Best of the Week
of Jan. 25, 2004

Best of Week ArchivesArchives

Here are the most intriguing cross-cultural exchanges either begun or advanced during the week of Jan. 25, 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:

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


Responses:

I think your presumption that individuals who oppose same-sex marriages are afraid of something is invalid. Values are not fear-based but rather are based on reasoned right and wrong, as well as appropriate and inappropriate behavior. You would not say that people are scared of alcoholics simply because they find drunken, lewd, behavior obnoxious, would you? Nor would you suggest that society should not make laws regulating this behavior simply because the individuals claim they have a genetic propensity for alcoholism, would you? Well, homosexuality is no different. Individuals who choose to engage in same-gender sex should not be granted special rights based on their sexual mis-orientation. As individuals in our society, they have the right as any other citizen to marry a person of the opposite gender. They know full well that (in same-sex relationships) they do not have the rights of a married couple, nor should they, just as a drunk has no right to drive, simply because he or she has never been in an accident. Choosing to be homosexual does not make homosexuality a civil right. Society does not need to endorse or condone any inappropriate behavior that is unacceptable to the functioning of a civilized society. This has nothing to do with fear and eveything to do with values, family and the long-term health of children.
POSTED 1/25/2004
Cece, St. Paul, MN, United States, Mesg ID 116200484144



I think it's an outrage that gay people want to have the same rights to marriage that straight people do. Back in the 1930s, there was no such thing as gay people. If you were gay, you kept it to yourself because someone could kill you and they're only defense would be, he was gay. Then in the 1970s you saw everything - whores, gay people, people just walking around nude. Gay guys who just had hundreds of partners a night. And thus this is where society discovered AIDS. So now gay people can be gay, someone can know about it, they can even walk down the street and hold hands with another gay man and have no fear of what's going to happen. But alas, that's still not good enough. Gay people want their own schools and, most appalling, the right to marry. Why is it that I can't go to an all-Christian school for free, but gay people can go to an all-gay school? I think it's sad that we've become this type of society.
POSTED 1/25/2004
Renee, Clinton, MD, United States, Female, Christian, Black/African American, Straight, Technical School, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 1172004105850


I think the historical point of supporting married couples is the hope that they will eventually have children who will be valuable and productive members of society. Since there is no way for a homosexual couple to naturally bear children together, they don't receive as much societal support. The concept of marriage has always been intended for straight relationships. People just haven't yet been able to expand that concept to include gays.
POSTED 1/25/2004
JustMe, Atlanta, GA, United States, 27, Female, Black/African American, Straight, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 117200415821


Why not polygamy then? I haven't talked to a single lesbian who approves of this. People should look at their own level of tolerance when judging the mating decisions of consenting adults. I wouldn't choose to be a lesbian or a polygamist, but if one alternative is allowed, then so should the other.
POSTED 1/25/2004
Kathy, Fresno, CA, United States, 37, Female, White/Caucasian, Straight, High School Diploma, Lower class, Mesg ID 119200422452


I also think it is sad that people in these situations can't make it offical. What is the big deal? That is their life, and love is love.
POSTED 1/25/2004
Natalie, Flint, MI, United States, 22, Female, Armenian, Mesg ID 124200451405


You know, it is really sad. This is supposed to be the land of the free. We are supposed to be able to make our own decisions and live happier lives. How is that the case when we can't even decide who to marry? To me, marriage is about love and commitment. Why would anyone want to put restrictions on that?
POSTED 1/29/2004
Rachel, Baltimore, MD, United States, 22, Female, White/Caucasian, Straight, Middle class, Mesg ID 1272004125013

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Question:

I am a former racist who is here to learn. I wasn't raised to be a racist, but I was the victim of a violent hate crime. Later in life I became bitter. All I ever heard or saw in media was whitebashing and stereotyping whites as the only people who could hate. I was very aware of every racial slur used against me, and this was frequent. There was nowhere for me to go to talk about this. All of the anti-hate groups reinforced the idea that only whites could be racists, but I knew better. When I would try to discuss double standards, people would invalidate my experiences with racism as a white woman. Everyone's culture was celebrated but mine. Racial slurs are OK when whites are the victims. This eventually turned me into a racist because no one else would listen. I pulled myself out of that mentality, but I still think race should be discussed not in the context of 'get whitey,' but in the context of 'racism cuts both ways.' What do others think?
POSTED 1/25/2004
Kathy, Fresno, CA, United States, 37, Female, White/Caucasian, Straight, High School Diploma, Lower class, Mesg ID 1192004113402

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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


Responses:

My weight has also yo-yo'd over the years, and when I was thinner I got a lot more respect and was treated 'normal.' I think this has a lot to do with the media and overwieght people being the butt of every joke. The media portrays women as being obsessively thin, and there are always new diets coming out to quickly lose wieght. If the media would just portray an average woman who is not a Paris Hilton lookalike, maybe everyone would see how beautiful women can be with a little meat on their bones. Just because you are not runway thin does not mean you are not human and have feelings about the way you look. You should be happy with yourself, no matter how much your weight fluctuates.
POSTED 1/25/2004
Kim M., Swartz Creek, MI, United States, 21, Female, White/Caucasian, Straight, student, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 118200424600



I have recently dropped 30 lbs and noticed the same thing. Where I used to be 'invisible,' now I get better treatment from coworkers, friends and strangers. I think it has something to do with people's perception of overweight people as lazy, selfish and not taking good care of themselves. It also has something to do with a slimmer person's self-confidence.
POSTED 1/29/2004
Kristen, na, MI, United States, 28, Female, Atheist, White/Caucasian, Bisexual, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 1262004115131

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Question:

Why do black women find it necessary to look me up and down and then back up again? Some white and Hispanic women do this, too, but black women do it almost all the time. I think it's so rude. What is it?
POSTED 1/25/2004
Julie, Woodbridge, VA, United States, 32, Female, Christian, Black/African American, Straight, Government Contracting, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 115200472431

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Question:

Growing up in church, I was always taught that being gay was sinful. I want to know: is being gay truly a way that people are born, or is it a lifestyle that they choose?
POSTED 1/25/2004
Negel M., Flint, MI, United States, 18, Male, Pentecostal, Black/African American, Straight, High School Diploma, Middle class, Mesg ID 116200482917

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Question:

I went to KFC the other day and got some chicken strips. When I asked for sauce, the server just assumed I wanted honey mustard. When I asked for BBQ flavor sauce, he looked at me like he'd never seen a white person who ate BBQ before. Is there some secret meaning in BBQ sauce that I don't know about? Am I not black enough for BBQ?
POSTED 1/25/2004
Greg, Fredericksburg, VA, United States, Male, White/Caucasian, Mesg ID 121200461304

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Question:

What is the youngest age to begin giving alcohol to your children, what quantity, and how stong is it? Is it OK if they get drunk?
POSTED 1/25/2004
BabyBoomer, Los Angeles, CA, United States, 45, Male, White/Caucasian, 2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 1242004111651

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Question:

I recently moved to Georgia from Vermont. Immediately my children and I noticed many differences. For example, do Southerners intentionally or unintentionally not listen to what is being said to them? Why is it that when a person makes a mistake on the job (a mistake usually due to being misinformed or uninformed), a coworker will initially assume that you have no clue what you are doing and report it to your immediate supervisor while dismissing a personally-given explanation of the error (behaving as though they don't believe what you are saying)? Why do Southerners behave as though they don't believe anything you say unless you prove it? Or is this my imagination? Why do Southerners perceive so negatively and personally? Do Southerners dislike debates or perceive them as a personal attack? Please help! How can I adjust? What interpersonal skill information am I lacking? I am not having much ease or luck working in the South, and it's affecting my bank account!
POSTED 1/25/2004
Kelly T., Canton, GA, United States, 36, Female, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, Straight, law enforcement, 2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 124200465032

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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


Responses:

I asked my white male, 31-year-old co-worker what he thought about this, and he said it sounded strange to him, too. He said these people are probably swingers and trying to subtly proposition you.
POSTED 1/25/2004
JustMe, Atlanta, GA, United Kingdom, 27, Female, Black/African American, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 117200415047



Perhaps it is not an issue of insecurity but rather a fetish. For whatever reason, many white men have a fantasy of seeing their wives 'taken' by a black man. It is entirely possible the men in these couples you speak to may be simply testing the waters to gauge your interest, or prodding along their own little fantasy in their imaginations.
POSTED 1/25/2004
David S., Columbia, SC, United States, 34, Male, Mesg ID 124200481530

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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


Responses:

Based on the information you've given, it sounds like you just need better social skills. A lot of people have the same problem, and there are plenty of books, support groups, counselors and web sites that you can seek out for support and advice. I would suggest asking someone who you've offended what it was specifically that hurt them, and how you might say things differently. People can be surprisingly supportive when they understand that you aren't being insensitive on purpose, and everyone has felt misunderstood at one point or another, so it's an easy thing to relate to. If you ask several people's advice (prepare yourself for what you may hear), generally a common theme will appear, so you'll have a better idea of what you need to work on.
POSTED 1/25/2004
Deenie, Seattle, WA, United States, 27, Female, Black/African American, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 117200422350



You're not alone in thinking and feeling differently than 'most' people. I feel the same way at times. Simply treat people the way you want to be treated. If they ignore you or say hurtful things to you, they are probably doing it because they misunderstand you or are even jealous of you. Those people can be like mental poison. Also, if people say hurtful things to you, try not to let them get to you emotionally. There are people in this world who feel it's their sole purpose to put others down. You have unique gifts and talents - find others who share them. Above all, be yourself. A smile, a friendly hello and direct eye contact with someone you'd like to know better will help you get over these feelings.
POSTED 1/29/2004
A Friend, Huntington, UT, United States, 29, Female, Straight, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 128200415818

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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


Responses:

You can't explain fetishes, hence the name. Some people like being kissed on the neck, some people like being peed on. This is actually an ancient sexual ritual - it dates back hundreds of years (as far back as I know of). Shit happens - or pee happens, depending on your fetish.
POSTED 1/25/2004
Bri, Albany, NY, United States, <gebhardtb841@mail.strose.edu>, 23, Female, White/Caucasian, Bisexual, Mesg ID 1192004113143



Join the club. The peeing fetish has a lot to do with dominance and submission - or in other words, power. It is basically another form of bondage and S&M, which is the transference of power in its purest form, sexually speaking. For some people, this type of role playing is what it takes to get them off (so to speak) or heighten their sexual experience.
POSTED 1/25/2004
David S., Columbia, SC, United States, 34, Male, Mesg ID 124200482425

I don't know, but I do find watching a woman pee quite a turn-on. I don't understand why though. It just is. However, I don't want to watch her rid herself of any other bodily wastes. And I really, really don't want her to pee (or anything else) on ME!
POSTED 1/29/2004
Wayne, Parsippany, NJ, United States, 43, Male, Baptist, Black/African American, Straight, marketing, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 126200483541

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