The Root’s Clapback Mailbag: Always Bringing Up Old Stuff

Illustration by Oscar Bustamante/GMG/The Root
Illustration by Oscar Bustamante/GMG/The Root

I’m sorry. First, I would like to apologize to the readers who trusted me to bring them the latest and best clapbacks of the week. Next, I want to issue my deepest regrets to all the idiots, racists and people with generally bad grammar who feel ignored. I have failed you.


This week, through the magic of the great technical team at Fusion Media Group, I discovered that I have overlooked some of you for far too long. I discovered that I have whole-ass accounts to which fans have been sending tons of messages hate mail. First I received a notification to check my company email, to which I replied: “I have company email?”

While explaining how to access this alleged email account (“alleged” means that you don’t have to believe in something—even if it actually exists, correct? I’m pretty sure that’s right), the “engineer” (I prefer to call them “science magicians”*) joked that I missed out on these emails like people miss out on their filtered-Facebook-message inbox.

Again, I said, “Whatchootalmboutwillis?”

The 20-something didn’t get the joke, proving that inane trivia about ’80s sitcoms is far more important than useless bullshit like algebra and information technology.


*Seriously, I think all engineers know magic. The only other explanation is that they know math, science and how computers actually work, and there’s no way I believe that bullshit. It’s literally impossible. Next you’ll be trying to convince me to believe in bullshit like unicorns, Bigfoot, climate change and evolution.

Yeah, right.

Anyway, here are the clapbacks we have missed because I never learned the correct spells and incantations necessary to conjure up computer stuff (that’s the technical term, I think).


From: Ray O.
To: Anne Branigin
Subject: Too Many Commies In This Country

You sound like a stupid, commie bi#@#h that simply repeats what she heard from her indoctrinated professors . To think colleges and universities used to be institutions of higher education. The insults you throw at the president of the United States and other politicians simply demonstrates that you graduated from kindergarten (maybe) and have no respect for this country.

Please return to Iran or Yemen or whatever “raghead” country you probably still call home. Do not pass “go”, do not collect your passport, you won’t need it any longer. The true Americans don’t want you here.


Thanks for your reply, Ray. It’s obvious that you and I are kindred spirits. While I love Anne, I, too, think she far too often writes about issues and news with a bias toward that nonsense people learn in college. I have spoken with her privately about using things like facts, scientific studies and research. She will never get anywhere in life doing that.

During our impromptu counseling sessions, I’ve told her that if she wants to be a “true American” like you, she must learn to get the truth from the one place where all real Americans find it: their guts.


But I could tell she was confused. See, Anne can’t shake free from the indoctrination she received by getting an actual master’s degree in journalism and instead adhere to the journalistic integrity of random yahoos who email her to tell her to go back to countries she’s not from. You see, Anne has not come to the realization that there is a difference between “the truth” and “my truth.”

She has yet to comprehend the fact that we live in a post-truth society where one can deny climate change because it feels colder, or white people can grab tiki torches and commit acts of terror because they feel oppressed. I continue to work with Anne on this, but there’s one other question that I’d like to ask you:

Why did you feel the need to censor the word “bitch”? Did you think a woman would be OK with your calling her a “stupid commie” or a “raghead” but then clutch her pearls when she read the word “bitch”? Are racism and xenophobia OK in your circle, but sexism is going too far? You’re such a fucking gentleman, Ray.


But let’s get back to Anne and what it means to be a “true American,” because I don’t know what that means. When your parents, grandparents or great-grandparents came to this country, did they not become “true Americans”? How long does it take? Must Anne do something like steal land, kidnap blacks, rape, commit genocide or write asterisk-laced racist diatribes to people she disagrees with before she gets an invitation into your club of lying, murdering, raping, reneging thieves?

I’m asking for a Native American friend.

Oh and one more thing:

Your mama’s a b***h.

Don’t be offended; I didn’t type it out. Plus, look at her son.

Hey man, that’s just “my truth.”

The next message was found in the hidden double-secret, filtered-message inbox:

From: Shane G.

Hey Michael, The things you are sharing are inappropriate and should not be on Facebook. Please take them down. You are a dumb prick who writes bullshit articles on a back ally site Also go fuck ya mother and MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN


Gotdammit, Shane!

I wish I had gotten this message before I had that threesome with your mother and Ray O’s! Now I’m pretty much done with mother-fucking for the year.


I blame Obama.

P.S. This is just a joke. I don’t want to be sued for slander or libel. Despite her numerous pleas, I have never had sexual intercourse with your mother. Plus, I would never insert my penis into the dry, wrinkled hole that gave life to anything like you.


From: Jo
Subject: No longer following NFL
To: Stephen Crocket

Obviously that is a lie. Starting with a lie is a bad foundation. I am positive you never served your country in any way shape or form as Mr. Kaep has also not served. Also I am sure you will not allow me to tell you how to spend your money. Just as you can not tell any NFL owner how to spend theirs. NFL owners do not have to put out a good product because it is not necessary for them to do so to make millions. They have blind follows. It is always about money. I do not watch The NFL nor do I support what they stand for because starting from the owners, coaches and players they are all over paid for whatever skill,or talent people feel they have there by creating all this ego and false value. Just like writers like yourself and those you work with who continually spew out their praises. I understand Mr Kaep’s cause and realize it is a worthy one but he should have picked a different a venue to express himself.

Get a life and write about something else. Oh yes try to tell the truth a forgotten area in your chosen profession


Dear Jo,

Thank you for your service. (I don’t know if you have ever served in the military—I’m talking about your service to whiteness.)


Here’s a surprise: I actually agree with you. You have every right to disagree with the Colin Kaepernick protest. It is supposed to upset you. That is the point of a protest. However ...

That does not mean anyone has to give a fuck.

Do you think Rosa Parks gave a fuck about the people who were going to be late on that Montgomery, Ala., bus? I bet Harriet Tubman never considered the slave owners’ financial losses; nor did civil rights workers worry about the people who wanted to sit down and eat their grilled-cheese sandwiches at segregated lunch counters. When state troopers cracked John Lewis’ skull open on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., I’m sure, as he faded into darkness, that there is one thought that never crossed his mind:

“Damn, this is really going to screw up traffic.”

So I’m sorry that you wish Kaepernick had picked a different venue to protest. The next time a black mother is crying over the body of her son as the blood spills onto the concrete from the bullet piercings, I will be sure to send her a note asking:

“Can you pick a different venue to mourn?”

One year ago this week, I was asked to mediate a microscopic difference of opinion (it wasn’t really a beef) about the film The Birth of a Nation after a prominent news anchor (Roland Martin) disagreed with a writer at The Root (Yesha Callahan) who said that the film was a flop, saying that she was dancing on the film’s grave. His comments resembled the sentiments of many black men that black feminists had doomed the movie, so I wrote this article:


After that piece was published, I received a lot of backlash, including this voice message, which is exactly 1 year old today. For the first time ever, I now present to you a video clapback:

Science, bruh.

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



Why did you feel the need to use censor the word “bitch?” Did you think a woman would be ok with you calling her a “stupid commie” or a “raghead” but then clutch her pearls when she read the word “bitch?” Are racism and xenophobia ok in your circle, but sexism is going too far?

White folks get real mad about “bitch”. The other day I called Mayim Bialik a bitch, I think my exact words were “stupid fucking bitch” and someone tried to correct me. What a world you live in where the worst thing you’re called is bitch.