"Go back to Africa" is a taunt that black Americans have had to hear from racists in this country for a long time. Two weeks ago, Larry Mitchell, a chef in Kokomo, Indiana, decided he'd heard it one too many times. He decided to call out the racists he's encountered in real life and online for years.
Mitchell created a tongue-in-cheek fund to take those racist words and turn them on their head: he's raising funds to do it—to go to Africa. He wrote on his GoFundMe page:
Send me "back" to Africa fund… If you want me to go back to Africa I will gladly go… you can help make your dream and mine come true… accepting all donations… KKK, Skin Heads and anyone else with like mind thinking are welcome to donate… Thank you.. God bless you and America… #putyourmoneywhereyourhateis
Mitchell said that most of the racist attitudes he's had to deal with have been online, particularly when he's taken to Twitter to celebrate a black athlete's victory.
“After a [Floyd] Mayweather fight, or after Serena [Williams] wins a tennis match, you go online and people say ‘go back to Africa,’" Mitchell told The Washington Post. “And instead of sitting online arguing with them, I just thought of a sly way to come back at them.”
Mitchell told the Post he has “been hearing ‘Go back to Africa’ my whole life."
Eleven days after launching the campaign, 95 people have donated a total of $1,315. Most of the comments on the page either appreciate the joke or express their sympathy and hope that Mitchell will stay in the U.S.
"Love it! Next time I'm on Social media and one of those cave men or women tell me to go back to Africa, I'm going to give them your link to donate on! haha!" wrote one man.
"I hope you raise enough for your vacay in Ghana! But promise you'll come home again. ♥" wrote one woman, who contributed $20.
"You should move to Washington state, we would love to have you and there are very few racists here. I hope you get your dream vacation," wrote another, who donated $5.
"Donating because this is brilliantly funny , bravo for coming up with this idea," said one man, adding $5 to the fund.
"I'm donating $5 for you to stay. Maybe you'll nateyou'll donate to a great cause, maybe Human Rights Campaign, Black Lives Matter, or UNICEF… or, just take the money and buy yourself something nice! You deserve it for such a GENIUS idea, dude!! ✌❤✊" wrote one woman.
Others, with the racist attitudes that drove Mitchell to create the fund in the first place, seemed to miss the point entirely:
"Good Bye Nigger !" wrote one man, along with a $5 contribution.
"you better not come back" wrote someone under the name "fed up white guy", offering $5.