The Root’s Clapback Mailbag: It’s a Hard Job, but Someone Has to Do It

Illustration for article titled The Root’s Clapback Mailbag: It’s a Hard Job, but Someone Has to Do It
Illustration: Oscar Bustamante (FMG)

Aside from Deputy Managing Editor Yesha Callahan, whose primary job is waking up at the crack of dawn to harass me about ledes and how long it takes me to write, most of the staff at The Root are usually busy doing multiple things at once, according to our readers. [Editor’s note: Some of us don’t have the luxury of starting the day at lunchtime, thank you very much! —Yesha]


Sometimes I write articles while simultaneously conducting secret seminars on how to destroy the white race. I didn’t know until a reader informed me, but Senior Editor Stephen A. Crockett Jr. covers politics and sports while holding down a full-time job leading the Anti-Donald Trump Task Force. At any given time you can find staff writer Monique Judge in her sewing room designing the latest cape fashions as she capes for Cardi B. [Editor’s note: Monique has horrible taste. —Yesha]

News Editor Breanna Edwards writes, works in the White House press pool and still finds the time to scour the internet to find stories that show the small subgroup of virulent racists, even though she knows that most white people aren’t that bad. The Glow Up’s Maiysha Kai and contributing editor Angela Bronner Helm work together on the Black Woman Campaign Team. [Editor’s note: Do not forget that Breanna sits in a yoga room smelling yoga farts the other half of her day. —Yesha]

Because of our hard work, I’d like to use today’s mailbag to highlight our readers’ appreciation for all the hard work we do.

Except for Yesha.

She’s yelling at me now. [Editor’s note: I hate you. —Yesha]

First, I’d like to highlight one of the primary services that we collectively provide here at The Root: Trying to start a race war:

From: Russell
To: The Root

You asshole s are a disgrace, you are,just as bad as the racist lynching whites. You are helping to turn non-racists into racists.

You want a race war, it is obvious.

Unfortunately, it may become “game on”

Sure wish it wouldn’t but all you asshole s on both sides are pandering and inflaming the idiots. I am sure you think of yourself as the heir to some 200 year, old king of a giant tetmite mound in africa, but this moron America of the 21st century, replete with the self absorbed millennial assholes who think they know everything and have never fought for anything other than their stank sucks or their game controllers


Try somrthing positive that builds instead of destroys. Unless that is your anarchist,motives


Dammit, Russell, you sussed us out!

[Editor’s note: What does one wear to a race war? I got this new jumpsuit I’d like to break in. —Yesha]

You’re right! We’re trying to start a race war, but since you sussed out our top-secret mission, I wanted you to know that we had planned to contact you in the next few days.

Because you contacted us, I assume that you are on the executive board of white people. I’m not dumb enough to think you’re the president of wypipo because I’ve seen your spelling and know that you probably don’t have the time to take on those responsibilities while you’re studying for your GED diploma. But I assume that you, at the very least, are the recording secretary or the parliamentarian.


Anyway, we would also like to apologize for our lack of effort in this matter. We thought we weren’t doing enough to cause a race war. We assumed that you were upset with us because you seem to put so much more effort into starting race wars than we do. Everyone here feels that we have fallen woefully short of our race-war schedule (Except for Yesha. Her output this month has been record-setting. I assume it’s because she’s ready for this race-war thing to start already.)

[Editor’s note: My jumpsuit goes nicely with my record-setting 7.2 million (and counting) page views. —Yesha]


Your people are out there expending energy tasing NBA players; calling the cops on cookouts; fucking up anyone who comes near a Waffle House; going on racist rants; searching, stopping and frisking black people disproportionately; holding meetings to see how you can keep black kids from having the same opportunities as your kids; and casting ballots for a racist who helped undermine the fabric of the American democracy.

And all we’ve been doing is sitting on our asses reporting on the shit that you’re actually out there doing to start the race war!


It is such a relief to know that you believe that pointing out the existence of racism is equal to the actual racist shit you guys do. I’m just happy to hear that we will get the credit for the mythical impending race war, and not you for your acts of actual racism.

Thanks for clearing that up.

From: Matthew
To: Panama

You know I used to be a fan of your website. I found it to be a refreshing take on all sorts of topics. You’re writing in particular, I enjoyed. It’s saddens me that its devolved into a leftist echo chamber. The Trump shit is really getting old. For the record I did not vote for him and I find him to be a moron. I don’t see how he is racist. I’m still waiting for somebody to point out something he said or some sort of policy foreign or domestic, that proves him to be a racist. A idiot, absolutely. Unfit, for sure. But the rest just seems like slander. I especially like the way you guys edit videos to show the start of the police confrontation yet cut out whatever person at that particular time was acting like a violent out-of-control asshole who deserved whatever happened.

Celebrating a pedophile like Alton Sterling is a particularly new low. I could care less about the white people this white people that shit, actually find it entertaining. And no, I don’t need it explained to me that its not all. It just sucks that your website turned into a funny, informative news site to a hack piece of shit. At least you and Michael Harriot are talented. Damon Young is just a race baiting lying fraud pussy. Harriet has just...

I’m sorry I was saying Michael is just full of shit. He’s very talented and funny but I can’t believe he doesn’t fact check any of his stories. I can’t believe he writes that bullshit with a straight face.

But you’re probably the biggest waste of talent. Too bad. I hope that you guys clean it up so I can go back to enjoying it, not that you give a fuck if I do or if I don’t. Don’t even get me started on the comment section. I cannot believe the cowardly fucking white pussies that flood your comments section with their pathetic virtue signaling. I hope you do better and PS Damon is a fucking racist pussy faggot.


Oh, Matthew, where do I start?

First of all, I want you to know that we had an all-hands-on meeting yesterday to discuss what we could do to win you back. While we are still discussing ideas, we apologize for not shucking and jiving enough to make you laugh. Offending your fragile sensibilities is the last thing we would want to do. That’s not what we’re here for, Matthew.


Second, I want to ask you a serious question: What the fuck is a “leftist”? I hear conservatives say it all the time. I know it’s a buzzword used by people who think you should salute the flag and lie down so police can shoot you in a proper manner, but if “leftist” is the opposite of the right-wing people who would rather have teenage blood permanently staining every high school in America so that they can keep their Bushmaster with the extended clip as they patrol the border on weekends and call the police on black people every Tuesday and Thursday, then I’m cool with that.

Third, I can’t believe I’m going to do this, but since you are oblivious to Donald Trump’s racism, Here’s a partial list of racist things he has done:


I didn’t go back too far because he has done enough racist acts in the past 90 days to answer your question. I also included the links because ... you know ... I don’t fact-check. I admit that you were correct about typing with a straight face. I audibly laughed at the part when you said that you don’t see how Trump is racist. But after I finished reading your letter, I realized that you probably don’t. You probably don’t see how you are racist, Matthew.

I don’t want to go too hard on you (I’ll leave that up to the people in the comments section), but I’d like to ask you a serious question: Why are white people so angry?


I’ve read some despicable shit on the internet, Matty. But I can’t recall ever reading anything that made me feel like I needed to go find the author and give him a piece of my mind. I can’t lie, Matt, I wish I were as motivated as you are. I bet you fill out comment cards and even call the 800 number to complete the survey on your Home Depot receipts. The “speak to the manager” gene is the most curious thing in my studies of wypipology.

Last, Matthew, I’d like to tell you that there was only one part of your entire diatribe that upset me:


Just saying “PS” does not make something a postscript. It must actually come after the close of the letter when you sign your name (or your “script”). Even though this bugs me when people say it in conversation, you actually did it in a fucking letter!


I think I’m going to need to speak to a manager about this.

See you in the comments section. [Editor’s note: On second thought ... we don’t need his motherfucking page view. Bye, Matthew! —Yesha]


From: Simon
To: Michael

I very much enjoy your writing and appreciate both the light and the heat you bring to various subjects.

I write with three questions. You’ve written extensively about white people’s desires and efforts to use the n-word in various circumstances and the lengths to which some will go to try and justify their use of the word. While I find these mental gymnastics ridiculous and evidence of latent racism, I thought perhaps you could help identify an alternative. Not for the word as used in bigotry, but when white people are listing to music that uses it.

I don’t for a second think I have any business saying the word when singing along (can a white person “rap” along to Kendrick?). But I do think we need a substitute both for our mouths and our minds. Listening to mAAD city (as I’m sure you know, we are required to praise and name-drop Kendrick daily as part of the woke-card renewal process), for example, there’s more than a few instances where I want to sing along but need an alternative as “where you from my n-word? Fuck who you know, where you from my n-word” sounds ridiculous. “Person” maintains the meter but “seen a light skinned person with his brains blown out,” but does sound like a white person doing an impersonation of a black person doing an impersonation of a white person, Urkel-style.

As wordsmith and esteemed wypipologist, can you help our community out? Lord knows we need it. Also can we get a clapback mailback that’s just Yesha clapping back at you?

Lastly, is the deuce of spaces higher than the Ace?


  1. You do know you can just not say the n-word, right? They actually make and sell copies of the song without the word. Why do you need to say it so bad? Or, and here’s an interesting thought that you might not be aware of, but I promise you that it is not impossible for white people to do this: You can just listen.
  2. The deuce of spades is higher than the ace of spades unless you are playing with some goddamn neanderthals.
  3. No. I don’t see how that would be funny. Yesha claps back at me in real life.

[Editor’s note: Simon, you’re a gem! Maybe use “gem” as a substitute. “What’s up, my gem?” See how much better that sounds? —Yesha]


From: Jason
To: Michael Harriot and The Root

I just wanted to thank you (and all of the writers of The Root) for publicizing the many challenges faced by black Americans. I am a white, male, Christian and I grew up in Appalachia (southeastern mountains in PA) where there was a single “black kid” in my grade and maybe 3 total in my high school. Needless to say, I was woefully ignorant of black culture or any culture for that matter that wasn’t from a movie. I even remember when I started working in Pittsburgh as a grown ass man (about 20?) asking some of the dumbest, surely offensive, and likely stereotypical, “ this white guy knows nothing” kinds of questions.

I’m giving you some background because I currently volunteer in a program called “Battalion” in our home church in Pittsburgh. It’s basically Boy Scouts with a Christian mentorship focus. Our troop has been blessed with a large group of kids (20-35) and adult leaders (6-8) that span an amazingly diverse set of backgrounds. (rich, poor, white, latino, black, mixed, Asian, and more) I know I wouldn’t be able to relate nearly as well to some of these young men if I hadn’t been exposed articles in The Root that highlight the challenges and injustices that so many non-white people are burdened with. I really love these young men and savor the opportunity to bond with them. I am truly blessed to have the opportunity to mentor them as they grow into talented and incredible men of God.

I wish I had a better way to express my gratitude for how The Root has allowed me to better understand things beyond my own narrow scope of experience, but I’m nowhere near as talented as yourself or your staff so unfortunately, this is the best way I know to say thank you.


That’s enough. [Editor’s note: I’ll see you in Slack, Harriot! —Yesha]

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


Monique Judge

At any given time you can find staff writer Monique Judge in her sewing room designing the latest cape fashions as she capes for Cardi B. [Editor’s note: Monique has horrible tastes. —Yesha]

How dare you niggas.