Illustration for article titled The Roots Clapback Mailbag: Old Whites Tales
Clapback MailbagEach Friday, we select the best (or worst) emails, tweets, DMs and comments from our readers and respond to them in the The Root's Clapback Mailbag.

I’m not religious, and I know that thunder and lightning are caused by electrostatic charges superheating the air, producing a rapid atmospheric expansion that causes a sonic boom. I don’t think my hallucinations during REM sleep give me information about fertility, nor do I believe stop signs and telephone poles determine my future. I’ve done the research and it turns out that cleaning tools don’t affect law enforcement decisions.

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But there are some things I don’t fuck with.

I still sit my ass down and be quiet during thunderstorms because I was raised to believe that was God doing his work. If I dream about fish, I know someone in my family is pregnant. If we walk down the street together, please don’t put my future in danger by splitting the pole. And if you happen to graze my feet with a broom while you are sweeping, one of us is going to have to anoint the broom with our saliva.

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I understand that these old negro wives’ tales are superstitious myths that have existed in black communities for decades. I know there is no scientific basis for them. Yet, they persist because we pass them down from generation to generation. It’s easy to attribute bad luck to someone putting a hat on the bed. It’s convenient to blame your financial hardships on that time you haphazardly put your purse on the floor.

White people do it, too.

There’s no scientific evidence that black people are less intelligent, more prone to violence or different from white people in any way. But it’s convenient to attribute a black criminal’s actions to his race while “troubled” white youth get the benefit of the doubt. It’s much easier to blame the education gap on negro stupidity than figure out how to disassemble a 200-year-old unequal education system.

And it’s easy to send letters, tweets and complaints blaming racism on The Root when you don’t want to actually eliminate the problem.


Here’s someone who complained about the journalistic integrity of Politics and Sports Editor Stephen Crockett:

From: Hunter S.
To: Stephen Crockett
Subject: China Virus Drugs.

Stop watching CNN and do some real investigation and you will find hydroxci does work along with zithromax. Both have been around longer than hip hop music.

To bad you feel the need to get Jiggy with it .

Trump 2020 motherfucker !!

Dear Hunter,

First of all, how dare you!

This kind of abuse will not be tolerated at The Root. This is one of the most hate-filled, spiteful letters I have ever read. I wish I owned some pearls because I would be clutching them. I can’t imagine how Stephen must have felt when he opened this letter.

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“Gett jiggy with it”?

You think Stephen listens to “Gettin’ Jiggy With It?” You believe he does the dance?

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Stephen would never.

I know this for a fact because Stephen constantly sends me underground mixtapes of people who are spitting mediocre rhymes to mediocre beats but they talk about guns and money a lot, plus the rapper just did a bid, so he’s got street credibility, which makes Stephen think the artist is about to blow up.

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They never blow up.

Stephen is my friend. We talk a lot. It’s because I believe he is a genius who should be inducted into the roasting Hall of Fame roaster. He can drag anyone. There isn’t anyone on earth who can write about Donald Trump every day and make it funny and original every day.

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I’m worried about Stephen.

See, when it comes to Trump, Stephen may be the most objective journalist at The Root. He doesn’t love the guy, but Stephen has impeccable journalistic ethics. The white people at his former job—The Washington Post—beat it into him.

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Every day, when I arrive at work (meaning I walk downstairs), I have a message from Stephen saying a variation of this:

Mike, I think I may have been too hard on Trump yesterday.

Today, I’m going to try to be objective and look at his actions from both sides. He’s the president. He deserves my respect.

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This upsets me. How is one of the all-time greats gonna just quit in the middle of Trump’s presidency and become a milquetoast writer? It’s like the greatest basketball player on the planet retiring from the sport to become a below-average baseball player. It’s like if Megan Thee Stallion decided to never bend her knees again. It’s like Jesus deciding to become a fisher of fish!

How can we save this organization and inspire Stephen’s greatness? He’s our backbone! Don’t worry, the entire staff at The Root knows what to do.

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We just send him videos and articles about the stupid shit Trump did in the last 24 hours. As he reads them, you can hear his head exploding. You can feel the steam coming from his ears. And then, he starts writing

And that’s how we keep Stephen going.

Don’t worry, he won’t read this.

But I sometimes worry about what pushing him with the white-hot fury of 1,000 suns is doing to his health. This hate and anger can’t be good for his mental health. I often wonder if we should stop this practice.

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Then I remember he wrote what could be the most beautiful piece of writing I’ve ever read:

I’m a Kellyanne Conway birther.

That’s right. I am going to need proof that Kellyanne Conway is alive and not just a skeleton covered in provolone cheese wearing a bank-robber wig that is attached to a series of pulleys that make her arms and mouth move.

Until then, I have to address Kellyanne Conway as the skeletal remains of someone named Kellyanne Conway. Or simply: Skellyanne Conway.

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I love Stephen Crockett. I want him to live a long productive life. But if I have to choose between Washington Post Stephen Crockett and The Root’s Stephen Crockett...

If he dies, he dies.


Here is a standard letter we get all the time, asking: “Instead of talking about all the stuff white people do, why don’t you guys report on this?”

To: The Root
From: A. Patrick
Subject: Hate Crime Going On Right Now

The Root reports a lot on racism against blacks. However, you ignore the fact that most per capita hate crimes are committed by blacks acc. to FBI and NYPD statistics. Now there is, as of this very moment, a black man by the name of Jaydon Hayden in Detroit who is abusing elderly white patients in a psychiatric Hospital while calling them racist slurs. He posts his videos online. You can read about it and watch the videos here. It has been reported to the authorities today as the story started spreading on social media.

If you are really serious about racism, I expect you to report on this disgusting case. If you don’t you are just a racist publication that only cares about alleged hate crimes against blacks but not about black on white hate crimes, basically demonstrating that you think some people are less worthy of protection than others, depending on the color of their skin. We shall see which one it is, depending on whether and how you report on this.

Also, would you consider a website, similar to The Root, that exclusively focuses on White issues and portrays most blacks as oppressors, a racist website? If yes, is The Root racist as well? Asking this because it seems to me you are a bunch of black supremacists who refuse to take responsibility.

Kind regards.

A. Patrick

Dear Mr. Patrick

Whenever I see comedians or jokester make funny faces, they always cross their eyes. I was always afraid to do that because I always heard that if a person does it too often, their eyes will get stuck that way.

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The Root isn’t in the practice of demonizing black people for the sake of sensationalism. I don’t deny that we aren’t sensationalists. All journalists are. Still, The Root knows that every news story is told through the lens of the writer and, because there are so many more white journalists working for major outlets, most media organizations have reinforced the notion that the white perspective is a neutral perspective. This subconscious notion actually fuels the news coverage but is undetectable to white eyes.

When the coronavirus outbreak first made headlines, states, health officials and even the best media outlets broke down the pandemic into geographical locations. They disaggregated the victims of COVID-19 as if the disease had a Tinder profile age—by age, sex and location. And when black journalists asked for racial data, white people asked: “Why does everything have to be about race?”

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As if black people created the health disparities. As if black people created the economic inequality that exacerbated COVID-19. As if we were the ones polluting the air and the water that causes health disparities. As if black communities were kicking primary care physicians out of black neighborhoods.

The same is true with news about criminal.

There’s a rule of thumb that black journalists know but the public isn’t keenly aware of: If you read an entire story about a crime and can’t tell the person’s race, you should assume that the offender is a white person. And if you don’t believe me, here is an examples from today

A 20-year-old Herminie man was arraigned Thursday on multiple charges of robbing a gas station-convenience store in Sewickley Township where he used to work.

Timothy J. Mozgawa fled with about $500 from the Sunoco station at 3331 Clay Pike St. at about 10 p.m. Wednesday, state police Trooper Shane McClelland said.

McClelland reported in court documents that Mozgawa confessed to the robbery to troopers about two hours afterward when he was questioned at his home.

“(Mozgawa) made a statement he made a mistake do to him having a debt owed to someone,” McClelland said in court documents.

Mozgawa wore a camouflage face mask when he robbed the store and threatened the clerk with a pellet handgun before fleeing, McClelland said. Mozgawa told the trooper that he sat in some woods for about an hour contemplating committing the robbery before he entered the store.

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It took me four minutes to find Timothy Mosgawa on the Westmoreland County Jail website.

He is white.

Mr. Patrick, as much as you and your fellow Yakubians believe in the criminality of black people, you believe in the forgiveness of whites. Even the most liberal news media outlets feel free to demonize black people while contorting themselves into knots to explain the sins of whiteness. Even worse, they truly believe that their search for Caucasian absolution is a sign of objectivity.

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Here is another recent example:

Illustration for article titled The Roots Clapback Mailbag: Old Whites Tales
Screenshot: ABC19
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Here are the last three sentences of this article :

Authorities believe COVID-19 has ginned up a level of boredom, particularly among high school and college students.

“A lot of it is juveniles thinking this is a cool thing to do, and it’s just not,” Montgomery County Police Spokesman Capt. Tom Jordan told 7 On Your Side last month. “People just having too much time on their hands.”

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What’s interesting about this is that I didn’t find Timothy Mosgawa by scouring the internet for white robbers. In fact, when I searched for “robbery” in Google News, every single story on the first page was about a white robber... Except the last one.

The last article was about a liquor store robbery just outside of Atlantic City. The suspect, Siewon Nimly was black. So, like they do for the white boys, I wondered what could have caused Siewon to commit such a crime. I’m sure you think he’s just an evil, greedy thug because black people don’t get to be “bored.”

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That’s when I found this:

The body of 13-year-old Oretha Preslee Nimley, who was struck by a car on the Black Horse Pike last month, has been lying in a Philadelphia funeral home since Nov. 17.

Nimley’s family has not been able to pull together the money necessary to bury the girl and say their goodbyes...

“I go home from work and I just sit in the car. I can’t even go in the house because it’s just so quiet. She was always playing music,” said her father, Siewon P. Nimley...

Siewon immigrated to the United States 15 years ago from Liberia. When his daughter died, he didn’t know where to turn for help, he said...

John McLernon of the Atlantic County Department of Family and Community Development said there is assistance for burial costs if an individual is receiving Supplemental Security Income, Medicaid or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.

Siewon, who has worked for seven years at Atlantic City Linen Supply, said his family is not receiving any of those benefits.

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So, I know you want us to demonize black people, but no thanks. It’s not that we don’t want to report the news about another negro thug, but the white news is already doing a great job.

We’ll pass.

Because, if there’s one thing the staff at The Root knows, is that white people can’t see the humanity in black people. But it’s not your fault. The Root understands that white people have been looking at us this way for so long...

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Their eyes are stuck that way.

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

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