Category: Articles

Total Failure

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by L.W. Barker
I waited a few days to write this…
 
What Derek Chauvin did…having George Floyd lie face-down with his hands cuffed behind his back with Chauvin’s knee applying pressure on Floyd’s neck is beyond evil. And you can see it in his face…cold, and without compassion for a fellow human being.
 
So cause and effect…
 
Floyd being prone on his stomach, couldn’t fully breathe and was only able to draw enough breath to gasp or speak in spurts as his body lost oxygen and fell unconscious. And the placing of a knee on his neck made things worse as it caused fatal damage to that area.
 
Chauvin knew this, and even amid pleas from bystanders, (and his victim) to “stop”, he continued to apply pressure to the man’s neck for upwards of 9 minutes.
 
No police department condones such a maneuver which makes Chauvin’s use of it on a restrained George Floyd even more damning.
 
A bit of history…
 
While working with the USAF Security Forces, I learned to never keep restrained individuals in this type of prone position for long. So to ensure their safety, I would keep them in that position just long enough to apply restraint. I would then take them out of it by rolling them onto their side, sitting them up or having them stand.
 
The bottom line…
 
Derek Chauvin failed to uphold the sworn oath of his badge “to serve and protect”. And that, for a police officer, is a failure on all levels.
 
#RIPGeorgeFloyd #JusticeWillBeServed

Black Panther IS Black Culture

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by L.W. Barker

February 16, 2018, dubbed ‘the blackest night in America’ by the black community was the opening night of Marvel Studios’ newest superhero film, Black Panther. And black audiences showed up en masse (some over a dozen family/friends strong) to support the film and embrace the mythos of Black Panther.

A brief history…Wakanda is a place untouched by slavery, but blessed with Vibranium, a rare and virtually indestructible metal derived from an ancient meteor that hit the area long ago. Thus, Black Panther’s costume and Wakanda are technologically-advanced products of Vibranium.

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Now, seeing Wakanda onscreen, a black centric mythical kingdom of doctors, scientists, inventors, etc., you have to wonder, what we as a people would have been like minus the forced separation and bondage of slavery. It is a symbol of who we were as a people in Africa, who we could have been as a culture, and most importantly, it also shows the wonders that could be accomplished if we all came together once and for all as a people.

A bit more history…the Dora Milaje are a pool of highly-skilled special forces like women who are recruited from every tribe in Wakanda. The Dora Milaje is also an ancient tribal tradition in which maidens were assembled as potential queens for an unmarried king. However, the daughters of Wakanda, Nakia and Okoye, became the first Dora Milaje to serve under T’Challa, and were viewed by the king as sisters, instead of wives-in-training.

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The strong willingness and overall strength of the Dora Milaje represents the daily toll and labor that every black woman goes through in our society. And their natural beauty reminds us that black is beautiful, and society’s negative views on the matter have always been null and void. Today’s black women are also natural protectors who will go all-out, no matter the cost to keep their loved ones safe, much like the Dora Milaje’s selfless protection of Black Panther.

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Which brings us to King T’Challa, who is also a brilliant scientist and inventor, and a descendent of a warrior-class of ancient fighters. He is very proficient in both armed and unarmed combat, and also highly-skilled with just about every weapon known to man.

And so its T’Challa, the Black Panther, the hero and protector of Wakanda, whom we black men see in ourselves. For like T’Challa, who does whatever it takes to protect his people, we have scraped and hustled in the bowels of society for generations to protect and provide for our families. With many of us paying the ultimate price, much like the generations of Black Panthers before the time of  T’Challa.

T’Challa and his fictionalized kingdom are symbols of all that is good about black culture. Black Panther IS black culture, and Wakanda and its people are us…past, present, and future.

Black Panther releases on DVD and Blu-ray on May 15, 2018, and is available on Digital HD from Amazon Prime Video and Apple iTunes on May 8, 2018.

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Break up – Surviving a failed relationship

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by L.W. Barker

Break ups and failed relationships are a part of life. They are as common as living and dying. They take place daily, and so you must be prepared for them when they occur in your life.  A few years ago I broke up with a girlfriend of a few months. My days and nights were ones of torment and bad memories. It is very easy to fall in love, but even easier to fall out of love. And when the latter happens, life can feel like a living hell.  But all is not lost for there are things that you can do to get through this most difficult of times.

In the months following my break up, I was lost to the fact that there is more to life than this girl. I would come home after work, not bothering to turn on my lights, and lay there on the bed listening to sad love songs. I noticed that I only felt this way after work though, and so I got more involved with work. I stayed late for most of the time I had to work, just to keep my mind off of what could have been. I also needed time to devise a similar plan as to what to do when I went home.

However, one night it dawned that I had to go out and have fun to forget about my failed relationship. And so, I went cruising through the town that night and eventually ended up at the local movie theater where I decided to see a new film. This routine enabled me to focus on the present instead of dwelling in limbo on the past. It also gave me the key to open the door to a new and improved relationship which I eventually found.

Breaking up is hard to do, but with the right mindset, the pain of it can be overcome. By keeping yourself occupied, whether by work and or play, you too will be able to emerge from the darkness and pain of a failed relationship.

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