+
Heroes

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

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.

All illustrations are provided by Soosh and used with permission.

I have plenty of space.

This article originally appeared on 04.09.16


It's hard to truly describe the amazing bond between dads and their daughters.

Being a dad is an amazing job no matter the gender of the tiny humans we're raising. But there's something unique about the bond between fathers and daughters.

Most dads know what it's like to struggle with braiding hair, but we also know that bonding time provides immense value to our daughters. In fact, studies have shown that women with actively involved fathers are more confident and more successful in school and business.

Keep ReadingShow less
Identity

This blind chef wore a body cam to show how she prepares dazzling dishes.

How do blind people cook? This "Masterchef" winner leans into her senses.

Image pulled from YouTube video.

Christine Ha competes on "Masterchef."

This article originally appeared on 05.26.17


There is one question chef Christine Ha fields more than any other.

But it's got nothing to do with being a "Masterchef" champion, New York Times bestselling author, and acclaimed TV host and cooking instructor.

The question: "How do you cook while blind?"

Keep ReadingShow less
The Prince Charles Cinema/Youtube

Brendan Fraser dressed as Rick O'Connell.

Brendan Fraser might be making the greatest career comeback ever, racking up accolades and award nominations for his dramatic, transformative role in “The Whale." But the OG Fraser fans (the ones who watch “Doom Patrol” solely to hear his voice and proudly pronounce his last name as Fray-zure, for this is the proper pronunciation) have known of his remarkable talent since the 90s, when he embodied the ultimate charming, dashing—and slightly goofball—Hollywood action lead.

Let us not forget his arguably most well known and beloved 90s character—Rick O’Connell from the “Mummy” franchise. Between his quippy one-liners, Indiana Jones-like adventuring skills and fabulous hair, what’s not to like?

During a double feature of “The Mummy” and “The Mummy Returns” in London, moviegoers got the ultimate surprise when who should walk in but Brendan Fraser himself, completely decked out in Rick O’Connell attire. The brown leather jacket. The scarf. Everything.

Keep ReadingShow less

Gordon Ramsay at play... work.

This article originally appeared on 04.22.15


Gordon Ramsay is not exactly known for being nice.

Or patient.

Or nurturing.

On his competition show "Hell's Kitchen," he belittles cooks who can't keep up. If people come to him with their problems, he berates them. If someone is struggling to get something right in the kitchen, he curses them out.

Keep ReadingShow less

This article originally appeared on 01.27.20


From 1940 to 1945, an estimated 1.3 million people were deported to Auschwitz, the largest complex of Nazi concentration camps. More than four out of five of those people—at least 1.1 million people—were murdered there.

On January 27, 1945, Soviet forces liberated the final prisoners from these camps—7,000 people, most of whom were sick or dying. Those of us with a decent public education are familiar with at least a few names of Nazi extermination facilities—Auschwitz, Dachau, Bergen-Belsen—but these are merely a few of the thousands (yes, thousands) of concentration camps, sub camps, and ghettos spread across Europe where Jews and other targets of Hitler's regime were persecuted, tortured, and killed by the millions.

Keep ReadingShow less
Health

What I realized about feminism after my male friend was disgusted by tampons at a party.

"After all these years, my friend has probably forgotten, but I never have."

Photo by Josefin on Unsplash

It’s okay men. You don’t have to be afraid.

This article originally appeared on 08.12.16


Years ago, a friend went to a party, and something bothered him enough to rant to me about it later.

And it bothered me that he was so incensed about it, but I couldn't put my finger on why. It seemed so petty for him to be upset, and even more so for me to be annoyed with him.

Recently, something reminded me of that scenario, and it made more sense. I'll explain.

Keep ReadingShow less