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Football star Chad Ochocinco recently got into a bit of Twitter heat for tweeting that he was reading conservative blogger Glenn Beck’s book “Broke.”

He tweeted the following:

“Gotten through 3 chapters in @glennbeck book and so far everything he’s said is either common or his opinion based off research.”

“I don’t agree with a lot of this s— but nonetheless its interesting reading the views n opinions from what I’d like to call the other side.”

It goes without saying that Beck isn’t the most revered figure in left-wing politics, and is certainly not a favorite in the Black community.

Therefore upon sending out the tweets, Ochocinco was heavily criticized by followers—some even un-followed him.

One follower responded: “unfollowing [you] after two years because you’re a Beck fan. Disgraceful and disappointing.”

Certainly everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion, just as Beck is entitled to his. That’s the beauty of America’s First Amendment right. With that said, Ochocinco is just as entitled to read a book of choice, even if it’s out of pure curiosity.

Since when did we put a limitation on whose book we could read, or what types of books we are entitled to read? It is a very sad day in modern America when a Black man is ostracized for reading a book. Seems very reminiscent to the days of slavery when Blacks privately read (for purposes of knowledge) in hopes that the slave master wouldn’t catch them, or worse. Black intellectualism has long been something many have tried to impede. Advocates fervently fought for the rights of Black education and intellectualism, and sadly it is still frowned upon today.

Through the assessment of his tweets, it is clear that Ochocinco was earnestly seeking understanding from a political perspective unlike his own. He never convened that he agreed with Beck’s conservative-right-wing-Republican views. He simply found it interesting. The mere fact that athletes aren’t universally esteemed for their political staunches — or intellectuality for that matter — makes his quest for knowledge that more commendable.

The problem with Black America is that we (and others) put African-Americans in what CNN’s Don Lemon called a “Black box.” African-Americans are pigeonholed into one-size-fit-all classifications that prevent the advancement of Black intellectualism. Knowledge is relative, however, one can agree that the most essential knowledge comes from literature. Whether that literature is written with dissenting or universally accepted views, it is still valuable knowledge — and it’s important to embrace the views of all. How can one have an opinion of something if one hasn’t fully explored all the possible viewpoints?

It’s quite defeating when African-Americans are monolithically categorized into one unit; whether it’s the assumption that all Black people are Democrats and or that all Black people support President Obama. Such assumptions are destructive.

Luckily, Ochocinco didn’t seem phased by the antipathy of his followers. He later tweeted Beck, “Kind sir I’ve seemed 2 have pissed off a lot of my fans by purchasing your bok. Gonna read it while flying n see why [they’re] mad.”

Keep on reading Chad, keep on reading.

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