Best of the Week
of Jan. 27, 2002

Best of Week Archives

Here are the most intriguing cross-cultural exchanges either begun or advanced during the week of Jan. 27, 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.

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Question:

I'm a 24-year-old white male who works in a store that deals with a large number of people on a daily basis. I've noticed that when I help a black customer who's middle aged or elderly, they're often very friendly and appreciative, often much moreso than their white counterparts. However, when I attempt to help a younger black customer, especially a young man, they're almost always dismissive or even rude for no apparent reason. Is there an easy answer for the discrepency?

POSTED 1/31/2002

Ben, Morgantown, WV, United States, 24, Male, Atheist, White/Caucasian, Straight, Salesman / Customer Service, Over 4 Years of College, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 129200234122

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Question:

During a legal proceeding (that is why I will not provide name or city), a case was presented in which a Hispanic male was co-habitating with a minor Hispanic female. The female was 15 years old and pregnant by the male. I believe this male is a sexual predator and guilty of sexual assault on a minor. An attorney present stated it was 'a cultural thing,' and thus OK. Is an adult male having sex and impregnating a minor culturally acceptable in Hispanic cultures? If so, why? If not, please let me know so I can confront the attorney.

POSTED 1/29/2002

G.T.R., Amarillo, TX, United States, 40, Male, Christian, White/Caucasian, Straight, law enforcement, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 129200272554

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Question:

Why are teens so attracted to cars in car shows? Please give as many details about this interest as possible.

POSTED 1/29/2002

Jennifer, Lawton, OK, United States, <thestang98@yahoo.com>, 17, Female, Christian, White/Caucasian, Straight, Student, Less than High School Diploma, Upper class, Mesg ID 128200274351


Responses:
It is very simple. Cars represent freedom to teens. It is a way to get away from the confines of their parents.

POSTED 1/31/2002

Matthew, New York City, NY, United States, 43, Male, Mesg ID 131200250117

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Question:

Why is it a big deal for some people to make fun of someone with disablities?

POSTED 1/28/2002

Melissa, Middletown, CT, United States, 19, Female, Catholic, White/Caucasian, Straight, Less than High School Diploma, Middle class, Mesg ID 128200275818


Responses:
For the same reason somebody won't yell 'hooray' at your funeral: it's insensitive and dishonorable behavior. People with disabilities do not have life very easy. Many of us complain about bad hair days, acne, cold sores, broken nails or chipped teeth, but imagine if you had spina bifida or multiple sclerosis to deal with every day until a cure was found. These are some extraordinary people who must be very tough mentally to put up with their daily struggles and difficulties.

POSTED 1/31/2002

Michael F., Chicago, IL, United States, <mfleury@ccc.edu>, 24, Male, Baptist, Black/African American, Straight, Educational Administrator, Over 4 Years of College, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 1312002123054

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Question:

Why do Puerto Rican girls not like white guys?

POSTED 1/28/2002

da rude, Portland, CT, United States, 17, Male, Jewish, White/Caucasian, Straight, ADHD, Less than High School Diploma, Middle class, Mesg ID 128200280949

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Question:

A year ago, my 27-year-old sister Michele dumped her 27-year-old boyfriend after dating him for three years. Robert was a sweetheart to Michele, who has always been pretty mean to guys. She admits she treated Robert like dirt. Robert and I always got along great, but we never hung out much with the same crowd. Then about six months ago, we started spending a lot of time together as friends. Now I've fallen in love with this guy, who is sweet, gentle, handsome, successful (and as I've learned this week, happens to be an incredible lover). We are in love, and I think this could get serious. I am 24 and ready to settle down, and Robert is, too. My parents adore Robert but we haven't told anybody that our friendship has blossomed into love. My sister and I have never been that close, but there's a part of me that feels like I'm doing something wrong by dating and getting serious with my sister's ex-boyfriend. Am I doing anything wrong, and do you think there will be any long-term problems with my family if we marry?

POSTED 1/22/2002

Sherry, St. Augustine, FL, United States, 24, Female, Christian, White/Caucasian, Straight, Student, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 121200271112


Responses:
Ask your boyfriend how he feels about the situation. If your sister and her boyfriend had sex, there is a bond there that will last a lifetime. Maybe that is why you are uncomfortable with the situation. But she said goodbye to him. Your sister's loss is your gain.

POSTED 1/24/2002

Ronald V., Edmonton, Alberta, NA, Canada, Male, Christian, Mesg ID 1222002112751


I think you're good to go. Your sister didn't care enough then to beef about it now, and if your parents liked him so much the first time, they should be overjoyed to have a second chance at having him around. The only thing I see putting a hitch in your giddyup - if soap operas are any indication - is that your sister may try to undermine your love so that she won't be revealed as shallow and stupid for pushing him away the first time like so much unfinished meatloaf.

POSTED 1/24/2002

Justin, Chicago, IL, United States, Male, Atheist, White/Caucasian, 4 Years of College, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 122200234330


Marry whoever you want. You've already got family problems in that you feel your sister is a jerk. If you don't pursue things to a conclusion with this guy, you will live the rest of your life in unrequited love.

POSTED 1/28/2002

Steve, Houston, TX, United States, 45, Male, White/Caucasian, Straight, Corporate Cubicle Dweller, Over 4 Years of College, Upper class, Mesg ID 1232002112440


No no no no. All I have to say is, what we have here is a bad Jerry Springer epsiode. This is definitely a no-no. Even if your sister treated this guy like dirt and got rid of him, he would still be off limits. There is a reason she got rid of him, and that is she does not want to see him anymore. Getting with him is just a bad idea. I think you should let it go before she finds out. My God, this is your sister.

POSTED 1/28/2002

Jon, Windsor, Ontario, na, Canada, Male, Mesg ID 1282002124548


Let's look at the facts: SHE dumped HIM, SHE treats men like dirt, SHE is not close to you. YOU like HIM, HE likes YOU, your parents like him. What's the problem? Go for it. Chances are she'll get cranky for about a minute, but considering her past with other men, it sounds like he'll just be an afterthought, even if the two of you settle down.

POSTED 1/28/2002

Murray C., Halifax, Nova Scotia, NA, Canada, 33, Male, White/Caucasian, Straight, Draftsman, Technical School, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 128200245343


You are not doing anything wrong. It's not your fault that you and Robert are in love. Love comes and goes; take it while you have it.

POSTED 1/28/2002

Sebby B., Rockyhill, CT, United States, 17, Male, Catholic, White/Caucasian, Straight, student, High School Diploma, Middle class, Mesg ID 128200282010

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Question:

I live in Germany and have noticed that a great many Germans who live around me do not acknowledge any sort of religion. They don't pray before they eat, attend church or seem the least bit spiritual. I was wondering why Germans (or some Germans) don't go to church. I attend a Christian service here in Germany, and we had a gospel concert downtown. Lots of Germans showed up and enjoyed the music. I have heard that some Germans love gospel music. There are many old churches here, but it doesn't seem like religion or spirituality is part of German culture. Can anyone offer some insight on this?

POSTED 1/22/2002

Anjela, n/a, na, Germany, 30, Female, Christian, mixed race, Straight, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 121200292737


Responses:
There are plenty of Americans who don't pray before they eat, attend church or act spiritual, too. In my opinion, it's not so much a cultural thing as a personal preference.

POSTED 1/28/2002

Stacey, Durham, NH, United States, 21, Female, Jewish, student, Mesg ID 1222002124652


Germany is one of the most highly educated countries in the world. Most German citizens have probably moved beyond the superstitious dictates of organized religion, a natural evolution for a civilized society.

POSTED 1/28/2002

Rick, Springfield, OH, United States, Male, Atheist, White/Caucasian, Straight, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 125200265147


If by 'part of culture' you mean weekly church attendance, then there is only a minority of people religious in Germany. Statistics indicate only about 20 percent of those subscribing to some denomination officially (Lutheran or Catholic being the main faiths) actually attend services or otherwise practice their religion. Thus an active religious life with prayers, Bible classes and church attendance is a minority thing. You're bound to raise a few eyebrows if you pray in public, and bound to be considered immensely odd. Additionally, church attendance has been dwindling for decades, though people still pay their church taxes as a means of supporting charity work done by church institutions. With the unification, a large part of the population that is atheist by denomination has been added. However, religious holidays like Christmas or Easter, albeit secularized and commercialized, feature very much in German cultural life. In this respect, German culture is still subliminally Christian. Historically, I think the reason for this development may be that we have seen in Germany centuries of religious persecution and bloodshed and have therefore embraced the separation of church and state very decidedly. Religion is thus a fundamentally private affair, and rigidly kept outside the public realm, which is entirely secular. If I remember correctly, at least four ministers of the current government did not swear their oaths of office upon the Bible, because they are atheist, and omitted the 'so help me God.' If you ask around, the court decisions passed a few years ago to keep crosses out of schoolrooms and courtrooms will be very much on people's minds still. Religious groups blame secularization for the fact that religious life has been declining; the argument runs that what has become publically invisible does not exist anymore in people's awareness. Personally, I think that the failure of the churches to come to terms with Nazi rule and live up to their own loud-mouthed ethic may have had something to do with the fact that people in Germany tend to ignore religions. Add to this that the religious worldview has been largely superceded by scientific understanding, and people will be aware that metaphysical entities (saints, angels and devils) and an almighty creator are somewhat anachronistic concepts.

POSTED 1/28/2002

T., Munich, NA, Germany, 32, Female, Atheist, Over 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 125200274747


Throughout Europe, few people go to church. It's the same in Australia, where I live. In these countries, most people understand that the Church and its stories are wonderful interpretations from the past of why we exist. But they alone tell us little about our relations today. The real question is why do Americans go to church in such large numbers? Don't they understand that these are just stories?

POSTED 1/28/2002

Kent, Melbourne, NA, Australia, 60, Male, Episcopalian, White/Caucasian, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 1282002114929

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Question:

On Martin Luther King Jr. day, my place of employment served pork ribs, greens, cornbread and fried okra. I was surprised at this, thinking this was stereotyping African-American food. What is the difference between serving this fare and serving watermelon? Is it the negative connotation associated with watermelon and the 'Jim Crow' days? I would like to get African Americans' take on this. Do you feel it is an honor, or is it demeaning for this country food to be served on MLK Day?

POSTED 1/24/2002

Martha, Davison, MI, United States, 40, Female, White/Caucasian, health care, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 123200283436


Responses:
I don't know what 'ethnic' food has to do with a holiday celebrating the life of a civil rights leader. Martin Luther King Jr. stood up for rights and the dream of people to be treated fairly in a society that we all share. I probably would have been offended if I worked there. Martin Luther King Day is for all people who believe in civil rights and diversity. It's not a 'black thing.'

POSTED 1/29/2002

Samm, Boston, MA, United States, 37, Female, New Age/Metaphysical, Black/African American, Straight, Artist, 2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 129200295301


Isn't drinking and wearing green on St. Patrick's Day just as prejudiced?

POSTED 1/31/2002

C.C., Somewhere in Canada, NA, Canada, 22, Female, Asian, 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 1312002102224

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Question:

How can white men lust after Asian women they apparently hate? I'm a big fan of Asian porn because I find the women very beautiful and sexy. But I can't stand the American-made porn films that feature Asian women. It always shows white men with them, never Asian men, unlike black women who usually are with black men in porn. The white male porn stars are incredibly racist, calling them things like 'yellow sluts' and making racist comments about whites being better than Asian men. The titles of the movies are incredibly racist too. Why (besides the money) do these Asian women put up with it? Do they have really low self-esteem? I can't imagine black women making films with them being called n****r sluts. And have any Asian women had to deal with this kind of thing in real life when they date white men?

POSTED 1/21/2002

Porn lover, n/a, ID, United States, 22, Male, White/Caucasian, Mesg ID 120200215858


Responses:
99.9999 percent of the real women in the world wouldn't put up with any of the abuse that porn actresses fake enjoy on screen. Most men know this and wouldn't think to try it in real life. Regardless of what race you are, once you cross the boundary and are willing to let paid men ejaculate on your face, it is unlikely you are going to care all that much about what they say while doing it or what they name the movie.

POSTED 1/24/2002

Steve, Houston, TX, United States, 45, Male, White/Caucasian, Straight, Corporate Cubicle Dweller, Over 4 Years of College, Upper class, Mesg ID 1232002121320


I don't think porn featuring Asian women and white men is any more degrading than most other interracial porn. I admit that I haven't seen a lot of it, but what I have seen has covered a pretty wide spectrum - Asian women/white men, black men/white women, black women/white men. In these instances, the subject matter appeals to the basest prejudices society holds against each person involved. You rarely see a black woman being lovingly caressed and kissed and all the other stuff when the man is white. Usually, it's some kind of gang-bang scenario, or lots of rough, cold, 'Tthis woman's an animal! Can't get enough!' kind of garbage that's plagued black women forever. With white women and black men, it's usually some kind of mandingo warrior conquers the tender white maiden with his anaconda. I know that different companies have different signature styles. Maybe the ones you've been getting are geared toward the base prejudices and taboos of society. All in all, I think all porn is degrading. Race doesn't really mitigate anything.

POSTED 1/24/2002

Jennifer, St. Paul, MN, United States, 31, Female, Christian, Black/African American, Straight, Non-profit, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 1232002122729


It's kind of revealing of the contemporary male psyche that American-produced porn featuring Asians offends you because it has overtly racist overtones, presumably because:

1) Without the racist overtones it's simply mysogynist, and

2) While your fetish for Asian women is based on the stereotype of them being aquiescent concubines who arrive from pre-pubescence eager to sexually gratify men (a stereotype largely advanced by Asian men), at least you don't call them 'slant-eyes,' right? That would be offensive.

This is the legacy of 'PC' - people think lightning will strike them if they say the 'N' word, but that fear doesn't open their eyes any wider.

POSTED 1/28/2002

Justin, Chicago, IL, United States, Male, Atheist, White/Caucasian, 4 Years of College, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 122200243607


I believe that amidst all the action, porn is actually make-believe, as in the guys in the movie would do things most guys usually don't do in real life, like degrading a woman and calling her names. No, Asian women don't have to deal with these things in real life when dating white men, as these men are usually gentlemanly and loving.

POSTED 1/28/2002

Andrea, Singapore, NA, Singapore, 22, Female, Asian, Student, Over 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 127200272324


I have no idea why these Asian women do that, either. I'm Asian myself and would never do that. That's way too ghetto!

POSTED 1/28/2002

Cheerie, n/a, CA, United States, 19, Female, Christian, Asian, Straight, student, 2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 128200224658

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Question:

Why do African Americans continue to complain about discrimination when I feel that the role has reversed to white Americans? For example, I'm an avid reader, and in numerous novels with black characters, they make derogatory comments concerning whites. In the book How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Terry McMillan speaks about an old white man lusting after her body. I can not quote this exactly, but feel free to look it up. Why is that? Black people have cable channels, scholarships, months of remembrance, and the list goes on. I think the African-American community would be outraged if we specified a scholarship to be eligible for white students only. I believe that everyone should realize that we are all discriminated against. Isn't it time that we continue to remember slavery but get off the bandwagon with the rights issue? We all have the same rights, and for every job you don't get because you are black there is someone who isn't getting a job because they are white or brown, etc. Does anyone else feel like this?

POSTED 1/21/2002

Monica A., Fort Worth, TX, United States, 23, Female, Christian, White/Caucasian, Straight, Homemaker, Technical School, Middle class, Mesg ID 120200223749


Responses:
Get some information on institutional racism and white privilege and your world won't look so bleak.

POSTED 1/24/2002

Leah, Halifax, Nova Scotia, NA, Canada, Mesg ID 1232002113717


As one of those brown people who (in addition to whites) you worry are not getting jobs because of blacks, let me say that I don't feel that to be the case. Institutional racism such as the old boy networks and hiring practices keep us from getting jobs, not blacks seeking protection from discrimination. We face many of the same issues as blacks, and while there is prejudice against blacks among many Latinos, I don't want anyone using us as an excuse for employment anti-discrimination laws to end. After all, the law protects brown people as much as blacks, and guess what? The law protects whites against discrimination, too. Don't you know about the Bakke 'reverse discrimination' case? The idea that whites lose a lot of jobs to affirmative action is largely a myth. The actual cases of that happening are rare and highlighted by resentful whites way out of proportion to their actual numbers. Incidentally, did you see the Sixty Minutes piece on a "Whites Only" scholarship in a Southern state at a historically black college?

POSTED 1/28/2002

A.C.C., Phoenix, AZ, United States, Male, Mexican and American Indian, Mesg ID 122200293017


I think many African Americans justify hostility toward whites with the claim that discrimination by blacks does not adversely affect whites to the point that they are denied jobs, education, housing, etc., being that they do not hold enough positions of power to make such discriminatory decisions. However, this opinion fails to recognize the pain and turmoil suffered by those who are harrassed - whether white on black or black on white. And many, who claim to resent being denied jobs or education due to their color, are more than happy to take jobs or academic scholarships that are given to them solely on the basis of race - on the grounds that they or their ancestors suffered and they are only being 'compensated.' Unfortunately, this issue will never be resolved as long as there are white people who are willing to deny opportunity to blacks, and as long as there are black people who want something for nothing.

POSTED 1/28/2002

Lucy, Los Angeles, CA, United States, Female, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 122200245928


These are some of the attitudes I have encountered from African Americans:

1. Derogatory comments from blacks about whites is not a problem for whites because blacks don't have enough social power to deny them anything (tell this to a white kid being bullied by black kids because he's white).

2. Whites have been privileged for so long that this 'favoritism' needs to be rectified (tell this to poor white kids who've never had a chance in life due to their extreme poverty and lack of social connections).

3. The issue of slavery must never be forgotten and must be discussed ad nauseum at every opportunity to explain everything and anything (tell this to Jews, Asians, etc., who seem to be filling colleges and CEO positions rapidly despite their oppressive histories).

4. For every job a black person is given because they are black, there are hundreds denied jobs because they are black (maybe there is some truth to this statement, but more often than not, it's likely to be ghetto types who are using racism as an excuse for not getting a job rather than dealing with their own lack of manners and verbal skills.)

POSTED 1/28/2002

Janis, n/a, FL, United States, Over 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 122200252515


Why do African Americans complain about discrimination when discrimination has been reversed against whites? How has it been reversed? White Americans can live where they like without any problem. They can drive around without being looked at by police, while black people can't. They can meet in large groups and no one will say anything, while blacks can't. In fact, there's a lot we can't do. As apparent in New York, an African American can't even pull out his wallet without being shot, so I don't see how that role is reversed. As far as the book How Stella Got Her Groove Back, you said there were derogatory statements made toward white people. Are you kidding? It's not like white authors haven't done the same thing. You're wondering about so-called reverse discrimination when all that this country sees is white, from books to most of the shows on television. We have BET while 96 percent of other channels are white-owned. Months of remembrance? One month of February. Most of the other holidays celebrated in this country are white holidays: Labor Day, Columbus Day, Memorial Day, etc. Outraged about a white only scholarship? Please spare us the drama. We won't be outraged and haven't been for a long time. You have some people in this country who get in schools exclusively because they are white with money, or because it's some family tradition that a sibling from a certain family goes to the same school. And if it were up to Southern whites, black people would be continuing to be minions to their white counterparts, meant to serve instead of learn. I suppose that's supposed to be OK, too? I've never heard of a black man owning a plantation while whites are working the fields picking cotton. Sure, we are all discriminated against, but there is no comparison to how African Americans are discriminated against. You can pull up all the books, shows, cable channels you like, but there is still no comparison. Minorities period, not just blacks, still don't have the same rights as the white majority, and we probably never will. You make is sound like white people are underprivileged. You all are not; your very skin color is your privilege.

POSTED 1/28/2002

Marco, Chicago, IL, United States, 27, Male, Black/African American, Straight, 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 122200270013


Why DO Afican Americans complain? Why should they complain in the workforce when they make a whopping 60 some cents to every white person's dollar? Why should they complain when thousands of their ancestors have worked, fought and died for a country that still has yet to recognize that they are not being treated fairly? Why shoud they complain that they have only minor sections in history books when they helped build kingdoms? Why should they complain when they have the shortest month of the year alloted to them to celebrate their elaborate history? Why should they complain that inner-city public schools (where many of their children attend and where many of them are concentrated) don't give them sufficient funds to supply their children with adequate and equal schooling to white suburbs? Why should they complain about people not wanting to admit that the nation owes them? They have every right to complain about the injustices that take place on the educational, economic and political levels. They have every right to make as much noise as they need to to get heard by those who run this country. They have the right to make people acknowledge what may never be put into history books. They have every right to feel a little perturbed that although 'you all' say that the glass ceiling has been broken for them, the statistics constantly show whites ahead of the game in most aspects of society. They have a right. I have a right. Is it OK for me to have gone through 13 years of public schooling and know more about Anglo history than my own? Why should it be so hard for me to get educated African Americans and their accomplishments? You think about this. You do some role reversal. The civil rights movement is not over. Not until the black dollar equals the white dollar. Not until people like you recognize that hundreds of years of oppression, neglect, scrutiny, lies, murder, inhumanity, degradation, etc. isn't made better by affirmative action or a few new laws. Mindsets must be changed - starting with yours.

POSTED 1/28/2002

Blake, Philadelphia, PA, United States, 19, Female, Christian, Black/African American, Straight, Student, 2 Years of College, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 124200263758


If you are equating a fictional black woman's complaints to the several centuries of economic, judicial and social discrimination that black people have confronted at the hands of white people in this country, then you have very warped views of what it means to be discriminated against. That said, black people have special institutions like cable channels, magazines, scholarships, etc. because they are a group that has been historically excluded from mainstream society. White people - as defined by racial characteristics - have not been excluded from very much in this society; they define 'mainstream' simply because they are the majority. Thus, 'special' institutions serve no purpose for them other than to exclude people. Black people also have a unique culture, just as ther ethnic groups - like Irish, Italian, German and Mexican Americans - have their own culture. These groups have 'special' institutions like beauty pageants, cable channels/shows, and scholarships. Unless you're calling for all ethnic groups to disband their organizations and institutions, I see your rant against black Americans as unfair.

POSTED 1/28/2002

T.R., Newark, NJ, United States, 24, Female, Over 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 1262002120859

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