Kenneth L. Hardin: Relax good people, it’s only an opinion
Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 29, 2022
I’ve been cautioned to refrain from publicly commenting on certain issues because there’s danger involved when you have the courage to openly speak your mind. People don’t want to hear the truth and will take extreme measures to silence those who do. I believe if the truth hurts you, don’t find fault in it. Instead, blame the lie and those who told it. If you bring to light all that is hiding in the deepest recesses of people’s hate filled hearts or go against the skinfolk illuminati, all I can say is, “Oh good Lawd have mercy on your soul” because you will feel the wrath swiftly and continuously.
Since I don’t write for approval, I pay little attention if someone is unhappy with the words jumping out of my head without a parachute and landing softly onto the keyboard ready to create chaos. I’ve felt this wrath quite often in the form of damage to personal property, unexpected visits to my home from strangers, and a barrage of hate filled email messages and phone calls littered with racial epithets. Regardless, I will forgo installing a filter or off switch on my mouth. People approach me quite often about things I write and oddly take my words personally. It’s an opinion, people. My opinion. The point is not to win or lose a dissenting discussion. It should be about being receptive to and trying to understand a point of view different from your own. If you don’t possess the intellectual capacity to defend your point with intelligent and factual arguments, don’t make it personal and insulting.
There have been many great voices in history, who fought for change and improvement and whose words struck such fear in corrupt governments, they were silenced forever. The lesson misguided people in faux leadership positions never understand is that the message is more important than the messenger. Don’t get it twisted, we love the look and charisma of the vessels, but it is never about the physical embodiment. When someone steps out and is willing to unabashedly say what other people are thinking or only talk about in hushed private tones, we admire, revere, and elevate them to an exalted status. This is why Bantu Stephen Biko, Dr. King and Malcolm are still popular and relevant all these decades later after their murders.
Writing is therapy for me. I do it daily, sometimes posting things on social media, and other times just saving them to a computer folder. I don’t write with a malicious or offensive intent, but somehow I still seem to rub people the wrong way. I don’t respond to every idiot that tries to get a rise out of me. I prefer my liquids free of foreign substances having emanated from the recesses of another’s mouth. This means I’m not thirsty enough to drink from every cup of water that’s shoved in my direction. I don’t trust folks enough not to spit in my cup and swirl it around like the character Celie did to Old Mister Johnson in Oprah’s movie, The Color Purple.
For instance, I had a cretin come at me a while back in response to an opinion piece I wrote disputing the existence of “Black on Black” crime. I questioned why it was viewed as the only culturally related proximity violence that occurs. I asked in written prose why we don’t read with the same regularity about White on White, Asian on Asian, or Hispanic on Hispanic crime. Why are those culturally degradative acts of violence not splashed across the media since they all seem to occur at nearly similar rates. He took offense and sent this lovely unedited email response that showed his lack of intelligence, poor grammar usage and failure to grasp the English language, “I don’t know who you are and frankly could care less…but what I’m witnessing on the news that I watch…Black people are at the very ROOT of the cause and you aren’t being intellectually honest to with yourself!!!! They are murdering each other, shamelessly stealing, jacking cars, being violent, disrespecting any kind of law and order!! Get your (expletive) facts straight and look at the statistics…whoever the (expletive) you are!! THANK GOD, I live in a city whose mayor’s and leaders know what they are doing and I don’t live in any of those ghetto cities that are poorly run. Sorry dude you are on the wrong side of the argument!! Look at the stats before you even begin to call this a farce!! Hope it doesn’t come you’re way, jus sayin.’”
And that is one of the nicer, more respectful, and considerate messages I’ve received. There are easy solutions to not being offended by anything I write. Just don’t read it.
Kenneth L. (Kenny) Hardin is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists.