A new study shows that America is a lot less racist than people think
via World Values Survey

As Americans, it is nearly impossible to escape the endless stories of racism in the news. We live in a country that was born on the backs of slaves and is still a place where real equality is still an elusive dream. Racism is an undeniable part of our society, but how does America compare to the rest of the world?

According to a 2020 study by the World Values Survey, Americans are among the most tolerant people in the world.

The World Value Survey is a global network of scientists and researchers based in Sweden who study changing values and their impact on social and political life. The group's researchers asked participants in more than 80 countries what kind of person they'd want as a neighbor.

Those who responded that they wouldn't want "people of a different race" were deemed racially intolerant. The map below depicts how the 80 countries responded to the question. The countries that are blue are the most tolerant. Countries marked red are the least.

To see a larger version click here.

The good news is that even though America has problems with race, it's actually better than a lot of places. America, along with most of South America, Australia, and Europe are among the most tolerant places on the planet.

The map shows that Eastern Europe and Asia are less tolerant than America with The Middle East and North Africa ranking among the least tolerant areas of the globe. It appears as though much of Africa was not polled, so it's unclear how those countries rank in comparison.

America takes pride in its attempt to be a diverse, inclusive melting pot and is constantly at war with itself for falling short of that goal. Even though we are one of the most tolerant places on Earth, most of us believe that we can and should do better. But, as the map shows, even as a society that struggles with tolerance, we've come a lot farther than most.

Courtesy of Verizon

If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

via @Todd_Spence / Twitter

Seven years ago, Bill Murray shared a powerful story about the importance of art. The revelation came during a discussion at the National Gallery in London for the release of 2014's "The Monuments Men." The film is about a troop of soldiers on a mission to recover art stolen by the Nazis.

After his first time performing on stage in Chicago, Murray was so upset with himself that he contemplated taking his own life.

"I wasn't very good, and I remember my first experience, I was so bad I just walked out — out onto the street and just started walking," he said.

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