Best of the Week
of Feb. 11, 2001

Best of Week Archives

Here are the most intriguing cross-cultural exchanges either begun or advanced during the week of Feb. 11, 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:

For the ladies: We men are being bombarded by magazine articles that allege that half of all women want to sleep with this Hollywood actor or that gorgeous pop idol. Because it has become so fashionable for women to express these desires, can anyone give me a good reason why I should marry my partner on the basis that she will promise to forsake all others? I really do believe, when it comes to the crunch, that very few married women would be able to resist the temptation to have a bit of fun on the side if Mr. Right were to pop up.

POSTED 2/12/01

David, Oxford, NA, United Kingdom, 45, Male, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, Straight, teacher, 4 Years of College , Middle class

Mesg ID 21001113526

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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


Responses
I don't know, but a few years ago a black female co-worker and I found out that we shared a passion for Mountain Dew and Malted Milk Balls. She complimented me on having a 'black palate.' I wasn't sure I knew what she meant, but I did consider it a compliment. My wife, on the other hand, believes I have the arrested taste buds of a 10-year-old.

POSTED 2/12/01

Steve, Houston, TX, United States, 44, Male, White/Caucasian, Straight, Corporate Cubicle Guy but soon to be promoted, Over 4 Years of College , Upper middle class

Mesg ID 21101101020


I don't believe it is a race or ethnic trait. I happen to love cheese doodles, and grape drink has always been my favorite and that of my older sister. We identify as white, but have some Native American blood. Hmmm ... well, time for a snack. Where are my cheese doodles?

POSTED 2/12/01

Corliss, Chattanooga, TN, United States

Mesg ID 2110125216


Name 10 black people you know who eat a lot of cheese doodles and drink grape soda. I hate cheese doodles and grape soda! My wife hates cheese doodles and grape soda! My three college roommates and I never bought cheeze doodles and grape soda! My dad is diabetic and can't eat cheese doodles and grape soda! I bet Marion Jones doesn't eat cheese doodles and drink grape soda! I bet Carl Lewis doesn't each cheese doodles and drink grape soda! I bet Colonel Charles Young didn't eat cheese doodles and drink grape soda! I bet Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. didn't eat cheese doodles and drink grape soda! I have just given you 10 blacks who don't eat cheese doodles and drink grape soda. Can you give me 10 who do?

POSTED 2/12/01

B.J., Houston, TX, United States, <acedawg1911@aol.com>, 24, Male, Christian, Black/African American, Straight, Mining/Energy, 4 Years of College , Middle class

Mesg ID 2110172551


I am a 46-year-old African American. What is a cheese doodle ? I have not had a grape soda since the '60s. How did you determine 'all black people eat so much cheese doodles and drink grape soda'?

POSTED 2/12/01

Gene, Chicago, IL, United States, 46, Male, Baptist, Black/African American, Straight, self-employed, 2 Years of College

Mesg ID 270172659


Blacks eat cheese doodles because they taste good, and they drink grape soda because it tastes good, too. Normally when something tastes good, people will consume it more. We also like Doritos, Lays Chips, Hanover Chips, Pepsi, Sprite and Coca-Cola. I think if you focus on one particular item, that is all you will see. Let your eyes run wild and you'll see black people eating Triscuits and drinking mineral water, too.

POSTED 2/12/01

Tonini, Nashville, TN, United States, 24, Female, Christian, Black/African American, Straight, 4 Years of College , Upper middle class

Mesg ID 280175057


Because they are cheap! And when you are poor in the hood, you learn to buy/get used to the cheapest stuff you can.

POSTED 2/12/01

Jaimee, Somerset, NJ, United States, 31, Female, Black/African American, Straight, Information Analyst, 4 Years of College , Middle class

Mesg ID 290185705

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Question:

I am curious about the history of giving someone the middle finger. To be specific, what is the origin and how did it come to be?

POSTED 2/12/01

T. Thomas, Flint, MI, United States, 30, Male, Atheist, White/Caucasian, Straight, driver, 2 Years of College , Middle class

Mesg ID 21101115341

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Question:

I have noticed the words "NO FEAR" on caps, shirts, bumper stickers and car window decals. I also received an e-mail stating that the phrase "NO FEAR" is the National Organization For a European American Race. The e-mail also stated that this group was supported and backed by former KKK member David Duke. Could someone shed some light on this for me?

POSTED 2/12/01

Lion, St. Louis, MO, United States, 30, Male, Black/African American, Straight, Technical School , Middle class

Mesg ID 2110121532

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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


Responses
Maybe they're getting sweaty from working out?

POSTED 2/12/01

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

Mesg ID 21001110520


There are many reasons someone would shower more than once a day. They might shower once in the morning before going to class, then shower again in the evening before going out somewhere. It's possible that the classrooms may have been a little warm, causing them to perspire. They might be overweight, or maybe they worked up a sweat in the gym and were too embarrassed to shower in front of other people. If body odor is their problem, it could be their diet. For example, eating onions will give you a slight body odor. If a person smokes, or hangs around people who smoke, the tobacco smell will get into their clothes, hair and even skin. Plus, there are people with obsessive compulsive disorders, such as compulsive hand washing. On a psychological note, people with feelings of guilt will try to 'wash away' their guilt ('I feel so dirty!'). I really think it has nothing to do with what color their skin is. The fact that you noticed 'the whites' showering day and night could be just a coincidence. I'm sure people of other nationalities sometimes shower more than once per day.

POSTED 2/12/01

Taz, Windsor, Ontario, NA, Canada, 29, Male, Catholic, White/Caucasian, 4 Years of College , Middle class

Mesg ID 2110131916


I have noticed quite the contrary: the white girls I once shared a room with during a class trip never took a shower for that whole weekend. I guess the level of cleanliness depends on the person.

POSTED 2/12/01

Ify, Miami, FL, United States, 23, Female, Black/African American, student

Mesg ID 2110175236


I'm not clear on whether you're referring to taking more than one shower a day, or people showering throughout the day. Most white people, and I would assume, people of any race, shower or bathe once a day. A lot of people do it in the morning, but some do it in the evening before bedtime. Bathing any less often, except perhaps in very cold weather, makes me feel grubby and, well, 'funky.' There is probably no real health reason, but it is part of American culture. Bathing more than once a day would only be called for if one had been doing something to get especially sweaty or dirty (exercising, hard physical labor, etc.) or if one wanted to be 'fresh' for an evening occasion such as a party. Some cultures scoff at Americans for our cleanliness standards, but by our standards they are the ones who are dirty and have an offensive odor.

POSTED 2/12/01

Augustine, Columbia, SC, United States, 40, Male, White/Caucasian, Over 4 Years of College , Middle class

Mesg ID 270182710


I think it's all about the hair. If they sweat, it gets all oily and sticks to their heads. So they shower to fluff it up. I have met a few, though, who don't even believe in taking one shower a day. That's a lot worse.

POSTED 2/12/01

Katdog, Houston, TX, United States, Female, Black/African American

Mesg ID 2801104520


How often do you mean by 'often'? Most people I know shower once a day.

POSTED 2/12/01

Cynthia, Somewhere, NA, Canada, 21, Female, Asian, student, 2 Years of College , Upper middle class

Mesg ID 280195327

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Question:

I have noticed often, not always, black women wearing 'slip on' styles of shoes with their heels hanging off the back. Why don't they buy shoes to fit them correctly? Does it make them feel good to say they wear a smaller size, or do they borrow the shoes from someone who wears a smaller size, or do they feel comfortable this way? Just curious.

POSTED 2/12/01

T.G., Springfield, IL, United States

Mesg ID 2120110248

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Question:

Why do white people murder their spouses and children for money? I'm curious because of stories I read. It's either they're going broke or they don't want to see their spouse with someone else. I know it's not all white people, just quite a few.

POSTED 2/12/01

Crystal K., Chicago, IL, United States, 28, Female, Baptist, Black/African American, Straight, accountant, Over 4 Years of College

Mesg ID 2120124555

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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


Responses
It shouldn't take an Australian to explain the "Reagan Democrat" phenomenon: these were poor people who would have traditionally supported the Democrats, but voted for Reagan because of his social conservatism, which appealed to them, 'family values,' etc. Those people probably supported Bush for the same reason.

POSTED 2/12/01

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

Mesg ID 2100143335


If they are in the conditions you describe, then I would guess that they were supporting Bush with the fond hope that things would be better for them. It seems rather apparent that if they are there, then the Clinton/Gore economic boom must have passed them by, and they were not ready to invest another four years in those policies. The boom economy did not do much for many African Americans, either, but the Gore political signs were abundant in those neighborhoods.

POSTED 2/12/01

James, Burton, OH, United States, Male, Baptist, White/Caucasian, Straight, Over 4 Years of College , Middle class

Mesg ID 2110125820


I hope not, because if they are not ready to join the military, the credits are going to roll. I think it was a racial thing.

POSTED 2/12/01

Mark, Cali, CA, United States, <rip_the_jacker@hotmail.com>, 36, Male, Baptist, Black/African American, Straight, Government employee, Technical School

Mesg ID 290110221

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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


Responses
It's not a matter of 'maintaining' it. At the time the ancestors of today's black Americans were being brought over here, Africa was not mostly Muslim. That's a more recent phenomenon. The slaves weren't Muslim. Instead, they had their own cultures/religions taken away from them and Christianity forced on them.

POSTED 2/12/01

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

Mesg ID 21001105051


When African Americans were brought here from Africa, they were neither Muslim nor Christian. They most likely practiced the old traditional African religious beliefs. And another thing, 'black' Africa is predominantly Christian, if you don't consider the Arab-African countries.

POSTED 2/12/01

Biwott, Chicago, IL, United States, 25, Male, Christian, African, Straight, student, Over 4 Years of College

Mesg ID 21001123029


Are you sure about this? NORTH Africa, OK, I agree. But it seems to me that south of the Sahara, most of the population is not Muslim. The blacks in America who are descended from Africans came, I think, from coastal areas near or south of the equator - areas that do not and never did have a large Muslim population.

POSTED 2/12/01

Jesse N., Fort Worth, TX, United States, 41, Male, White/Caucasian, Engineer, 4 Years of College

Mesg ID 2110113516

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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


Responses
I think it has a lot more to do with being ex-military than his age. If you haven't been in the service, it's hard to understand just how controlled every little detail is. Ever heard of a rig line on your clothing? It's where the line of your belt, your pants zipper and where your shirt is buttoned are all expected to line up exactly. Things like surprise inspections and using a white glove to see if there's dust on the top of a door are also common. It can take years before miltary habits wear off. I would still stand at parade rest for almost a year after I left the Army, and I only served one enlistment. Some of these lifers never give up their old habits. Try this: Both older people and military men love talking about their experiences. Have someone ask him in a friendly way to talk about them and patiently listen. At some point, jokingly remind him he's not in the service anymore.

POSTED 2/12/01

A.C.C., W. Lafayette, IN, United States

Mesg ID 2100121740


I am in the military and am also under 30. I really don't think his spying on the employees has to do with his age. I feel it has to do with experience. Many people, while working, do not do their jobs, and they goof off a lot. It sounds like he might have seen someone not doing what they were supposed to be doing. I see it in a lot of young people. They try to get by only doing the bare minimum. Some, not all. Also, if this is affecting the job atomosphere, don't be so afraid to just ask him is there a problem. By him being older, he may just be lonely and need someone to talk to. He may not have much to do at home so he centers the mall around his life. Also, don't blame military tactics as an adverse behavior. All military employees do not start arguments or even try to rule over others. In the military there are rules and guidelines that employees must go by. If they are not followed, one is disciplined. The same applies to the civilian world. There are rules. If you don't follow them, you are discipled.

POSTED 2/12/01

Andrena, Augusta, GA, United States, 26, Female, Muslim, Black/African American, Straight, Nurse, 4 Years of College , Middle class

Mesg ID 21101124222

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