The Shutdown of The Root Proves Why Its Narrative Fails

By:  H.T., Website:  Rogue Black Nerd

In recent months, the segment of the black community that exists on social media known as the Blavity Blacks have been taking HUGE Ls.  For one, the Black nerd segment of Blavity Blacks are still scrambling to save face after the failure of Universal Fancon, which was propped up as the con where their ilk would call the shots at a full-on convention, only for them to find out they had been scammed by a guy with a history of doing this and in a bit of irony, the main people being blamed for the failure of said con are women, namely Black Girl Nerds and Beauty Jackson.  The reality of said failure is that these were overly naive people that didn’t understand that there are certain cases where you can’t have your cake and eat it too.  Which is how we got to the issue of The Root and the fact that its existence is in jeopardy.

For one, The Root and its sister website Very Smart Brothas hasn’t actually been the leading voice of the black community as one would think, not because they’re terrible, but rather that their views are VERY esoteric and just looking at a lot of the people there, you quickly realize how and why they started to lose the main contingent of the black community.  When Blavity, the annoying hipster sister of The Root, has grown men writing shit like this:

And almost all the men look like this:

Because the only people reading it look like this:

You quickly realize why said site is on the outs.  If I had to describe the kinds of black people that actually take these kinds of sites seriously, I would say that these are the black people who may or may not have grown up in the black community, but either way it is clear that these are black people that in adulthood started to live lives that in the eyes of the average black person is HIGHLY foreign.  A lot of black people do work good jobs, have kids and see the problems of the world.  The problem with these kinds of black people is that it quickly becomes evident that these are black people that one can’t help but feel as though (as was said on the Champagne Sharks Podcast) that these are white people in black skin, or at least the kinds of black people that believe that the solution to the ills of the black community is to make it more like the liberal white peoples communities when there are clear as day bigger issues that a little bit of conservatism might help on some level.

Right now Charlamagne Tha God is going through a debate about if he’s a rapist either for putting Spanish Fly in a former girlfriend’s drink or the accusation of raping a teenage girl years ago.  While by today’s standards he could be called a rapist for the first issue, the fact is when it came to the second girl, he was DNA tested against the DNA found in her at the rape and was cleared.  Does he say problematic things at times?  Yes.  But as it relates to The Root, the reason that Charlamagne manages to have such a solid career despite all the controversy is both because the people who hate him weren’t listening in the first place and honestly, the independent media, namely podcasts that they give attention to are highly pedantic in nature.  How many podcasts can you hip people to that are 1 or a combination of the following:

  1. A nerd podcast starring a woman with an afro, septum piercing and talking about how certain male figures in nerd fandoms are trash and how we should turn certain characters black, into a black woman, or LGBT.
  2. A podcast starring a clearly mentally emasculated male, often surrounded or associated with women like the first one who sits around saying that men are trash.
  3. A show that discusses pop culture or music, TV or movies and complains that mainstream media refuses to make more content like their favorite esoteric artists that no one hears about, not always because they are untalented, but because seriously how many musicians can we have out here singing about situationships and getting cheated on?  Just because it worked for Frank Ocean doesn’t mean we all want to hear shitty Trip-Hop.

The Root in its writing became a joke via a hashtag because their philosophy could be summed up in two quotes.  One being Lena Dunham’s tweet of “I’d honestly rather fall into one million manholes than have one single dude tell me to watch my step” the other?

The Root is seen as a joke because these are people who despite being black by ethnicity are by no means in touch culturally.  Simply put, it’s a lot of women who have been led to believe that the problems of the black community have less to do with economic disenfranchisement and racism and more to do with black men not doing enough to help black women.  To be fair, black women do get the short end of the stick a lot in our community, and yes other communities are visibly more vigilant in protecting their women.  But with these people, they don’t seem to want protection so much as they want men to shut up and only speak to tell them how special they are.  In short, don’t try to stop me from walking into the manhole and plead with black men to cover the manholes or simply shame other men for not covering each one rather than working out the logistics on how to cover the damn manholes.

The Root has never had country within the black community because there is no sense of consistency.  Gender is a social construct, but were expected to listen to black women and treat them as god.  They complain that capitalism is why misogyny is so prevalent in western society yet praises any black woman making money.  They complain about respectability politics, but turn around and tell black men to stop having toxic and fragile masculinity if they want black women’s respect.  They complain that black men don’t love them the way they seem to love white women, but conveniently forget about all the straight black men who daily not only defend their articles, but write some of them too.

In a way, this also ties to why groups like Black Lives Matter lost favor with most black people.  The black community is synonymous with fatherless children, yet despite all their activism trying to “help” the black community, these are people who openly believe that the best solution to some of our ills is moving the black community purposely towards fatherless homes as the average cishet black man can only teach a black child that toxic masculinity is right and normal, which I think is the core of why so many people stopped giving a pass to these kinds of minds in the conversation of black media.  These kinds of people, from black independent media to mainstream black shows, seem to have an idea of blackness that most black people not only dislike, but also can’t relate.  I can’t speak for black women, but I can say for black men their philosophy about black men and black masculinity is beyond esoteric.  People will say it’s hated because it “looks gay” but that’s not it.  The problem is that it’s a vision of blackness that isn’t actually built in the kind of environments that most black people live in.  I’m not talking about the hood or anything like that.  I’m talking about the fact that clearly these are black people that have built their idea of what blackness should look like off an underlying knowledge that it can’t threaten white people.  It’s basically the difference between Colin Kaepernick and Jesse Williams.  Both put in work activism wise, but Williams made his name less off activism and more off of going in front of a room full of black people and verbally washing the feet of them all by saying black men had failed them and needed to be better people.  Yes, it’s good to tell black women their special and great, but when you become a yes man to genuinely bad ideas and say not defending them is mansplaining and being fragile, we often forget that we are living in the results of a lot of failed rebellions against common sense.  We’ve seen what fatherless homes have done to black families, we’ve seen what ill-prepared kids for the future looks like, we’ve seen what not taking control of the narrative about the image of black people in the media has done to us, and we’ve seen what can at times happen when some black people who are not raised in the effed up image of blackness are groomed to think they’re “special”, which in the end is The Root.  And their contemporaries exists at the intersection of these issues and the annoying neoliberal vision for black people.

These are people that quite honestly believe that these social flaws in our community are not only not a problem, but a badge of honor as victims.  Fatherless homes are viewed as freedom from patriarchy, emasculating black men image wise is fighting toxic masculinity, jobs not hiring black people with degrees in majors they might not need is racism, and having the media embrace images of black dysfunction and stupidity is fighting respectability politics.  Simply put, these are black people whom one can’t help but feel didn’t grow up around others as it’s clear these are people who think reframing the problem makes it easier to get rid of as opposed to solving it outright.

It’s why so many black people look at their views on certain issues and write them off as black girls with white boyfriends/husbands and black men who are so emasculated by the kinds of women they’re with that he catches shit for liking a pic from Demetria Obilor because he didn’t like a dark skinned woman’s pic and fears being called colorist.  If you notice, you never really see articles on this site from people more in tune with black people’s day-to-day issues and more complaints from black people on said site that seem to have more complaints that have less to do with justice and more to do with vanity.  Why aren’t I told I’m pretty enough?  Why don’t black men fawn over me more?  Why is my skin tone not treated as the world beauty standard?  Why don’t black men dress and act like how I want?  Why doesn’t society work harder to treat me more like white women?  Why am I not the bell of the ball in the eyes of society beyond a few testosterone deficient nerds and girls that look like Ursula in the face?

These are people that are the embodiment of the fears many of our ancestors had about integration of both black people and our culture into white society.  Even when you pose serious issues to these kinds of people like police brutality and the abuse of black women, the arguments from them always seem to sound vaguely like, “You don’t treat us like all those other women you thirst after and that’s the main problem.”  These are men who wish to be so non-threatening that he’s a essentially an emotional eunuch for black women as doing such gains him social currency to get up in the world and women who believe that if you yell loud and long enough about why something needs to be canceled, in the end, you can do what many did with Bikram Yoga and take it’s main parts and build it around a new cult of personality.  These people are not revolutionaries, they are whiny entitled children losing a platform at which they stand above black culture.  Good riddance.

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