The Root’s Clapback Mailbag: Birds, Boxes and Other Bullshit No One Believes

Illustration for article titled The Root’s Clapback Mailbag: Birds, Boxes and Other Bullshit No One Believes
Image: Oscar Bustamante (The Root/FMG)

So, ummm ... about this Birdbox thing.

Wait. We’ll get to that.

But before that, y’all know what this is. Our clapback congregation meets weekly to discuss these matters. Each Friday, we faithfully go through the emails, comments, tweets and messages to explain, apologize or elaborate on the things that caused consternation among The Root’s readership.


So, I hereby call this meeting of the Clapback Mailbag to order.

So, yeah... About that Birdbox thing.

FwhFrom: Chris F.
To: Michael Harriot

Your black idiot ancestors allowed your dumbass race to be taken and made into slaves because your people lack the intelligence that the rest of the world had and has. You wonder why nearly all of Africa is fucked, you people have no respect for one another and even enslave each other. Stop bitching about the white man and do something with your privileged African American life you useless bitchy cocksuck. You could be a blood diamond monkey bitch eating cockroaches just to jerk yourself off. Now go fuck some offs you smelly ugly shit colored fuck. Next time you write something, think about this message before you disrespect the entire white race that allowed your miserable useless kind to even inhabit North America, you pussy ass fucklipped nigga fuck. Maybe write an article about how 90% of your dumbass race is born out of wedlock and that you nigger idiots are doing everyone a favor by aborting more of your own kind than any other race. Go fuck yourself you illiterate fuckface.

From: AOH
To: The Root

I am gonna go out on a limb here and make a complaint. This individual is seriously a bad immoral person. I detest racism of any and all kinds, as i grew up with it in some of the harshest ways. Micheal is purporting the act of racism very extremely, almost tied with the rhetoric of the kkk, black panthers, chinese triad, yakuza or any others you can think of. His portrayal of situations, movies, and or other articles is way off base and the kind of extremism that is leading to more problems for people. If you allow him to keep on with this negativity, it is only going to spread more contempt and hatred on all sides. I ask that you have a good QA talk with him and dial it down a bit. Having an opinion is great, love it, but when it purports racism to an extreme, that is where a lot of good people are going to not see his message at all and think he is a racist. The very fact that he notates himself as a wypipologist and your company allows that is also a problem. That is a very negative and racist title to create. Please, ask him to dial it down.

From: Chris C.
To: Michael Harriot

You are pathetic! clearly the only reason you’ve been able to find work as a writer is because you have pulled the race card all your life. Only a bumbling racist Idiot like yourself would determine a movie as silly as “Birdbox” to be about racism and white supremacy! What an ASSHOLE you are. You deserve NO job as a “writer” because you are part of the problem with the world today. You are now in a position where you are probably paid well and its to spew lies. You will keep your own race down in order to line your pockets. You are no different than scumbags like Al Un-Sharpton and Jesse Jackoffson weak black men bringing down their own race while getting rich. You act like you are a fighter for your race, you are the biggest LIAR to your race. The devil is holding a special place for you in hell along with those who use others to line their own pockets. ASSHOLE

Apparently I wrote the stupidest thing that has ever been on the internet and the funniest movie analysis that has ever been written. While articles like “White People are Cowards” and Anne Branigin’s story about angry Caucasian parents at elite NY schools may have received more mail, I don’t think I’ve ever seen white people so upset at something so stupid.

Not only did I catch the wrath of white racists, white liberals and people who don’t like the word “white people,” but the Star Wars community even came for me.


Before I am targeted by Nazis, stabbed with a safety pin or attacked by a guy named Carl with a working prototype of a lightsaber, let me admit one thing.

I don’t believe any of that shit.

I don’t believe that the monster in the movie was racism. I don’t believe that the birds represented slaves (although that was a good one). I don’t believe that white people despise their parents or hate cleaning their rooms. As a matter of fact, the only white bedroom I have ever been in was my friend Ben’s which, I must say, was very tidy.


Honestly, I blame Senior Political Editor Stephen A. Crockett for all of this. He heard my harebrained theory and told me to run with it. He thought it was funny and so did I. I had no idea how much it would upset white people even though I quite enjoyed some of the correspondences. “Cocksuck” is my favorite new word.

To be fair, there were some white people who liked the article, so consider this a pre-emptive “not all white people.” There were some black people who thought the analysis was stupid, as well. But the black responses were limited to memes about me “reaching,” like this:


But for some reason, white people took this very seriously. And I think I know why:

White people can’t take a joke. There is the possibility that my brand of humor doesn’t translate to white sensibilities but I think that there is enough evidence to suggest that white people don’t like funny shit. Maybe the whites are humor intolerant like many black people are lactose intolerant. Perhaps their ancestors have committed so many historical atrocities that it has made their souls reject laughter, happiness and smiles.


Or maybe we don’t find the humor in the same things. I still don’t understand why white people thought the TV show Friends was funny. When my white friends quote Monty Python I give them the same look they give me when I speak about seasoning salt.

It could be that white people are really protective of horror films. So I decided to create a horror film that white people could appreciate. It’s called The White Virus.


It’s a zombie movie that begins in the late 1400s, when Native Americans began contracting a mysterious disease that killed half of their population. The disease turns whoever contracts it into zombies. Soon the disease gets so bad that the Zombie Indians are forced off their land and into segregated communities—for their own protection, of course.

The disease spreads to Africa. It makes some of the Africans so delirious that they locked themselves in chains for hundreds of years. Scientists try their hardest to find a cure. They try raping the black people in hopes that it would cure them, but it doesn’t. They try lynching them. That doesn’t work. No one can figure out what is happening to the blacks so they, too, eventually turned into zombies.


Researchers soon found the cause of the zombie disease and called it “Opipyw.”

The black zombies become violent, murdering zombies who only want to kill each other. Of course, there is no use in trying to tame a zombie so they direct all the zombie school money to schools where people live who were immune to the Opipyw virus.


The Opipyw kills black women during childbirth. It makes Mexican people come to America and turn them into rapists and drug dealers. Because they have poor schools, no one hires the zombies. Because they don’t have jobs, they can’t build better schools. Because they don’t have better schools, the zombies became more desperate. They became more murderous.

But someone comes up with a solution. A man named Ronald Grump proposes that we should build a wall to keep the zombies out. He says we should separate the zombie kids from their parents to stop Opipyw from spreading. He builds zombie prisons. He makes it OK for the police to shoot zombies. He takes away their health care so the infected will die sooner.


And then all of the great Americans who were immune to the Opipyw virus praised him, even when the zombie wall cost too much money. Even when the people who were immune to Opipyw get sick from other diseases and can’t afford to pay their medical bills.

Then the zombies began to rise.

The people become afraid. They are afraid that the zombies will rape them. They were afraid that the zombies will make them live on reservations. They are afraid that the zombies will take their jobs. But no matter what the people try, they can’t stop the zombies.


And in the final scene of this horror movie, the zombies attack the people and slaughter them all. And as they stand over the vast wasteland of dismembered corpses, just before the last one is killed, he holds up his arms, and asks one question with the last gasp of air he will ever breathe.

“But why?” he asks a little black girl, standing over him with machete raised. “Why did you want to kill us?”


And the little girl pauses in her upswing, bends over and whispers softly, her lips just a millimeter from the ear of the only remaining survivor of the zombie apocalypse.

“We were never sick,” the little girl says. “We were allergic to the monsters.”

“What monsters?” asks the man, resolved with dying but still curious. “Where were the monsters?”


The girl exhales. It is impossible to tell if it is a sigh or a gathering of her strength. She swings mightily. The man’s head rolls a few feet and wobbles still like a punted football. The decapitation is clean and there is barely any blood splattered on the girl’s face. But you can see that that the man’s eyes are still blinking, searching for the girl. The girl picks up the head and stares the head in the eyes.

“Don’t worry,” the girl says. “The monsters are all gone now,” she says as she tosses the separated head over her shoulders.


The end.

Now don’t read anything into any of this. It’s just a movie.

From: JB
To: Michael Harriot

I am a white 40 year old male with a wife and a 2 year old daughter. I go to work every day to support my family and raise my daughter to be an independant, loving, respectful, and intelligent person. Every single person I know, white or brown, does the same thing. It absolutely disgusts me to read your garbage articles on white peoples agendas. It would be much more of a benefit to everyone if you preached about the 75 percent fatherless households in the black community and why it exists. Welfare is one of the main reasons,as it promotes single parent households. Yet, the community continues to vote for the same people who promote it. This has existed for 60 years now. Before this existed, the black community was successful despite the much greater existing racism. Since the the victim mentality and blame game has become a scape goat. I live in the south and everyone has opportunity. In fact the real privilege is with minorities. It is easier to get into college, get a job and get assistance. Stop trying to divide people and push your own agenda. It is truly disgusting.


Dear JB,

I am a black 40-year-old male with a wife and children. I go to work every day to support my family and raise my children. Every single person I know, white or brown, does the same thing.


It absolutely disgusts me to read your garbage a letter about black people’s households. It would be much more of a benefit to everyone if you preached about white people who promoted white supremacy since this country was founded. Yet, the white community continues to vote for the same people who promote it. This has existed for 50 years now.

Before this existed, the white community was successful because they could legally discriminate against black voters, black homebuyers and black customers. Before this existed, the white community was successful because they got free labor from slaves. Before this existed, the white community was successful because they stole land, murdered the occupants and “settled” on it. Before this existed, the white community was successful because they raped Africa. Before this existed, the white community was successful because they traveled the globe raping and pillaging.


Since then, the victim mentality and blame game have become a scapegoat for white people. I live in the South and damn near every community is segregated. The black schools here are some of the worst in the country. Less than 10 miles away are some of the best schools in the country. They are in the same school district. They have the same leadership.

Still, white people believe it is easier for black people to get into college even when the first 13 years in school is geared towards protecting whiteness. It is the exact same education system that existed during slavery and Jim Crow but somehow white people believe it is not tilted in their favor because they are so racist. They believe that for a black man to succeed and a white man to fail there must be trickery involved. White people believe it is easier for black people to get a job in spite of the overwhelming evidence to the contrary.


My greatest wish is that one day, my children will meet a white man who will see them as human beings. If that day ever comes, I have told them how to recognize it.

I told them to mention the word “white people” and if that person bristles, they should wait a while longer. Then I told them to make a statement that the white person disagrees with. If that person immediately responds by pivoting toward every black stereotype that exists, then they should wait. After a few more tries, I told them to bring up racism. If the white man denies its existence; if he tries to convince you that racism is dead and everything wrong with black people is black people’s fault ... Not yet.


But if the person does something crazy like acknowledging the data behind every educational study ever done; or if that white man accepts actual historical facts or if he even makes an attempt at understanding a position that does anything other than validating his snowflake-like whiteness, then, and only then, will I be able to believe this world is good enough to stop confronting racism.

Hopefully, it will be soon.

I know it’s a long shot but I’m trying, JB.

Got dammit, I’m trying.

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



Let’s all check out the crazy white boy: