Tag Archives: upworthy.com

Good News Friday: An honest, real conversation about race on TV. An awesome pep talk from a Little League coach to his son. And saluting the awesomeness of teachers

Here in the dog days of August, when we have so much racial tension in the air, and a Presidential candidate for a major political party stoking racism as much as he possibly can, it can be really, really hard to find some honest to goodness good dialogue out there.

But if you look hard enough, it’s there. I was alerted to this four-minute C-Span clip the other day on Twitter, and it’s really pretty fantastic.

“I’m a white male and I’m prejudiced,” began a caller from North Carolina to a C-Span show with guest Heather McGhee, an African-American woman who runs a public policy organization called Demos.

The caller went on to explain his biases and why he feels the way he does, and asked “What can I do to change?”

McGhee almost visibly is taken aback, but she calmly explains to the caller a few simple things he can do, such as getting to know an African-American personally, and turn off the news that almost always over-represents African-American crime.

It’s a simple exchange, but it struck me as really important. There’s no yelling, no name calling, just an older white gentlemen trying to change his ways, and an African-American woman offering suggestions to help.

If we turn down the volume just a little bit and listen to each other a little more, who knows what may happen.

**Next up today, there are a lot of things wrong with what the Little League World Series, held in late August every year in Williamsport, Pa., has become. ESPN televises WAY too much of it, and often horribly zooms its camera in on an 11 or 12-year-old crying in the dugout because of his team’s loss. The pressure on these kids is often unfair, and there are lots of way-too-intense coaches who intimidate their players.

Which is why I love happy stories like this one. Isaiah “Bugsy” Jenkins is a pitcher for Bend North, an Oregon team that advanced to Williamsport this year. Isaiah was pitching a great game on Monday when, in the fifth inning, he started to struggle.

His coach and Dad,  Joel Jensen, came out of the dugout for a pep talk. What he said was simple and beautiful. Watch the very short video above.

Good job, Coach Jensen. That’s how it’s done.

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**And finally today, lots of American students and teachers are already back in school, while some, like the ones here in New York, still have a few more days of summer vacation.

So I thought it’d be nice to salute the hard-working educators who go so far above and beyond to help their students. Upworthy.com profiled 11 of them, including this biology teacher (above) who wears wacky outfits to get her students interested in learning about the human body.

Teachers are awesome.

The Bronx train tragedy has N.Y. (and me) rattled. Another major athlete comes out. And an interesting video of who touches your food.

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So, apropos of nothing, one of my favorite writers, Chris Jones, has been Tweeting out photos of the expedition to Antarctica he’s on. I thought the one above was particularly beautiful, and it reminded me how awesome the movie “March of the Penguins” was.

An old newspaperman once said “all news is local,” and I don’t know if that’s true. But for those of us in New York, there’s only one major local story right now, and I’m not sure how big it is where you live, but it’s all over the news here.

On a quiet Sunday morning two days ago, a MetroNorth train was going way too fast through a section of the Bronx in New York City and derailed, killing four people and critically injuring dozens more.

Monday we learned that the train was moving at a speed of 82 miles per hour, when the curved part of the tracks it was going around at the time of the accident had a speed limit of 30 miles per hour. We don’t know yet if it was a mechanical error, or if the engineer was driving too fast, or if he was drunk, or what.

Monday I was trying to imagine what those final moments were like for the people on the train, which I always considered the safest form of travel. Especially for those of us in big cities, train and subway travel is an everyday fact of life, not at all something to worry about.
But Sunday morning, those passengers were all riding somewhere and not thinking one second about it possibly being the last moments of their life. Maybe they were on their way home from Thanksgiving weekend celebrations, or on their way to work, or to see a friend. They had plenty of life still in front of them.

Just an awful, awful tragedy. When it hits this close to home, it scares you a little more, doesn’t it?

**It’s wonderful to say this, but it’s starting to become more routine when top athletes in the prime of their careers announce that they’re gay.

Monday, the top British Olympic diver Tom Daley put together this kinda beautiful YouTube video announcing that he’s come out of the closet.

“I met someone, and he’s a guy.” Simple words from Daley. He’s happy, he’s in love, and wanted to tell the world about it, just like all of us do when we fall in love.

Take a few minutes and watch; I really think it’s a beautiful way to tell the world your feelings.

**And finally, kind of a cool video that I saw on the great site upworthy.com, about just where our food comes from. Not literally, but how many people touch everything we eat, and how little they get paid for what they do.