The Root's Clapback Mailbag: Valentine's Day Edition

Illustration for article titled The Roots Clapback Mailbag: Valentines Day Edition
Illustration: Oscar Bustamante (The Root/G-O Media)
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.

Every Friday, we clap back at hateful emails, tweets, DMs and comments from our readers. But, since today is the day when we celebrate romance, I thought we should respond to some of our emails that were about love.

Unfortunately, there were none.

So, we’ll just do what we usually do.

Our first letter is probably about this article:

From: Gloria
To: Michael Harriot

I understand that black and brown people are assaulted and shot and killed way more than white people are - and it breaks my heart every time I hear of another “murder by cop” of a black person - but maybe instead of wondering why cops don’t shoot white people more, your question should be, why is there so much police brutality to people of all colour?

BTW, I’m a white woman, who as a 13 year old girl, was viciously slapped across the face by a white cop and even though I have 3 family members who are cops, to this day, I don’t have a high regard for them, although I do realize that they aren’t all bad.


Dear Gloria,

You are correct. Anyone who truly wanted to eliminate police brutality would ask why there was so much police violence against black people. That is the essential question. However, there is one reason I haven’t asked:

I already know the answer.

White people don’t care.

Police brutality is the one issue that has existed since black people came to America. American policing was created to control black people. Dr. Victor E. Kappeler, a professor at Eastern Kentucky University’s School of Justice Studies writes:

The birth and development of the American police can be traced to a multitude of historical, legal and political-economic conditions. The institution of slavery and the control of minorities, however, were two of the more formidable historic features of American society shaping early policing. Slave patrols and Night Watches, which later became modern police departments, were both designed to control the behaviors of minorities.

The Boston Watch, the first organized police force on the continent, was organized in 1638. Aside from stopping wolves, bears and “numerous straggling Indians, who paid their nocturnals from the wilderness,” the Boston Watch formed because “masters were annoyed by the frequent desertion of their slaves” who preferred a “wild life and a wigwam with liberty to civilization and bondage.”

The police were particularly brutal to newly freed slaves during Reconstruction, engaging in mass lynchings and terrorist campaigns against black voters. Police participated in the Tulsa Massacre in 1921. In Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, he said we should “never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality.”


If white people cared about any of this, the disproportionate police violence would have ended a long time ago. The reason they have never bothered to address the millions of killings, beatings and shootings committed by cops is that the police are their protectors.

Enslaved black people fought alongside free whites to fight for American independence. They endured segregation in the military to fight the Nazis. Black women joined the suffrage movement to fight for white women’s right to vote. We fought the Vietcong, the North Koreans, Al-Qaida and the Taliban. But you ignore our bloodshed.


But I’m not angry about this. I have come up with a solution. After seeing how they want to protect their tax dollars, mortgages, votes, homes, neighborhoods and the planet, the only logical conclusion that I can l can come up with is that we must find a way to personalize the threat of police violence. If you remember a cop slapping you when you were 13, imagine if he had killed one of your kids. I bet you’d be more willing to do something.

If state violence were as threatening to the future of your children as it is to mine, your letter would include photos of you at a Black Lives Matter meeting. If it happened to more white people, they would protest it like it was the Vietnam War or climate change. Knowing this, I believe there is only one solution:

The police should kill something white people love.

They don’t necessarily have to kill white people. There are many things Caucasians seem to value more than black bodies. I’m sure a sheriff shooting a German Shepherd is enough to whip white people into a frenzy. Maybe if a law enforcement officer offed a kitten, we’d solve this problem. If only we could give the Patriots a 15-yard penalty every time an unarmed black man was beaten to death.


Or maybe we could say that every time a cop kills a black kid, someone gets the coronavirus. I once tried to start a rumor that bullets piercing black bodies cause holes in the ozone layer. Sadly, it didn’t work.

To be clear, I don’t want this to happen. It’s just the only sensible solution I can see. If it did, I would write you a very sincere letter thanking you for speaking out. As I penned that sympathetic email from the comfort of my recliner, knowing my children were safe, I would also reminisce about that one thing that happened when I was barely a teenager. I might even quibble about how you express your frustration and anger before informing you that whenever I see the blood of white children spilled on a sidewalk...


I’m still not gonna do shit.

But it breaks my heart every time.

Apparently, people really love Heidi Klum because they were extra angry about this article:


From: TWiz
To: Michael Harriot
Subject: Heidi Klum

How dare you! You talk about black at white and how you’re victims. Fuck you you FUCKING racist! You think it’s ok to put all white woman into a category. I know this is based on Gabrielle Union. Guess what race had nothing to do with it.

She wasn’t asked back because she a boring ass FUCKING bitch! Stop hiding behind race. 3 BLACK. people said they had no problem with AGT can’t you just consider it’s because she’s a FUCKING bore!? You think you’re being funny!? You’re not you’re just a DUMBASS NIGGA

From: Nigzgone
To: Michael Harriot

You look like a apes... you people smell like shit and coconuts.. animals in the wild or capable of being more civilized than you. Must be white to sit on white people’s hard work and inventions just a bash them with it. Must be nice living in a land created by white people just to steal their shit and call it yours and say that you deserve it when you had no hand in creating it. You fucking people are the biggest losers God has ever created.

From: Brad
To: Michael Harriot

Hey fuck face. I just want to remind you that your time is limited in this country. You’re racist Antics and bullshit are on their way to an end. The revolution is coming. you have been tagged.

We are following you, keeping tabs on you, and when the day comes you will be sent to a land of people that look exactly like you.. then we are going to find out how evil the white man is when it’s your own people that are eating you alive. Keep up with your bullshit please everything you say has and will continue to be taken to account. Clocks ticking for you and your friends.

Goodbye you racist POS

From: Delmonte
To: Michael Harriot

Dear Michael,

You are one of the reason’s why racism is gonna stay alive and well in this country for years to come. I’ve never seen such a narrow scope on reality, You hide behind fancy words, and feed on the ignorance of your own people, not only that but you take black stereotypes and reverse them specifically on white people.

In many ways I pity you, The way you focus selfishly on your own identity and the fact that you try so hard to point out flaws in a whole group of people, just by skin color alone. how about instead of focusing on white and black, you focus on love and hate, ignorance and understanding, good and evil, and right and wrong... you my friend are no better than the racists people you despise, you have become one of them yourself,i hope you change your mindset and start to see there is no black and white, good people come in all colors, but I doubt you will see past your own pride and judgement of others, so sadly, your one the ones well have to wait till your gone before people can start to heal, and before all races come together to seek out the real problems in this world, and dont pull that grammar shit with me, I’d rather be illiterate then fucking ignorant like you.


Dear guys,

I must admit that I knew this article would rile you up. In my experience, nothing gets white blood going like when a black person disparages a white woman.


One of my favorite things is when white people condemn my reverse racism by being more racist. If there is one area where toastface killers are superior, it is the arena of racism. I could never hope to out-racist your racism.

But that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop trying.

One of the reasons I enjoy being racists against white people is because I want to hurt you. Since beginning my race-baiting career and creating the word “wypipo,” I have managed to inflict a lot of pain on white people.


Because of racists like me, Al Sharpton, Barack Obama and people who use the w-word, white people have gone from being elected president 100 percent of the time to 97.8 percent. Anti-white activists like me have managed to whittle the number of white people in Congress down to 80 percent. In the last quarter of 2019, the white unemployment rate was a paltry 3 percent.

It must be so tough to know I’m killing y’all. I don’t know how you managed to survive while only enjoying every economic, political and social advantage in America. Aside from profiting off your work, my culture and everyone in America’s pain, white America barely won all the Oscars, made all the money and is all but guaranteed to be elected the next president.


It hurts, doesn’t it?

Maybe one day, I’ll stop dragging you motherfuckers so bad that you can barely feel it. Me and my squad of reverse racists might take a few days off this year but until then, you’re going to have to endure the inhumanity of reading harmless jokes from your perch atop the American society for the 244th year in a row.


If I could say anything to you fragile motherfuckers who complain about silly shit while enjoying every privilege that whiteness affords, it would be this.

Stop crying.

Y’all won.

But that doesn’t mean I’m gonna stop trying.

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

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The thing I’m most confused about is why these White people get so upset about being called White. Y’all are White. Heidi Klum IS a White woman lol. What is there to be offended by?

Y’all have no problem being White when it comes to employment, education, housing, policing, etc. but when someone points out that you’re White and you benefit from your Whiteness, you get mad? Fuck outta here, you fragile bitches.