Black News and Black Views with a Whole Lotta Attitude
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Black News and Black Views with a Whole Lotta Attitude

The Root's Clapback Mailbag: The Content of Dumb Characters

Each Friday, we clap back at readers' emails, DMs, tweets and messages. We do it because we care.

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Illustration: Oscar Bustamante/ The Root, G-O Media

I wish dumb people were smarter.

I know it’s an oxymoron, but the problem is, even the stupidest, low-IQ people honestly think they’re smart. So, every week, as I sift through the emails, DMs and tweets, I encounter the same stale arguments from people who haven’t been blessed with the gift of critical thinking. The 10 most frequent dumb arguments include:

  1. FBI statistics about violent crime.
  2. Black people needing to work harder.
  3. The Democrats are the real racists because the Republicans freed the slaves and passed the Civil Rights Act.
  4. If you don’t like this country, nothing’s stopping you from leaving/going back to Africa.
  5. An out-of-context Martin Luther King quote.
  6. Chicago.
  7. Talking about race is divisive and hateful.
  8. Not all white people.
  9. One of my best friends/relatives/neighbors is Black so I’m not racist.
  10. I don’t see color.

Here are some great examples of why dumb people are terrible at creating content.


Today’s first letter comes from the article about how the GOP became a single-issue party that only represents white people.

From: B.Williams
To: Michael Harriot

I read your article on yahoo and I disagree with your blanket assessments of white people and the GOP in general. Not everyone is the same even if they are white and a member of the Republican party. I don’t want to get into a pissing contest with you or personally attack you. I got off of all social media because people don’t discuss issues respectfully on those platforms for the most part. But when you generalize like I feel you did in this article, you are spreading hate in my humble opinion.

I would have to say that my two best friends I have ever had in my life are black. The Republicans are not the party of slavery, that’s the Democrats. President Trump did more for the blacks than any other president with opportunity zones for investments, financial assistance to HBCUs, historic low black unemployment, and you already mentioned the first step act.

I don’t expect a reply from you but I feel your article was hateful. I wouldn’t consider writing an opinion piece like that about Democrats and black people. Please judge someone by the content of their character and not the color of their skin. Thank you sir.

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Dear Brian,

You’re right. It’s terrible to make blanket statements about white people. I probably should have considered other factors to describe GOP voters. But it’s not too late to correct my mistake. So I’ll do it now. Let’s use the absolute best data—Pew’s verified voter survey—to look at who votes for Republicans.

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Graphic: Pew Research

To be clear, this is not exit polling. This uses election data from state databases to create a representative sample of verified voters. As you can see, nearly three out of four Asian voters voted for Biden and Democrats. So did nine out of every 10 Black people and the vast majority of Hispanic voters. So if we are talking about race, the only racial or ethnic demographic that supported Trump and the GOP were white people. Non-Hispanic whites make up 60 percent of the country, 61 percent of Democrats’ support but 85 percent of the Republican Party.

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But as you said, maybe we should look at other things. I agree. The GOP didn’t win a majority of college graduates. They didn’t win millennials, middle-aged people, or people under 25. The majority of nonwhite Protestants, nonwhite Catholics and every other religious affiliation sided with Democrats. Biden won low-income voters. Biden won people who make over $100,000 per year. The two parties split the middle class between 2018 and 2020.

I am not obsessed with race or blaming white people for everything. As you can see, there is no other way to describe the GOP besides calling them “white people.” I agree that we should judge people by their actions and the content of their character, but here’s a couple of questions for you:

What if a person’s actions, beliefs and voting habits only reflect the color of their skin?

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What if the content of their character is just whiteness?


Of course, the article about violence in the white community spurred an influx of letters citing Black-on-Black crime, Chicago and going back to Africa.

From: William G.
To: Michael Harriot

If you self-identify first and foremost as a Black man then indeed you are one of the 13% of the U.S. population (43,335,000 Black folk) which commits 50% of all violent crimes. That’s not in dispute.

An armed insurrection is defined as a group of men, perhaps including women, who are armed with 2nd amendment protected firearms which they aim and shoot at government officials and their staff in order to overthrow the government and establish a new one.

While there were armed “peaceful protestors” - by Black Lives Matter & Antifa standards - present on January 6th, no firearms were confiscated from any of them INSIDE the Capitol Building and none of the few who were carrying their firearms inside and outside the Capitol discharged them. Thus, the actual event of January 6 does not fit the definition of an armed insurrection as no effort was made to shoot and kill government officials nor to overthrow them; the intent was only to delay a proceeding in order to assemble, exercise free speech, and petition the government for a redress of grievances, as per the first amendment. There is no evidence of Intent to kill, overthrow the government - it was the Trump government on January 6, and establish a new one: quite the opposite.

Nonetheless there was a single shot fired on January 6. A black-masked Black man, purportedly a Lieutenant on the Capitol Police Force, dressed in plain clothes, allegedly named Michael L. Byrd, shot and killed unarmed White Mrs. Ashli Babbitt, a petite 14 year Air Force Veteran, while she was not under arrest and nor being arrested even though there were numerous well-armed uniformed police officers within just feet of her. Michael Byrd deserves to be brought to Justice to get Justice and the court system is the place for him to get it, just like Officer Derek Chauvin who did not shoot under arrest, resisting arrest, counterfeit-bill passing, and illegal lethal drug ingesting George Floyd riddled with deadly comorbidities.

Blacks, though only 13% of the population, kill nominally more Caucasians who comprise 60% of the population than vice-versa; Blacks also kill about 90% of the 8,000 ex utero Black homicide victims per annun, in addition to 100% of the 390,000 in utero Black child victims per year. Godless Communist Black Lives Matter together with fascist-behaving Antifa have killed over 2 dozen people the last 7 years when they first started rioting after Officer Darren Wilson justifiably, and so legally, shot and killed criminal and thug Michael Brown. They have also raped, assault and battered hundreds of both policemen and civilians, and caused many billions of dollars in damages due to arson, vandalism and looting which still rages till this day.

Blacks are also primarily responsible for the melaninist and ethnicist violence being waged against Asians, especially weak and frail elderly Asian women - those violent Black men and women are bully pussies. Let’s talk louder about Black violence. And let’s talk about Equal Justice and administering Justice equally without regard to melanin, ethnicity, or tribe. Learn better before bloviating.

(READ THIS)

From: Jordan
To: Michael Harriot

Even if you were right, statistically speaking those 5 deaths are but a small number of what happens in Chicago in a regular basis.

From: Calmone
To: Michael Harriot

FBI — Table 43

Check the crime data, then get back to us.

Dear Calmone, Jordan and William,

Let’s ignore the mountain of data, studies and research that shows that poverty, not race, family makeup or even education, is the most accurate predictor of crime. Let’s even forget about historical data that shows that, prior to the Civil War, rural white people were the most arrested, most incarcerated and most violent group in America. Let’s forget that so many slaves valued education that they risked their lives to learn to read. And these weren’t isolated incidents, because white people had to literally pass laws to outlaw reading. Then, suddenly, Black people became lazy, violent criminals who didn’t care about education.

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Perhaps the thing that amazes me most is how dumb someone would have to be to believe such a thing.

But again, we’ve agreed to forget about it and go with your examples. But instead of being dumb, we shall use critical thinking, like an intelligent person would.

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If you agree that killing and attacking police officers are bad, then you should agree that police should kill more white people, since most police are killed by non-Hispanic white men. And if you agree that some of those shootings were justified, then you also agree that the definition of “armed” doesn’t just include guns. “Armed” includes knives, poles, tasers, and chemical irritants, all of which were used against police officers at the Capitol attack.

So we agree that the mob was armed. But were they terrorists?

The FBI defines domestic terrorism as: “Violent, criminal acts committed by individuals and/or groups to further ideological goals stemming from domestic influences, such as those of a political, religious, social, racial, or environmental nature.” While there’s no legal definition of insurrection, a little-known book called the dictionary defines it as: “an act or instance of revolting against civil authority or an established government.” Hmmm...I would call the Capitol Police a “civil authority.” Would you agree that Congress is an “established government?”

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So we agree that by any objective measure, an armed group of domestic terrorists attacked the United States Capitol on Jan. 6. Now, about those FBI statistics you love so much: You’re correct, 53 percent of the murders were committed by Black people.

But 58 percent of murderers earn below the median income. Most murderers have less than a high school diploma. Most have also suffered traumatic childhood violence or sexual abuse. So, the only reason you would associate murder with race is if you were looking to be inaccurate or were searching for a way to Blame murder on Black people, which is fine. Of course, using the same data you use, only .02 percent of Black people kill people. Still, I’m willing to say it:

99.9 percent of Black people are responsible for the .02 percent of Black murderers in the world and we need to do something about it.

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Now that I’ve done that, white people have to take responsibility for the voter suppression, racism, inequality, school underfunding, criminal injustice, unemployment, income inequality and every other thing that is wrong with society.

Deal?