The Root’s Clapback Mailbag: A Children’s Story

Illustration for article titled The Root’s Clapback Mailbag: A Children’s Story
Illustration: Oscar Bustamante (GMG)
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.

Once upon a time, not long ago, when people wore pajamas and lived life slow, when laws were stern and justice stood, and Negroes didn’t come to white neighborhoods, there were some wypipo who were misled by some more white people. Here’s what they said: “Me and you, Brad, we’re gonna get real mad. And send some racist emails to The Root’s mailbag.”


They did the job. The hate mail came with ease. But it’s like they couldn’t stop, it’s like they had a disease. They sent another and another, but they did it undercover. They even used fake names, these racist motherfuckers.

This ain’t funny, so don’t you dare laugh. Let’s read some bullshit from today’s mailbag.

The first group of emails comes from Anne Branigin’s article about parents on New York City’s Upper East Side who were outraged that their children might have to sit in classrooms with actual Negroes and Latinos.

From: Hill
To: Anne Branigin
Subject: “Watch room full of rich white parents get mad at plan to diversify schools”

Good afternoon,

I came across your article and found it to be biased & twisting facts to serve your purpose. To start with, the title is discriminatory. I somehow doubt you’d ever write an article entitled “watch room full of rich black parents get mad at plan to deversify neighborhood schools”. Gentrification is not making things worse, it’s helping underserved neighborhoods become revitalized. You’re writing a racially charged article when in reality everyone whether black or white or Latino suffers when the cost of living goes up. Money is non discriminatory and doesn’t care nor know your race or creed. For everyone native to New York, it’s becoming more and more challenging to make ends meet and afford to live in New York City no matter what neighborhood. Why aren’t you talking about that? And why are you pro children traveling out of their neighborhood school zone? Why aren’t you highlighting the bigger elephant in the room; there are failing schools that aren’t being fixed which in turn are causing students to travel further distances to get a decent education and that’s just simply unacceptable and illogical. Instead of fixing neighborhood schools and making a good education accessible you’re blaming a race which as a writer I think is completely irresponsible and simply a disservice to your readership.

I hope this email makes its way to you and it causes you to take pause and reevaluate the issues at hand. This isn’t a race issue, this is an education system that’s failing its students and rather than repair the issue at the root of the problem the solution is to make students travel extra distances out of their neighborhood which is just wrong and unfair.

Thank you for your time.

Yours truly,

A disheartened reader

From: Todd
To: Anne Branigin
Subject: Not about “Color”.

Whether “rich or white” or rich or Asian, parents do not want bad elements from one district for whatever reason to be transplanted into an otherwise effective and well run institution. When you grow up some day you’ll realize that it’s simple and less about race than it is about anything other than not wanting kids in school with your children that do not want to learn. Why is everything about color? Asians are the wealthiest race in the world, and it’s because they separate themselves from people that don’t try hard or get into trouble. They, too, want the same for their kids. There is such a thing as “bad elements”. Not everyone can be reformed depending on their environment. More money is spent on “troubled” inner city schools than any other demographic. Stop thinking that it’s about affluence or money, it’s about how you raise or fail to raise your kids. You, however, are either a childish idealist or a race baited troublemaker.

From: Donna Fox <>
Date: April 27, 2018 at 8:51:26 PM EDT
Subject: Diversity in New York schools

I live in New York and pay some of the highest taxes in the country. And no, I don’t want my children in a classroom with 25% of the students “underperforming”. That is completely unfair to those of us who have children who excel and deserve to be in a classroom with other kids who excel as well and will challenge them.

Diversity doesn’t work. These black and Hispanic children come from homes that are overwhelmingly disfunctional and these kids almost always have behavior issues as well as learning issues and to say they lag behind academically is putting it mildly. You alter a classroom and add 25% of kids like this in with achievers what happens ? The classroom is in a state of chaos because these kids have learning and behavior issues and who then gets the attention of the teachers ? The dysfunctional ones that’s who. And that is just simply wrong and unacceptable. Parents will fight this ridiculous idea and it’s my hope that they fight hard and prevail. As people who actually pay the taxes in New York and don’t live off if the taxpayers these people deserve better than what will inevitably turn out to be a disastrous outcome. It’s time for the forced social engineering at the expense of the taxpayers to stop.


Dear Hill, Todd and Donna:

As someone who grew up in an “underserved” neighborhood, filled with “underperforming,” “troubled” kids, I totally get where you’re coming from. In fact, as the father of a “bad element,” I can see that Anne is race-baiting by making everything about race. Of course, if it has nothing to do with the color of the students’ skin, there’s only one other conclusion I can draw from your outrage:

You are just evil.

Because, if it’s not about race, and you don’t believe that black and Hispanic children are stupid and prone to misbehavior, then you, like me, agree that if black and Hispanic children were given the same opportunities as rich, white students, they could reach the same levels of academic achievement.


But your kids get to attend schools with better funding and more resources like test preparation, more technology and access to a wider variety of teaching techniques. Their advantage comes from the fact that your schools pay higher salaries to teachers, which means that they can recruit more accomplished educators, which means that they can perform better in the ways that schools measure success.

Even though you’re evil, I’m still happy that you don’t want to make this all about race, as Anne does. She probably assumed that you weren’t evil and thought you believed some racist shit. A racist would believe that the parents of minority students don’t raise their kids right because black parents couldn’t possibly love their children as much as the rich, white parents do. A racist would believe that Asians perform so well because they “separate themselves,” and not that they might have an advantage because there aren’t lynch mobs gathering at the local elementary schools trying to undercut their kids’ success by maintaining segregation.


But not you.

You just don’t give a fuck about anyone’s kids but your own. You don’t care that the students at the “failing schools” pay the same taxes as you. You don’t care about their quality of education because your kids are doing pretty well. When you say, “Fuck those other kids,” it has less to do with race than with your desire to give your kids an advantage. Just because your children happen to attend institutions that are mostly white and those schools happen to be supreme doesn’t mean you are participating in institutional white supremacy.


You’re just evil.

Glad we could clear that up.

The next letter refers to an article I wrote about Joy Reid’s pseudo-explanation and mea culpa after she was found to have written some homophobic blog posts.


From: Ann Onymous
To: The Root
Subject: You can’t love and support Joy Reid and also love and support LGBT folks

The worst part of being black and queer is seeing people who claim to be your brothers, sisters, and allies routinely and callously side against you. We’re now two paper-thin non-apologies in and it’s still nothing but hand-waving and excuses. It’s not always fun to find out who your real friends are, but I’d rather have witnessed this ugly impasse than gone on patronizing homophobes. You were presented with a simple, clear cut choice between a fair-weather progressive talking head and the LGBT community, and you chose the former. There’s really nothing I can say to that except goodbye. There are no words for my disappointment in you two.

PS- The hand of one is the hand of all

Dear Ann,

First, I’d like to explain that I’m the least homophobic person you know and some of my best friends are gay. I work with a lot of nonprofit equal-rights causes, and when I was in college ...


I’m just bullshitting.

You’re right.

The point of my post was to try to insert some nuance into this discussion, but I realize that it may have been a little tone-deaf. I’ve always believed that one of the ways white people perpetuate white supremacy is not by doing racist things but by remaining quiet when other people perform acts of racism, thereby enabling people who marginalize minorities.


When I use the termwypipo,” I’m not necessarily pointing the finger at blatant racists. It was derived to call out the people who uphold racism while wholeheartedly believing that they aren’t racist themselves. Richard Spencer is a racist white person. Tomi Lahren is wypipo. Michael Rapaport is wypipo. The parents in New York City who say their stiff-arming of black kids has nothing to do with race are wypipo.

I was being “wypipo.”

By saying, “I don’t believe Joy Reid is anti-gay because she did that one thing that one time,” I was being hypocritical because I often call out white people who do the same thing. I was attempting to justify Reid’s actions and advocate that she not be thrown onto the trash heap of people who are blatantly anti-gay, when the truth is, how the fuck do I know?


I should have shut the fuck up.

Next time, I will.

But seriously, though ... some of my best friends are gay. I apologize to them, too.


And finally, this:

Illustration for article titled The Root’s Clapback Mailbag: A Children’s Story
Screenshot: @firstgentrekkie (Twitter)
Illustration for article titled The Root’s Clapback Mailbag: A Children’s Story
Screenshot: @firstgentrekkie (Twitter)
Illustration for article titled The Root’s Clapback Mailbag: A Children’s Story
Screenshot: @firstgentrekkie (Twitter)

Here’s a thought: How about just being a good person?

Knock ’em out the box, Chad.

Knock ’em out.

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


Asians are the wealthiest race in the world

news to me! so is somebody gonna run me my asian heritage check????