Best of the Week
of Jan. 12, 2003

Best of Week ArchivesArchives

Here are the most intriguing cross-cultural exchanges either begun or advanced during the week of Jan. 12, 2003, 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 answers 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.

 The book on Y? is here!

"Why Do White People Smell Like Wet Dogs
When They Come Out Of The Rain?"


Order it here! 

Read the Associated Press story on "Wet Dogs"

 Order the book on Y? today! 

 


Question:

I am a 16-year-old homosexual male dating a man who is 25. I haven't told anyone, but it has come to my attention that this could be viewed as illegal. Is there any rule preventing me from being with him?

POSTED 1/14/2003

Danny, San Francisco, CA, United States, 16, Male, Gay, Mesg ID 1142003100922

To respond
BACK TO TOP 


Question:

Why do women dress and make themselves up more elaborately than men?

POSTED 1/13/2003

Mario, Spokane, WA, United States, Male, Mesg ID 1132003100151

To respond
BACK TO TOP 


Question:

Why are white girls always dancing with other white girls and huggin' them and kissin' them on the lips and stuff? Also, why are so many white girls lesbians?

POSTED 1/13/2003

Kym, Baltimore, MD, United States, 13, Female, Christian, Black/African American, Straight, student, Less than High School Diploma, Middle class, Mesg ID 113200364156

To respond
BACK TO TOP 


Question:

Why do people of the Jewish faith identify themselves primarily as Jewish? For example, I am of the Baptist faith but identify myself as an American of Italian descent.
POSTED 1/12/2003
Shirl, Tallahassee, FL, United States, Female, Mesg ID 1102003113236

To respond
BACK TO TOP 


Question:

Careful studies indicate there is a huge gap in intelligence between sub-Saharan Africans and Europeans (25 or so IQ points on average), with Europeans being smarter, and a small gap between Europeans and Northeast Asians (about 2 IQ points on average), with Northeast Asians being smarter. But when differences, especially differences that cast whites in a favorable light, are mentioned, whites panic and act guilty for being the beneficiaries of thousands of years of evolutiuon. I consider myself a proud white man, but I am also objective. Northeast Asians are slightly smarter than us, but it is very likely that the 100 or so smartest men ever to live were/are white (basically there are a few really smart whites, lots of smart whites, lots of whites of mediocre intelligence and lots of really stupid whites, such that the white average IQ comes in just lower than the Northeast Asian average IQ, even though the smartest men ever to live were probably white). The irony is that non-whites seem very open to talk about these racial differences. Some blacks acknowledge that their race is on average less intelligent than the white race (there are of course black supremacist loonies who think the ancient Egyptians were black, and thus that blacks are the master race). Why are white people so much more susceptible to political correctness?
POSTED 1/12/2003
Von B., Madison, WI, United States, 24, Male, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, Straight, Research Assistant, Over 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 111200320920


Responses:
I think you have to take into consideration who produced these 'careful studies.' If they are created by white Westerners who have come up with IQ tests based on their knowledge and ideas of intellect, then I think the process of evaluating intellect through IQ tests imposes 'white' understandings and acceptances of what defines intelligence on other societies. Maybe these studies take this into consideration, but I thought I'd raise the point, anyway.

POSTED 1/13/2003

K.B., Edin, NA, United Kingdom, Female, Mesg ID 113200350634


How do you know that most whites ignore these differences? Maybe it's just not as important to others as it is to you. I feel that you should get a life and stop worrying about other ethnicities. Obviously, you are envious of other ethnicites; that's why you notice these differences.

POSTED 1/13/2003

MarronBella, Anniston, AL, United States, 24, Female, Black/African American, Customer Service, Over 4 Years of College, Lower class, Mesg ID 1132003121934


It sounds as though you're looking for a fight, but I'll answer anyway. Throughout history, whites (and any other conquering race) have used supposed intellectual differences as the prime explanation for their deeds. White people are the most guilty over their history. Many other countries do not even teach the darker sides of their history, while American history focuses intensely on the missteps. Hence, whites are very ashamed of their history and do not want much of a connection to it. Examing possible differences in average intelligence feels like familiar territory in this regard.

POSTED 1/13/2003

Seamus, Charlestown, MA, United States, 23, Male, Construction, Lower class, Mesg ID 1132003123520


Two points: 1) Who is white and who is not? I bet you will fail to classify half of my town! How do you you classify Latinos, or Eurasians, or half-Congolese half-Japanese people? I would like to know how people managed to sample people based on race for an IQ test. Is that even possible? Are you talking about race or geography? 2) What's an IQ test? What does it measure? It measures your ability to know whether the next drawing is a square inside a circle or a circle inside a square. Big deal. Sure, Europeans have invented a lot of nice stuff, but they also discovered such niceties as smog, global warming, the nuke, bio weapons, Auschwitz, etc. And that brings us to Sub-Saharan Africa. I haven't heard mother nature complaining about the bushmen of South Africa. People are not automatically stupid just because they know how to live in balance with nature. I would like someone to dig out this statistic: How many species were made extinct by white folk, and how many by black Africans (you can win this one with Australia alone).

POSTED 1/13/2003

Karim, Cairo, NA, Egypt, 23, Male, Muslim, Arab, University T.A., Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 113200353247


I'm not sure what your point is. I'm not aware of any testing that 'proves' that any race is smarter than another. There are definitely cultural differences in the value and pursuit of education, such as Asian and European (esp. Jewish) culture, which place greater emphasis on education than African American and Hispanic cultures - but this doesn't mean anyone is any more or less intelligent. Rather, they score higher on IQ tests or SATs as a result of hard work and focus.

POSTED 1/14/2003

Jay, New York, NY, United States, Female, White/Caucasian, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 1142003104948


IQ tests are a pretty flawed way of testing IQ. Tests show the average IQ of an American has risen over the past century, far too brief a time for evolution to have any effect. Even the 'thousands of years' you quote is a blip as far as our genes are concerned. More likely is that IQ tests are affected by education. Someone brought up in the West is also more likely to do well. Most of what you write is unsubstantiated supposition. 'It is very likely that the 100 or so smartest men ever to live were/are white.' Where on earth did you get that from? And no smart white women then, eh? I'm not sure you're quite as objective as you think you are.

POSTED 1/14/2003

Andrew R., Wolverhampton, NA, United Kingdom, <ac@wlv.ac.uk>, 27, Male, Atheist, White/Caucasian, Straight, Student, Middle class, Mesg ID 1142003114212


Intelligence tests usually work on a cultural basis. If you can truly factor that out, I don't think one race is more intelligent than another. Having said that, unless you have asked millions of people your question, you have yourself made a racist remark. Canadian, American, Russian, French, British, Spanish and Ukrainian are just a smattering of people you need to talk to before making any conclusions.

POSTED 1/14/2003

Ronald V., Edmonton, Alberta, NA, Canada, Male, Mesg ID 114200333439

To respond
BACK TO TOP 


Question:

I was wondering if nurses, doctors or morticians have ever had strange experiences when working with people who are dying/dead, such as ghosts, something strange the person said, any suggestion of life after death, etc.
POSTED 10/25/2001
Craig, Minneapolis, MN, United States, 38, Male, Gay, Mesg ID 10232001112451


Responses:

I'm a nurse, and there's a phenomenon called "angular movement." Sometimes immediately after death a person may open his eyes or even sit up. It's caused by involuntary muscle contraction, but boy is it scary!
POSTED 1/12/2003
Lynn H., Louisville, KY, United States, Female, Mesg ID 112200313627



I am a registered nurse and have worked extensively with people who are dying. I was sitting with a dying man in the middle of the night with only a night light on in the corner. He suddenly became very alert and said the room had gotten so bright so quickly and could I please turn the lights down a little. A little later, he looked toward the door and said, 'Come on in!' He was never able to tell me what or who he saw at the door. A couple hours later, he died. I've also had patients who have told me in the morning that 'Today is the day' and they do die that day. Sometimes people get a tremendous burst of energy a day or two before they die, giving their families a false sense that they are getting better. I don't really have an opinion about life after death, but I like to believe that our deceased loved ones are all around us, helping us get through life. This will sound very strange, but I do get some personal satisfaction and fulfillment from being with people when they die. I enjoy making their last hours as comfortable as possible for them and their families. To be with someone when you are the only thing connecting them to this world and the next, whatever it may be, is truly awesome to me.
POSTED 1/12/2003
D.L., Benson, MN, United States, 31, Female, Lutheran, White/Caucasian, Straight, RN, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 220200271755

To respond
BACK TO TOP 


Question:

Why does it seem like every other country in the world hates Americans? Are we really all that horrible? I see this especially in the Middle East and some places in Asia. I've also heard of France really hating us. Why? Anyone who lives in America knows that most of us aren't as bad as everyone else makes us out to be.
POSTED 1/12/2003
S.T., Anderson, SC, United States, <manga_alien@hotmail.com>, 15, Female, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, Straight, Less than High School Diploma, Mesg ID 112200311304

To respond
BACK TO TOP
 


Question:

My friends are always giving a dollar or two to the homeless person on the corner, and they think I'm stingy because I refuse to. I feel that Americans have plenty of opportunity to make something of themselves, and that these people are homeless or poor by choice. I work hard for every dollar I earn, and I give my time and money to the charities I feel deserve it. Why are the poor poor and the homeless homeless? Am I stingy?
POSTED 10/27/2002
Tiffany, Spokane, WA, United States, 25, Female, Baptist, American Indian/Caucasian, Straight, Military, 2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 10222002115137


Responses:

In Grand Rapids we see many 'regulars.' Some are con artists who act poor and have a slick story. One black guy has asked me over nine times in 10 years for money so he can visit his sick sister - he always claims he's a stranger in town. I just remind him that I’ve heard it before. There are mentally unbalanced people. An elderly Asian man tells people he’s Jackie O. For some, being homeless is easier. My boss helped a guy - got him an apartment, bought some clothes - then found out he had more than $20,000 a year in pension money coming. Six months later we saw him on the street. But the majority are truly in need and want out of their circumstances. The truth is, the homeless people you see are a fraction of the total amount. What do I do? Donate money to shelters and charitable groups.
POSTED 1/12/2003
George, Grand Rapids, MI, United States, 34, Male, White/Caucasian, Professor, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 111200333822



I used to very generous to the homeless and handicapped people panhandling on the streets, until one night coming out of a theater I gave some guy $20. My companion and I went to get our vehicle and drove to a very posh restauant just down the way - and surprise of surprises, who should we see but the same guy we had just given money to. There is no way he could have walked to this restaurant in the short time it took us to drive there, and even if it were possible, if he truly were living on the street there would be no way he could have afforded to dine there (a typical dinner for two costs close to $100). After having been ripped off by this man, I am unable to give money to anyone on the street since. I know he most likely is the exception rather than the rule, but it has just left a bad taste in my mouth.
POSTED 1/12/2003
Freeda R., Toronto, Ontario, NA, Canada, <thegreatgazoo@mail2alien.com>, 29, Female, Christian, White/Caucasian, Straight, I choose not to work, Over 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 111200394539

To respond
BACK TO TOP
 


Question:

Why does it seem that white people usually have thin lips and flat butts?
POSTED 1/12/2003
Curious George, Atlanta, GA, United States, Male, Mesg ID 112200313353

 


Responses:

Probably the same reason why most black people have fuller lips and rounder rumps: genetics. Until recently, having a 'booty' was frowned upon. Thank you, J.Lo.
POSTED 1/12/2003
Rayne-beau, milwaukee, WI, United States, <CHIMPMUNKCHEEKSS@HOTMAIL.COM>, 19, Female, Black/African American, Straight, STUDENT, 2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 1122003101550

To respond
BACK TO TOP 


Question:

Why do black people talk so loud? Here in Florida they are very loud in talking to each other or in any situation. I have heard some drive by my office, and I can hear their conversation from their car. Is it just here, or is this true everywhere?
POSTED 1/12/2003
L. Walker, Bartow, FL, United States, 39, Female, Pentecostal, White/Caucasian, Straight, High School Diploma, Middle class, Mesg ID 112200382224

To respond
BACK TO TOP 


Question:

This is for any American: I'm a Mexican living in Mexico City. Not long after the terrorist attacks, I had a business meeting in Atlanta. This trip turned out to be the most traumatic experience of my life. I was walking in a mall when a group of men mistook me for an Arab. They started to yell and abuse me in the most profane language they knew. I just walked away without responding. I never expected this of the American people. Is American society just flat ignorant or racist? Can anyone enlighten me?
POSTED 11/30/2001
Omar G., Mexico City, NA, Mexico, Male, Catholic, Hispanic/Latino (may be any race), Over 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 1129200125558


Responses:

 

First, I am sorry you experienced such vileness. Unfortunately, it is a fact of life in this country to varying degrees. I believe the United States has not come to peace with it's 'isms' (racism, sexism) or prejudices (homophobia, xenophobia). We just haven't been as blatant and open with them as, say, back in the Civil Rights era. They are still here, riding on the edge of the subconscious, and in light of the terrorist attacks, these subconscious ideas/thoughts/feelings are returning to the spotlight. Still, not all Americans are racist, but by the actions of a few we could certainly be described as 'ignorant' - as could many others in the world, regardless of country of origin.
POSTED 1/12/2003
A. Adams, Los Angeles, CA, United States, Over 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 1130200183439



Americans hate Middle-Eastern people because of what they did to our country. Don't blame us for feeling resentment.
POSTED 1/12/2003
Matt, Janesville, WI, United States, Male, Mesg ID 59200275359v
Unfortunately, America and Americans were still reeling from the shock of 9/11 at the time you happened to be visiting Atlanta. While Georgia hasn't necessarily been touted as the most tolerant state in the union, I don't think you would have experienced the same if you had been there prior to the attacks on the World Trade Center. None of this is offered as an excuse for what people did or said to you, and yes, sadly, some Americans are very ignorant and racist. I hope that you visit again someday and are able to experience the warmth, acceptance and friendliness that is also very American.
POSTED 1/12/2003
Kalpana, San Francisco, CA, United States, 24, Female, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 592002125004

I think many Americans and Latinos are racist and ignorant. I wasn't surprised that those racist Americans from Atlanta couldn't tell the difference between a Mexican and an Arab, because I have lived here for a long time. I immigrated to America when I was 11 and was shocked that many multirracial people - and even those who could pass for white - were considered 'black,' because where I come from (Europe), they would be 'mixed ' or 'mulato.' Americans have discriminated against me more than Europeans have. I went to Switzerland a few years ago and was treated like a beautiful 'queen' for being a brown-skinned Indonesian, Hawaiian, African, Latina (the list goes on ) woman. I was beautiful in the eyes of European men because i wasn't 'white.' In America, I am looked at as an inferior, foreign and not good enough for a man to take to see the family, because I am not a blond-haired, blue-eyed white female. My Dutch boyfriend told me to move to the Netherlands because they don't focus on race as much as Americans, and some Dutch men are married to brown-skinned women.
POSTED 1/12/2003
Strella G., Norman, OK, United States, 26, Female, Hispanic/Latino (may be any race), Straight, student, Mesg ID 63200261853

I am a Muslim convert to Islam and wear the scarf on my head. I was born and raised in the South and am confused with being an Afghan or Arab. Omar, don't care what people think. Be proud to be tan-skinned. If those people yell at you, just say you are a proud Hispanic.
POSTED 1/12/2003
Jenna, Savannah, GA, United States, 22, Female, Muslim, White/Caucasian, Straight, Student, 2 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 65200282520

Most Americans are racist. I know that statement is going to get me a lot of flack, but that's the way I see it. Almost every person I've met in the States had some people/culture/religion/race they couldn't abide by. Even the best people I've met, the type who'd give you the shirt off their back, have felt 'blacks' were dangerous, or Asians suspicious, or Mid-Easterners violent.  What makes their racism so subtle is that they hide it behind an excuse. 'Well, their people are terrorists,' or 'Their religion doesn't approve of me' or 'They don't treat their women well' or 'They're communists.' It's as if the entire American social consciousness is built on a huge double standard. You cannot say that statistically speaking, the majority of America's criminals are black, or else you'll be shouted down as a racist. However, if you feel like saying that we should bomb the hell out of Afghanistan, and their people, too because it's their fault they had the Taliban to begin with', then you're a patriot. You can rant and rave against the mandatory covering of women in Iran all you like, but to point out the Hindu tradition of burning widows is close-minded. We have allowed ourselves to accept a bias, and now that we've been confronted with it, instead of looking within to fix it, we defend it like the nutty Americans that we are. I was born and raised in the United States, but because my foreign ancestry is evident on my face, I have been on the receiving end of racism all my life. Most people can't tell where I'm from exactly by looking at me, but by my name and dark hair and eyes they know I must belong to some backward, oppressive, terroristic country. I've been spit on, had rocks thrown at me and been beaten up, all within my schooling years, because of my nationality. I've been called racist names by African Americans, Greek Americans (the boy who spit on me said, 'I'm Greek, we hate Muslims'), Caucasian Americans, Assyrians, Russian Americans, Jewish Americans, Asian Americans, you name it. I am not going to be an idiot and paint all Americans with the same brush, because simply put, that would make me equally wrong. There are good Americans who do not allow themselves to fall into the trap of bigotry. But sadly, many are racist and continue to defend it. We claim 'We're angry and have a right to feel this way,' but as my lovely Irish Grandma tells me, 'You can't hate just because you're mad'.
POSTED 1/12/2003
Hayat, Chicago, IL, United States, 19, Male, Muslim, White/Caucasian, Straight, Student, 2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 732002102704

To respond
BACK TO TOP 

 


Question:

When a woman makes a comment about a guy's butt, what is she attracted to? When men check out a woman's chest and butt, usually we are associating them with specific sexual acts (fondling or holding). Is this the same for women and the male butt, i.e. holding it during a sexual act? My only guess is that a 'tight, firm' butt is associated with the thrusting during intercourse and is thus more desirable. The few women I've asked about this, though, said they weren't sure what it was that was attractive about it.

POSTED 1/7/2003

Peter, Lehigh Valley, PA, United States, 33, Male, Deist, Hispanic/Latino (may be any race), Telecommunications, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 16200352034


Responses:

You got me on this one, as I've never understood it, either. My thinking is that it's a way in which women can 'get back' at men for their remarks about our body parts. Seems like only men would really appreciate the 'cute butt' thing on another man, if you know what I mean. I do tend to look at the front side myself.
POSTED 1/12/2003
Cindy, Jaspe, AL, Venezuela, 42, Female, Christian, White/Caucasian, Straight, accountant, 2 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 1112003125544

To respond
BACK TO TOP 

 


This site and all its content, ©Copyright Phillip J. Milano 1997-2003
Legal Disclaimer and User Agreement