In An All-Timer, The Root Tells Us Who ‘The White People of Black People’ are


In the last few years, we have seen the rise of the concept of privilege. We never thought it was an inherently terrible idea as a way of talking about the advantages some people enjoy in life. The problem is it devolves into stereotypes and fantasies about how other people live. There are some strange people who think, for instance, that just being born white means everything will be handed to you and if you aren’t, everything is going to be extremely hard. A perfect (and very racist) encapsulation of this attitude can be summed up by this infamous clip of Joe Biden telling us that poor kids are just as smart as white kids.

In Joe Biden’s mind, all white kids are rich. No white kid is poor. And, conversely, no non-white kid is rich. We could go into a lot more detail into what it says about Joe Biden’s racist mindset, but this is typical of the ‘privilege’ ideology. Honestly, when we hear these privilege theory ideologues imagine how being white is just a ticket to easy street, we are reminded of this old skit from back when Saturday Night Live was actually interesting and funny:

If you don’t feel like watching it, Eddie Murphy decides to go undercover as a white guy, using makeup to kinda, sorta look like he’s white and then … people just give stuff to him whenever black people aren’t around. Like even loans—and he doesn’t even have to pay it back! It’s absurd in the best way possible. And it’s a lot like what people who talk about privilege think life really is like for the supposedly privileged, only it isn’t a joke for them.

Can life be easier if you are born in a richer household, or if you happen to be white? Sure. But a sensible acknowledgment of that reality quickly gets swamped in a weird combination of fantasy and jealously where people suddenly thinks all of life’s problems are swept away if you just have the right ‘privileges’ and fosters deep and ugly hatred for those who are perceived as privileged.


It in that context, we get what probably is one of the most ridiculous headlines from The Root, ever.

Wow, so that is certainly … something. Now, to be fair, this is not a new piece from The Root. We dug up the original article and it was written in 2017. But wow, that is an all-timer, and it is hard to imagine a perfect encapsulation of just how divisive this focus on privilege can be.

Naturally, there were reactions:

Does calling it unintentional satire count?

Well, certainly conservatives can use this to reach out to the ‘white people of black people.’

Pretty much.

A huge chunk of modern satire is just telling the truth but in a humorous way.

Okay, that’s really funny.

The full text reads:

I remember when we were ‘the white supremacists of black people,’ and if we didn’t vote for Biden, ‘you ain’t black.’ 

Don’t forget that black men were viewed as so unworthy of actual reasons why any of us should support the career racist and chief that their outreach was ‘get yo booty to da polls’ and ‘no vote, no vucking’ sung by an ugly LGBTQ man. 

Don’t forget Uncle Joe saying he doesn’t want his kids growing up in a ‘racial jungle.’

Yeah, okay, let’s talk a little more about Joe Biden.

For many years that there had been claim that the parties mysteriously switched. The story goes like this. Up until the Civil Rights Act of 1964, all the racists voted Democrat. But then virtually every Republican voted for that law, and a few Democrats voted for it. And the Democratic racists were so mad about this that they decided to quit the party that mostly voted against civil rights and joined the party that voted nearly unanimously for civil rights, because that’s a logical thing people do.

And, of course, there are so many flaws in this theory. We regularly point out that the claim that they are no longer the same party is more than slightly undercut by the fact that they still claim FDR as one of them, and borrow from his ideas. The Green New Deal is obviously a riff on FDR’s New Deal and their plans to overthrow the Supreme Court borrows from FDR’s proposal to stack the Supreme Court. And racism was a huge part of the FDR administration, including trying to lock up an entire ethnicity in internment camps.

But that’s not to say the prevailing attitude in the parties haven’t changed and we think Joe Biden encapsulates the change that did happen better than most. When Joe Biden started out, he was what we would call a ‘snarling’ racist. He was the kind of person who hated people of other colors and could barely contain his desire to tell everyone about it. Joe Biden’s comment that the desegregation of schools would cause his children to ‘grow up in a racial jungle’ is just one example of his blatantly racist appeal.

Over the years, however, Joe Biden evolved. He went from being a snarling racist to being a paternalistic racist. He went from believing people who weren’t white were inferior, so screw them, to believing that nonwhites were inferior, therefore they deserved special help. That quote from him where he indicated that all white kids were rich and all nonwhites were poor encapsulates that. That is the real change in the Democratic party. The racists didn’t suddenly magically decide to join the party that had literally fought against racism from its founding. The racists just transformed from being snarling racists to being paternalistic racists. We suppose is an improvement, but its not exactly taking us to the promised land of colorblindness we should be striving toward.

And on a similar note, this post is saying something important:

When we were growing up, we knew a lot of black students who tried very hard to achieve something in school, and we watched them get picked on by other black students, being constantly accused of trying to act white. It always broke our hearts to see it happen.

We don’t know about the claim against Shields. We googled around but couldn’t find anyone who actually explained in concrete terms why they believed he was racist. Like we couldn’t find anyone quoting a thing he said or citing a thing he did that made him racist.

But it’s all an ad hominem attack anyway. The Root’s headline is ridiculous. Any flaws in Shields’ character doesn’t change that reality.

*Laughs out loud*

We’re pretty sure that would be people like Shawn King.


That’s fair.


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