Illustration for article titled The Roots Clapback Mailbag: Our Formal Endorsement for President of White America
Illustration: Oscar Bustamante (Facebook)
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.

The Root hates Bernie Sanders.

The Root loves Bernie Sanders.

Neither one of those things is true but, depending on which candidate you support, you either think The Root is actively trying to sabotage your candidate by painting them as a racist or we are selling out for Joe Biden.

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Or maybe it’s Elizabeth Warren.

Or Bloomberg (definitely not Bloomberg).

Anyway, we thought we’d use today’s mailbag to clarify our position and formally endorse a candidate.

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The Elizabeth Warren article garnered a lot of speculation that we are rooting for her

From: Slapa
To: Michael Harriot

Can you please stop downing Sanders and fawning for Warren in every article?

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Dear guys,

I asked The Root’s Editor-in-Chief Danielle Belton if we could formally endorse a candidate and she declined. However, I seriously doubt that she even reads the mailbag so I am going to issue a formal endorsement:

The white one.

After experiencing Barack Obama’s presidency for eight years, I’ve come to realize that the presidency is not for us. I’mma let y’all choose. Simply seeing a black person at the head of the table induces a subconscious level of vitriol in far too many white people. I truly believe that’s why Donald Trump was elected.

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Not only does the data on “racial resentment” prove my theory, but history teaches us that this is true.

After slavery was outlawed, America elected Andrew Johnson, a racist president who sympathized with Southern white supremacist terrorists. He was impeached too but he wasn’t removed from office. His election ushered in the racial terrorism of Reconstruction.

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In 1913, afraid that blacks were gaining too many advantages, Americans elected Woodrow Wilson, another rabid racist who defended the Ku Klux Klan, resegregated the government and ushered in the second-wave white nationalist movement that caused mass lynching and the Red Summer of 1919.

After the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the GOP used the Southern Strategy and Republican Richard Nixon managed to win the White House by “outniggering” Dixiecrat George Wallace.

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As Lee Atwater explained:

You start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968 you can’t say “nigger”—that hurts you, backfires. So you say stuff like, uh, forced busing, states’ rights, and all that stuff, and you’re getting so abstract. Now, you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites.… “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, uh, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “Nigger, nigger.”

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Of course, Atwater was Ronald Reagan’s deputy campaign director and political director, thus ushering the 1984 Comprehensive Crime Control Act, which did far more damage to black communities than the 1994 crime bill. It militarized police, targeted low-level drug dealers, fueled sentencing disparities, set the first mandatory minimums and increased mass incarceration by eliminating parole in the federal prison system

And after the first black president, America chose Trump.

I would love to have another black president or, at the very least, a period of black equality and freedom. But every time black people take a step forward, white people take it upon themselves to “make America great again.”

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Honestly, I can’t take it anymore.

So I choose the white guy. It doesn’t matter which one. I’m just tired of y’all turning into devils every time a black person smiles. When I go into the voting booth, I’m gonna vote blue, no matter who. But you get to choose the “who.” I kinda don’t give a fuck. I just want to rest for the next four years and let you guys do what you do.

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And trust me, you’re gonna do it.

So I hereby formally endorse whiteness.

And may God bless the white people of the United States of America.


Some people took exception to my depiction of capitalism and education inequality in the article about black issues.

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From: Ace
To: Michael Harriot

Admit you re a Bernie socialist I know you want to promote your oppression agenda but Whiter schools outperform minority schools because science shows that white children have higher IQ’s.

It’s not capitalism or racism didn’t do this. It’s nature

Here are two comments about the same subject:

From: SS Fan
To: Michael Harriot

This was a great read. I’m ignorant to every aspect, but I do have some questions about the public school stuff. Is there a limit where schools get funding from? Federal, state? It seems like even if every school received the same federal and state dollars, some white schools also benefit from city/district taxes that are added on, and of course, if that city is more affluent, the school would benefit heavily from that. Is that how it goes?

EDIT - I read the included link “On the whole, nonwhite districts receive significantly less funding than white districts. Because our system relies so heavily on community wealth, this gap reflects both the prosperity divide in our country and the fragmented nature of school district borders, designed to exclude outside students and protect internal advantage.”

I’m not sure how you balance that out, unless the government provides the difference.

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Another reader replied:

From: Jared Taylor
To: SS Fan

Not at all. In fact, states have formulas whereby the “property rich” cities receive less in state funds and those funds are directed to the “property poor” cities. In plain English, white suburbs receive very little in state funding while the inner cities absorb most of the state school funding. It still doesn’t help.

Cleveland City- 15.6% white,$17,926 per student. Rated F by State passed 1 of 24 school performance indicators.

Columbus City-22.6% white, $14,995 per student. Rated F by state passed 0 of 26 indicators.

Cincinnati City- 23.6% white, $13,915 per student Rated D by state passed 2 0f 24 indicators.

Brecksville- 83% white, $12,823 per student Rated B by state passed 23 of 23

Brunswick- 91% white, $10,695 per student Rated B by state passed 7 of 24 indicators

Strongsville-82% white, $12,788 per student rated B by state passed rated C by state, passed 17 of 24 indicators

The black schools receive more funding per pupil, and still perform at a much lower level.

This is from the Ohio Board of Education website.

Dear Fan and Jared,

If you have read much of what I have written about education funding, you know I have been crusading about this particular disparity for much of my life. Before Edbuild released its definitive report on this subject, I have tried to convince every single institution that hired me to fund a study on this.

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Both of you are correct.

In some states, schools in poor and minority receive more state funding than their richer, whiter counterparts. There is also a federal program called Title I that increases funds for schools with a high number of disadvantaged students. Even so, schools in formerly redlined neighborhoods continue to be underfunded because it is not enough.

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To explain why, let’s use Jared’s example of Ohio Public Schools.

Using the state’s data, I compared Cleveland City Schools with two other districts—Indian Hill Exempt School District, one of the best school districts in Ohio, and Bradford Exempt Village School District, one of the whitest school districts in the state.

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Using 2019 state data (.xls) and Niche, an online school evaluation site, here is how the schools break down:

Cleveland Municipal School District:

  • Demographics: 15.4 percent white, 64 percent black
  • Academics: 29 percent reading proficiency, 29 percent math proficiency
  • Graduation rate: 75 percent
  • Property valuation per student: $102,901.00
  • Poverty: 80.1 percent of students receive free or reduced lunch
  • Average income: $40,559
  • Revenue per pupil: $23,247.47 ( $3,290.59 federal; $12,793.69 state; $6,297.09 local)
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Bradford Exempted Village School District (whitest school district)

  • Demographics: 99.1 percent white, 0 percent black
  • Academics:54 percent reading proficiency, 60 percent math proficiency
  • Graduation rate: 90 percent
  • Property valuation per student: $106.795.56
  • Poverty: 48.7 percent of students receive free or reduced lunch
  • Average income: $47,107
  • Revenue per pupil: $17,572.63 (federal $1,272.52; state $9,750.22; local $4,710.85)
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Indian Hill Exempted School District (highest-rated school district)

  • Demographics: 75.8 percent white, 3.51 percent black
  • Academics: 93 percent reading proficiency, 92 percent math proficiency
  • Graduation rate: 95 percent
  • Property valuation per student: $603,020.74
  • Poverty: 3.3 percent of the students receive free or reduced lunch
  • Average income: $393,918
  • Revenue per pupil: $17,317 (Federal ($352.74; state $2,328.96; local $11,105.28)

A little fewer than half of the kids in the whitest school district in Ohio (Bradley) are poor. A little fewer than half struggle with reading and math. About 80 percent of the kids in Cleveland schools are poor and a little fewer than 80 percent struggle in reading and math.

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As you can see, academic success is tied almost directly to income and wealth. If white people are smarter, why does Indian Hill outperform the much whiter Bradley district? Why do the rich white kids outperform the poor black students and the poor white students? In fact, if you compare the number of kids who live in poverty to the number who are proficient in reading and math, the poor black students in Cleveland perform better than their counterparts at whiter schools. The only thing that holds them back is income and wealth.

Now, I know you’re gonna say: “But the poor black kids get more money,” which is true. But it is still not enough. Let me show you how.

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My child was lucky enough to attend a high school in an affluent area that receives $11,132 per student. According to Data USA, the median household income here is $81,038 and the average property value is $271,600 The district is 55 percent white and 24 percent black.

When he wanted to play in the band, we paid $250 for a saxophone and shelled out another $500 for a band sponsorship and parents raised more than a quarter of a million dollars for uniforms, charter buses for trips, etc. When the literature teacher sent an email with a book list, we spent $150 on books. I had to find a scientific calculator for the Algebra II class and pay more than $1,000 for a calculus tutor.

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My best friend’s wife taught English less than five miles away, in Birmingham City Schools, which is 91 percent black and receives $11,169 per student. There, the median income is $33,770 and the average property value is $86,900. The books for the literature classes and the calculators for math came out of the school budget. Before the city started paying for their band uniforms in 2018, the students wore hand-me-downs from the white schools.

This is why funding in poor black areas shouldn’t just be equal. It should be more. A lot more.

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I don’t think states should have to pay more money in taxes. Nor do I think rich white people should have to put a larger percentage of their property taxes in the pot. But there is a solution:

What if local municipalities, states and the federal government continued to tax people in the same way but—instead of distributing it themselves—the education funds from across the country were put in a pot and distributed according to need? People who can afford better schools already pay more in taxes. However, they don’t get a lot of the benefit because they keep all the money to themselves.

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If the schools in poor, black neighborhoods were better, employment would increase. If employment increases, income increases. If income increases, crime goes down and the property values would go up. In time, those poor, black neighborhoods would just be black neighborhoods. This is how you eliminate education disparities and wealth inequality.

But if I’m being honest, I didn’t come up with this all on my own. It’s actually an old idea that already has a name:

Socialism.

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

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