Let Wyatt Cenac educate you about the school-to-prison pipeline

Wyatt Cenac, Allison Farrington.photo: Barry Wetcher/HBO
Wyatt Cenac, Allison Farrington.photo: Barry Wetcher/HBO /

Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas explores the school-to-prison pipeline in an episode that drops some knowledge, delivers laughs, and will make you think twice about the efficacy of our educational system.

Are you watching Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas yet? Yes? Sweet! No? Why not? Cenac is currently hosting one of the most entertaining infotainment series on TV today. Well, it’s not technically TV, it’s HBO, but you get it.

This week, Problem Areas explores “Safety Problems” in an episode that addresses facial recognition software and car-on-bike crime. But the meat of the half-hour is devoted to the school-to-prison pipeline, an insidious and much overlooked issue that plagues many communities of color.

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Cenac interviews many people who unfortunately have experience with the pipeline, including former students who report feeling like increased security and the presence of metal detectors create an “us versus them” mentality, and African American women whose children were suspended from class as early as preschool (!). What is happening?! Isn’t school supposed to be a safe haven where we nurture and encourage the next generation of great minds to thrive? Apparently not.

As always, Cenac has some positive news for us, too. He reports that NYC has devoted millions to anti-racial bias training for educators over the “next several years” and he highlights programs such as the Center for Racial Justice in Education that are leading the way for change. Check out the episode tonight, and then head on over to CRJE’s website to learn more about their amazing programs.

Related Story. Wyatt Cenac on Listening, Learning, and Laughter: Q&A. light

Can’t wait until tonight’s episode drops on HBO? Check out the Season 2 premiere in its entirety for free on YouTube. For more information on the school-to-prison pipeline, one quality resource is Ijeoma Olou’s book, So You Want to Talk About Race, available at all fine booksellers.

Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas airs Fridays at 11/10c on HBO.