the question of their ignorance by saying similar stupid shit that was stated in your letters here.

But the problem is: 1. When white people don’t believe the shit that actually happened.

It hurts to go against a belief that a person has held dear for the better part of their lives only to find that it is a lie based upon a whole untruth or half truth. It’s easier to call a person a liar instead of accepting that they have been the victim of lies. It’s the reason that Tub of Lying Excrement President Alabastard 45 in the throes of a raging pandemic, is choosing to make an issue out of the 1619 project - that he has never read.

I appreciate your mailbag today, if for no other reason, than the walk down memory lane from a previous life of teaching the minds of Black and Brown kids like me and mine that they have a place in this world - regardless of all the efforts leveled against them to tell them otherwise.