The Root’s Clapback Mailbag: #Facts

Oscar Bustamante/GMG/The Root
Oscar Bustamante/GMG/The Root

Today’s mailbag is long, so the intro will be short. This week’s roundup of emails, comments, tweets and direct messages comes from white people who aren’t racist; they just want the writers at The Root to stick to facts.


For insight, we collected a few of the people who set aside their disdain for our obvious lack of intelligence so that they could educate us on the truth. We wanted to highlight these unseen contributors as a way of thanking them for their continued support. Without you, where would we be?

Let’s read some mail.

Our first set of correspondence doesn’t relate to any particular post. In fact, we could do a Clapback Mailbag every day if we wanted to post the messages we receive from white people who want to share data about how fucked up black people are. These are only two examples. Warning: The first one is extremely long, but we included it because it is most representative of many of the emails we get regarding this subject.

A direct message from Twitter user @RicciBicci:

African Americans accounted for 52.5% of all homicide offenders from 1980 to 2008. Black people make up 12.5% of the population. Let that sink in... But go on dodge, duck and use the whatever excuse you want. An no I’m not a racist etc so don’t even use that card. Just think you are terrible for black people.

And this:

From: Tyler
To: Michael Harriot
Subject: Black on Black Crime


Please see my proven statistical response to your roots article on black on black crime. Also, you can see in my pic I am what you would call a black man

1. Data shows that 93 percent of black homicide victims are killed by other blacks.

The left’s rebuttal is that that 84 percent of white homicide victims are killed by other whites, but The Wall Street Journal’s Jason Riley points outthat the white crime rate is “much lower than the black rate.”

2. FBI Statistics: “Blacks commit violent crimes at 7 to 10 times the rate that whites do.” Blacks committed 52 percent of homicides between 1980 and 2008, despite composing just 13 percent of the population. Across the same timeframe, whites committed 45 percent of homicides while composing 77% of the population, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Here are some more statistics from the FBI: In 2013, the FBI has black criminals carrying out 38 per cent of murders, compared to 31.1 per cent for whites. The offender’s race was “unknown” in 29.1 per cent of cases.

What about violent crime more generally? FBI arrest rates are one way into this. Over the last three years of data – 2011 to 2013 – 38.5 per cent of people arrested for murder, manslaughter, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault were black.

3. Black crime is even more prevalent in the country’s largest cities and counties.

Heather Mac Donald writes in her book The War on Cops: How the New Attack on Law and Order Makes Everyone Less Safe that in Chicago, IL, blacks committed 76 percent of all homicides, despite composing 35 percent of the city’s population. Blacks also accounted for 78 percent of all juvenile arrests. Whites, who compose 28 percent of the city’s population, committed 4 percent of its homicides and 3.5 percent of its juvenile arrests. Hispanics, who compose 30 percent of the city’s population, committed 19 percent of its homicides and 18 percent of its juvenile arrests. (Another eye-opening fact from Mac Donald’s research is that only 26 percent of murder cases were solved in Chicago.)

Blacks are 10 percent of the population in Los Angeles, CA, but commit 42 percent of its robberies and 34 percent of its felonies. Whites make up 29 percent of the city’s population, and commit 5 percent of its robberies and 13 percent of its felonies.

In New York City, blacks committed “75 percent of all shootings, 70 percent of all robberies, and 66 percent of all violent crime,” despite only composing 23 percent of the population, said Mac Donald in a Hillsdale speech. Additionally, 2009 Bureau of Justice Statistics numbers show that in 2009, “blacks were charged with 62 percent of robberies, 57 percent of murders and 45 percent of assaults in the 75 biggest counties in the country, despite only comprising roughly 15 percent of the population in these counties.”

4. There were almost 6,000 blacks killed by other blacks in 2015.

By contrast, only 258 blacks were killed by police gunfire that year.

5. The percentage of blacks arrested for crimes is consistent with police reports.

This is according to the National Crime Victimization Survey, as well as this 1985 study:

“Even allowing for the existence of discrimination in the criminal justice system, the higher rates of crime among black Americans cannot be denied,” wrote James Q. Wilson and Richard Herrnstein in their classic 1985 study, “Crime and Human Nature.” “Every study of crime using official data shows blacks to be overrepresented among persons arrested, convicted, and imprisoned for street crimes.” This was true decades before the authors put it to paper, and it remains the case decades later.

“The overrepresentation of blacks among arrested persons persists throughout the criminal justice system,” wrote Wilson and Herrnstein. “Though prosecutors and judges may well make discriminatory judgments, such decisions do not account for more than a small fraction of the overrepresentation of blacks in prison.”

This data disproves the notion that racism is what drives higher rates of arrests among the blacks than among whites or broader America.

6. According to the FBI, “Black crime rates were lower in the 1940s and 1950s, when black poverty was higher” and “racial discrimination was rampant and legal.”

If it’s not racism and poverty that are blame for the high black crime rate, then what is?

***7. According to Mac Donald, “A straight line can be drawn between family breakdown and youth violence.” Hence has nothing to do with white supremacy.

As economist Thomas Sowell points out, before the 1960s “most black children were raised in two-parent families.” In 2013, over 72 percent of blacks were born out of wedlock. In Cook County –which Chicago belongs to – 79 percent of blacks were born to single mothers in 2003, while only 15 percent of whites were born to single mothers.

“Until that gap closes, the crime gap won’t close, either,” writes Mac Donald.

When are we as a people from all different color pigment will stop labeling each other as a color which diminishes our self worth and start describing ourselves as Red Blooded Americans who are either male or female that’s all.


OK, Ricci and Tyler, I’ll bite. I’m going to accept all of your points before I dismantle them one by one:

  1. You’re not racist: If you’re not racist, then you couldn’t possibly believe that black people are somehow inherently or genetically more violent than whites. We know study after study shows that crime is a socioeconomic problem, so if blacks commit more violent crimes, could it possibly be that the black population is in a worse socioeconomic position than whites? You’re not racist, remember, so it can’t mean blacks are lazier, less willing to work or dumber, so what accounts for the disparity in income and education?
  2. Black-on-black crime: Again, I accept your premise that blacks are responsible for black-on-black crime. But I must have missed your follow-up email that shows where black people don’t care about that fact. I missed the part where you acknowledged that there are far more “Stop the violence” marches and organizations dedicated to neighborhood violence than there are Black Lives Matter chapters. I probably turned a blind eye to your Twitter DM about anti-gang chapters. The message you sent about news organizations ignoring fraternal organizations, charities and nonprofits in black communities addressing these problems probably went into my spam folder.
  3. Strong black families are the cure: I agree with you on this one. In fact, I am working to put an end to all the black churches, black leaders and random influential Negroes who tell black people to keep fucking and stop caring for their kids. I’ve never heard anyone say that, but conservatives and racists often bring it up as if black people don’t care about these things, so it must be true. I’m glad you agree with me on this one.
  4. Black people can’t do two things at once: When black people talk about police-brutality and mass-incarceration rates, we ignore the impact that voting, community involvement and personal responsibility can have on our plight. Apparently, you two believe that black people focus on racism instead of concentrating on these other issues, and not in conjunction with them.

Ricci and Tyler, my point is this: You bring up these facts as if people who talk about racism aren’t aware of them. As if we ignore them because we’d rather blame everything on the white man. We don’t. We know that part of the reason for the plight of black people in America is that we need to do better. We are trying to help each other do better. But when people like you two regurgitate the Fox News narrative that diminishes the role that white people, racism and the history of white supremacy in America play in black oppression, it is idiotic and tone-deaf.

When you present this bullshit to black people as a counterargument to a discussion about police brutality or white supremacy, it means that you are either unaware that black people agree with these things, too, or it means that you are racist.


And you can’t be racist.

I know this because Ricci said it, and Tyler proved it by sending me this picture of himself:

Tyler Watt or some dude off the internet
Tyler Watt or some dude off the internet

I did a Google Images search for this picture and found it all over the internet, including on the cover of a book. But I’m sure Ty is a male model who just happens to dabble in statistical data that shows how dumb, violent and inferior black people are.

He’s not a racist, though.

Earlier this week, on the birthday of President Abraham Lincoln, staff writer Monique Judge took the opportunity to remind readers of the historical fact that the president called “the Great Emancipator” did not free the slaves. Again, that is not her opinion; it is a fact.


It did not go well.

From: Andre Hickman

The problem the problem with this article lies in the interpretation of The Human Condition. this false narrative that there are no white people who cared about black people during slavery or anytime before or after is completely dishonest and one sided.

From Lincoln Gaffney:

Monique, I sincerely do not know what you hope to accomplish with this piece. But assuming you care about equality among humans and this nation/world continuing on the path towards a ‘more perfect union’, I believe this kind of tone and content undercuts those aims that I care deeply about myself. To say Abraham Lincoln didn’t care about black people is simply and factually false. The sad but unavoidable fact is that, in 1860, pretty much all politicians— even the more enlightened and radical among them like Lincoln, Chase, Seward— did not believe in overall equality of the ‘races’

Race is a myth that has been used to oppress and divide people over time; there is but one race, the human race; if you truly care about that idea becoming a reality, I would respectfully suggest not trying to make one of the most heroic and noble leaders ever in the US out to be a racist. Unlike the current Republican President, who actually is and is kinda proud of it. Lincoln was a radical in his time, and you are making him out to be the reactionary. It is unfair and I believe also hurtful to the propagation of equality.


Lincoln Gaffney

Dearest Andre and Lincoln:

I write to you from the darkest crevices of blackness, where neither light nor white tears dare approach. It is the two thousand and eighteenth year of our lord and saviors Desus & Mero, and you have taken time out of your busy schedule to inform a black woman that white people actually “cared about black people during slavery.”


As evidence, you point to ... umm ... well, nothing.

Lincoln was not against slavery. He was against the expansion of slavery. If he did not believe that blacks were subhuman pieces of property, or shouldn’t be American citizens, he would not have offered to pay reparations to slaveholders and ship black people back to Africa.


Since the beginning of the history of this great country, the overwhelming majority of white people in America have spent every day of their entire lives not shedding a bead of sweat to end slavery, Jim Crow or institutional racism. Lincoln, your “respectful” suggestion that Monique not “make one of the most heroic and noble leaders ever in the US out to be a racist” simply means that you don’t understand what racism is.

Imagine if you lived in a house with a group of bank robbers and shared the spoils of their robberies. You spent the money they stole and lived in the houses they bought with the cash. Not only that, but you knew about the bank robberies and said nothing, even when people asked you to help them stop the bank-robbing crew. You know what you’d be called?



You’re white.

Finally, a comment regarding the following article:

From: Dude at a Computer

Honest question. At what point will the black population let go of the past? I’m not asking for everyone to forget the past but stop using it as a crutch for societal and economic woes. I understand your points you made in the article but when will it actually end? I think it would help if we (everybody) were able to put a finger on it and say “when we get here as a society, we can stop talking about the past (but never forget)“? It does not have to end tomorrow, or next year or next decade. I’m just wondering at what point can/should/will it stop?


Dear Dude,

Unlike the previous morons, you actually pose a salient question. While I cannot give an exact date, I can give you a list of markers that will indicate when black people will ultimately let go of the past and stop using it as a crutch:

  • when black children are afforded the opportunity to attend schools in black neighborhoods that are funded as well as white schools;
  • when the black unemployment rate is equal to the white unemployment rate;
  • when black people with the same education and experience aren’t paid less than their white counterparts;
  • when police don’t shoot black men disproportionately regardless of the crime rate;
  • when employers stop throwing résumés with black-sounding names in the garbage;
  • when white women in parking lots don’t clutch their purses when I walk by;
  • when people like you stop coming to black websites to read about racism and end up butt-hurt;
  • when white people stop telling black people how to react to their oppression;
  • when the history of what white people have done to blacks for 500 years is no longer regarded by whites as inconsequential as they explain away white supremacy by using the Constitution, laws and the legacy of “Western civilization”;
  • when I, as a black man, can finally believe that my work, my children’s existence and my entire life are totally and completely unaffected by the color of my skin.

Until then ...

I’ll see you next week.

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



Dear Tyler,

I think you missed a statistic. For the sake of being thorough, I would like to know: what is the percentage of black perpetrators amongst people who shoot up crowds of strangers and innocent school children?