Best of the Week
of Jan. 21, 2001

Best of Week Archives

Here are the most intriguing cross-cultural exchanges either begun or advanced during the week of Jan. 21, 2001, 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 new 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 new database as well). In the Original Archives and the new 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?"

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Delivery in 2-3 days via Priority Mail
Read the Associated Press story on "Wet Dogs"

Order the book on Y? today!

 


Question:

A co-worker of mine who is openly gay often mentions that he wants a 'cow lick' or to be 'cow-licked.' I'm too embarrassed to ask what it means. Can someone help me out?

POSTED 1/24/01

Matt, Howell, MI, United States, 28, Male, Methodist, White/Caucasian, Straight, Over 4 Years of College

Mesg ID 1240174908

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Question:

It seems there's a significant number of blacks switching from various Christian denominations to the Muslim faith. The changes seem to be precipitated by racial/ethnic issues rather than actual spiritual issues. Am I right?

POSTED 1/19/01

Candi, San Antonio, TX, United States, 51, Female, Pentecostal, Hispanic/Latino, Straight, Educator, Over 4 Years of College

Mesg ID 1182001112842


Responses:
I'm from Detroit, which is growing in the number of Black Muslims, many followers of Louis Farrakhan and Elijah Muhhamed. Both leaders preach the superiority of the black race, that whites are devils and that whites were cast out by a wicked scientist who tried to take light-skinned blacks and interbreed them until they created the white race - sounds ridiculous, but this is their thinking. Many blacks are turning to the Black Muslim Movement or Nation of Islam -which is not recognized by Islam - for empowerment. Here, they pass out racist propaganda, speak only to blacks and refuse to acknowledge whites. They sell bean pies and fruit and spread their hate around. But there is also a movement here for traditional Islam among blacks who are not racist and who believe in the true teachings of Islam, which includes the diversity of people from every spectrum. These people are sometimes confused with the Nation of Islam, though they wear the traditional garbs of Muslims from Northern Africa, and the Nation of Islam are usually dressed in suits. Empowerment is the reason they join the Nation of Islam, while religion is the reason many join the traditional Islam. The Nation of Islam may try to be empowered, but they are fundamentally racist, black sheets instead of white, that is all. The true followers of Islam are devoted to celebrating Ramdan, prayer five times daily, not eating pork and not preaching hatred.

POSTED 1/25/01

Aliyah, Detroit, MI, United States, 27, Female, Muslim, Black/African American, Straight, Business Exec, Over 4 Years of College , Lower middle class

Mesg ID 12401125550

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Question:

Why do Asians, especially those older than 35, have names like 'Johnny,' 'Danny' or 'Peggy,' rather than John, Dan(iel) or Margaret?

POSTED 1/24/01

C.C., Somewhere, NA, Canada, 21, Female

Mesg ID 12401115006

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Question:

Did anyone else find the title of the book based on the Y? web site (Why Do White People Smell Like Wet Dogs When They Come Out of The Rain?) amusing? I did, but I am white. What if it was titled Why Do BLACK People Smell Like Wet Dogs When They Come Out of The Rain? It would be labeled hateful and racist. Who, then, is more tolerant of the other race: blacks or whites? And who is the racist? Without insulting black people by saying, 'Because they have been treated worse historically,' who can give me a good reason why it is appropriate that black literature can make fun of whites, but whites cannot make fun of blacks?

POSTED 1/14/2001

Nate, Seattle area, WA, United States, Male

Mesg ID 17200123232


Responses:
If people (black or white) have no respect for themselves, they usually disrespect everything and everyone around them.

POSTED 1/17/01

Harold B., New York, NY, United States, 70, Male, Catholic, White/Caucasian, Straight, draftsman, Technical School , Middle class

Mesg ID 116200120531


I also found the title of the book amusing and quite interesting. I found out about this web site by watching OH DRAMA!! on BET. If I'm not mistaken, the author of the book is a white male who was asked this question and said he thought it would make an interesting title.

POSTED 1/17/01

Cheynel, Miami, FL, United States, 29, Female, Black/African American, Straight, Less than High School Diploma , Upper class

Mesg ID 116200133648


There is almost the assumption in your question that the title has been changed to make it less insulting to black people. People do smell different. Just because you are white does not mean other cultures will find your smell different. Ask a couple of kids (who can usually be relied on for honesty rather than politeness). I bet the title was an honest question originally posted and is used because it makes people realize that their own view of what questions should be asked here may not be correct.

POSTED 1/24/01

David, London, n/a, United Kingdom, Male

Mesg ID 1240142745

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Question:

I work in an ethnically diverse workplace, and in the parking lot I have observed the parking habits of the people here. Why is it that black drivers consistently back into parking places?

POSTED 1/24/01

Todd M., Jacksonville, FL, United States, 30, Male, Catholic, White/Caucasian, Straight, Sales, 4 Years of College

Mesg ID 1240190648

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Question:

While in a Sushi bar, why are you served pieces that are too big to put in your mouth all at once, and that will fall apart if you try to bite them in half? Also why is there no way to cut them (chopsticks don't do it)? And why is there no place for all the food to fall when you try to divide it?

POSTED 1/24/01

Gari-son, West Los Angeles, CA, United States

Mesg ID 124200121241

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Question:

Do all Unitarian Churches work for social justice? Are some more strict than others? I'm really thinking about attending a Unitarian Church because I am fed up with the judgment of the tradition I'm used to.

POSTED 1/23/01

Jennifer, Kansas City, MO, United States, 21, Female, Christian, White/Caucasian, Straight, Student, 4 Years of College , Middle class

Mesg ID 116200134554


Responses:
I attended a couple of services at the Unitarian Church here in Sydney. I think many of them work for social justice, in the broadest sense of the term. I mean, different people have different ideas of what social justice involves. I don't know about some being more strict than others. I think you will find there is a lot less judgment there, and I would definitely recommend it, but I think it's very hard to find people who are totally non-judgmental. Still, keep in mind that social justice and judgment sometimes go hand in hand. It's not only the right-wing of politics/religion who specialize in judgment. For example, the right of individuals to choose to gamble is more important than someone else's attempt to protect them from themselves.

POSTED 1/25/01

Priscilla, Sydney, NA, Australia, 24, Female, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, Bisexual, 4 Years of College , Middle class

Mesg ID 1250145248

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Question:

What is it with guys and spitting? And as a subgenre, throat clearing? Why do guys feel so phlegmy that they have to spit and clear their throats frequently? I've noticed that it's guys who spit on sidewalks (how pleasant is that to walk past?) and it's the guys, not the gals, who are constantly clearing their throats. I'm just trying to understand. Maybe I wouldn't cringe so much if I understood why the guys around me at work sound like a bunch of lusty frogs on a spring pond. (Maybe if I hold that mental image it will be easier to smile through the chorus!)

POSTED 1/10/2001

Cheryl, New Haven, CT, United States, Female

Mesg ID 110200135629


Responses:
I think it is more cuturally acceptable for men to spit and be loud when clearing mucous than women. It's considered 'unladylike' to hock a big lugee while walking down the street, and though it's not necessarily attractive to spit, it's better than holding it in and swallowing it, in my opinion. There are obviously women who will spit whenever they feel like it and men who won't, but I believe cultural mores tell us it's OK for men to do it but not women. Maybe the throat-clearing thing relates to this point, with men being more free to be noisy about it without negative reactions. Do you react more harshly if a woman does the same thing?

POSTED 1/16/2001

Marc, Morgantown, WV, United States, 24, Male, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, Straight, Grad Student, Over 4 Years of College , Upper middle class

Mesg ID 116200132651

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Question:

The first time I heard about peepholes being used for sex by gay men at reststops, I became extremely turned on. I am a straight woman and mother of two who has had gay/lesbian friends but no lesbian fantasies or desires. I just get off watching and downloading pictures of guys having sex - especially group sex. I admit I have several fetishes typical of straight women: Threesomes with men, and maybe even a father/son duo or brothers with me. But nothing gets me turned on like this. I even had sex with a bisexual man and told him to tell me what he did to this man. I still rate this as the best sexual experience I've ever had. So what do I call myself? What term would describe my fetish, which I equate with straight males watching lesbians? It also seems to be more rare for women to want to watch men. Is this so?

POSTED 1/15/2001

Nikky, Knoxville, TN, United States, 27, Female, Buddhist, Straight, College Student, Over 4 Years of College

Mesg ID 115200111111


Responses:
I think you are a fag hag (i.e. a woman who likes being with gay men). That is not to say fag hags are all motivated by interest in the sexual activities of gay men. (I think many have other, social, motivations.) What I am saying is many fag hags are heterosexual, and maybe there is sometimes a sexual motivation.

POSTED 1/23/01

Priscilla, Sydney, NA, Australia, 24, Female, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, Bisexual, 4 Years of College , Middle class

Mesg ID 116200151459

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Question:

How do women view a man who's been to prison? Will they still date a man after they find out he has a record?

POSTED 1/14/2001

Jesse, Warren, MI, United States, 24, Male, Christian, White/Caucasian, engineer, Technical School , Middle class

Mesg ID 113200172657


Responses:
While we as an educated and moral society are supposed to support the notion of rehabilitation of criminals, it is a difficult thing to fully espouse on an individual level. Do I believe that people make mistakes and are capable of changing for the better over time? Yes. However, I do know there is a fairly high rate of repeat offenses after the incarcerant is released. Because of this and because I believe the majority of laws are reasonable, I would find it really hard to establish a personal relationship with someone I knew had broken the law and might do it again. Some crimes are 'victimless,' while the majority are not, and I don't feel I could fully trust someone who had hurt (physically, economically, etc.) someone else, because their crime indicates they operate under a much different moral system than I do. Above all, people in a relationship should have a shared belief in what is right and wrong. With few exceptions (such as being sent to prison for kicking the crap out of someone who you caught assaulting a child), commission of a crime is a strong indicator that the felon and I don't share the same moral beliefs.

POSTED 1/19/01

Robin, Pittsburgh, PA, United States, 25, Female

Mesg ID 117200151911


For me, the decision to date a man who had been in prison would depend on the circumstances. What type of crime was he convicted of? Was he guilty? What has he done to get his life on a positive track? What is he doing now? How did I find out he was in prison? Was it something he tried to hide, or was he straight up about it? I have never been in the position of deciding whether to date a man who has been in prison, but I have known several men who have been in prison. Some are basically decent guys who got caught up in some bad stuff, some have turned their lives around and are doing good. Others are nothing but trouble, and any smart woman would stay as far away from them as they can.

POSTED 1/25/01

Lucy, San Jose, CA, United States, 26, Female, Hispanic/Latino, Engineer, 4 Years of College , Middle class

Mesg ID 1152001111419

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Question:

Many people are convinced that we are kicking our civilization down the drain if we carry on like this (global warming, wars, population growth, destruction of soil, forests and fishing grounds and so on). If we think we are going to spoil it, why don't we act and try and save the day? I don't get it. Or is it that few people think like me?

POSTED 1/14/2001

Thorsten R., Bielefeld, NA, Germany, 28, Male, scientist, White/Caucasian, Straight, PhD. student, Upper class

Mesg ID 114200174628


Responses:
I can relate to the people who frustrate you with their apathy. Some people don't want to face major issues like the environment because it's easier to focus on the short-term, which really does present enough problems for some people. It's like how some people don't want to think too much about poverty in the Third World. If it's an effort just to compete in the rat race, you don't have the luxury of considering these issues at length, let alone doing something about it. Another aspect is that people do not believe they have the influence to make a real difference on these issues, because the decisions are made at much higher levels (i.e. top management of multinational companies and high levels of government). I can see these seem like weak excuses, but I think when these problems start to affect people's lives more directly they will do something about it (and hopefully, it won't be too late).

POSTED 1/25/01

Priscilla, Sydney, NA, Australia, 24, Female, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, Bisexual, 4 Years of College

Mesg ID 118200155857

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