A note to all my fellow white folks trying to get a quick anti-racism education

An analogy about expectations for my fellow white folks just diving into anti-racism education:

Imagine showing up to a class an hour late. How would you expect the professor to respond to your entrance?

Would you expect them to greet you at the door, tell you how happy they are that you arrived, walk you to your seat and make sure you were comfortable? Would you expect the teacher to ask you if you have everything you need or thank you for showing up? Would you expect them to take time away from the class to do that—would that even feel appropriate?

Or would you expect them to say, "Hi, take a seat." Or perhaps nothing at all—maybe just give you a glance while they get on with the class as you find a place to sit?



And how would you enter that class if you were an hour late?

Would you walk in and announce, "Hey, I'm here!" and then give a big explanation for why you are taking the class and what took you so long to get there, diverting the class's attention and taking away valuable class time?

Would you walk straight up to the professor and say, "Sorry I'm late, but could you please go over what you've covered in the last hour with me?" Just imagine the professor's face if you did that, and then hold that thought.

Or would you quickly and quietly sit down, open your book and do your best to keep up with where the class is now, knowing you're going to have to catch up on the first hour of material on your own. Maybe even borrowing someone's notes to help with what you've missed.

Would the professor be glad that you were in the class? Sure. Better late than never. But would you expect them to express gratitude or happiness that you finally showed up? Of course not.

Now imagine the professor's life depends on people like you showing up for class. Imagine that they've seen countless students arrive late, sit down for a few minutes, decide the desk is too uncomfortable or the subject matter is too hard, then walk out, over and over and over. Would you expect them to feel relieved at your arrival? Would you expect to be met with a warm welcome, or some understandable skepticism?


Photo by National Cancer Institute


White folks, we are that late student. Only we are far more than an hour late.

If you're just diving into anti-racism activism and it all feels a bit pricklier, less patient or less welcoming than you expected, this is why. We don't get a cookie for showing up to a place we already should have been. We should not expect an open-armed, warm welcome because we've finally arrived.

We might be embarrassed when we realize how late we are. We might feel like we have some good reasons for it. But lengthy apologies and explanations just waste valuable class time and no one really wants to hear it, no matter how heartfelt or sincere. The class just wants to move on.

We're undoubtedly going to feel a little lost. But if we raise our hands to ask questions about stuff that was covered in the hour we missed, we should expect the response to be a simple "You're going to need to get someone's notes on that" or "That was covered in Chapter 1—go back and read it." No one would expect a professor to go over material that's already been covered for the student who showed up an hour into class. No one should expect them not to find those questions annoying.

Yes, it is good that we're here. There's no question about that. But we're late to a class that's already in session and that's the dynamic we should expect. The most respectful thing we can do is recognize our lateness, then quickly take a seat, open our books and listen like someone's life depends on it. The truth is, it does.

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

When the COVID-19 pandemic socially distanced the world and pushed off the 2020 Olympics, we knew the games weren't going to be the same. The fact that they're even happening this year is a miracle, but without spectators and the usual hustle and bustle surrounding the events, it definitely feels different.

But it's not just the games themselves that have changed. The coverage of the Olympics has changed as well, including the unexpected addition of un-expert, uncensored commentary from comedian Kevin Hart and rapper Snoop Dogg on NBC's Peacock.

In the topsy-turvy world we're currently living in, it's both a refreshing and hilarious addition to the Olympic lineup.

Just watch this clip of them narrating an equestrian event. (Language warning if you've got kiddos nearby. The first video is bleeped, but the others aren't.)

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