The Root's Clapback Mailbag: Empathy for the Devil

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Illustration: Oscar Bustamante

Please allow me to introduce myself
I’m a bag of white hot hate
I’ve been around for four long years
You can read me every Friday

I answer emails, DMs and tweets
trying to help you understand race
And when you call me the n-word
I don’t fly into a rage

Pleased to meet you
Can you guess who I am?
Here’s a hint:
I’m a mailbag that claps back

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Although I think of “Sympathy for the Devil” as a rare example of white excellence, I have never heard a Black person play the Rolling Stones at a cookout. That one was for the white people.

On most Fridays, the Clapback Mailbag focuses on hate mail. But this week, I’d like to shout out the white people who recognize me as the world’s greatest living writer. Yes, this week is all about the love I receive from our readers


These first two guys read the article about Georgia’s Senate race and realized the true strength and power of Black people

To: Michael Harriot
From: David

Don’t worry Mike.... if there’s a coupe, and subsequent Civil War....you won’t make it very far to worry much about it. No snow flake liberal,’ like you, will. Cancel culture, “Blame Da Hu-White mans” BLM supporters like you will be the first to go. You know, the most disgusting thing to me is that you are part of the “Original Nazi” Democrat party...not only the party of DEATH, but the party of SLAVERY! Yup! Your beloved democrat party perpetuated, protected & ultimately fought to KEEP SLAVERY!! The Republican Party, which you are so wrongly against, was established to fight AGAINST & END SLAVERY!! You & people like you are traitors to your own history

Ok, continue your fight against your “hated white person of week”, you WEAK, Bigoted simpleton.

From: Tony M
To: Michael Harriot

Assholes like you are the reason why the people in this country will never get together. Maybe the Senate races will be won based upon the race and religion of the candidates. I hope not. I just want the GOP to control the Senate, take over the House in two years and win back the WH in four. Race is not a consideration. National security, the economy, education and all that is best for America are my motives. We have a horse’s ass as President elect and a bigger horse’s ass as VP elect. BLM and Antifa are going to be free to continue to spread hate and jackasses like you will name White Supremacy as the biggest threat to our country. Fuck you.

Anthony R. M*****

American

Wow, guys.

I’ve heard people say they love my writing but these are the highest compliments I have ever received. David, to think that my words are not only going to start a civil war, but your acknowledgment that the liberals will win is quite a statement. And Tony, your assertion that I will be the one who gets America to finally recognize white supremacy as the biggest threat is far too kind.

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While I’m honored, I can’t take credit for all of this myself. There are far too many people to name but I’d especially like to thank:

  • The first racist white people in America: The Virginia charter explicitly states that the colonists’ goal was the “to bring the infidels and salvages living in those parts to humane civilitie and to a setled and quiet govermente.”
  • The United States of America: For enshrining slavery in the constitution.
  • All three branches of government: Including the legislative branch, which passed laws like the Fugitive Slave Act; the executive branch, a quarter of whom owned slaves; the judicial branch, which ruled Black people “had no rights which the white man was bound to respect.”
  • Racists: I wouldn’t be here without you
  • Every institution in America: The discriminatory banks, the unequal education system, the biased courts, unjust criminal justice system, the bigoted system of policing, the voting systems, the private corporations, the media, the music industry, the television and film industry, the sports complex that blackballed Kaepernick and resists Black coaches, the voting systems, the healthcare industry and especially the mail writing industry.
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The fact that you think that my words will be the thing that causes a civil war and opens white people’s eyes is quite flattering. Especially when I consider that every single American thing that ever was, is and ever will be is infused with white supremacy. You are far, too kind. I accept this nomination on behalf of all the white people who do actual racist things for me to write about.

Thank you so much.

Wait till I tell your mama (She’s in the other room sleeping right now).


Tom was big mad about this:

From: Tom O.
To: Michael Hariot

Mike,

I recently read your article from Monday, 12/7/2020, entitled, “Virginia Military Institute Removes Monument to White Supremacy.” I feel it should be pointed out to you there are several glaring inaccuracies in your article as follows:

1. - First and foremost, that statue of Jackson at VMI was never intended to be a “Monument to White Supremacy”, but rather simply a statue to a significant military tactician and leader (albeit for the Confederacy) in American history. Like him or hate him, his military movements and tactics against vastly superior forces are still studied and admired today at such prestigious military institutions the world over, such as West Point, Annapolis, and even Sandhurst in Great Britain. Sure, he fought for the rebellious Confederacy, but that doesn’t take away from what he accomplished as a military commander in the field. This is not simply an opinion, but a fact of reality.

2. - Jackson was technically not an “alumnus” of VMI. He was an instructor there for a few years prior to the Civil War. He certainly wasn’t the school’s most celebrated alumnus. Not even close. That honor would undoubtedly belong to U.S. Army General George C. Marshall, (Secretary of the Army, Secretary of Defense, Secretary of State, Nobel Prize winner, etc.). A statue of Marshall has stood on campus for decades in honor of him. This is also a fact.

3. - VMI certainly is not remotely considered a “Confederate Disneyland”. That’s simply someone’s wildly exaggerated opinion. You’d be hard pressed to find anyone who honestly agrees with that assertion. This too is a fact.

4. - The new interim VMI Superintendent is U.S. Army Major General Cedric T. Wins, (Not “Rims”). He’s a black 1985 graduate of VMI. Institutional racism does not exist at VMI. Yes, there have been some idiotic individual racists there, (as can be found anywhere), but it is definitely not permeated into the institution itself. This will be proven by Virginia Governor Northam’s $1M independent third party investigation in the coming months. I have no doubt General Wins would strongly agree with me on these four points listed here. This will most assuredly become a fact in due time.

Your article seems to be more skewed towards your opinions than actual facts. Don’t become too confused by these inconvenient facts. It’s quite apparent you had an axe to grind with this piece. It also speaks volumes about your abilities as a writer and your character. Finally, it must be exhausting to be filled with such hate and anger all the time, but then again I guess it’s worth it since it apparently pays your bills.

Best of luck with your blossoming “career”,

Tom O

Tom,

You’re too negative. Instead of focusing on the things I did wrong, you should focus on the positive. For example, here is a list of things I liked about your letter:

  1. The part about people admiring “significant military tactician and leader.” I won’t lie, I’m still kekekeing about that. The Confederate Army had more defectors, deserters and unfought surrenders than any military force in modern history. Now, to your credit, it could be that the Confederates were extreme cowards and Jackson succeeded just by making them look like a barely organized, shitty army. How many actual people have you ever heard say this who weren’t at VMI?
  2. The fact that Jackson was not an alumnus or the best field commander, yet his statue remains while others have been removed kinda undercuts your argument that Jackson’s statue is not a monument to white supremacy. But I like it. Everyone loves monuments of 11th-place finishers.
  3. I like the fact that you say it’s not a Confederate Disneyland when your school officially maintains a site at the Virginia Museum of the Civil War and lists itself as an attraction for Civil War enthusiasts.
  4. The sentence: “Institutional racism does not exist at VMI.” I damn near choked on this one. Your school (an institution) made Black people salute Stonell Jackson (a racist), celebrate the men who fought to enslave their ancestors (racists) and, by every single account, treated Black students worse than white students (racists).
  5. But my favorite part is the insinuation that I have “an axe to grind.” Bruh, I literally have no thoughts for a mediocre school filled with mediocre white men whose most accomplished alumnus managed to achieve the exact same rank (Confederate General) as men who finished last in their class. I know you’re white, but do you really think people sit around with extra fucks to give and say: “I know, I’ll give a fuck about VMI.” I’m not angry at all. I’m just stating facts.
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The only exhausting about this is the time I spent reading your letter.

I could have been picking up my award.


And finally, someone read an old article and wanted to weigh in:

From: John
To: Michael Harriot

I am a Texas State student expected to graduate in the spring of 2020. While I’m very late to having read your obviously biased opinion regarding the incoherent, emotional tribunal from one Rudy Martinez (a self proclaimed communist although we both know he has zero context for such a claim) , I think it’s even more relevant to call you out now than ever. I found it absolutely hilarious that every instance the notion of racism of against whites was prompted you pathetically had to label it as “so-called”. I can’t fault you for that. Your professional sense of victimhood shined brighter than the sun through ever line. It is very likely you are one of many who is unintelligent and arrogant enough to create and assume your own definition of racism. The good old “racism is prejudice plus power”. Real clever way to avoid responsibility for any and all racist behavior committed by minorities. It became more and more apparent as I read your article, what an indoctrinated swine you really are. “YOu kNoW wHiTe sTuFf”. Really ironic considering the absolute fact that if a white person had used that same phrasing in reference to a black person you would be the first warrior of the people to get online and write another essay of incoherent, biased, emotional dribble. Go fuck yourself you partisan hack.

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Dear John,

I admit to being biased towards justice. I could never be as unbiased as an intelligent person who would attribute a “professional sense of victimhood” to someone after reading one article. I find it hilarious that you rant about my made-up definition of racism that I have never used in my life. In fact, if someone who is as big-brained as you managed to even check, you would see that I wholly reject that definition and use the one in the dictionary to define racism.

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Is this what they’re teaching at Texas State? If you weren’t a senior already, I probably could’ve gotten you into a better school.

Have you ever considered VMI?

DISCUSSION

By
Mud Dedoochka

if there’s a coupe

“Vroom! Vroom! Outta muh way! I’m gonna do a race war!