The Root's Clapback Mailbag: Oh, the Caucasity!

Illustration for article titled The Root's Clapback Mailbag: Oh, the Caucasity!
Illustration: Oscar Bustamante

Welcome back to another edition of the Clapback Mailbag.

Every Thursday, The Root holds a team meeting where we decide which emails, tweets, DMs and comments make the cut for the Mailbag. These meetings are usually held in a top-secret location that may or may not sell chicken named after a cartoon sailor.


Before today, this scientific ranking system was our internal way of determining the caucasity of our constituency. But because transparency is never a bad thing, we thought we would pull back the curtains and allow you to understand how we rank each letter.

These first two correspondences are in regards to Senior Politics Editor Stephen Crockett’s article on Gov. Ron DeSantis’ plan to pardon people who broke state COVID protocols.

From: Jeff
To: Stephen Crockett
Just read your article on Ron DeSantis. Smiled at the joke about God eating chili, throwing up Florida, you left out the fact that he shit you out at the same time.
Your ass must get real jealous of all of the shit that comes from your mouth. I have to say, when I first saw your picture on Twitter, I could have sworn I was looking at a picture of my mother’s douchebag, then I remembered, her douchebag is in New York.
Come on down to Florida and kiss our butthole, douchebag.

Dear Jeff,

We are happy to inform you that your letter will be featured in this week’s Clapback Mailbag. While we normally would never publish such tripe, we would like to use your response as a sample for what not to do when writing a journalist.

When I first read your letter, I was very worried about your familiarity with your mother’s vagina-cleaning technique. But then I remembered that you’re from Florida and assumed that douching is a family activity. Plus, after giving birth to someone like you, I’m sure she was worried about the rancid smell.

The fact that you smiled at Stephen’s joke about Florida is very disappointing. Everyone knows that God did not vomit Florida out of his mouth. According to a lost book of the Bible, this is how God produced your home state:

“And Adam said unto the Lord: Lord, I have eaten of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and it hath made by gut bubbleth.

And God said unto Adam: “Well what the hell do you want from me, my child?”

And Adam said unto the Lord: “But I cannot emptieth my bowels in this garden because thou hath no tissue paper. Can thou create a place specifically for me.”

And so God went to a place and shapeth it like a penis. And as he finished, an angel asked the Almighty: “But what shall we call this place?” And God thought about it and said: “Thou shalt name it Florida.”

And so the archangel declared Florida the places for pieces of shit.

And the evening and the morning were the shittiest day.

— Caucasians 3:16

For content alone, you deserve a 1. But because you conjured up some biblical history, you deserve a few more points.


Caucasity Rating: 3

Here is another reply about the same article

From: Matt

To: Stephen Crockett

I live in Florida. I’m a single white father, raising a child of mixed race by myself. His black mother decided she was going to find her true love via Tinder, (apparently the search continues because I get begged for money I don’t have everytime she grace’s us with her presence) and she treats her own kid as if he is her nephew, and that’s being nice. I don’t ask or expect anything from anybody, I don’t believe in welfare, I wake up at 5 AM to drive my mixed race kid to a school that will provide him a better education, even though it’s 40 minutes away. I have to make that same trip every night as well, after I work a 10 hour day outside in the Florida heat. We have a routine of doing everything involving school right when we get home and walk in the door, followed by dinner, some sort of exercise or sporting activity, and reading for at least 30 minutes before he goes to bed. I’m lucky to settle down for the night by 10:00 PM. Through those efforts, my kid has never received a grade lower than a B, and got his first straight A report card for the last grading quarter of this school year, all while missing only 1 day of school over the last 3 years when I became his custodial parent. I’m writing you this not to boast, but to educate you that not every white person is what you seem to try to make us out to be. My kid’s mother is a deadbeat BLACK mother, that comes from a very affluent family, that didn’t come from a broken home (I did), and was afforded the luxury of getting a very good, FREE, education from a major university in this state. And even after all of that, she still became the person she is today. Do you think it would be fair of me to stereotype every black woman as a deadbeat mother because of my own personal bad experience with one? The problem I have with you is you see a Ron DeSantis, or a Donald Trump, and to you, it epitomizes an entire race. With comments like “Florida folks, America’s butthole” and “Florida, the armpit of America” and “Ron DeSantis, the whitest white man that ever whited”, I gotta ask you, what makes you any different than them??? As a white person, I don’t care for either of them, or any politician for that matter (Barry O is an exception), but after reading your article, I don’t think I care for you very much either. And it’s not because, and I’m assuming here, you’re black, it’s because you’re racist. You are a prime example of what I want my child to grow up NOT to be. I raise him as a white man, because I’m white, but it’s just as important to me that he knows and understands his black culture as well, so I make sure to bring him to Orlando to spend as much time as possible with that side of his family. They spend time with their grandson, not their white grandson or their black grandson, but their grandson. I hope that maybe in the future, you’ll base your opinion on someone after meeting them, instead of just assuming a white person from Florida must be Ron DeSantis


Dear Matt,

That’s what I’m talking about!

This letter has everything! It has random apostrophes, no paragraphs and an actual Florida Man! But the reason it is so exemplary is that the writer essentially explains why we shouldn’t judge white people while constantly noting the race of his child’s mother.


He continues by explaining how hard it is to raise his son by himself, a unique situation that no one has ever encountered before. He works and takes care of a child! I’ve never heard of this! This motherfucker is a hero!

After he writes a letter describing his baby mama, whom Stephen has never met, he asks why Stephen is he judging white people he has never met simply from things that are written about them. If your baby mama is a “deadbeat” then why can’t Ron DeSantis be “the whitest white man that ever whited?”


But the best part is how he actually said, from his own mouth, that he is raising his child “as a white man.” I don’t know what that means. Are you raising him to be white? Are you using the white father’s child-rearing technique? Are you just noting your whiteness?

Matt, I have a solution for you.

Perhaps you should have thought about this before raising a child. You never said that you were married. Why don’t you people care about family values? This is what’s wrong with this country. It’s gotta be how you were raised. Sure, you come from a two-parent home but it’s obvious your family didn’t raise you to value a traditional family structure.


Stephen might be a racist. He might be a prime example of what you “want [your] child to grow up NOT to be.” But you wanted to know what makes Stephen better than Ron DeSantis, those people who live in Florida’s armpit or you?

Stephen read your letter and recanted everything he said about Ron DeSantis.

You are now the whitest man who ever whited.

Caucasity Rating: 9.4

These tweets about the article on police brutality and Louisiana State Troopers are a great example of what we look for in social media clapbacks.


Dear Martey,

Thank you for your Twitter replies. Your outrage is exactly what we are searching for in our Clapback Mailbag strategy sessions. But I’d like to dig deeper by establishing a few facts:

  1. Ronald Greene, the victim of this fatal traffic stop, is Black.
  2. According to The Advocate, “All 10 State Police majors — and all nine of the agency’s troop commanders around the state — are white men. Of the agency’s 22 captains, only three are Black and one is female.”
  3. Nationwide, Black drivers are more likely to be stopped and twice as likely to be searched by a law enforcement officer.
  4. White police officers are more likely to use force on Black people.
  5. Black people are more likely to be killed by police.
  6. The rate at which Black drivers are stopped, searched, brutalized or killed does not correlate to the crime rate. 

Now, that we have gotten all of that out of the way, I’m willing to do you one better. As the designated driver on the conversations about police killings, I’ve been given the sole authority by the National Negro Consortium to stop making police killings about race.

But here’s the thing:

I’ve never seen or heard anyone argue against your point. Name one legislative proposal that suggests that the police be more lenient toward a certain race. Black people aren’t arguing that cops should just stop killing Black people. We’re arguing that they should stop killing people. Periodt.


We just want the laws to be applied equally. We want the same right to due process that white people get. We want the same treatment afforded to the white people who curse at cops and drive home safely. This is the thing that white people can’t seem to understand about privilege. No one wants anything extra from this country except for white people to leave us the fuck alone.

The data says police are racist. History says police are racist. Facts say police are racist. The numbers say they stop, profile, brutalize and kill us.


Black people are just saying “stop.”

Caucasity Rating: 8.1

Our last rating goes to this FB exchange about America being a racist country.

From: Leanne
To: Michael Harriot

I read a lot of your work and notice how you always seem to find the perfect facts to make white people look like they’re racist. Maybe you should talk about Marxizm. Do you want to live in a marxist country?

From: Michael Harriot
To: Leanne

Define Marxism

From: Leanne
To: Michael Harriot

Socialism like what BLM wants.

From: Michael Harriot
To: Leanne

Can you show me where BLM says that? Because I’ll disavow them right now.

Also, you still haven’t defined Marxism for me.

From: Leanne
To: Michael Harriot

From: Michael Harriot
To: Leanne

Why do you believe in slavery and racism?

Still no definition of marxism or racism?

From: Leanne
To: Michael Harriot

I don’t. Just because I’m white doesn’t mean I’m racist.

From: Michael Harriot
To: Leanne

But if I’m a Marxist because Black Lives Matter’s founder is Marxist, then aren’t you a slave-owning racist if you subscribe to the premise of America’s founders?

Unless, of course, you believe that people have individual ideas and motivations. But, I can’t know if I’m a marxist until you define it.

From: Leanne
To: Michael Harriot

I’m a cake decorator and you’re the big journalist. But you’re the one who complain about “raysisms” so You should know what Marxism is. It’s not about black or white. its the rich democrats and corprations who support BLM and marxism who are dividing us. You went to college and I have been working all my life but you blame people like me for the blacks problems. I work with black people and white people and if you stop to think, we all have the same goals.

From: Michael Harriot
To: Leanne

Leanne, I hate to break this to you. But you’re a marxist. You literally just gave the simplest explanation of Marxism. In fact, the only thing that’s keeping you from fully embracing your destiny is your racism.

But I’m not a marxist, which is why I refuse to discuss political and economic theory with a cake decorator who doesn’t even know how to use google.


Caucasity Rating: 5

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White people: watch this before you write in and complain about The Root.

Bet you sat the whole time, too.