Best of the Week
of Feb. 4, 2001

Best of Week Archives

Here are the most intriguing cross-cultural exchanges either begun or advanced during the week of Feb. 4, 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.

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Question:

During election time, why did a lot of poor, trailer park-living white Americans have Bush/Cheney signs in their lots? Did they think Bush would really do them good economically?

POSTED 2/8/01

Hazellboo, Jacksonville, FL, United States, 20, Black/African American, Customer Relations

Mesg ID 2801112804

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Question:

Considering that the African continent is predominantly Muslim, why haven't African Americans maintained that religious background?

POSTED 2/8/01

Kimberly C., Austin, TX, United States, <hijaza@yahoo.com>, 26, Female, Muslim, Black/African American, Straight, housewife, 2 Years of College , Upper middle class

Mesg ID 2801120102

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Question:

I work with people of a wide range of ages at a small retail shop in a mall. Yet one of the managers who is in their mid sixties seems to have this urge to argue any chance he can about anything. He was in the military, and it seems as if he's applying those military tactics in his employment. He also has this tendency to come to the mall on his day off, or on his lunch breaks, walk on the second floor and watch us, and make sure we're working and not goofing off. I understand the visits to see how things are, announced or unnanounced, but the spying, that is really creepy. No one is willing to approach him and ask him why he does what he does. Why does this man spy and creep around as if he doesn't trust us? Could it be his age? Is he still trying to prove something to someone?

POSTED 2/7/01

Jerome, San Francisco, CA, United States, 25, Male, Catholic, Asian, 4 Years of College

Mesg ID 260110256

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Question:

Why is it that white people shower so often in one day? I am a college student, and the females in my dorm shower all day and all night. I feel as though I am not as clean as I should be compared to them. Is there some kind of condition that causes whites to perspire more? Or is it just a 'white' thing?

POSTED 2/7/01

Monique, East Lansing, MI, United States, 19, Female, Christian, Black/African American, Straight, High School Diploma , Upper middle class

Mesg ID 2701112811

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Question:

Why do black people eat so much cheese doodles and drink grape soda?

POSTED 2/7/01

Toast, Stratford, CT, United States, 24, Male, Catholic, White/Caucasian, Straight, student, Over 4 Years of College

Mesg ID 2701113455

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Question:

I am taking anti-depressants and getting counseling for anxiety and depression. Do you think there is a "depressed look" or demeanor about such people? I have been making the greatest effort of my life to communicate with more people, but sometimes I feel like people can see my illness and are put off by it.

POSTED 1/30/01

Mary C., Cleveland, OH, United States, 38, Female, Unity School of Christianity, Native American/American Indian, Lesbian, Manager, 4 Years of College , Middle class

Mesg ID 1300115357


Responses
I don't believe there is a set answer. I remember working with a girl who was just one bundle of laughs and fun. When I got to know her better I discovered she was on anti-depressants. I was very surprised. Later, due to personal problems of my own, I, too, found myself on anti-depressants. Although I tried to hide it, it was obvious to all I was depressed. It was only when I was able to treat the underlying causes of the depression that I became a real person again. It took many months and some radical changes to my life. I do have setbacks from time to time, but I get through them. For what it's worth, the girl I worked with is still outwardly happy, and still on depressants.

POSTED 2/4/01

David E., Evesham, NA, United Kingdom, 45, Male, Atheist, White/Caucasian, Straight, teacher, 4 Years of College , Middle class

Mesg ID 230131020

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Question:

A Hindu co-worker and I were discussing the fear of death many Americans seem to have. She said Hindus and Buddhists generally don't fear death because of the belief that in life you either reach enlightenment or come back in another life to fulfill unresolved desires. I said I thought the fear of death many Americans express is a result of America's Judeo-Christian heritage, in which people have grown up being told that if you sin you will burn in hell (barring absolution of those sins). If you have a fear of death, is it because of your religion? If you don't fear death, why do you think this is?

POSTED 1/29/01

Shelly, Pittsburgh, PA, United States, Female, Quaker, White/Caucasian, Over 4 Years of College , Upper middle class

Mesg ID 1250141415


Responses:
First, I want to correct something you said. 'Being told that if you sin you will burn in hell' is a strictly Christian belief, not a Judeo-Christian belief. Judaism focuses on doing good in life for the sake of doing good, not because of what will or will not happen when you die. With that said, I personally am afraid of death, simply because I enjoy life and do not want it to end, not because of any religious beliefs.

POSTED 2/8/01

Stacey, Durham, NH, United States, <slehrer@cisunix.unh.edu>, 20, Female, Jewish, White/Caucasian, college student, Middle class

Mesg ID 13001112329


It's not as if people of Hindu and Buddhist faiths do not fear death. All humans, regardless of faith, will fear death when challenged by it (that's how our instincts work). What your co-worker probably implied was that Hindus and Buddhists are more willing to accept fate - i.e. 'whatever has to happen will happen' - as it stares them in the face. So face it! Hindu and Buddhist philosophies take a more holistic view of life (and death), and more so in a time and space continuum context. Broadly speaking, to Hindus and some Buddhists, life is considered a cyclical process wherein the 'soul' of a human goes through a series of evolutionary cycles through its journey on earth. By journey ON EARTH I mean that the 'soul' could be John Doe in this lifetime and Jack Doe in its next lifetime. The idea of this 'recycling' is to ultimately unite the soul with the INFINITE PRINCIPLE or THE ABSOLUTE or GOD. This union takes place only after the soul has gone through its 'cleansing process' on earth. The debt of bad deeds done by the soul in one lifetime is carried forward and repaid in its next life, while good deeds are handsomely rewarded. Think of it as a learning experience for the soul, so that when it's free of all 'bad debt' and therefore its 'earthly obligations,' it is ready to liberate itself from the earthly binds of space and time in order to unite with the absolute, or God. This is what Hindus and Buddhists refer to as 'Moksha,' or freedom, or liberation. It's a profound philosophy that cannot be easily justified by our current standards of scientific thought/logic. It requires intuitive reasoning and the ability to see the big picture. Time also is a very critical element here. The concept is difficult to explain but is better understood by reading some books on 'Karma' and general ones on Hinduism and Buddhism.

POSTED 2/8/01

Zipeezy, Birmingham, AL, United States, 30, Male, Hindu, Student, Over 4 Years of College

Mesg ID 250192520


talib kweli said it best when he said in a rap, 'You're only scared to die when you're not living right.' I think a fear of death is definitely because of a religious belief, the whole heaven/hell deal. I'm not quite religious, but I don't fear death, either. I guess it's just a belief that you live each day to its fullest. Because I was raised in some not-so-great places in New York, you sort of learn not to fear death because you never know when 'you gotta go.'

POSTED 2/8/01

I.A., Montclair, NJ, United States, 17, Female, Straight, high school senior, Less than High School Diploma

Mesg ID 2701112932


I believe its a fear of the unknown. We can all agree that sooner or later we all will die, but who can say for sure what comes after death? Its like walking into a crowded room blindfolded.

POSTED 2/8/01

Ladin, Washington, DC, United States, <zionsword@hotmail.com>, 24, Male, Christian, Black/African American, Straight, 2 Years of College , Lower middle class

Mesg ID 270120244


I think the fear of death is religious. People are not really as spiritual as they seem. I believe in the Bible, and it says that 'Man can only take one's body; I (God) own the soul.' Most people don't believe that, or they are afraid they have not accomplished what they feel they should have accomplished and need more time.

POSTED 2/8/01

Jai, Fort Worth, TX, United States, 21, Male, Baptist, Black/African American, Straight, student, 4 Years of College , Middle class

Mesg ID 270153450


I must admit that my non-fear of death was initially supported by my parents' Buddhist views - which inevitably rubbed off onto me. Death, accordingly, is something of a gateway to another form of existence - and thus might be desired. However, I have since found the Buddhist preoccupation with reincarnation isn't compatible with my 'world view.' I do not want to live life according to the principles that dictate a 'good' reincarnation. Instead, I live according to my own sense of direction, my self-defined 'meaning of life.' Of course, this definition (in terms of religion only) contains elements of Buddhism, but it also contains snippets of Western religions. I do not fear death because my intrinsic 'meaning of life' provides no reason to (the reasons for this are too numerous for a short answer format), not just because of Eastern religious philosophy.

POSTED 2/8/01

A.B., Detroit, AR, United States, 30, Male, Asian, Straight, 4 Years of College , Lower middle class

Mesg ID 2801121435

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