May 5 • 1HR 15M

Ep. 78: The Language of Klingons

J.D. Richmond
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The prejudices people feel about each other disappear when they get to know each other. -Captain Kirk

A lot of lessons on how to live in the present in such a way that promises a better tomorrow can be found in the timeless wisdom of Star Trek. Through co-author & co-host W.F. Twyman, Jr. (aka Wink), I’ve become a Trekkie by proxy. With these universal insights we often deliberately fashion our words to reflect current realities, even as we pen hope for the Next Generation. 

So what is one to do when reality is subsumed with dogma? That is the big question we tackle after a book club discussion Wink attended on Reconstruction. A discussion where two ideas were so foreign to each other, that they must have been speaking a different language. The language of Klingon. 

The origin of dogma can be found in the language we use. Framed by slogans that mask reality, we unwittingly flatten the experiences of others when we shoehorn them into niches that fit the paradigms these manufactured words represent.

Today, much of our language around American slavery and black history is framed in despair. Despair is the appropriate emotion to accompany this period of history. The problem is when we relive this despair in the present we allow it to shape our future. To study history and despair is one matter, to discuss the despair as it is the only thing that shapes black history, current reality and our future is quite another. 

When we teach our children that the misery of a time long past will always be the cornerstone of their identity, we strip them of hope. Striving becomes an effort in futility. 

Into this void, Wink speaks not only of the true horrors of slavery but also of the amazing triumph of the black spirit to overcome. This is the legacy he hopes to lead with and write into the future of our nation. 

When he speaks of “letting go” it is not a plea to erase history, but rather to let go of the resentment and grudges that keep American slavery alive today and threatens our future with an ongoing, omnipotent and dogmatic slavery of our hearts and minds. 

Change is the essential process of all existence. -Spock


In the Hold my Drink — navigating culture with a chaser of civility, and Counterweight podcast, Episode 78, co-author & co-host, W.F. Twyman, Jr. (aka Wink) and I discuss his recent encounter with “Mr. Klingon” in a book club dedicated to the topic of Reconstruction. The language of Klingons, completely foreign to Wink, is one of slogans, manipulations and bullying. The imposed outlook of “blackness is oppression” doesn’t speak to his own lived experience. When dogmatic adherence to oppression negates one’s worldview, what can we do to build hope and resiliency for the Next Generation?

Hold my Drink welcomes all people with all kinds of beverages to join us as we explore the truths of a chaotic and beautiful world, together.

Find us on Apple Podcasts and Spotify, or watch the conversation unfold on YouTube, and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.


What Jen is Reading

All Hail America’s New Truth Czar, Common Sense, Katie Herzog

Why the Past 10 Years of American Life Have Been Uniquely Stupid, The Atlantic, Jonathan Haidt

and listening to…

Letters in Black & White, The Charles Love Show

A Problem Well-Stated is Half-Solved, Your Undivided Attention Podcast with Daniel Schmachtenberger

What Wink is Reading

Reconstruction, Eric Foner

The Bully Pulpit, Doris Kearns Goodwin

Report on the Presidential Committee on Harvard & the Legacy of Slavery, Harvard University

The Power of the Powerless, Vaclav Havel

and listening to…

Grimes: Music, AI, and the Future of Humanity, Lex Fridman Podcast with Grimes


W. F. Twyman, Jr. is a former law professor at California Western School of Law and George Mason Law School. Twyman has been published in The ChicagoTribune, The Richmond Times-Dispatch, The Baltimore Sun, The San Diego Union-Tribune, The National Black Law Journal, Pennsylvania Lawyer Magazine, St. Croix Review, National Black Law Journal, South Carolina Law Review, Virginia Tax Review and other publications. His book, Letters in Black & White with co-author Jennifer Richmond, published by Pitchstone Publishing is out on Amazon for pre-order and will be released in the fall. Twyman grew up in the Green House on Twyman Road, then-Chesterfield County, Virginia.