+
upworthy
More

She got a call on-air from a prejudiced man. What resulted is a lesson for all Americans.

'It’s difficult to step out, but in the end, you’re going to be a stronger person.'

True
Starbucks Upstanders Season 2

Heather McGhee received a rather unusual call from a self-proclaimed racist when she appeared on C-SPAN in August 2016.

McGhee is the president of Demos, a public policy organization that advocates for social change. As a black public figure, she's no stranger to receiving retorts from racially prejudiced individuals. However, the experience she had with the caller on C-SPAN's "Washington Journal" was altogether different.

[rebelmouse-image 19477090 dam="1" original_size="700x318" caption="McGhee on "Washington Journal." All photos provided by Starbucks." expand=1]McGhee on "Washington Journal." All photos provided by Starbucks.


After the caller announced himself as someone who is prejudiced, McGhee braced herself for a rant but was surprised to hear a simple ask instead.

"What can I do to change?" asked the caller, Garry Civitello. "You know, to be a better American?"

He said he thought he was getting good information from the news but would often see minorities portrayed in a negative way. He genuinely wanted advice from McGhee on how to alter his viewpoint.  

Civitello.

McGhee was surprised by Civitello's question, but eager to help.

It was no doubt refreshing, given the escalating social and racial discord ignited by the impending presidential election, to come across someone eager to close the disparity gap. So McGhee offered him some places to start off the top of her head.

"Get to know black families. Turn off the news at night. Read about the history of the African-American community in this country. Foster conversation in your family and in your neighborhood."

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. statue.

Little did she know that Civitello would follow each and every suggestion she made to the letter.

He began opening up to the people of color in his community. It wasn't easy on the outset — the first few conversations were a bit awkward, but it was a start. He went to the black history section in his local bookstore and invested in a small stack of books. Slowly but surely, he began to get to the root of his prejudice.

Everyday, he continues to push through the misconceptions that used to blind him.

"I’m not proud, but I’m not going to be ashamed because I’m working on being different," Civitello says.

Since their on-air meeting, and because of his determination, McGhee and Civitello have formed an unlikely friendship.

Civitello and McGhee in Civitello's home.

They spoke on the phone a number of times and visited each other in their respective cities. They have talked through racial issues Civitello is having trouble with, and McGhee has tried to lead him toward the best course of action. His continued desire to grow inspires her to keep the conversation going.

McGhee hopes their connection will help other Americans see what positive things can happen when you step outside of your comfort zone and confront your prejudices head-on.

"There is something that connects us beyond our differences," McGhee explains.

Their experience is not the ultimate antidote to racism, but it's a pretty good step in the right direction.

Civitello meeting his neighbors.

The fact that their initial encounter was viewed over 8 million times shows there's at least a common interest in the idea of changing these prejudices to which so many people hold fast. If just a small percentage of those viewers go out and attempt to break through racial barriers, progress will have been made.

"It’s difficult to step out, but in the end, you’re going to be a stronger person," Civitello explains. "You get all that just from shaking somebody’s hand."

Learn more about Civitello and McGhee's friendship here:

He felt himself being prejudiced, so he asked for help. Then a beautiful friendship blossomed.

Posted by Upworthy on Tuesday, October 17, 2017
Family

Dad takes 7-week paternity leave after his second child is born and is stunned by the results

"These past seven weeks really opened up my eyes on how the household has actually ran, and 110% of that is because of my wife."

@ustheremingtons/TikTok

There's a lot to be gleaned from this.

Participating in paternity leave offers fathers so much more than an opportunity to bond with their new kids. It also allows them to help around the house and take on domestic responsibilities that many new mothers have to face alone…while also tending to a newborn.

All in all, it enables couples to handle the daunting new chapter as a team, making it less stressful on both parties. Or at least equally stressful on both parties. Democracy!

TikTok creator and dad Caleb Remington, from the popular account @ustheremingtons, confesses that for baby number one, he wasn’t able to take a “single day of paternity leave.”

This time around, for baby number two, Remington had the privilege of taking seven weeks off (to be clear—his employer offered four weeks, and he used an additional three weeks of PTO).

The time off changed Remington’s entire outlook on parenting, and his insights are something all parents could probably use.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

Nazis demanded to know if ‘The Hobbit’ author was Jewish. He responded with a high-class burn.

J.R.R. Tolkien hated Nazi “race doctrine” and no problem telling his German publishing house about it.

In 1933, Adolf Hitler handed the power of Jewish cultural life in Nazi Germany to his chief propagandist, Joseph Goebbels. Goebbels established a team of of regulators that would oversee the works of Jewish artists in film, theater, music, fine arts, literature, broadcasting, and the press.

Goebbels' new regulations essentially eliminated Jewish people from participating in mainstream German cultural activities by requiring them to have a license to do so.

This attempt by the Nazis to purge Germany of any culture that wasn't Aryan in origin led to the questioning of artists from outside the country.

Nazi book burning via Wikimedia Commons

In 1938, English author J. R. R. Tolkien and his British publisher, Stanley Unwin, opened talks with Rütten & Loening, a Berlin-based publishing house, about a German translation of his recently-published hit novel, "The Hobbit."

Keep ReadingShow less

Christine Kesteloo has one big problem living on a cruise ship.

A lot of folks would love to trade lives with Christine Kesteloo. Her husband is the Chief Engineer on a cruise ship, so she gets to live on the boat pretty much for free as the “wife on board.” For Christine, life is a lot like living on a permanent vacation.

“I live on a cruise ship for half the year with my husband, and it's often as glamorous as it sounds,” she told Insider. “After all, I don't cook, clean, make my bed, do laundry or pay for food.“

Living an all-inclusive lifestyle seems like paradise, but it has some drawbacks. Having access to all-you-can-eat food all day long can really have an effect on one’s waistline. Kesteloo admits that living on a cruise ship takes a lot of self-discipline because the temptation is always right under her nose.

Keep ReadingShow less
Health

Artists got fed up with these 'anti-homeless spikes.' So they made them a bit more ... comfy.

"Our moral compass is skewed if we think things like this are acceptable."

Photo courtesy of CC BY-ND, Immo Klink and Marco Godoy

Spikes line the concrete to prevent sleeping.


These are called "anti-homeless spikes." They're about as friendly as they sound.

As you may have guessed, they're intended to deter people who are homeless from sitting or sleeping on that concrete step. And yeah, they're pretty awful.

The spikes are a prime example of how cities design spaces to keep homeless people away.

Keep ReadingShow less
Family

13 comics use 'science' to hilariously illustrate the frustrations of parenting.

"Newton's First Law of Parenting: A child at rest will remain at rest ... until you need your iPad back."

All images by Jessica Ziegler

Kids grab everywhere.


Norine Dworkin-McDaniel's son came home from school one day talking about Newton's first law of motion.

He had just learned it at school, her son explained as they sat around the dinner table one night. It was the idea that "an object at rest will remain at rest until acted on by an external force."

"It struck me that it sounded an awful lot like him and his video games," she joked.

Keep ReadingShow less

When the attack on Pearl Harbor began, Doris "Dorie" Miller was working laundry duty on the USS West Virginia.

He'd enlisted in the Navy at age 19 to explore life outside of Waco, Texas, and to make some extra money for his family. But the Navy was segregated at the time, so Miller, an African-American, and other sailors of color like him weren't allowed to serve in combat positions. Instead, they worked as cooks, stewards, cabin boys, and mess attendants. They received no weapons training and were prohibited from firing guns.

Keep ReadingShow less