Illustration: Oscar Bustamante (The Root/G-O)

Today’s mailbag is very diverse.

It is all-white.

However, the diversity in today’s mailbag comes from the method of the white madness. The correspondences today are all from aggrieved cauliflower-colored citizens who read content on The Root and sent multiple messages expressing their outrage. There is a Twitter thread, a few emails and even a series of text messages. In some way or another, they are all from white people who want to express why black people are so stupid.

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Ok, maybe this mailbag isn’t that diverse after all.


This first email comes from a woman who read our story on the white girl who defaced a memorial to slain rapper Nipsey Hussle.

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From: Donna F.
To: Michael Harriot

You’re very quick to get angry over a “White”- woman defacing a mural of this “Nipsey” a Gang member who penned a disgusting song, if it can even be called that, about the President.

YET not a word about the BLACK racist who threw the 5 year old little WHITE boy over the railing the Mall of America in Minnesota.

Not a WORD about that HATE CRIME !!!

You people are really having it your way these days but it won’t last.

It speaks volumes about your community that you choose to honor someone like this Nipsey while people like Ben Carson go unnoticed by your community. “Respect” seems to be an issue with blacks. Anyone “disrespects” a black they’re likely to end up dead. Perhaps it’s time blacks learn the real meaning of the word “respect” and learn that “respect” has to be earned. I see little of it in the black community. You people “respect” all the wrong people and overlook blacks who are actually worthy of “respect”.

Write a piece about the black racist who threw the 5 year old little WHITE boy over the railing at the Mall of America. As a human being THAT should sicken you more than a woman defacing a mural of someone with gang affiliations killed by another black !!

So many good accomplished people in the black community and you people ignore them and you honor THUGS !

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I responded to Donna’s email expressing her furor over our negligence of covering the heinous mall attacker, and other stories about rabid negroes who commit crimes against innocent white people, simply by sending these links to Donna:

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But Donna wasn’t finished:

From: Donna F.
To: Michael Harriot

Maybe you can explain to me why blacks glorify this “Nipsey”. He was an ACTIVE GANG MEMBER and was killed by his own kind. Why do you people honor someone like this ?? Why aren’t the Ben Carsons looked up to and worshipped ? You don’t have to look all that far to find people in the black community who are actually WORTHY of admiration. Sorry but this “Nipsey” was not. You don’t end up dead at the hands of a rival gang if you yourself don’t participate in the culture of gangs.

And whether or not he liked Donald Trump his “song”, if it can even be called that, was could mouthed and disgusting. You people worship all the wrong people in the black community. You hold the gang members and lowlifes up and honor them as if they’re heroes. It just shows how incredibly stupid you all are. Blacks will never get anywhere as long as these lowlifes are their heroes. Scum begets more scum.

Open your eyes and look to the role models in the black community who can help advance your people. The ghetto mentality will never serve blacks well. And that’s what you people seem to honor. Very stupid. Look at people like Ben Carson, Condeleeza Rice etc. There are countless successful productive blacks out there that are far more worthy of emulation than this gang member “Nipsey”. If blacks don’t raise the bar for themselves who will ?? Lose the anger and lose the hate that those foul rappers propagate. Believe me it isn’t getting you people anywhere. Ugliness and hate never does.

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Dear Donna,

First, I’d like to explain why blacks glorify this Nipsey. However, the Colored Organization for Only Knowing One Universal Thought (COOKOUT) hasn’t issued their official declaration on Nipsey, so I can only speak for myself.

I still don’t know a Nipsey Hussle song. Before he died, I didn’t know anything about his life. I didn’t know he was an emerging business mogul who actually practiced cooperative economics. I had no idea that he used his talent and his art to uplift the people in the neighborhood where he grew up.

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White people and people who never lived in an impoverished neighborhood don’t understand that no one “glorifies” gangs, not even gangsters. When you hear Nipsey Hussle talk about the “Rollin ’60s,” he’s talking about people. He’s talking about his neighborhood. There isn’t a gang recruiting team that goes out and solicits members. He grew up in a rolling ’60s neighborhood and he is not “glorifying” gang life. He’s describing it.

Not only is he painting the picture, but he’s also saying: “Look at me. Look at what I survived. I must be dope as fuck.”

What he’s doing is no different from Johnny Cash singing about Folsom Prison, Elvis singing “Jailhouse Rock” or Bruce Springsteen singing about Outlaw Pete. The only difference is, Nipsey actually lived it.

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The worrisome part of your email is your racist notion of who black people actually celebrate and who we should honor. How the fuck do you know who black people celebrate? Should we give you a list for your approval? Why would black people let white people know anything? So they can steal our heroes and somehow commodify them like they did our style, art and culture?

As a highfalutin’ white person, you wouldn’t know that Ben Carson actually was a hero in many black communities until he started fucking with Trump. I’m willing to bet that, at this very moment, there are more copies of Gifted Hands in black homes than there are Nipsey Hussle albums. But you wouldn’t know that because you don’t think black people can like Oprah Winfrey and Cardi B. We can honor Tupac and Barack.

Also, I think it’s important to point out why neighborhoods like Nipsey’s exist in the first place by inviting you to watch the most recent video in our “Unpack That Series” explaining redlining. As an economist, I always like to point out the historical and economic reasons for why things are the way they are.

Below, you will find one of the original 1939 Home Owners Loan Corporation maps that the government shared with banks to inform them which neighborhoods were “risky” investments. The highlighted area is tract 102 in California, which was deemed “not so desirable.”

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Because of this, banks were reluctant to make loans in that area for years. It decreased the value of middle-class homes, made the schools worse and, of course, crime increased. What’s interesting about this tract is that it was deemed less valuable but not totally off-limits because, in the description of the area, the federal government literally wrote: “Deeds provide for racial restrictions in perpetuity which protect against the subversive.” The tracts near it were redlined because one “borders the subversive (Negroes)“ and another allowed black population to live among the population of “Mexicans, Japs and low class Italians.”

Another area (D50) was actually filled with middle-class black people living in black homes but the government still redlined it, even though it “is considered the best Negro residential dsitrict [sic] in the city. This is particularly true of that part of west of Western Ave. Owing to stability of values and evident pride of ownership, the area is accorded a ‘high red’ grade.”

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This is the corner of Slauson and Crenshaw.

This is where Nipsey Hussle grew up.

This is where he put his store.

It is easy for white people to think that black people are in this position because of gang banging, single-parent homes and not choosing the right role models. The truth is, this was planned. It was government-sanctioned. It is a conspiracy. And it is real.

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People like Nipsey didn’t have the means to buy computers that let them open high-tech startup software companies in their basements. For the most part, they didn’t even have basements. But with nothing but a microphone and not even a record deal, this motherfucker created a legitimate, legal economic empire that fed his neighborhood and empowered his people. I think that is worthy of honor.

So Donna, instead of telling you to “go eat a dick,” I guess what I’m trying to say is:

Look at us.

Look at what we survived.

It didn’t kill us.

We must be strong as fuck.


Nearly two years ago, I wrote The Black Person’s Guide to Game of Thrones. As the season premiere neared, the article began circulating again on the internet, much to the dismay of white people. Apparently, one very cowardly white Game of Thrones fan was offended by my article and, because of his poor literacy skills, assumed that I was calling the show racist.

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Other than driving violations, I’ve never been convicted of a crime, so I’m guessing this person works in law enforcement because he not only acquired my phone number, but he somehow got my criminal history and thought he’d shake me by bringing up an incident with police that I have publicly written about many times. At first, this was unnerving because I figured that this person probably has my address too.

However, when this person started texting me, I realized this was a regular, Family Dollar store-brand Caucasian coward who was not very smart. It was annoying at first but then it transformed itself into a hilarious back and forth between a low-IQ white person who is very sure of his superiority and me, a measly negro.

Here are the actual screenshots from our conversation:

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Wasn’t that fun?


Finally, this is a genuine “not all white people thread” between two white people discussing last week’s Clapback Mailbag video.

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*Spoiler alert: This thread ends in the whitest way ever.

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Dear Josh and John,

First, I’d like to thank Josh for translating my negro speak into the native Caucasoid dialect. However, I said what I said.

After reading John’s tweet, I did a Ctrl+F search for the word “all” in the script for the video and couldn’t find it next to the word “white people” anywhere. After contemplating why John and many other people who don’t wash their chicken subconsciously insert the word “all” every time a black person mentions white people, I solved the “not all white people” mystery.

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White people hear ghosts.

No, hear me out.

I’ve come to realize that a lot of white people have a special connection to their ancestors that allows them to channel their spirits and hear the colonizing thoughts of their forefathers. Apparently, the ghosts of white people past want what white people have always wanted:

Everything.

All.

According to my calculations, when white people see black neighborhoods, they really intend to assimilate into the culture. But their intentions are rerouted when they hear their ancestors whispering: “Take it all,” which is how gentrification happens.

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The phantom murmurs of “all” have manifested itself throughout history. When the pilgrims arrived in America, the Native Americans were cool with the newly arrived guests because they assumed there was enough land for everyone. Their minds couldn’t possibly fathom why anyone would want all the land. There was a whole fucking continent! Even when the Indians moved onto reservations, white people still couldn’t stop hearing whiteness, the unfriendly ghost.

When black people were brought to America as property, white people actually planned for them to be treated as indentured servants. But when the Africans asked how much of their lives they had give to their masters, they were astounded.

All.

The lives of their children and their grandchildren’s lives, too.

White people have had all the rights. They own all the wealth. They control all the schools. All the state legislatures, all the governorships, all the money and all the laws.

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But if you dare bring up affirmative action, equality or anything that would give anyone anything‚ even if it meant white people will still have most, white people will slit your throat before you even finish the sentence.

So John, I finally understand why you were offended. It’s not your fault. It’s the little voice in your head. You can’t help it, you have a sixth sense...

You hear white people.

But of course...

Not all white people.