Lazy with Labels in Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas

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In this week’s episode of Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas, Cenac focuses on labels.

Even though I enjoy sweet potato everything, I did not turn off the television as Wyatt requested. I was licking my fingers for more delicious honey-sweet tater fried goodness and do not like a sticky remote. Though he called out us “yam smackers” for disobeying his orders, some of the logic in this week’s Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas episode needs to be highlighted as well.

To open Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas, Cenac looks at food and their labels. Ethical, farm-raised, free-range, cage-free, non-GMO food. Not only does food need to taste delicious now, it must not make us feel guilty about the basic of survival and nutrition. When the fox raids the hen-house, do PETA protesters terrorize the fox for eating a caged animal? Unless you are little, red, and hiding with a hood on, probably not.

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But what about the people in the food industry, out in the fields harvesting and butchering, so that America may be fed? While food companies and restaurants are busy virtue signaling for-profit and raising food margins, and prices, the workers are getting a raw deal. Honestly, Americans know very little about food. Many cannot read the label to tell if the simple marketing sticker is bogus. Americans really don’t know about the food, and really don’t care about the people who are necessary to get food to market.

In this age of ethical marketing people are more worried about the animals that were going to die anyway, than they are the undocumented worker toiling in the fields and migrating with the seasons.

These hard-working people have to worry about heat stroke and low wages like the sharecroppers than came before them. These day laborers must worry about ICE raids and checkpoints.  However, the ICE agents are just enforcing the law. Like the undocumented worker, the agent just wants to put in a good day and feed his family. Well, most of them.

To combat some raids where cops come in to order then arrest the chef,  sanctuary restaurants are growing in numbers to combat the problems. But are they really solving anything? Undocumented workers sometimes are caught working under fake names. At some point, there was a crime of ID theft. Maybe not by the chef but somewhere in the chain of events.

Making it easier for undocumented workers to stay below the radar also helps to suppress wages on documented workers and citizens. In a time of strikes for higher fast-food wages, there is tension brewing in the restaurant industry. These two ideas do not seem compatible.

Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas may hate “yam smackers” but “gum smackers” who ignore these issues actually do more harm than good for the people they want to protect. It leads to more divisive politics and harsher treatment and laws. It only serves to hold us down and make the grander scheme of exploitation harder to combat.

Wage exploitation will always exist. It is in the companies best interest and most blue-collar workers are in no position to negotiate. They have bills due yesterday and can start tomorrow. So let us exploit the labor legally instead of breaking up families that are actually working. Might free up some resources to catch real criminals.

Ethical treatment is what Wyatt after but there are laws to his logic. Instead of leaving the undocumented worker who is vital to food supply lines waiting for up to a decade or more to become a fully legal citizen, use the problem to address another problem. The dying rural towns and the lack of workers to tend the fields. Fast track those who help our country grow greener. Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas proposes an idea that gives people a reason to stay in smaller towns and build industry. It may relieve the housing crisis in so many cities.

Cenac is also off the mark on his proposal to alleviate all the headaches of rain. Like any good liberal, this first sentence included the words ‘government mandate.’ Without even thinking of the trigger those words are for people, what about the sidewalks that need the rain. What of those hallowed and sacred strips of brick and concrete named Streets Bourbon or Beale? What would be the installation cost? Buying a cheap umbrella is asking for trouble. Never shop in the middle of the mall for necessities, the first rule of style.

In fact, the awnings should be used during the hot summer days. The sun can take that bright nonsense to the other side of the street. After lunch, we can switch. Adding more shade would make those hot and humid summers more bearable. Also, with less of the suns rays hitting the concrete and asphalt surfaces, less of that heat will be retained. Coupled with a few more cloudy and rainy days, not only has this solution cleaned the streets, it has helped with global warming.

In some communities that people have labeled a problem, and that richer communities with would disappear, in some of those problem area communities, the residents want to abolish the police. Who would they call after the panic and paranoia engulfs the hood cookout?