Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas: Control Yourself


Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas stayed true to his straightforward, brash style in this week’s new episode.

Wyatt Cenac starts this week with no cute kind of observational news introduction, just a quick gift unwrapping and then straight into gun control. With the same quickness, we get to this week’s look at gun control.

Last week, Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas opened with a nice outline and observational example concerning the uber-rich exploring space — for reasons — to show how the show with no studio audience would be structured. Wyatt Cenac opened his attempt at the “Police conversation” in search for understanding and solutions in a nice slow and relaxed manner that helped everyone relax, if just for a second.

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This week, only a few seconds were spent opening a present before Wyatt Cenac jumped into the most lethal of issues — and even guns.

The allure of Hollywood can be a dangerous thing. The thing that shines in Hollywood most is gold. Cold hard cash. What brings in the most of that cold hard cash? Well, besides women, it is guns.

As it turns out, NRA uses the guns in the movies to sell guns in a reciprocal nod to the way the movies use the guns. The gun lobby only hates on gun movies to raise hype — and then people see the movies. Then a few want the guns.

Guns sales fund the lobby which stagnates the conversations on gun control and the needed legislation. As parts of far right and left are spending dollars fighting on the extreme ends of gun control, some of the others are making money in the middle.

While the action flicks bring in the revenue, it seems to perpetuate itself (#Trilogies!) and the more pressing problems.

Nibbling on the chicken bones lying in the street is just going to slowly choke us to death. Dogs were sent to attack people in these streets and now cops go directly to their firearms. How can we get a good bite of the meat on the issues?

The first step to admitting there is a problem is admitting there was a problem. Acknowledge it. Own it. The next and most important part is to apologize for those actions. Without the aggrieved party feeling sincerity and remorse, the conversation can never move past the hurt and towards the healing.

If Henry Lewis Gates Jr. can be profiled and assaulted in his own home and the officer not face any repercussions, then how can any progress be made? The way people are seen by police needs to change before the police reverse the rising negative tide of the way they are perceived by the people.

On the other side, actually not apologizing is what makes America great too. The justice system being flawed, the Police Union lobby being inordinately strong and so many officers not being in jail for murder as they should be, does not make America great.

Being able to be bold, stubborn and resolute even when obviously wrong and not being persecuted by the government is what makes America great.

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Brash actions and being completely unapologetic is not illegal but it is a bad look. It tends to sour people on wanting to trust — or even give the benefit of the doubt. When that is the emotions towards the police force, and the police force closes ranks instead of opening its ears, the community backlash from the tension is inevitable. The violence is real, and so is the growing resentment. More effective communication is needed.

This is not to say that after a swell apology we can all go on about our lives with bygones being bygones. No one today, nor in the past, can speak any apology that could lessen the pains of the past. Remorse and reform will ease not erase, and reform will be tough. Mistakes will be made even if we all were honest and proceed with the best intentions.

Policing at the community level, interacting with people on the street level, these are intimate settings. To make any progress, this must be a partnership and it’s a weird dance several moving parts.

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For the efforts to spawn anything positive, the partners all need to know each other’s name. Put names to faces and hostile situational become just a chat with Jennie who is having a bad day and is tired of dealing with that two-timing man holding her hostage.

Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas airs on Fridays on HBO.