That idiot Kanye West was famously quoted as saying that slavery was a choice. Thank god for people like Practicing while Black host Delania Barbee. As she points out in episode 13, not only was black freedom generally illegal during the era of legal slavery in the United States, but a privileged few black slaves were able to exploit technicalities in the legal system to escape indentured servitude through legal loopholes their owners hadn’t anticipated. Barbee was diplomatic enough not to name West or throw him under the bus for his comment, but her opinion on slavery was shown in that episode to be far more informed than his. If only she had a position in the media as lofty as West’s so she could serve as the logical antidote to his claims, which are as inaccurate as they are bizarre.
5% of American lawyers are African-American and this podcast provides a voice for their experience of being a minority both racially and professionally. It’s a show that humanizes attorneys in a way with which you may not be accustomed. Ms. Barbee is not a strip mall ambulance chaser with commercials between segments of The Maury Show. Nor is she the type of sociopath Shakespeare envisioned as he called for the blood of all lawyers. No, on Practicing while Black we learn about the struggles attorneys often face, like the difficulty of writing the bar exam and starting a firm of your own when you’re limited in personnel and capital. Indeed, lawyers themselves face their own personal trials and this program provides a window into that world that you would know little about unless you are an attorney or you know a lawyer personally.
Delania Barbee is worth knowing, especially if you’re part of the 5% who needs a mentor. She’s also worth knowing if you want to get sense of the complete narrative of the American legal experience.