Best of the Week
of Feb. 6, 2000

Best of Week Archives

Here are the most intriguing cross-cultural exchanges either begun or advanced during the week of Feb. 6, 2000, 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:
I am a 32-year-old female with two children. I always see people rushing here and there trying to get everything done that they have to do, but you rarely see people taking the time to stop and take time for their families or even just stop to relax. I have this problem. I am very busy and always feel too tired to do things with my children. By the time the weekend gets here, I don't want to do anything but sleep. If anyone can explain why people do this I would appreciate it.
POSTED 2/10/2000
S. Burns, Porterville, CA, United States, <sburns_67@yahoo.com>, 32, Female, White/Caucasian, Straight, waitress/student, 2 Years of College , Middle class,Mesg ID 126200012912

Responses:
Unfortunately, it's the time we're in. Get everything done as quickly as possible, get where you can as fast as you can. The result is that the fast-paced work life we are used to has over the years slowly creeped into our home lives - and slowly made home life more like work.
POSTED 2/11/2000
Floyd, Sterling Heights, MI, United States, 24, Male, Straight, Sys Admin, Middle class, Mesg ID 211200014440
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Question:
A security guard where I work told me that he and other security guards, who are above average height, have a trick of pulling the front of their uniform hats down so that they shadows their eyes. That way when they look at the clients and customers, they literally have to look down on them, thus making the guards look more intimidating. Do any other security guards throughout the world do this?
POSTED 2/10/2000
Robert S., Poole, NA, United Kingdom, <rms6859@yahoo.com>, 23, Male, Christian, White/Caucasian, Straight,Mesg ID 27200095751
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Question:
Why do people say that Asian people are smarter than other races of people?
POSTED 2/10/2000
Carlos O., Porterville, CA, United States, 20, Male, Catholic, Hispanic/Latino, Straight, 2 Years of College, Mesg ID 282000103421

Responses:
Many people assume that Asians are smarter because they are often involved in science and math, study a lot and get good grades. I do not think any of these qualities makes a person smart. Americans seem to be acculturated to believe that people who do well in math and school are 'brainy' and 'nerdy,' which is unlike any other misconception I have ever encountered, having been born in Taiwan, raised in Papua New Guinea, relocated to southern California and now migrated to Chicago. Incidentally, I'm Asian-American, and I got a 'C' in calculus and am in the bottom half of my class in law school!
POSTED 2/11/2000
David L., Chicago, IL, United States, 27, Male, Asian-American, Straight, Law clerk, Over 4 Years of College , Middle class

Asians being smarter than other races is not necessary true. As an Asian, I can tell you that the reason this perception exists is that a relatively high proportion of Asians have succeeded in academic areas and professional careers. The reason for that is not necessarily the intelligence but the attitude of Asians. Because of their cultural roots, Asian families emphazie the importance of education regardless of the economic status of the family. They are more willing to sacrifice for the education of their children than others, and their children also respond to their parents' effort. Asians have a strong will to succeed and are willing to work hard. If two persons have the same intelligence, but one of them puts in more hours, that person should gain more and should be more likely to succeed.
POSTED 2/11/2000
J.C., Boston, MA, United States, 29, Male, Asian, Straight, Over 4 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 211200065659
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Question:
If man is supposed to be a "higher" animal, why do homosexuals engage in an activity, such as homosexual intercourse, that even animals do not practice?
POSTED 2/3/00
Caryn, Denton, TX, United States, 38, Female, Christian, White/Caucasian, Straight, Paralegal, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 21200045453

Responses:
Homosexual activity is widely spread and well documented across the animal kingdoms. In Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity (published in 1999), scientist Bruce Bagemihl demonstrates that some animals - just like some humans - find homosexuality as their natural way of being. Throughout the book's 512 pages, Bagemihl piles up the evidence and addresses the question, "Why haven't scientists reported this behavior?" No surprise here: Scientists were afraid to share their discoveries because they knew that the evidence clashed with others' religious beliefs. And they knew that the offended would ruin the career of any scientist so rash as to tell an unwelcome truth. Or the scientists were so determined to find what they wanted that they ignored their own data. Thus Bagemihl places his own career on the line to document homosexual behavior across the animal kingdoms - from whiptail lizards to bottlenose dolphins, flamingoes, vampire bats and giraffes, bears and our fellow primates. This behavior is freely chosen, not the result - as some would hope - of force or the lack of available partners of the other sex. So, it's not just Heather who has two mommies but some grizzly bear cubs, too. Let's not limit God and her creation. Homosexuality is an integral part of life.
POSTED 2/5/2000
Thom, Washington, DC, United States, 57, Male, White/Caucasian, Over 4 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 24200030632

Maybe it is only your Christian perception that homosexuality is a lower behavior form. Maybe it is higher than you can understand.
POSTED 2/10/2000
Matthew, New York, NY, United States, 42, Male, White/Caucasian, Gay, Middle class, Mesg ID 272000114910

It goes without saying that our intelligence as a human race surpasses that of animals, but it does not place us above imperfection. To put it bluntly, gay men and women do not suppress their human species intellect simply because their hormones drive them toward same-sex relationships.
POSTED 2/10/2000
Jerrod P., Clarksville, KY, United States, <buddap@yahoo.com>, 21, Male, Baptist, Black/African American, government, High School Diploma , Middle class, Mesg ID 292000122901

I've seen lots of articles out in cyberspace and print that refute your thesis. The higher primates have been observed to exhibit same-sex behavior, as have other species. Placing human kind as a 'higher' animal doesn't stop us from depleting resources, polluting the environment and engaging in genocide - all activities that even animals do not practice. Stretch your vision a bit to include searching out information on topics instead of accepting old canards and cliches about groups of people that are marginalized.
POSTED 2/10/2000
Mark B., Dallas, TX, United States, <Civic-Si@swbell.net>, 39, Male, UFMCC - Cathedral of Hope, White/Caucasian, Gay, Financial analyst, 2 Years of College , Lower middle class, Mesg ID 252000112149

Humans being 'higher' animals is certainly debatable, but homosexual behavior in other animals isn't. In the wild, chimpanzees have been observed to engage in male-to-male and female-to-female sexual behavior, including intercourse. In fact, virtually all human sexual activity, such as masturbation, adultery, rape, pedophilia, etc., has been witnessed in primate cultures. They likely would do porno as well if they had cameras! And our primate cousins are by no means the only animals so inclined. There have been, recently, numerous documented reports of homosexual behavior in numbers of wild mammal and bird communities. I stress 'in the wild' here because such behavior seen in zoos and in domestic animals for years has always been dismissed as an artifact of captivity. We had a male cocker spaniel when I was a teenager who definitely, obviously, preferred other boy dogs; which greatly limited my parents' desire to ever take him on walks around the neighborhood.
POSTED 2/10/2000
Steve, Houston, TX, United States, 42, Male, White/Caucasian, Straight, Engineer, Over 4 Years of College , Upper middle class, Mesg ID 24200093232

There are any number of species that engage in homosexual behavior. Not to mention any number of humans who do not think that homosexual behavior is a sign of 'lower' morals or intellect or evolutionary development, or whatever you meant when you used the word 'higher.'
POSTED 2/10/2000
Susan, New York, NY, United States, 37, Female, Straight, Over 4 Years of College , Upper middle class, Mesg ID 230062509

Homosexual activity does exist in the animal kingdom. Scientists have documented this among cows, rams, dolphins and even primates. Perhaps this is the more relevant question - if man is supposed to be a 'higher' animal, why does he discriminate and hate so fiercely - forcing people to lose their jobs, apartments, security and even their lives based on who they love? That is the real puzzler.
POSTED 2/10/2000
Anna, Seattle, WA, United States, 31, Female, Christian, White/Caucasian, Lesbian, Technology, Over 4 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 25200041250

I read an article in an animal magazine that states there are some animals who choose the same sex animal as partners. I wish I had the article on me to let you know exactly what it said, but basically it stated the animal exhibited 'nesting' type behavior with its own gender. You can find some support of this information at http://www.salon.com/it/feature/1999/03/cov_15featurea.html and http://www.gaywow.com/gayanimals.htm. If you consider that animals are a 'lower' form, then they have basic instincts, such as to procreate to keep their species alive. Since we are a 'higher' form , then we already know that our species is alive and well, overcrowding and ruining the earth and animal's habitats. Do you think 'homosexual intercourse' is the only activity that homosexuals engage in? They are the same as any other human being. They have intimate relationships that are satisfying on all levels - not just sex. I hope the links provide you with some answers to your question.
POSTED 2/10/2000
Lisa, Dallas, TX, United States, 31, Female, Asian, Straight, Marketing/Communication, Over 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 230091050

Let's put aside the fact that homosexual behavior has been observed in animal species on many occasions. I think you have answered your own question. The reason many human beings are homosexual is that we are 'higher' animals, just as human beings have so many other unique psychological and social capacities. Homosexual activity in human beings is more than just animalistic 'rutting.' Who I choose to enter into a relationship with and/or be intimate with involves much more than the fact that he is male. It also involves aesthetic appeal, interpersonal 'chemisty' and our ability to communicate in mutually fulfilling terms. And consider how much richer the world is for the presence of lesbians and gay men. As social commentator Fran Lebowitz once remarked, 'If you removed all the homosexuals and homosexual influence from what is generally regarded as American culture, you would be pretty much left with Let's Make a Deal.'
POSTED 2/10/2000
Chuck A., Spring Hill, WV, United States, <PolishBear@aol.com>, 40, Male, Catholic, White/Caucasian, Gay, 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 2300114118

Your question is based on a false premise. Some animals do engage in homosexual activity. You might want to read Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity by Bruce Bagemihl for an extensive overview of the subject. I think the existence of homosexuality in nature is, for the most part, irrelevant to contemporary debates over civic equality and social acceptance for lesbians and gays. Homosexuality occurs in nature, and even if it didn't, we human beings do plenty of 'unnatural' things to which no one objects, which we even consider laudable. Animals don't write symphonies, build hospitals, fly airplanes or wear clothes. Does that make these things wrong? It's equally silly to claim that because homosexuality occurs in nature that we ought to accept it. Murder, rape and cannibalism also occur in nature. We don't accept them. Ultimately, gay equality will be won by appealing to basic moral and political principles of justice, tolerance and equality, not the false standard of 'what is (un)natural is/is not right.'
POSTED 2/10/2000
Rob, Los Angeles, CA, United States, 32, Male, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, Gay, Filmmaker, Over 4 Years of College , Upper middle class, Mesg ID 230092137

Animals do engage in what you might term homosexual intercourse. Get a bunch of male dogs in one place, just out of reach of a female dog in heat. Watch that for an hour, then we can talk.
POSTED 2/10/2000
John K., Cranford, NJ, United States, <jkeegan3@home.com>, 26, Male, Chemical Engineer, Over 4 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 230091514
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Question:
How will white Catholics feel if their next pope is black?
POSTED 2/3/00
E.D., Kansas City, MO, United States, 43, Female, Mesg ID 22200061008

Responses:
The color of our next pope (I am a white Catholic) matters far less than his ability to lead the Catholic church and his position on controversies within the church. If the next pope is black, I presume he would be an African, rather than say African American. Based on my experience with visiting priests from Africa, they are on fire with their faith, and thus an African pope would be terrific, in my opinion.
POSTED 2/10/2000
Anne, Ann Arbor, MI, United States, Female, Mesg ID 29200060235

They will probably feel a little surprised at first, but it will make very little difference to most Catholics. Are there some Catholics who are bigots and racists who will be extremely upset? Sure, but for most Catholics it won't matter much at all.
POSTED 2/10/2000
Zeke, Josephine, AL, United States, 56, Male, Catholic, White/Caucasian, Straight, Engineer, Over 4 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 262000103836

This is an interesting question, because it is not just idle speculation: There is a strong chance it will happen soon. John Paul II is in poor health and may not live much longer. Now, in the past, most of the cardinals were Italian, which meant that only Italians were elected Pope. But over the past 30 years, Popes Paul VI and John Paul II have appointed numerous cardinals from the Third World. Indeed, there are several prominent African cardinals who will be strong candidates for the papacy when the next election comes about. (By the way, there is also a prominent contender- Cardinal Lustiger- who was born Jewish!) A black African pope would not bother me in the least. It might shake up some of the blue-collar white Catholics I grew up with, but they'll just have to get over it.
POSTED 2/10/2000
Astorian, Austin, TX, United States, 38, Male, Catholic, White/Caucasian, Straight, 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 26200093825

I don't know about other Catholics, but I and those in my community have no opposition to a black pope. Some I don't know may oppose, and many will not.
POSTED 2/10/2000
Paul S., Burnsville, MN, United States, Male, Catholic, White/Caucasian, Mesg ID 25200013028
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Question:
Is it normal for a 21-year-old woman to not have had her "first kiss" yet or gone out with a guy? I am such a person. Guys seem to avoid me. I don't consider myself ugly. In fact, I've been told that I'm "pretty." Are there certain types of girls/women that guys stay away from? I'm quite petite, 5-2 and no more than 105 pounds. Do guys consider really petite girls a problem because they're worried we're too delicate for them to handle?
POSTED 2/3/00
Katherine, Toronto, Ontario, NA, Canada, 21, Female, Asian, Straight, Student, 2 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 21200094343

Responses:
Probably your looks are not what has discouraged men from asking you out, or giving you a kiss. Maybe you misinterpret the signals they give you, or maybe you don't realize it when they are interested in you. Even if this hasn't happened yet, it likely will soon. Sounds to me like you're OK. Just keep living your life in ways that make you feel good about yourself.
POSTED 2/10/2000
Bill B., Jacksonville, FL, United States, Male, Mesg ID 26200064508

It could be that guys are intimidated. Do you know that feeling you get when you see a hottie of a guy and you start thinking, 'No way would he talk to me' or 'He's GOTTA have a girlfriend already'? Well, we guys think that way, too. Most guys consider themselves to be out of a pretty girl's 'league,' and we usually start making assumptions (thinking she's already taken, et al). Have patience, hun: My first kiss was a month before I turned 22!
POSTED 2/10/2000
Pike, Slidell, LA, United States, 25, Male, White/Caucasian, Straight, college student, Over 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 24200063300

Your 'problem' may relate to your heritage. I know many men who think Asian women are beautiful, and I'm one of them. I've never dated an Asian, though. The reason is that when I see an Asian woman I think is interesting, I always think she wouldn't go out with because I'm white.
POSTED 2/10/2000
Mark A., Detroit, MI, United States, <gurumark@worldnet.att.net>, 32, Male, White/Caucasian, Straight, Paramedic, Technical School , Middle class, Mesg ID 2300115324

My wife is 5'2" (more or less) and around 105 pounds. I have never considered her petiteness a problem. I have noticed, though, that large differentials in size (height and weight) among couples are less common than they were, say, a generation ago, and sometimes I feel a bit 'freakish' in public (I'm 6'0', around 250, proportionate) with my wife for this reason. You may have a Michael J. Fox in your future as opposed to a Michael Jordan.
POSTED 2/10/2000
Augustine, Columbia, SC, United States, 39, Male, White/Caucasian, Straight, Over 4 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 230082214
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