Best of the Week
of Jan. 13, 2002

Best of Week Archives

Here are the most intriguing cross-cultural exchanges either begun or advanced during the week of Jan. 13, 2002, 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.

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Question:

My daughter is in the U.S. Air Force. She has been intimidated by two black women on a daily basis. One of them gets in the chow line and lets other blacks in. My daughter took offense to this and told her it was not right. The black woman told her, 'I'm from L.A., you better shut your ass up or I'll whip you right here.' She has a black roommate. Her roommate has black friends in the room all hours of the day and night. They play rap music. If she is studying and asks them to turn it down, they tell her to shut her mouth. Her roommate turns the lights out when my daughter is in the middle of something, and warns her not to turn them back on. Also, she will come in in the wee hours of the morning with her friends and bang around and flip the lights on. Again, if my daughter complains, they get really nasty and tell her to shut her mouth. They sit on her bed. The 'higher-ups' ignore the situation. She has called home in tears several times. Every day, it is some form if intimidation. Yesterday she told me she is the one who has to keep the room clean. Her black roommate told her, 'I ain't moppin' no damn floor.' She is now totally miserable. As I said, the 'higher-ups' ignore the situation. She is about ready to go AWOL. There HAS to be a solution. Comments?

POSTED 1/15/2002

Joseph, Covington, KY, United States, 47, Male, White/Caucasian, High School Diploma, Middle class, Mesg ID 112200255545

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Question:

A friend who is married (a woman) is having an affair with a co-worker who is married. She told me it was an instant attraction for both of them, and neither one of them wants to stop seeing the other. They can't get enough of each other, but it's not just physical. To those of you who have had affairs outside of your marriage, why did you start the affair? What kept it going? Why do you think men and women have extramarital affairs? Do men have affairs just to get physical attention, or do some men fall in love with these women? Do most women who have affairs have serious feelings for these men, or are they just out for a piece of a**? I know it's morally wrong; I'm just trying to get inside the head of someone who has been there.

POSTED 11/2/2001

Missy, Somewhere, PA, United States, 34, Female, White/Caucasian, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 111200191127


Responses:
Your friend has some serious problems. First, she is a dirty whore. If she wants to do the decent thing, she would have told her husband the second something happened with this other guy and worked it out then. But going on like this is not right. Why do you think Nicole Simpson was killed? And personally, I think she deserved it.

POSTED 1/11/2002

Patrick, Los Altos, CA, United States, 18, Male, Agnostic, Irish, student, High School Diploma, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 1119200162844


OK, so Y? Forum wants to throw us a curveball and get us talking. So you say that because Nicole Simpson MAY have been having an affair, she deserved to be killed by her husband. Is that what you are saying? You're saying that because O.J. didn't have what he wanted, he was entitled to take a life, the life of the mother of his children? People have affairs all the time and work their problems out with their spouses. How do you deal with stress in relationships? If you're in a relationship with someone and they dump you, am I going to read about you in a headline somewhere? Or have I already read about you?

POSTED 1/15/2002

Beth, Jacksonville, FL, United States, <b041889@hotmail.com>, 34, Female, Catholic, White/Caucasian, Straight, Journalist, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 114200262737


When I got married, my fiance knew I was attracted to women, and he knew I intended to continue seeing women. Neither of us object to this arrangement. Technically this constitutes an affair, although neither of us consider it so. An affair involves lying, and there is no lying involved in my marriage. He would be upset if I were seeing men, but I have no interest in that; my husband will give me anything I want from a man. He just can't be a woman. He is sensitive and loves to talk to me. We do not agree about everything, which keeps us interested in each other.

POSTED 1/11/2002

Kerry, Ventura, CA, United States, 32, Female, Wiccan, White/Caucasian, Bisexual, Stagehand, Over 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 12200292318


The attraction that is involved in extramarital affairs is completely natural. The longing or needing to engage in an affair is usually the result of an unsatisfactory relationship at home. I have had an affair, and it opened my eyes to the sorry state of my marraige. Two years later, the affair is long over, and I am awaiting final divorce. I have no regrets, not a one. The temporary relationship allowed me to see beyond what I was blind to and gave me the strength I needed to survive the end of long-term bondage.

POSTED 1/11/2002

Mike, Rural area, AL, United States, 44, Male, White/Caucasian, Straight, 2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 111200215332

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Question:

Why is the fantasy genre so offensive in the Christian community? Most pious Christians oppose fantasy novels (including the Harry Potter series), video gaming and definitely role-playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons. Despite my Christian background, I enjoy this genre, especially when playing computer games. In my mind, fantasy is just that - fantasy - a world of make-believe. It is a genre that allows for more literary freedom because some of the limitations found in real life can be removed. And as long as the person being entertained by this form knows it is make-believe, what is wrong with it? As far as 'magic,' it is used in children's fairytales such as Cinderella, and most Christians don't ban their children from reading those stories, so what's wrong with the type of fantasy found in Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings?

POSTED 1/6/2002

Kristina, Washington, DC, United States, <kfount500@aol.com>, 21, Female, Christian, Black/African American, Straight, Transcriber, 2 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 142002121032


Responses:
Two main reasons: First, some Christians view anything that is supernatural but not Christian as being of the devil, or at least a vehicle for the devil's influence. Second, it is suspected of getting people's minds off the Christian message, as though there can be a world of the spirit that has nothing to do with Jesus Christ (who in orthodox Christianity is 'begotten, not made' and created the entire universe). As long as fantasy is recognized as being only that - fantasy - I see no conflict between it and Christianity. Incidentally, Tolkien was a devout Christian, and there are said to be Christian themes, albeit hidden, through his writings, including 'Lord of the Rings.' The British seem to have a special affinity for fantasy literature.

POSTED 1/6/2002

Augustine, Columbia, SC, United States, 41, Male, Catholic, White/Caucasian, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 162002105736


I see nothing wrong with fantasy as long as it doesn't draw people away from God. I enjoy movies such as The Lord of the Rings, The Never Ending Story and others. However, fantasy entertainment such as Harry Potter makes me uncomfortable. I saw a Harry Potter book of spells one day in Target. Although it was meant to provide innocent entertainment to children, it seems to me that Harry Potter promotes witchcraft. We just need to be careful of what we expose children to. Of course, all fantasy is not evil; most of it is just innocent entertainment, but we need to be careful in choosing our entertainment.

POSTED 1/9/2002

Mike, Detroit, MI, United States, 21, Male, Christian, Black/African American, Straight, Student, 4 Years of College, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 182002100107


Given the immense popularity of fantasy in all types of entertainment, I think its hard to say that 'most' Christians oppose it (unless they are very hypocritical and are surreptitiously consuming what they are opposing). Also, there are some fantasy works that are praised by Christians for their underlying Christian message (Lewis' Narnia Chronicles are the most well-known). I think the opposition currently being heard against some fantasy movies and books has mostly to do with how loud some people complain and a desire to play up the controversy for extra publicity for the products in question.

POSTED 1/15/2002

Lisa, Milwaukee, WI, United States, 38, Female, Atheist, White/Caucasian, Over 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 1142002121924


I think this is an American thing reflecting the Puritan tradition of the continent. U.S. Christians can be more fundamental than their European counterparts. Certainly in Europe there has been no religious backlash against fantasy. J.R.R. Tolkien, regarded by many as the father of the fantasy genre, was a practicing Christian. If you read the children books written by his good friend and Oxford colleague C.S. Lewis, you�ll find many references to Christianity. Lewis was even more devout, but this didn�t stop him commenting as Tolkien read from The Lord of the Rings at their writing club, famously muttering, "Oh God, not another f**king elf."

POSTED 1/17/2002

Ollie, London, NA, United Kingdom, Mesg ID 110200255302


Basically, people oppose such things out of ignorance and fear. To attribute 'magic power' to things like fantasy and witchcraft is merely backward superstition. Many people are afraid of anything that is at a variance from their own beliefs, and rather than just ignore it, they try to prevent others from indulging in it.

POSTED 1/17/2002

Rick, Springfield, OH, United States, Male, Atheist, White/Caucasian, Straight, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 116200275717


Christianity was founded on a principle of converting the 'heathens' so they may be saved from hell. Many of these heathens were the indigenous people of wherever they may be located. It could be Rome, Ireland, Guam, Mexico, Polynesia or any country. These countries had their own major religion predating Christianity, and many of these nations' religious ceremonies included acts that many deem to be supernatural, such as talking to spirits while under hypnosis and using spiritual drugs, talking to ancestors through the use of icons, fire walking, whirling, levitation, meditation, various sexual positions that included many people of same or various sexes and were not 'missionary,' and so on. Mayan rulers took part in a ceremony that included an all-male orgy where various drugs were used, including a beer suppository. Acts like these were seen as against God. In order to ensure a faithful following, the native people's former beliefs were either squashed or built upon. An example of Christianity building upon another religion can be found among the Celtics. The Celts paid tribute to three main gods that stood for nature, and a symbol in their religion was specific monolithic rocks. However, in order to appease the violent Christian missionaries, they carved an image of the cross into the stone, and continued their private worship toward the Celtic gods. However, many of the wealthy landowners were Christians and claimed divine right to rule and convert anyone considered a barbarian. Santeria is another Christianity-blended religion. The followers worship a Black Madonna, whose origins of mythology do not exactly stem from the same as that of the Biblical lands. However, purist Christians frown upon this. Spain was one of the more violent missionary countries. The king allowed for expeditions, as long as riches were brought back and people were converted to the Christian faith, which was what the king used to keep his subjects complacent. To sum this up, playing with witchcraft, such as that of the Celtic pagans who donned ceremonial capes and headresses, rubbed ointments of drugs on their mucous membranes and made human sacrifices to the lake, would call upon people to act un-Christian, because these were the ritualstic acts of another religion.

POSTED 1/17/2002

Pat, New York, NY, United States, 22, Female, Bahai Faith, Asian, Straight, student, 4 Years of College, Lower class, Mesg ID 117200220330

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Question:

The way I see it, Rap, Hip-Hop and R&B have been viewed as traditionally 'black' styles of music, but Heavy Metal, for example, has been seen as a traditionally 'white' style of music. Why is it that there are many white people who like Rap/Hip-Hop/R&B, but seemingly fewer black people who like Heavy Metal?

POSTED 4/15/2001

Michael, Sydney, NA, Australia, 20, Male, Christian, White/Caucasian, Straight, student, 2 Years of College, Mesg ID 414200151829


Responses:
Hmmm. Come to think of it, I went to see Pink Floyd a few years back and did not see any blacks. Take that back - there were a half dozen young black men scalping tickets. I remember seeing two black men at a Pink Floyd-Led Zeppelin laser show once. Funny thing about that was, both had white boyfriends. Yep, they were holding hands. I have a black friend who tortures me with RAP music when I am in his Surburban. When he's in my pickup truck, I torture him with the worst Country Western I can find. Tortures me too, Country Western does. Point is, there does not seem to be music we can both enjoy at the same time. I guess it is petty of me to torture both of us with C&W, but this gets the 'best' response outta him. Of course, he laughs at me and cranks up the player when we're in the Surburban. Now, you don't think that's gonna go unanswered, do you?

POSTED 1/15/2002

Joseph, Covington, KY, United States, 47, Male, White/Caucasian, High School Diploma, Middle class, Mesg ID 112200272430

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Question:

Why do some American small towns have a disproportionate number of people who are mean, sarcastic, belligerent and even violent? We've all heard stereotypes about 'the next town over,' but I am referring to places that are just 'known' for being especially treacherous. There is one small town, for instance, that is known for taking its high school football VERY seriously, and where it is not uncommon to run afoul of someone and receive the threat 'I'll cut ya' (i.e., with a knife). There is another small town where it seems like everyone is angry at everyone else all the time, and they constantly put one another 'in their place.' I could go on. I'd be interested in knowing whether anyone has studied unique demographics that make some places meaner than others.

POSTED 1/6/2002

Augustine, Columbia, SC, United States, 41, Male, White/Caucasian, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 14200264847


Responses:
Maybe you can name this place and a scientist could actually study it. Since you're probablly talking about a town in the South, maybe you can read Mark Twain, and it could answer your questions. Read Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. Twain talks about family feuds, money, racism and boredom. All this makes people mean.

POSTED 1/17/2002

Pat, New York, NY, United States, 22, Female, Bahai Faith, Asian, Straight, student, 4 Years of College, Lower class, Mesg ID 117200234357

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Question:

Do all Wicca followers dabble in witchcraft? What do followers who don't dabble in witchcraft do as far as practical doctrines? Do Wiccas acknowledge that where there's witchcraft, there's the spiritual world? And that in the spiritual world there is both extreme good and extreme evil? Aren't Wiccas who practice witchcraft afraid of making themselves vulnerable to possible attacks by evil spirits, which may be inadvertently summoned through aiming to perform white witchcraft? How do they know they are 100 percent safe when performing witchcraft?

POSTED 1/6/2002

Robert S., Poole, NA, United Kingdom, <rms6859@postmaster.co.uk>, 25, Male, Christian, White/Caucasian, Straight, Mesg ID 13200233341


Responses:
Witchcraft is totally ineffective, so it won't harm you other than wasting your time. It won't do you any good, either.

POSTED 1/17/2002

Rick, Springfield, OH, United States, Male, Atheist, White/Caucasian, Straight, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 112200281924


Wicca is a modern movement based on older religions. Whatever 'witchcraft spell' they perform varies greatly. Many religions believe that anyone is susceptible to attacks of evil if their heart is in the wrong place. 'The greedy get caught and go to jail.' Priests or priestesses conduct ceremonies under controlled conditions. They use various prayers and symbols as protection, such as the circle, to ward off evil spirits that may prey upon the weak. Usually a priest can tell if someone is not ready for a spell or ceremony. No one is 100 percent safe unless they are incredibly good-willed and free from want, which is a founding belief of Buddhism. Hell in Buddhism and Hinduism is the endless cycle of rebirth. Karma is what goes around comes around, so don't send out bad energy. The Navajo will protect against evil in a ceremony by using cedar and holy smoke; The Chinese will use the bagong mirror and fengshui dragons; Christians use water and chanting; some people believe in gargoyles, others believe in the eye. Evil is deemed to be desire for materialism or other ignorant needs. So conduct yourself wisely. Many religions believe spirits walk among us, and animals are sentient beings that can listen. Those raised to a higher spiritual consciousness are not always good-hearted or clear-minded. They may take advantage of you, too, unknowingly, on either your or their part. Heaven's Gate was a spiritual cult with whom the participants believed they would be taken to the other world upon a comet. The 'other world' or fourth dimension has been theorized to exist, but it is said that you can't take anything material with you, so if you travel, remind yourself why you are doing so.

POSTED 1/17/2002

Pat, New York, NY, United States, 22, Female, Bahai Faith, Asian, Straight, student, 4 Years of College, Lower class, Mesg ID 117200224627

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Question:

Why, despite the fact that many Asian businesses are run in black neighborhoods (beauty supply stores, restaurants, liquor stores, etc.) is there such animosity between Asians (Japanese, Chinese) and blacks? Conversely, East Indians seem to get along better with blacks. In fact, I live in a very well-to-do neighborhood, with 60 percent of the population being black and the other 40 percent a mixture of whites and East Indians. Also, why do many Asians act more racist toward blacks than whites do? It seems acceptable among some of them to show blatant racism toward blacks - racism that the average educated white person would never do, at least on purpose. It appears that they view blacks as beneath them, although many of them find economic opportunities in black neighborhoods. Is the "model minority" complex that is prevalent among the Asian race preventing them from seeing the plight of blacks, a fellow minority?

POSTED 1/6/2002

Kristina, Washington, DC, United States, <kfount500@aol.com>, 21, Female, Christian, Black/African American, Straight, Transcriber, 2 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 142002115548


Responses:
Asians in general are a racist bunch, but then again, so are a lot of other groups. This sounds very petty, but I assure you, at least in a general sense, it's true. In Asia, skin color is very important. You'll notice that Asians come in many shades, even within one group (such as Chinese). Dark skin automatically labels you as something lower or inferior, because in the old days, this meant you were a laborer in the fields, exposed to the sun. Light skin means you're rich, or at least upper-middle class and out of the sun. It's incredibly, embarassingly stupid, but true. Whenever the subject of race comes up at family gatherings, I'll be sure to hear some kind of comment on skin color. One of my cousins is an avid swimmer, and he often receives comments on his dark skin, in the negative realm. On the other hand, I'm rather fair-skinned, and whenever my grandmother gave me compliments on my fair skin, I wouldn't accept them.

POSTED 1/6/2002

Sarah C., San Francisco, CA, United States, 24, Female, Agnostic, Asian, 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 16200250902


I've lived in Japan for 20 years and have never felt any racial prejudice because of my yellow skin. Yes, of course it's true Asians have racism toward blacks; my mother and grandmother say, ' If you come back home with n****rs, I would force you to go out of the house.' I cannot understand why people, even my mother, who have never been wronged by blacks, have strong racism against them. It's because people around us do, so we do. But, I want you to know that my generation in Japan (including me) have no prejudice toward blacks or any other race. It's because we don't have reason to. Please do not be so disappointed about the problems. The number of people who do not have racial prejudice is increasing, I can say.

POSTED 1/9/2002

Yayoi, Tokyo, NA, Japan, 20, Female, Buddhist, Asian, Straight, student, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 19200295107

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Question:

Can anyone tell me, once and for all, which religious belief is the one true faith that will guarantee me a place in heaven? And, why should I believe you?

POSTED 1/6/2002

Douglas, Pontiac, MI, United States, 40, Male, White/Caucasian, Engineer, Technical School, Middle class, Mesg ID 15200265343

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Question:

What does the term "White Bread" mean?

POSTED 1/6/2002

Brando, Vancouver, British Colombia, WA, United States, Mesg ID 15200275444

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