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Black News and Black Views with a Whole Lotta Attitude

The Root's Clapback Mailbag: Are White People OK?

This week's Mailbag is a wellness check for those who lost the right to spread COVID, election conspiracies and Caucasian Race Theory. Are y'all aight?

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Illustration: Oscar Bustamante/ The Root, G-O Media

I’m beginning to get a little worried.

While I’m used to receiving emails, tweets, DMs and comments from logic-impaired Caucasians, I’ve been really concerned lately about the mental health of The Root’s white readers. I know the last few months have been hard on those who lost their white nationalist president, the battle against CRT and the right to cough coronavirus-laced droplets on patrons at Piggly Wiggly, but lately it seems like they’ve been spiraling out of control.

At first, I thought: “This is what happens when you don’t wash your legs.” Then, I figured they ate some bad mayonnaise or fell and hit their head at the Capitol coup. I soon realized that their discontent didn’t come from food poisoning or CTE.* After sending a few emails to our lab, we discovered that there was an epidemic of Toxic Whiteness Syndrome** spreading around the country.


Luckily, the Clapback Mailbag is here to help.

*Caucasians Too Entitled
**Toxic Whiteness Syndrome occurs when white people act out because they feel threatened. The first documented case occurred when Cain’s sibling rivalry with his brother Abel ended in murder.


Our first letter is from a reader responding to Tonja Renee Stidhum’s article about Eboni K. Williams calling out the cast of Real Housewives of New York for white fragility.

To: Tonja Renee Stidhum

From: Al Ementary

I recently read your ‘Root’ article on the RHONY’s Eboni K. Williams. I was amazed at what passes for journalism among blapipo. You are a seriously, seriously dumb hussy. I’m black, and your ‘journalism’ made me want to puke, you vile bigot. We are not victims of anything, and though Ms. Williams may be the ‘most educated’ person there, she’s also the dumbest.

“Oooh, you said something I don’t like, so it must be your white fragility!”...anyone dumb enough to use that argument barely qualifies as human. You don’t speak for me, and I would appreciate it if you stopped. We will never get anywhere with people like you speaking for us. And it has nothing to do with ‘wypipo’, and everything to do with self-respect. Not the fake kind you have, but the kind that comes from actual achievement.


Dear Al,

You need help.

I have no idea about the state of your mental health, I would just like to offer a few tips for the next time you decide to pretend you are Black in an email to a Black person:

  1. Hide your email address: I don’t know if you know this or not, but when you enter your actual email address in a contact form, we can see it. And because of this thing called the internet, we can see that you are a white person.
  2. Choose a better name: “Al Ementary” is the kind of joke a 36-year-old white boy would think was clever. You might as well have said your name was “Y. P. Pull.”
  3. Don’t use “blapipo”: Again, only a white person would think this was offensive. In fact, the only people who are offended by the word “wypipo” are actual wypipo. That’s exactly why the word is so effective.
  4. Or say “I’m black”: It’s a dead giveaway.
  5. Or use the word “hussy”: To be fair, Black people do use the word “hussy.” However, it’s mostly used by 67-year-old grandmothers who rarely email because they don’t know how to use all that doggone internet junk. Plus, they have an usher board meeting in a few minutes.
  6. Tonja never tried speak for Black people: When white people accuse me of trying to speak for Black people, I often ask them to point to the sentence where I said: “Black people think...” or “Black people believe...” Tonja didn’t do it either. However, this presumption is often spontaneously manifested by the white imagination, which is why they think they can rebut the sentiment of 27 million Black people by pointing out something Candace Owens or Jason Whitlock said.
  7. Don’t email: This is how I know you were white. It’s not that you disagreed with Tonja or what she wrote (which, by the way, said nothing about white people). The fact that you were angry about a reality show, googled the writer, found her website, wrote this screed and hit “send” is the whitest thing you could ever do.

Get some rest, Susan.

I hope you feel whiter tomorrow.

Lately, they’ve crawled out of their dumbholes to express their anger without explaining why.

From: William S
To: Michael Harriot
Subject: Your Intellect

Nigger.....look it up (or , wink at your reflection).

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Screenshot: Facebook

Dear guys,

Point taken.

Of course, some of them are angry about some of our writings on Critical Race Theory.

From: Julia
To: Michael Harriot

Dear Michael,

I saw you on MSNBC and read some of your stuff on critical race theory. God made all of us the same and as you said, race is just something people made up. I want to understand why you feel it’s important for schools to teach kids about racism or liberal ideology. Why not leave it to the parents?


Dear Jeff and Julia,

My history teacher, Mr. Baldwin, was a great guy.

When I was in the seventh grade, my junior high football coach was also my history teacher. Because my class was during last period, my classmates loved when we had away games because we’d leave early and, in his absences, he’d show his home movies that were tangentially related to history. I never got the chance to see them because, again, I was on the football team.


But one time, I got in a fight in the locker room and, instead of suspending me from school, he just suspended me from the football team for a week. Since it was during an away game, I finally got a chance to see one of Mr. Baldwin’s “boring movies.”

It turns out, that Mr. Baldwin’s true passion was Civil War reenactments, where he would cosplay as a Confederate soldier. Because my class was the “honors” class, I was the only Black kid in the class who got to watch Mr. Baldwin document his love for reenacting the defense of slavery. Do you know how that made me feel?


When I was in the 11th grade, Miss Coward, my AP history teacher invited everyone to her house for a sleepover (coincidentally, she had just married my high school football coach). Our class was small, so we did stuff like this all the time. During the sleepovers, we all slept in a room with a huge Confederate flag on the wall.

Think about how that made me feel.

Actually, neither of these things bothered me at all.

I never thought about either of these stories until a few years ago, during a conversation with Kay, a high school friend of mine who happens to be white. Kay never goes back to our hometown because she says everyone is racist. But she’s a bleeding-heart liberal, know.


Kay and I were talking about another AP History classmate whose mother had just passed away. The classmate loved Mrs. Coward but was hated by everyone in our AP history class because she was the teacher’s pet. Kay tried to explain that the teacher and our classmate were so close because they were all racists but I couldn’t believe it. That’s when Kay sent the obituary from our hometown newspaper to me.

Apparently, our classmate’s mother was the founder of the local chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy and served as president until she passed it down to my high school history teacher.


That classmate is now a history teacher. A few years ago, she was named South Carolina’s teacher of the year. And it’s not just her. Right now, students across the country are learning white people’s version of history. And it’s not just in the South.

For instance, the AP history course in Hackensack N.J. has dozens of required reading assignments, including watching D.W. Griffith’s pro-Klan film, Birth of a Nation. Although the entire course doesn’t have a single supplementary reading by a Black author, the students have to read the racist AF Notes on the state of Virginia, (I also had to read this in AP history), which includes an entire chapter about the inferiority of Blacks, where Thomas Jefferson explains:

I advance it therefore as a suspicion only, that the blacks, whether originally a distinct race, or made distinct by time and circumstances, are inferior to the whites in the endowments both of body and mind. It is not against experience to suppose, that different species of the same genus, or varieties of the same species, may possess different qualifications. Will not a lover of natural history then, one who views the gradations in all the races of animals with the eye of philosophy, excuse an effort to keep those in the department of man as distinct as nature has formed them? This unfortunate difference of colour, and perhaps of faculty, is a powerful obstacle to the emancipation of these people.


Or how about the hundreds of thousands of students who learn from The American Pageant’s AP history textbook which contains quotes like:

  • Mistresses could be kind or cruel, but all of them did, at one point
    or another, abuse their slaves to some degree; there was no
    “perfect mistress.”
  • Northern Blacks were especially hated by the Irish, with whom they competed for jobs.
  • Anti-Black feeling was stronger in the North, where people liked
    the race but not the individual, than in the South, were people liked
    the individual (with whom they’d often grown up), but not the
  • Slaves were an investment, and thus were treated better and more
    kindly and were spared the most dangerous jobs, like putting a roof on
    a house, draining a swamp, or blasting caves. Usually, Irishmen were used to do that sort of work.
  • Still, most slaves were raised in stable two-parent households and
    continuity of family identity across generations was evidenced in the
    widespread practice of naming children for grandparents or adopting the
    surname of a forebear’s master.
  • Southern slave supporters pointed out how masters taught their
    slaves religion, made them civilized, treated them well, and gave them
    “happy” lives.

Again, this is the most advanced level of history in the country.

So what does this have to do with CRT?

Here’s my point: I can’t understand why everyone is so angry. White people are up in arms about CRT because they are afraid of what it may do to their kids. But they don’t have a reason to worry. I know a lot about history and look how well I turned out.


It turns out, I was learning Caucasian Racist Theory the whole time.