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: White History Months

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Illustration: Oscar Bustamante

Today, as Black History Month dawns upon us, let us not forget to celebrate the mediocre white people who flood our inboxes with caucasoidal ruminations about how wrong we are.

Today we honor the factless frat boys. The clueless Caucasians. The stupid Sarahs and airheaded Amys. White mediocrity is the fuel that powers this country and your contributions to American society have been overlooked for far too long.


No more.

Usually, the only editing I do to a Mailbag correspondence is that I will sometimes break up the emails into paragraphs because it makes them easier to read. But sometimes, the original formatting accurately conveys the true essence of the writer.


From: Anthony Davis (not that one)
To: Zack Linly

The article you just wrote about the non white cop who went into the Capitol was a complete joke. Once again you broke race into something that had zero to do with race. I guess you missed during super court nominations when the left stormed the Capitol and were banging on the doors of the Supreme Court. Let’s talk about criminal justice how is it that all these big time black athletes in big time college athletics how do they always get out of sexual assault charges or punching someone in the face etc so stop with everything is about race IT ISNT. It’s so funny BLM gets so mad because supposedly cops just shoot black people for no reason but they don’t say a word that 90 percent of murders in big cities are black on black murders why is it that blacks made up 17 percent of the population but kill other people in more numbers than whites do and whites outnumber them by millions of people. Where was BLM when the white girl got shot in the neck by the police WhT weren’t they protesting that I know because BLM is a complete joke. More precious black kids under 10 years old have been killed by stray bullets in a given year than any year cops kill blacks people. Maybe you should talk about black fathers and why black woman have so many more babies out of wedlock. Until this country stops blaming everything on race it’s never going to change. Thank you have a great day


Dear Anthony,

Your letter really made me think about this country in a totally different light and changed my perspective on race. Because of you, I have rejected my prejudices. I no longer think that most white people have racist tendencies. It made me realize one thing:

You’re just dumb.

I don’t mean this as a pejorative. I mean it in the sense that you don’t know things.


For instance, I don’t think there is a “super court.” And, when the “left stormed the Capitol and were banging on the doors of the Supreme Court,” perhaps you were unaware that they were allowed into the Capitol because it was open. OK, maybe “unaware” is too strong. But here’s a fun fact: The Supreme Court is not at the Capitol. There’s a whole building for that. And guess what it’s called?

The “Supreme Court Building!”

Here are a few other things you should know:

But the thing I want to point out is, as dumb and uneducated as you are, you have convinced yourself that Black people are running around murdering, raping and raw-dogging everyone and everything. But the part about you being objectively wrong isn’t what concerns me.


I don’t believe you pulled these racist facts out of thin air. And, pardon me for assuming, but you don’t strike me as the type of person who reads a lot. No, you got these erroneous factoids from some white person who got these factoids from someone else who doesn’t know what the fuck they’re talking about. And the only way these idiotic statements could be so commonplace is if most white people were dumb.

Think about it. If you said “the earth is flat,” you’d be corrected because most people know that the earth is, in fact, round. Even if you didn’t believe it, you would at least preface your statements with “Unlike most people, I believe...” But your complete confidence in your utter stupidity could have only been curated by other stupidly confident people who are the racist equivalent of flat-earthers.


After reading your stupid letter, I rushed to Zack to tell him how you changed my perspective. I knew he’d be excited by my breakthrough. And you know what he said?

“I didn’t read that shit. It was too stupid.”

Zack will never learn.

This guy...

From: Tom
To: Michael Harriot

Is this supposed to be satire?

Why do you think we don’t season our food?

Tell your Black friends that we do.

It’s racist.

Dear Tom,

Literally every white person ever has made the same comment, insisting that they season their food.


We know you think your food is seasoned. That’s the joke.

Tell your white friends to stop pointing this out.

It’s embarrassing.

For once, we had an influx of positive mail.

From: Matt
To: Michael Harriot

Hello. I wanted to reach out to you and say that I really loves your article on voter suppression. There were a lot of points you wrote about that I hadn’t considered before. As a white male in my mid 40s, I have always considered myself to be a pretty informed person. Your article has opened my eyes to a side of black voter suppression that I hadn’t considered before. Well done, sir. I look forward to reading more of your work.

From: Brad
To: Michael Harriot

Hey, I’m not normally a big fan-mail person, and I don’t have social media presence on which to give you a “thumbs up,” but I thought I’d try this medium to attempt to send some positive feedback your way. I really found your piece (“The Biggest Lie”) to be an important perspective, one that I wanted to immediately share with my teenage boys as they struggle to understand what makes it so difficult for black voices to be heard in our government. Thanks for the work, and I look forward to reading more of your comments.


Dear Brad and Matt,

I’m not clapping back at you. I am using you.

I wanted to use your letters to illustrate an important point as we head into Black History Month. Some people believe teaching Black history helps Black people understand their own past. But the truth is, we can’t fully understand America if we continue ignoring the contributions and the struggle of Black people.


Furthermore, erasing Black history not only engenders racist views like the one you just read, but it also fosters a sense of white superiority because many people believe that white supremacy has nothing to do with the failings of Black America and every accomplishment of white people is due to white excellence.

This article is the perfect example. Many MAGA .sapiens believe that they lived in a Democratic society until Nov. 3, 2020. They actually believed that voter suppression and disenfranchisement had nothing to do with low Black voter turnout. These motherfucker truly believed that Black people just didn’t like to vote.


And that’s not racism. That’s white supremacy.

Part of the reason white folks think they live in a democratic republic is that they don’t know shit about Black history. Because white history is deemed more important, they don’t understand that the mass murders during Reconstruction reconfigured American politics more than the Civil War. They don’t understand that the civil rights movement wasn’t about going to white schools and eating at white lunch counters, it was about democracy.


The story of the civil rights movement is more important than the Cuban missile crisis. Slavery is more important to understanding the American economy than the development of the light bulb, the automobile and the telephone combined.

You can’t comprehend this country’s geographical makeup without studying the Great Migration. You can’t understand how America won the War of 1812 without understanding the German Coast Uprising. You can’t understand police without understanding slave patrols. You can’t understand America’s gun culture and the Second Amendment unless you learn about slave revolts.


The whitest part about all of this is, that it really isn’t “Black history.” It’s American history. The only way anyone could reconcile why our history education erases these aspects is by realizing the ultimate lesson of white supremacy:

“American” means “white.”