Black News and Black Views with a Whole Lotta Attitude
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Black News and Black Views with a Whole Lotta Attitude

The Root's Clapback Mailbag: Bars

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Illustration: Oscar Bustamante

This mailbag is dedicated to all the ones who called the writers at The Root “racists”; to all the ones who wrote us emails saying we’d never amount to nothing; to everyone who sent angry emails when we were just trying to write articles and feed our babies. To all the niggas in the struggle...

It’s all good, baby baby.

It was all a dream. Wypipo call The Root a “magazine.”
Then, again, they seem to lack logical reasoning.
All week, we let them bawl
But every Friday, we clap back at their attacks and watch’em fall.
We’re gonna shit talk until this bullshit stops
Til’ cop’s stop outlining us in chalk on sidewalks. 
Until white people stop getting all their news from Fox
So don’t act shocked when the mailbag drops
And we clap back...Chop’em down like we’re black lumberjacks
With the facts to match.
That’s when they read The Root...Duh-ha, duh-ha
They never thought their white tears would take it this far.
Now they all wanna fight ‘cause we write tight.
When we say we want to be paid for when we were slaves,
Get caught on videotape blowing up like the World Trade.
Born ignorant, recognize your white privilege
We remember when y’all didn’t even want us to be citizens
Peace to Danielle B., Genetta A., Stephen C.,
Annie B., Zack Linly and even Monique.
Ishena, Joe, Panama, Tonja, Jay and Damon Young.
They fight racism like we all should
Come back next week, same column, same hood
It’s all good.


And if you don’t know, now you know...


Our first set of letters are in regard to Monique Judge’s article about white people weaponizing “I Feel Threatened.”


From: Jason
To: Danielle Belton

I am a multiracial male and Your site is racist, spreading divide and hateful topics and I will make sure my friends and family never read or visit your site. I am appalled at the articles I have read about white people. Instead of trying to bring us together, you are doing the exact opposite. I will spread the word until I see change on your end. Your losing viewership because of your content. It is very disturbing and unfortunate when we should have hope of becoming united.

From: Kari
To: Danielle Belton, Monique Judge

My name is Kari and I read your article on the root. While I understand what you are writing I did not agree with your choice of words and cannot believe you felt it was appropriate to use the words “ Amy decided this uppity-ass nigger wasn’t going to tell her what to do”.

I feel using those words was sad and a poor choice in today’s climate. Maybe that is a direct quote from Amy Cooper but I did not see the quotations? I was offended that you chose to use that word in your article. I do not use that word to address my family, friends, or strangers. In fact it is not a word I would use in my vocabulary.

I get that articles are salacious and drama sells. But if that is not a direct quote from the lady I do not feel it was an appropriate to use of words.

I know that articles are salacious and drama sells. I felt your choice of words lacked class, professionalism, and is ignorant to use in the times we live in.

During these time I could not speak up and express how I felt when someone useS a derogatory word in a public form. I hope this makes sense.

Kind regards,


From: Steve
To: Monique Judge

Miss Judge,

I just finished reading your article about stupid white people. Great reporting. Way to condemn an entire race based off a hand full of stupid ass fools. Sounds like something white people would do. We are not all Mr Roid Rage, or bitch face Amy Cooper and George Zimmerman is a murderer that somehow dodged justice. But good people come in all shapes, sizes, backgrounds, and colors. Just like bad people do.

I agree with you, bees fucking suck.


Weapon less Steve

Dear Steve,

I have a shotgun.

It’s a Remington 870 pump-action tactical shotgun. It has a laser sight, a flashlight, a pistol grip and an attachment that holds the shells.


Living in Alabama, I honestly don’t know what will happen if Trump loses the election so I bought it to defend my home and my family if “the shit goes down.” I was raised by a mother who hated guns. Growing up, I wasn’t even allowed to play with a water gun. I am not a gun nut and I am terrified of having to kill someone. The shotgun holds seven shells so here is how I packed the shells:

  • The first shell is packed with rock salt.
  • The second shell is with birdshot.
  • The next five shells are slugs.

If anyone comes in my home or tries to harm my family, I sincerely hope that hearing the shotgun’s pump action will scare them enough to make them leave. If not, maybe the laser sight will make them think twice. If that doesn’t work, they get the salt.


Now getting shot with rock salt will sting like a motherfucker, but it won’t actually kill anyone. But if they keep coming, the birdshot shell (essentially a bunch of pellets that scatters in all directions) will wound them, but it probably won’t kill them.

Then there are the slugs.

At close or medium range, a shotgun slug will go through a door, a wall or even a cinder block. If you shoot someone with a slug, it will put a huge hole straight through them. It is a terrible, terrible piece of artillery that is essentially made for killing people. It has no other purpose. I pray to God that I never have to shoot a slug at anyone. I’m sure some people are reading this description and asking: “Why would you buy something so lethal if you don’t want to use it?”


Because, white people.

Contrary to the beliefs of Terry Crews and other white people, black people don’t want to become the oppressor. We don’t want to rule over white people or take y’all’s shit. Every black movement for freedom and justice that has existed in the history of America had the same goal:

For white people to leave us alone.

The abolition movement was a plea for enslavers to leave us alone. The anti-lynching movement was about angry white people leaving us be. The civil rights movement was not about gaining rights; it about white people who kept stopping us from living where we wanted, eating at a lunch counter and attending the schools our tax dollars were paying for. The people at 16th Street Baptist Church just wanted to praise God. Rosa Parks wanted to go home. The people in Selma just wanted to exercise their right to vote.


Black people were bombed, beat and killed innocent Black people for asking white people to be civil.

Just civil.

The vast majority of white people hated every one of these movements at the time. They killed Martin Luther King, Jr. They bombed churches, homes and buses. They attacked us with bats, axe handles and dogs. They jailed us.


Oftentimes, white people will read The Root and take issue with our choice of words. Sometimes, we use innocuous words like “Americans,” while other times we specifically say “white people.” Sometimes we go further (mostly Monique).

But you should understand that black people started this movement because all we wanted to do was to be left alone. To combat police violence, all we did was say “Black Lives Matter.” In response, white people did nothing to hold police accountable. Instead, they called the Black people “terrorists.” When we asked for criminal justice reform, they parsed through their news reports and pointed out every Black criminal they could find and asked about Black-on-Black violence instead of fixing the disparities. When we talked about voter suppression, they painted us as cheaters and put more barriers in place. They asked us for ID. They examined our registrations. They purged our voter rolls. They tampered with the machines.


The words “Black Lives Matter” was the metaphorical sound of a shotgun pump. Pointing out the disparities in the criminal injustice system was just a red dot. These recent demonstrations were just rock salt—it stung but they didn’t leave a mark. Systemic change might wound some white people’s privilege, but it won’t kill you.

We know it makes you uncomfortable when we call white people “stupid” or “racist.” It is supposed to. We have tried every other method and you still won’t leave us alone. But you should be happy when you read those words.


I’ve seen a bear ride a bicycle and a fish walk on land but perhaps the most absurd thing I have ever seen in my life is a white person telling a Black person about hate, unity or civility.


You better be happy we don’t want to use the slugs.

I received quite a few emails and tweets about this article but this is my favorite.


From: Lee
To: Michael

Imagine thinking white people are conspiring against you as your mother receives an award from the governor. If America is a confed. monument, how does that happen.? Salvemasters don’t reward slaves

You keep talking about freedom and equality & you’re right. Blacks aren’t free and they will never be free until you realize that other people aren’t the problem you ar.


Dear Lee,

You’re right. Black people will probably never be as free as white people. That’s because I know what freedom takes. It takes....


Hold up. My phone is ringing.

OK, I’m back.

That was a woman named Kimberly Garner. She’s called me a couple of times this week. She became a prison advocate after her son was convicted for a murder the state acknowledges he didn’t commit but he’s still serving a 25-year prison sentence. Of course, he’s Black. It’s a long story. But now she’s calling me because the Alabama prison system decided to take an incarcerated man infected with COVID-19 off a ventilator before notifying his family. He’s Black too.


Her organization is organizing a march next week to advocate for prisoners.

Image for article titled The Root's Clapback Mailbag: Bars
Image: Concerned Citizens of Alabama

Anyway...that’s not what I was talking about. I was talking about freedom.

As I was saying, Black people will never have their freedom until...Dammit. It’s someone else. Be right back.


OK. That was a woman telling me about a majority-white magnet school in Montgomery, Ala., a majority-Black city. It turns out, the Black kids at the school have faced-rampant racism, including being called racial slurs by teachers and students.

Anyway. What I was saying is that Black people should...

Dammit. Another call! Shit!

OK. That was a woman who wondered if The Root could write about Black people suffering depression because they have to work in hostile environments every day. She has to go to work every day as the only Black person in a department that just happens to be run by an openly racist man. Her white coworkers know it but they don’t want to confront him because...well, they aren’t affected.


Anyway, as I was saying, Black people will never be free because we won’t take responsibility in our own hands. If we want to be equal to white people, we’ll have to do what they do.

We’ll have to get land by murdering native Americans or stealing it from Black people. We’ll have to start a war and call it “Revolutionary” or “Civil.” If we want better schools, we’ll have to stand in schoolhouse doors, spit on white children, and murder little white girls. If we want criminal justice reform, we’ll have to disproportionately incarcerate white people and sentence them to longer sentences for the same crimes. If we want more wealth, we’ll have to devalue homes in white neighborhoods, deny them credit and underpay them.


You’re right. That sounds like a lot of work and you know Black people are lazy. So we just hold meetings, marches and protests. Stupid us.

Anyway, I just wanted to say, I was wrong. America is not a Confederate monument. White people are not slave masters.


America is a prison.

And white people are just wardens.