It never ceases to amaze me how people whose lives are complete messes can find it within themselves to criticize large categories of groups and individuals. I guess some people forget that they are not in a position to criticize others, especially when their lives are a mess. When you criticize others, make sure you have cleaned up your own mess, or be prepared for people who are not afraid to unsettle, unnerve, and unhouse you to air your dirty laundry. Don’t get mad either—sunshine is the best disinfectant! There comes a time when you just have to call people out. You have to let folk know that they are a mess and are living in mess. You should not worry about how they are going to react either.
When you make blanket statements that you think will get you some attention, don’t be surprised when those statements come back to haunt you. People can use your vain efforts to get attention to serve as the catalysts for exposing truths that you know you don’t want to wrestle with in the public sphere. Some of you know you are not emotionally strong enough to respond to potential criticisms that may result from something untutored you have said simply to get a laugh, attention, and/or temporal fame. If many of you would concern yourself with improving yourself first and not others, then you might place yourself in a better position to be a qualified judge of others. Unfortunately, many of you don’t worry about what’s going on in your own life, in your own home, and with your own family and friends. Instead, you concern yourself with trying to bring down others.
When you feel like you need try to criticize someone negatively, I simply ask you to check around your own home first for people and things to criticize. Be sure to criticize yourself. When you criticize yourself, make sure that you criticize yourself in the public sphere so that your self-criticism will match the public criticism you intend for others.
Trust me, I have no problem with you criticizing others, but I want you to be open to the same level of criticism and don’t feel like others are doing you wrong when they respond to your criticisms. If you’re bad enough to dish out negative criticism, be bad enough to take it when it returns to you.
It’s time out for people trying to get attention by hurting people with reckless statements and comments. You need to be more considerate of people’s feelings when you say some of the things you say. When you are not living a flawless life, you need to know that you are no more righteous than the next person. Don’t try to make anyone’s sins be more horrible than your own sins. Sin is sin!
Antonio Maurice Daniels
University of Wisconsin-Madison