Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas: Power to Truth


In the latest episode of Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas, Cenac delved into the problems with power.

Cenac looked at both the power you can take and the power you can use. Political, Electrical, and White. More power to Cenac for addressing these issues and not coming off as a radial truth-to-power bullhorn type, but a calm civil voice of reason.

Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas continues to deliver award-worthy commentary and practical solutions to society’s problem areas.

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Energy Problems are in the news, weekly. Oil is up, solar prospects are cloudy, and oh, here, take a 5-hour energy to start your hours long commute for a day’s worth of energy draining work.

Where can we find the power and energy to solve some of these headaches? First, we have to stop being stubborn and admit that changes are needed.

Coal miners are the lifeblood of America — it is a myth. Oil replaced coal decades ago, but large segments of the industry remain stubborn. They even refuse training. Voting for Trump was a call to arms in some cases.

The face of the American coal miner a generation ago was working to make sure their kids would never have to go to the mines. Even when lied to, as long as everything sounds good, this blue-collar segment of core Trump supporters remains steadfast in their illogical beliefs. Dying towns around dying industries cannot double down on its stubborn pride and may be gone ways of life.

Solutions exist, and so do reeducation grants, for anything from nursing to solar maintenance. Community gardens, community solar grids, and community transportation can all be implemented if people come together with purpose.

Every episode so far has a similar theme besides policing. The community must come together, and care together, for there to be any community progress.

Standing in the way of progress is life. Keeping up with the Joneses now requires more than just money spent on a new car or an addition to the house. No, now every gadget is a status symbol, and everyone must be using the devices to show off. Some people need a place to live before they can figure out how to live.

There is no sense of community on the neighborhood block — but on the network slack channel. Lots of people are still searching for a community with affordable housing.  These hectic times and the problems that arise are merely Millennial Problems. The community problem though has a millennial fix.

Battleship housing, floating tiny house nation communities. Tiny issues of jurisdiction, voting precincts and parking problems — once you figure out which DMV to visit. Sounds very millennial, yet cozy. Tiny houses and re-purposed shipping containers can be very elaborate and luxurious, not just spartan cabins.

Eventually, some guy will want to buy two stacked containers and build a balcony while everyone else is in a single floor setup. Eventually, Elon Musk will shoot his own battleship living quarters into space too. Everything is an arms race. Who would police these new areas? The community has another problem to solve. How will they keep the peace; who will police the area?

Any police force needs to be welcomed into the community otherwise a cop’s shift is merely occupying territory. The community and the police force need a sense of ownership, down to each individual officer. Police belong to the community and are paid by the community taxes. The community must protect and accept decent police outreach for there to be any progress. People must help police if they expect the police to serve and protect.

Police must come to the community correctly though. Fake diversity videos will not suffice. Community engagement and fake social media posing is a waste of bandwidth and even tax dollars. Communities do not need more cute videos to distract them from the real news. Sinclair Broadcasting has enough of that going on. Communities need the police to come into the neighborhoods to listen, not just do pop up policing public relations.

Society increasingly expresses it cannot trust the media, so police need to be their own voice. What are police doing when they do not like how they are being portrayed? What are the police doing to combat that viral video that has nothing to do with your town but makes cops in general look bad for standing by silently?

More police departments need to have a neighborhood program; a place where they allow citizens to feel they have a voice. The Elgin call-in radio show is a good step towards building relationships.

Police need to be treated as people because they are. They just wear a uniform that holds a great importance to society than most others. Just because someone who lives in your neighborhood had to arrest someone does not make them a bad person to be avoided.

It means more than likely they want to protect their block for their kids and on that one particular day or drunken night, someone acted well out of line with what the neighborhood consensus deemed appropriate.

It is all in the family, and the lines of communication between communities and police are broken. Having police officers live in and be active in the areas they police is a start. It is well better than the Detroit model of all the cops coming from outside the city.

Being in the community full time will help to know what some of the problem areas are before the problems get too out of hand. Some people do not like having police move into the area under the auspices of trying to be a face in the community. They are rightfully suspicious but wrong to cross the street just to avoid their neighbor.

We have to live together in some ways. Why not be able to barbecue and have a beer with a cop who is just trying to enjoy a day off with a neighbor? On the other hand, how can you trust an off-duty cop neighbor if you just want to smoke a joint or drink a beer on the porch? Everyone in the neighborhood does it — or used to before the cop moved in.

Body cameras are wonderful for after-the-fact review. An hour of planning after who knows what kind of training is wonderful for covering the liability and insurance problems. When the moment of truth comes, the only universal truth is we all have different truths at that same moment.

The community wants police to be held accountable for their decisions to pull a trigger. The police want the community to understand that they want to go home after an uneventful night. One moment can change everything, but also nothing. In the instance of Cynthia in Elgin, the police wanted to save a life. They also knew they did not want to get stabbed in the neck or infected.

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Cynthia made her choice just as the cop who pulled the trigger made his. Cynthia is like any community burning down after a riot. The only question is why do that, what did that prove? The police officer who pulled the trigger knew his fellow officers were going home safely, just as he was.

Police safety is paramount, for the communities do need cops. But the health of the community can go a long way to protecting everyone.