Best of the Week
of Jan. 11, 2004

Best of Week ArchivesArchives

Here are the most intriguing cross-cultural exchanges either begun or advanced during the week of Jan. 11, 2004, as selected by Y? These postings, as well as "Best of the Week" entries from previous weeks, also can be found by accessing Y?'s database using the search form , or, in the case of posted before April 24, 1999, in the Original Archives (all questions from the Original Archives have been entered into the database as well). In the Original Archives, as well as in the database, you will find questions that have received answers, as well as questions still awaiting responses. You are encouraged to answer any questions relevant to your demographic background, as well as to ask any provocative question you desire. Answers posted are not necessarily meant to represent the views of an entire demographic group, but can provide a window into the insights of an individual from that group.

 First-time users should first make a quick stop at Y?'s guidelines pages for asking and answering questions.

 


Question:

Why do a lot of African-American women make their hair straight like white people's? Why don't they wear their naturally nappy hair? They don't have to sport white hair just to get a black man. If black men like our big, black a**es, they should like our black hair.
POSTED 1/8/2004
Laila S., Johannesburg, AR, United States, Mesg ID 16200434119


Responses:

I can't get a comb through my hair unless it is relaxed and straightened with a flat iron or curling iron.
POSTED 1/13/2004
Jona, Chantilly, VA, United States, Female, Black/African American, Mesg ID 18200433436



Right on, Laila! I went natural the spring of my junior year in high school and rediscovered my roots in the process. That personal revolution still stands as the best thing I've ever done for myself. Though what I now believe (that natural black hair should be accepted as the norm) was not the reason I went natural, I later realized all the damage society has subconsciously done to me. All the while I was thinking as a black female that that was what you did: you permed your hair every so often, just like you brushed your teeth. I had no clue what I was really doing to myself or who I was really trying to emulate. Anyhow, anyone who does not accept me in my most natural state is not to be bothered with because I refuse to hate myself for no good reason.
POSTED 1/13/2004
Maria, Washington, DC, United States, 18, Female, not religious, Black/African American, Straight, student/mentor/tutor, 2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 18200482224

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Question:

What are the pros and cons of being a bartender?
POSTED 1/13/2004
Selina, Tillsonburg, na, Canada, <sexy_punk_420@hotmail.com>, 17, Female, Atheist, White/Caucasian, Straight, Student, High School Diploma, Upper class, Mesg ID 10282003122414

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Question:

Why is it that Jewish men have curls?
POSTED 1/13/2004
Jennifer, Harlem, NY, United States, 21, Female, Methodist, White/Caucasian, Straight, 2 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 1029200311038

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Question:

Even though people of the same sex are in love and living together for years, with bank accounts and mortages, and going through sorrow and joy together, they cannot obtain a piece of paper saying they can get all the benefits that a man and woman in the same situation can get . What is the problem? Is the religious community the reason? Why do same-sex marriages scare so many?
POSTED 1/13/2004
Debbie, Flint, MI, United States, <laelah2@aol.com>, 43, Female, White/Caucasian, Straight, RN/College student, 2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 111200435829

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Question:

I've heard a lot of people question why white people are afraid of black people. But this year alone, I was walking home and a black guy came up behind me, split my head open and took my wallet (he got $30, my hospital bill was $7,000). Also, several of my friends were held up at gunpoint by black men, and I just received an email from two friends who were jumped by two black guys while a crowd stood around and watched, making them assume it was a gang.

My questions: 1) During a conversation, 6 of 8 of us stated we'd been robbed at gunpoint, and all of them were by African Americans. All of the above incidents were done by African Americans. Why do you think that is? It seems really high odds to always be someone black.
2) Am I more nervous around African Americans? Of course. My friends were held up at gunpoint, two others beaten and robbed, and another guy split my head open. This doesn't happen with Latinos who walk by. It doesn't happen with Asians. It doesn't even happen with Somalis. So why is it so hard for other African Americans to understand why people would be nervous?
3) I find myself growing more and more prejudiced, and I don't like it. How do I fight it? I understand that I can't assume everyone is the same. I have close black friends. But my friends don't swear every other word, beg people for change, etc., either. But I still get nervous around a guy wearing cornrows and baggy pants and a 5XL coat, and my assumptions just continue to get reinforced. What is the solution?
POSTED 10/22/2003
Anonymous, Minneapolis, MN, United States, 35, Male, Mesg ID 1022200392541


Responses:

White men lynched my uncle in 1950, a white woman slapped my grandmother for trying on a pair of shoes, white kids spit in my mother's hair while she tried to attend school, a white boy drew lewd pictures of blacks in our school bathroom... I could go on. Do I get nervous around whites? No. Why? Because I understand that the people who did those things are individuals who happen to have been white. Period. I know that most whites are nice, upstanding citizens, as are most blacks. Whites actually commit most of the crime in this country. Don't believe me? Look it up. But am I developing fears and prejudices against whites? No. If your attackers and your friend's attackers had been white, would you now be fearing white people? Probably not. So don't blame a whole race on a few misguided souls. If you do, it makes you just as bad as them.
POSTED 1/13/2004
Amber, Greenville, NC, United States, 23, Female, Black/African American, 2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 1025200361143



There are a million differences in the way blacks and whites live in the United States. For example, I see black kids treated very roughly, being screamed at by their mothers, and fathers, for things that white, Asian or Latino kids wouldn't be punished for. And as with every race, if you're raised around derelicts, you'll know it as the only way to behave, and copy the behavior. If you had close family who were criminals or were in jail, it's how you'd know to act, and might even be seen as part of growing up or a right of passage. The only solution I can imagine would be a widespread change in the way this population of the black community lives, and I know that's no small order. Who's to teach this? Whites? Not a chance. Other races would come off as insulting or 'disrespectful' by giving such ideas. Whites specifically could never begin to try to tell a black mother that if you scream at your young child, much less smack the child or otherwise abuse him or her, if you let the kid witness illegal actions and unsavory behavior, even if that's what your mother showed you, then that kid is going to continue this cycle, and may grow up to be yet another mugger or thief and further reinforce the stereotype the white powerbase in this country feels to be true. This 'plan' could only work or happen from lessons taught from within the black community, to the black community. None of this is about race; it's about culture. Black American Culture. Everyone knows that stealing is wrong; sometimes kids are taught (just by watching) that doing wrong things is OK if you don't get caught. It seems that, in public, I see many more black women acting out this way. Asians, Latinos and whites generally tend to treat our young like the fragile, impressionistic sponges that they are. Generally, we try to imprint upon them to 'Do the right thing.' Sorry if you disagree. But after you've cooled down, think on this: Do you really think that anything that whites will offer you will bring about dramatic, widespread change? Or do you really want dramatic change? Pity, guilt or reparations from whites will not give blacks what they need to stop this cycle of violence and poverty. I hope this population knows this as possibly the ultimate truth - that this change will only come from within.
POSTED 1/13/2004
Rick, San Francisco, CA, United States, 34, Male, White/Caucasian, Gay, 2 Years of College, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 10262003100430

I'm sorry to hear about the things you and your friends have suffered at the hands of African-American men. I'm not American, but I am black, and even I have a fear of the type of men you describe. My observation has been that many of the guys who dress and act in that way tend to be city-dwellers or live in neighborhoods just outside urban centers. I'm afraid of them, too, and like you, I can't always tell the difference between the few criminals from the majority of men who are just going about their lawful businsess. My own brothers wear cornrows, but they would not commit armed robberies, yet if I didn't know them, I might be scared of them, too. Fear of criminal black men is rampant, not just among whites but among other races, too. Even law-abiding black men fear criminal black men because they can't always tell who will do harm and who won't. No one can tell who's who. My advice to not develop hate for all blacks just because of a few. Don't develop hate for anyone at all. Always be careful around people who you don't know. Crooks and robbers come in all shapes and colors, but it may be that the ones in your area are predominantly black. Also, it's good to know that you do have decent, respectable, black friends. Keep those friends. We all need to maintain interracial communications so that prejudice does not grow.
POSTED 1/13/2004
Bella, Washington, DC, United States, 31, Female, Christian, Afro-Caribbean, Straight, Administrative Assistant, Technical School, Middle class, Mesg ID 10282003122930

I'm a black woman and feel the same way (sometimes) about my own people. But I'm from Alaska and not used to a lot of black folks (I have my own prejudices against white people, too). I can see why white folks feel the way they do about black people in SOME instances. At the same time, I feel we are justified about the way we feel about y'all.
POSTED 1/13/2004
jaamgirl, Newport News, VA, United States, <jaamgirl@yahoo.com>, 28, Female, Christian, Black/African American, Straight, Office Manager, 2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 116200331736

Muggers come in all colors, and it has nothing to do with their race. There are other factors that come into play (social, economic, etc.) You say that you have close black friends; have they tried to rob you or held you at gunpoint? If not, it should be obvious that not all blacks are dangerous, and you could just as easily have been mugged by a white, Asian, Indian or Latino.
POSTED 1/13/2004
S.C., Crowder, MS, United States, 18, Female, Christian, Black/African American, Straight, Student, High School Diploma, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 1125200352831

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Question:

I am a standup comic and often meet with many white couples after shows, and we laugh and talk about the show. But it never fails that every white man makes a comment about me being attracted to his wife, or vice versa. Why are so many white men insecure around black men, or is this something white men also do to each other?
POSTED 1/13/2004
Cee Why, Mt. Vernon, NY, United States, <carlyard@sbcglobal.net>, 35, Male, Baptist, Black/African American, Straight, comic, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 111200451914

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Question:

My weight has yo-yo'd most of my life. I have found that when I am in my normal range for my height, people treat me completely different than when I am heavier. Men seem to have more of a negative reaction. I've wondered if this is due to the media presentation of what the ideal woman should look like.
POSTED 1/13/2004
Susan S, Flint, MI, United States, 45, Female, Catholic, White/Caucasian, Straight, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 112200463928

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Question:

As someone who feels emotionally sensitive and feels they view life from a different plane than most people, I was wondering if anyone had any ideas of how to get along with others. I don't think or act like a lot of people, and this can cause hurt, as I'm either insensitive to their feelings or feel they don't understand mine. I lived a sheltered life growing up as well, so that might play into it. Please help me, because it's important to me to understand and be understood.
POSTED 1/12/2004
Derek R., Somerville, OH, United States, 20, Male, Mormon, White/Caucasian, Straight, Depression, OCD, Giftedness, Student, High School Diploma, Lower class, Mesg ID 112200450632

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Question:

I've noticed there are many web sites on peeing fetishes. Why is it erotic or a turn-on to drink pee, be peed on or watch someone pee? I just don't get it.
POSTED 1/12/2004
Jade, Sydney, NA, Australia, 16, Female, Catholic, Spanish, Straight, Student, Upper class, Mesg ID 112200451941

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Question:

Why does it seem that when an African American walks by a Caucasian person, the Caucasian is required to speak first?
POSTED 1/4/2004
Rebecca B., Memphis, TN, United States, <Zensmurf2@yahoo.com>, 43, Female, Unity School of Christianity, White/Caucasian, Gay, Student, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 1125200341528


Responses:

It is so funny that you that you feel that way, because my friends and I feel quite the opposite. So many times we say hi to white people first, and the majority never respond. We are standup comics, and when we go around the country doing our shows, in the parking lot of the clubs beforehand, white people scurry away from us. But after the show they are our best friends. Why is that? I can't speak for all black people, but after saying hello so many times to whites and not getting a response, eventually you say 'to hell with it, I'm not speaking until they speak first.'
POSTED 1/12/2004
Cee Why, Mt. Vernon, NY, United States, <carlyard@sbcglobal.net>, 35, Male, Baptist, Black/African American, Straight, standup comic, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 111200442356

No one is required to speak to anyone. If you wish to greet someone, you simply greet them, and move on. Honestly, why are you making a racial issue of something as unimportant as who speaks first? You must be bored; tell your supervisor to give you some more work to do.
POSTED 1/13/2004
Rhonda P. Outlaw, Laurelton, NY, United States, <Rhonda_Outlaw@ars.aon.com>, 42, Female, Lutheran, Black/African American, Straight, Account Representative, 2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 19200432858

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Question:

For people from the United Kingdom/British Isles: What does the U.S. accent sound like to your ears? Can you distinguish different accents from state to state? Is it true that most British people confuse our accent with the Canadians?
POSTED 1/4/2004
Ryan, New York, NY, United States, 25, Male, White/Caucasian, Straight, Mesg ID 1132003104740


Responses:

When I was a kid, all American accents sounded the same. As I got older and heard more accents, I got better at distinguishing them. I'm still not very good, but I would imitate a New Yorker by doing a nasal 'Bugs Bunny' accent, and a Southerner with a slow, drawly 'John Wayne' accent. In the United Kingdom we have (to my ear) dozens of very distinct accents, some of which are national (Welsh, Scottish) and others which belong to a single city (Liverpudlian or 'Scouse' - the Beatles' accent). The more you listen to them, the more you can distinguish them. My German wife speaks exceptionally good English, and after many years in the United Kingdom can imitate a few regional accents. I still can't clearly distinguish Americans from Canadians, but now that I work for a Canadian company (Petro-Canada) I guess I'll be getting lots of practice.
POSTED 1/13/2004
Sean H., London, NA, United Kingdom, 39, Male, Atheist, White/Caucasian, Straight, Geologist, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 19200490016

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Question:

What goes on in a male's head when he sees a woman he wants or would like to be with?
POSTED 1/4/2004
Ashley, Iowa City, IA, United States, Female, Mesg ID 1192003113833


Responses:

Do you want the truth, or would you like me to make you feel good? OK, the truth: when a guy first sees a beautiful woman, it doesn't matter whether he's interested in a relationship with her - our first thoughts are SEX and imagining what she looks like naked. Then after mentally making love to her, we try to figure out what we need to do to get her naked. That may seem brutal, but it's true. However, if a guy really loves you, sex does not matter; just being around you will make him happy.
POSTED 1/13/2004
Cee Why, Mt. Vernon, NY, United States, <carlyard@sbcglobal.net>, 35, Male, Baptist, Black/African American, Straight, comic, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 111200444217

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