LeVar Burton calmly explains the truth about 'cancel culture' to Meghan McCain

If you're one of the millions who grew up watching LeVar Burton celebrate literature and literacy on Reading Rainbow, you know what a national treasure he is. The actor has been a hot topic of conversation on social media since the passing of Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek, as many feel that Burton would be the most fitting host to step into Trebek's shoes.

LeVar Burton is a natural educator, and his soothing voice makes even the tough lessons easy to swallow. Here's hoping that's the case for the folks who constantly decry "cancel culture" when Burton calmly schooled Meghan McCain on why that term is a "misnomer."

Speaking with Burton on The View, McCain brought up Dr. Seuss Enterprises' decision to discontinue publishing six books that feature racist imagery. "What do you think of that decision and about the cancel culture surrounding works of art or artists that are controversial?" she asked.


Burton said that he had just done a video voiceover for the Suess Foundation, reminding people that Dr. Seuss is more than just a company that pulled a few books from circulation.

"That man, Theodore Geisel, is responsible for generations of wholesome, healthy, wonderful, imaginative, creative content for children of all ages, and so I think we need to put things in perspective," he said.

"In terms of cancel culture, I think it's misnamed," he said. "It's a misnomer. I think we have a consequence culture, and that consequences are finally encompassing everybody in the society, whereas they haven't been, ever, in this country."

LeVar Burton schools Meghan McCain on 'cancel culture' www.youtube.com

"So I think that there are good signs that are happening in the culture right now," he added. "And I think it has everything to do with a new awareness on people who were simply unaware of the real nature of life in this country for people who have been othered since this nation began."

If people whose voices have been silenced or ignored are finally heard, and their concerns are finally taken seriously, and the result of that is things being changed or removed, is that really "cancel culture" or is "good things happening in the culture" as Burton says? While there are legitimate discussions to be had about how to address problematic works, the discussions themselves are a step forward. And the fact that there are finally consequences for language or actions that are hurtful to people who are already marginalized in society is a good thing.

(It's also a little hard to take people seriously when they complain about 'cancel culture' in one breath and then call for boycotts of businesses that defend voting rights, sports that allow players to exercise their first amendment rights, schools and workplaces that teach anti-racism, etc., in the next.)

Burton also spoke with Whoopi Goldberg about what it meant for him to act in Star Trek: The Next Generation after growing up seeing the original television series. The original Star Trek series was groundbreaking for showing one of the first interracial kisses on TV, and its racially diverse cast made a deep impression on a whole generation. Burton said that having Nichelle Nichols, the Black actress who played Uhura, on the bridge of the Enterprise "meant the world" to him.

"What it said was when the future comes, there's a place for us," said Burton. "And that's a huge message to send. I believe it's difficult, if not impossible, to grow up with a healthy self-image unless you can see yourself in popular culture."

Oh, and by the way, LeVar Burton WILL be guest hosting during this season of Jeopardy! so dreams really do come true.

Thank you, LeVar Burton, for being a voice of reason and wisdom in a time when we desperately need both.

Courtesy of Verizon
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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

Ready for the weekend? Of course, you are. Here's our weekly dose of good vibes to help you shed the stresses of the workweek and put yourself in a great frame of mind.

These 10 stories made us happy this week because they feature amazing creativity, generosity, and one super-cute fish.

1. Diver befriends a fish with the cutest smile

Hawaiian underwater photographer Yuki Nakano befriended a friendly porcupine fish and now they hang out regularly.

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