The Root’s Clapback Mailbag: Not All Mailbags

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

Today’s Clapback Mailbag is dedicated to last week’s mailbag. I know this sounds like some Inception-level shit where we make references to a mailbag inside a mailbag about the mailbag, so I will include some new stuff, too.


Last week was a rough week for mail. I feel like you guys weren’t bringing your racist A-game (the “a” stands for asswipe). I had to look for stuff to clap back at. I know it was the day after The Root 100 gala, and I may have awakened in my bed the next morning wearing a tuxedo jacket, formal shoes and no pants. I cannot confirm this, and also ... why are you being so nosy?

Luckily, you guys really stepped up to the hate plate this week. I have received no less than 12 correspondences that contain the word “nigger” in them. While it does show a lack of creativity on the part of racists (400 years and “nigger” is the best you can do?*), it does set a new personal record for me.

Bravo, motherfuckers. Bravo.

Let’s read some mail:

*I prefer the pure simplicity of “porch monkey.”

The following is a comment on Deputy Managing Editor Yesha Callahan’s article about a hair game, which some (white) people found very offensive.


From: Mike

Your just another niggger jealous of white people and pissed because you were born black, I would be to, you blacks snivel about everything and blame everyone else for your woes, but it is you who are to blame for the way people of all races see blacks and the way we see you is justified by the way people of all races see blacks and the way we see you is justified by the way blaks as a whole are, basically lie animals, all races really hate blacks, even blacks hate blacks and kill each other by the hunddreds every day, you wil alwasy be the scum of the earth and rightly so



It is part of human nature to believe that everyone likes the same things and feels the same way you do. If you like a dish, how could anyone else not like it? If a joke makes you laugh, how could anyone else not think it’s funny? The entire staff of The Root still can’t wrap their minds around the idea that, after having tasted bacon, I think it is just “a’ight.” They can’t even process the concept. They have actually come to the conclusion that every time I’ve tried it, it must have been fake bacon. Like there’s an international conspiracy to slip mediocre pork products to Michael Harriot. It’s probably beef lobbyists. Big beef must be behind it* (which, I must add, would be my stripper name). I said all of that to make this point, Mike:

Just because you hate black people doesn’t mean everyone hates black people.

I know the concept is as mind-numbingly implausible as someone’s being apathetic about eating pig thigh meat. I truly understand that so much hate is buried in the rancid, charcoal black muscle you call a heart that you think everyone in the world must obviously have the same despicable disposition.


Mike, you’re not going to believe me when I say this, but trust me it’s true: Not all white people are racist.

Nope. Trust me, it’s true. In fact, I’ll tell you another secret. There are even people in the world (I will admit, they’re probably some kind of lexical geniuses or something) who use periods and all that fancy-schmancy punctuation shit. They even know the difference between “your” and “you’re.”


Now, I’m going to keep the grammar thing between you and me, because I intend to cite you as a source to every Caucasian crier who says, “Not all white people.”

Thanks, Mike.



*That’s what she said.

From Twitter user BuildTheWall:

This comments related to article complaining to whites that bring up black on black crime. You said over 91% of blacks are killed by other blacks & most whites are murdered by other whites & failed to mention that 84% of whites are killed by other whites , blacks commit approximately 50% homicides in the U.S. every year & commit most crime at a much higher ratio / percent of other races. They burn towns / cities & then cry about needing everyone to give them something for free , they take over 35% welfare annually are only 13% - 15% of this nations population & shift the blame saying most welfare goes to whites. They are taught that only white people can be racist in some schools / colleges & this only makes race relations worse. Pointing out facts doesn’t feel good does it? I am no racist & to be honest the world sucks. There will be no end to the shitholes that many poor or unemployed blacks live at in all major cities & poor black areas in general until welfare is cut off for many of them because a large percentage of them don’t need it & just refuse to work like any other race. When you cut off welfare for those that can work & are just sitting home they’ll to get off their asses & find a job. You have no idea how much better life would be for many people if they lost their welfare. I have seen major improvements in attitudes after they started working no matter their skin color. They were scared as hell at first & when they got a job their attitude was much better then when they were relying on welfare because they were able to get an apartment , had money to spend & got out of the shithole they were living in. My girlfriend was one of those black people that relied on welfare because she didn’t want to work. I told her that she was only allowed to eat dollar store soup until she got a job & kept my food which was mainly meat & poultry was in a chest freezer. She left my food alone & found a job in only 1 week . When she got a job she was given a key to the chest freezer & allowed to eat whatever she wanted as long as she mentioned it if I was gone so I could replace it. She was also stuck at home & not able to go out until she got a job. You want to know what she did over it? She was angry at me about it until she got a job & thanked me for making her stay at home because she realized that’s a little like how she was living for years & she no longer feels imprisoned like she was on welfare. She said the job gave her more freedom then she could have imagined & finally has some money to spend because of me. I overheard this when she was talking to a friend because she talks a little loud & th


There is so much to unpack here, so I won’t. Instead, I would like to submit that this isn’t one of the most racist things I’ve ever received, but it is all the racist things I’ve received. If someone wanted to know what kind of hate mail black writers get, this would be my prototype.

It is excellent in its sheer lack of fucks given about grammar. The way he refers to his arbitrarily derived statistics as “facts” is baconlike in both taste and saltiness. But you know what my favorite part is? The way, smack dab in the middle of this verbal diarrhea, he says, “I’m no racist.”


That’s one of my favorite parts.

I was actually going to include this letter in last week’s mailbag, but last Friday’s bag of bullshit ran pretty long, so I had totally forgotten about the part where he said he had a black girlfriend whom he trained to work and be responsible through a system of starvation and ass-whippings. (I know the DM didn’t say anything about ass whippings, but y’all know. ... You think this guy doesn’t slap women around?) I am also still trying to wrap my head around the fact that an actual woman, with a vagina and everything, let him stick his flaccid, chicken-neck-looking, underdeveloped, thumb-shaped penis inside her. I guess even a trash can catches a steak some days.


Which brings me to my last point about the worst people on the planet. I know I talk about racism very often, but there is a class of people who are worse than racists: the motherfuckers who put locks on refrigerators.

If Hitler’s Third Reich had been limited to these motherfuckers, he would have been hailed as a hero. I’ve always heard about these people, but even this brief, momentary contact makes me want to take one of those Silkwood showers where I scrub my skin really hard with a medium-bristle wire brush and then sit on the floor of the shower with my arms wrapped around my legs thinking about the complexities of the human condition and why they don’t make Pop-Tarts without the icing anymore as my tears slowly dissolve down the drain.


See what I go through for y’all?

The following are two comments left on last week’s mailbag from a user named Dusty. Dusty was apparently triggered by me saying, “White people are evil.”

I like to pop in from time to time to see how other folks view the world who aren’t like me and I have not posted until now.

You write that all white people are evil and then try to make a nuanced explanation, but in the end, had a white person said “all black people are evil” regardless of the explanation, they would immediately be branded a racist.

How do you justify pointing out all the anti-black racism when many comments and articles on this site are anti-white? How do you expect a white person to act when you put your thumb in their eye at every opportunity?


Dusty later wrote:

So you think saying all white people are evil is appropriate? How about all black people are evil?


Dearest Dusty,

Sorry for putting my thumb in your eye. I’m also sorry that your anus is still so sore from me saying, “White people are evil” that you missed the entire point of last week’s mailbag.


And you’re right, by the way. If a white person had said, “All black people are evil,” I would have assumed they were racist. I probably wouldn’t have typed a letter or comment to the site where they said it, though. I wouldn’t have done it for one particular reason:

If I were browsing that imaginary site that said, “Black people are evil,” I bet it would have a million stories on it. I would imagine that it had stories about crime, racism, inequality, injustice, death, satire, politics, pop culture and even achievements. After I perused through all of the other worldviews that are different from mine, the thing I would have been offended by the least (or at least not enough to toggle me into “letter-writing mode”) was someone saying, “Black people are evil.” Would you like to know why?


Because I am not evil.

I know it’s hard dealing with the racism against white people. I’ve felt it, too. Last year, while filling out my taxes, I told my son to get his registration so I could see how much I paid to register his car. I walked to the garage with him, and when he fumbled around in the glove compartment searching for the right paper, I yelled at him.


I wasn’t being mean, but in that moment, all I could think about was, “What if the wrong cop was standing over this black kid fumbling around in his glove compartment?” That stupid little moment of teenage carelessness could cost my son his life—because he is black.

It is a tough thing to wrestle with, watching your children, knowing the more they grow, the more they become prey. It is scary to think about that every time they leave the house. And then I thought, I bet this is just how Dusty feels when he reads words on the internet.


See? Our battles with racism are the same, Dusty.

But there is something else in your comments that I’d like to point out:

I said, “White people are evil.”

You asked, “So you think saying all white people are evil is appropriate?”

You also wrote, “You write that all white people are evil and then try to make a nuanced explanation ... ”


Do you notice the difference in those sentences, Dusty?

You added an “all.” I didn’t say “all,” Dusty. Thank you for clearing this up for me. Now I understand everything. For so long I’ve been accusing the “not all white people” crowd of being too sensitive and privileged, but now I understand.


White people can’t read!

Now that you’ve pointed it out to me, it’s clear, Dusty! Thank you for that.

Now, I’m not saying that “all” white people are illiterate. Just some. The ones who compare comments on the internet to 400 years of rape, torture, injustice, murder and inequality. The ones so dumb they actually think they can convince people that they are open-minded and sophisticated enough to cruise the internet to hear opinions different from their own, but so sensitive they can’t handle opinions different from their own. The ones so privileged they think they can actually tell people that their opinions aren’t “appropriate.”


Not all white people, Dusty.

Just you.

Hey, Mike said it, not me.



Does anyone else think it’s possible that one guy kidnapped a woman, is calling her “girlfriend”, and a rescue party needs to go out and save her? Because that whole controlling her food thing was the freakiest and most disturbing thing I‘ve read this week.