Best of the Week
of Feb. 14, 1999


Here are the most intriguing cross-cultural exchanges either begun or advanced during the week of Feb. 14, 1999, as selected by Y? These postings, as well as "Best of the Week" entries from previous weeks, also can be found in their respective archives, which we invite you to browse. There, you will find questions that have received answers, as well as questions still awaiting responses. We encourage you 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 our guidelines pages for asking and answering questions.

Question Code Key:

A=Age

GD=General Diversity

RE=Religion

C=Class

G=Geography

SE=Sensitive Matters

D=Disabilities

O=Occupation

SO=Sexual Orientation

GE=Gender

R=Race/Ethnicity

THE QUESTION:
R612: Just yesterday, for the thousandth time in my life, I was called an "Americanized" Asian by someone who is otherwise a very enlightened person. I was born here and have been to Asia only as a tourist. If anything, I am an "Asianized" American. Nothing - not my voice, dress or mannerisms - would indicate I am from another country (I'm not). My face is the only difference. I would really like to know why Asians are perpetually considered aliens to, and in, American society.
POSTED FEB. 18, 1999
Ray, 24, Asian-American male <
yangban@erols.com>, Washington , DC

ANSWER 1:
I don't understand how the term "Americanized Asian" makes you feel like an alien. I think white Americans use the term to distinguish between Asians they can easily relate with vs. those with strong accents and foreign beliefs.
POSTED FEB. 19, 1999
Mark S., 30, white male <
mseely@wt.net>, Houston, TX

FURTHER NOTICE:
I don't think I've been described as an "Americanized Asian" more than three times in my life. In fact, when I was in the military, some people went out of their way to let me know they saw me as an American with immigrant parents.As to others addressing you as an "Americanized" Asian, I can only speculate as to how the topic comes up. If you are somehow presented as an "Asianized" American to others, they may infer from you an outsider's desire for approval. I'm not saying this is so, but that it may be perceived to be so.
POSTED FEB. 19, 1999
Mike, 29, Chinese male <
leungm@ix.netcom.com>, Minneapolis, MN
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THE QUESTION:
R545: To Asians: How do you view African Americans? I was recently asked by an Asian friend of mine if I combed my hair every day. I don't understand what prompted that question. Please help me understand.
POSTED DEC. 4, 1998
Y.M., 22, African American <
yoyo2003@hotmail.com>, Toledo, OH

ANSWER 1:
Perhaps I'm generalizing, but I think the older generation Indian (60-plus) is more inclined to be racist toward African Americans than someone from my generation would be. But then the older generation is more xenophobic and is not at ease with any foreigner, not just African Americans. I do think (and I'm only thinking of an Asian Indian here, not all Asians) that Indians tend to lput a lot of emphasis on education, college degrees, intellect, family background, social hierarchy, etc., and any prejudice an Indian may have based purely on race/skin color is likely to be dispelled if the person in question meets these "exacting," somewhat snobbish, standards. Incidentally, Indians judge each other on these very same standards.
POSTED FEB. 18, 1999
S.T. ,33, Asian Indian, Dallas, TX
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THE QUESTION:
O21: To construction workers: Why does it seem as though every time a teenage girl walks by a construction site, there are always workers who stop working to look at the girl? Do they mean it as a compliment?
POSTED AUG. 18, 1998
Stephanie S., 15 <
leopoos@yahoo.com>, Dallas, TX

FURTHER NOTICE:
I've worked construction on and off for the last five years. I catch myself eyeing girls as they walk by. "Eye candy" is what I call it. One reason is that looking at girls can help take your mind off your work and break up the monotony. When I am around sweaty, gruff guys 10 hours a day, a sweet young thing walking by helps keep my sanity. Another reason I look is to see who is looking at me. It is a hot summer day. I have my shirt off, swinging a sledge hammer with rippling muscles. I'd like to think that I catch the eyes of females passing by. I don't think that it is rude to look, or even say hello, as long as it is done with class. I've seen guys yell and catcall. That is a little crude. But a smile or wave can be taken as a compliment.
POSTED FEB. 18, 1999
Warren, 20, white male, Royal Oak , MI
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THE QUESTION:
G61: Why do people think that people in the Midwest of the United States are all boring, un-cultured idiots?
POSTED DEC. 18, 1998
B., 28, white male, Minneapolis, MN

FURTHER NOTICE 4:
I lived in the Midwest (Kansas and Missouri) for more than 15 years and was happy to return to the Northwest recently. The Midwest is quite bland. Sorry if that offends. In religious, moral and racial terms, I fit in with most Midwesterners, yet I still find them boring. There is too much willingness among Midwesterners to accept and even celebrate the status quo, rather than seeking anything new or perhaps better. I can't tell you how many Midwesterners I know who have never lived more than 30 miles from where they live now. I realize that builds stability in a community, but it does lend a very limited worldview as well. The tendency to be absorbed by country music, rodeos, trucks, hunting, guns and the like doesn't allow much room for discussions of things that happen outside the area, and in fact, most of the news reporting in the Midwest is along the lines of "A huge earthquake rocked Southern California today. We'll tell you how it's affecting Wichitans." The Midwest is a white-bread world, and that gets incredibly boring when you can't even look out the window and be diverted.
POSTED FEB. 17, 1999
Cathy, 29, female <
gwalchmai@tenforward.com>, WA

FURTHER NOTICE 5:
To me, the Midwest has a culture of its own. Like other cultures, it is stereotyped and exaggerated by individuals, such as in the previous posting. One can just as easily say of the Northwest that "alternative music" and coffee shops/Internet companies are the dominant theme there. If you don't like those types of things, maybe you won't like the Northwest. Of course, there are a whole lot of white hillbillies in Washington and Idaho, and I've never heard Oregon described as a bastion of racial diversity. Basically, some people don't like country music, hunting, guns or farmers. That's fine, because there are plenty of other places to live in this big old world. And to quote a Kris Kristopherson song, "If you don't like Hank Williams/ you can kiss my a--"
POSTED FEB. 18, 1999
B., white male, 23, Kokomo , IN

FURTHER NOTICE 6:
I am a native Minnesotan and have lived in many different cities, most recently in San Antonio. I think it is naive to say the Midwest is without culture. Chicago is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the country. Minneapolis has some of the finest art museums in the nation, and an excellent symphony orchestra. Compared to South Texas and other areas with significant populations of non-Anglos, however, Minnesota always struck me as too homogenous. Growing up as a child, I did not meet a non-Anglo until I was about 14. I always find myself wondering what I would have been like had I stayed in that world. I am glad I moved out and experienced a variety of cultures and points of view. I am glad my children have that opportunity at an early age. They think nothing of the fact that others are different. They will never be able to mark the time when they first met someone of a different race.
POSTED FEB. 18, 1999
Jeff, male <
jbermel@aol.com>, San Antonio , TX
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THE QUESTION:
GD62: Why is understanding other cultures important?

POSTED FEB. 17, 1999
Lance C., male <
gmc@almatel.net>, Broxton , Ga
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THE QUESTION:
GD61: To people of different demographic backgrounds: It seems that each decade has been marked by a theme. The 1960s was the "hippies," the 1970s was "disco," but what was the theme of the 1980s, and with the 1990s almost over, is there a theme for this decade?
POSTED FEB. 17, 1999
Michele P., 22, female <
polit002@mailhost1.csusm.edu>, Vista, CA
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THE QUESTION:
SO123: I've lived in a house for three years with several roommates (all male). The rest of us (all straight) think our other roommate is gay. We have had a lot of people ask us if he was, including girls he was dating. What do I do. Do I ask him, or let it go?
POSTED FEB. 16, 1999
D.T., straight male, 29, San Diego, CA

ANSWER 1:
If you confront him, whether he is gay or straight, he will say he is straight. The first thing you should do is ask yourself and your other straight roommates, "Does it matter?" Would it make any of you uncomfortable if he were gay? If not, then the best way (in my opinion) to proceed would be to bring the subject up in conversation without directly confronting him, and let him know how you feel about gays. It is almost always better for someone to come out of the closet on their own terms, with little or no pressure. The hardest part of coming out to people is predicting how they will react. If you know how they'll react beforehand, it makes it a lot easier. It's also a lot easier to come out to girls than it is to come out to other guys. If he has a really good female friend, get to know her, and ask her. If, on the other hand, you feel that you would be uncomfortable if you found out that he is gay, you should probably leave the issue alone.
POSTED FEB. 17, 1999
Shawn D., 23, gay male <
pharaun@aol.com>, Fort Worth , TX

FURTHER NOTICE:
First, take a minute and examine your real reasons for wanting to know. If you want to be more supportive of your roommate, you might just want to very subtly drop hints that you are supportive, and that you don't care if he is gay or not (ironic, huh?). He might not even really know himself. If he is gay, it is likely that he is watching how you respond to gay people, and estimating if you are "safe." If you only want to know because you are interested in gay things (yes - I know you are straight, but you can still be interested), find another way of satisfying your interests (like asking questions in the Y? Forum). Basically, be supportive and affirmative, not pushy or nosy - if he is gay and feels you are safe enough to tell, you should take it as a big compliment. Remember, it doesn't really matter if he's gay or not!
POSTED FEB. 17, 1999
N.G., gay male, 30 <
vagetan@outnet.co.nz>, Auckland, New Zealand

FURTHER NOTICE 2:
Is your roommate being gay that big of a deal? If he's dating girls, maybe he doesn't even know yet. Try to create an atmosphere that is comfortable and trusting. He'll come out when he's ready. Forcing him will only alienate and put a strain on everyone in the house. What if he isn't gay? Then you'll probably be losing a friend
POSTED FEB. 17, 1999
Topaz, 26, gay man formerly with straight roommate <
sirTopaz@netscape.net>, Boston , MA

FURTHER NOTICE 3:
No, I would not ask him. It's not mine nor anyone else's business what his sexual orientation is. There are many men who may have a feminine quality about them who are flaming heterosexuals.
POSTED FEB. 17, 1999
Male, Hispanic

FURTHER NOTICE 4:
No, don't ask. If that roommate is straight, he might be offended. (I am not defending this reaction, merely stating a fact.) If he is in the closet, he probably fears repercussions. Do any of the straight roommates think straight is better than gay in any way, shape or form? Are/were any anti-gay jokes or remarks made? Anyone ever see a weakness in another straight man and joke about him being gay, a pansy, etc.? Finally, if he grew up in a homophobic atmosphere, he might have been brainwashed himself to believe gay is bad, and has deeply buried his orientation. It's possible he does not even know he is, or does not want to admit it to himself.
POSTED FEB. 17, 1999
N. Smith, 43, lesbian <
ranebow@iname.com>, Butler, PA

FURTHER NOTICE 5:
My first thought was to get the Mr. Roper to come over and confront him while you and your roommates listen from behind the kitchen door, but on second thought, I'd simply respect the man's privacy.
POSTED FEB. 17, 1999
B. Hale <
halehart@aol.com>, Hartford, CT
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THE QUESTION:
O44: To employers and hiring managers only: Tell me, honestly, whether you weigh the sex of a possible employee when making a hiring decision. If so, why? Also, what is it that men in general possess that, to me, appears to give them the edge?
POSTED FEB. 16, 1999
Tigress, 22, female <
tigress1975@hotmail.com>, Temecula, CA

ANSWER 1:
I work as a manager in the software industry, and about 90 percent of the resumes that reach my desk are from males. However, I don't believe men have an edge. In my way of thinking, an edge would indicate that someone is naturally more gifted, and I don't think that's what you're asking. Yet, I do think that men are systematically and institutionally given preferences during their career development. I believe the best workplace is a diverse one. I try to assemble multi-ethnic and gender teams because I've found that such differences bring life to a group. If everyone had the same outlook, the team would stagnate. And while I'll never reject a good applicant, I do make a point to look for diversity (e.g. at career fairs).
POSTED FEB. 17, 1999
D.N., 34, male, Seattle , WA
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THE QUESTION:
RE143: To Muslim women living in the United States: Do you feel less liberated than other women around you who are not confined by having to cover their hair? And what is the purpose of that in your religion?
POSTED FEB. 16, 1999
Shannon, 22, white female <
shannonrae@collegeclub.com>, San Diego, CA
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THE QUESTION:
R586: Why do blacks continue to support integration in schools and residential housing when statistics show that whites will not allow the overall percentage of blacks in their neighborhoods or schools to go above about 8 percent?
POSTED JAN. 20, 1999
Cindy M., white female, Somerset, NJ

ANSWER 1:
Whites and blacks do not have a shared definition of integration. For example, most whites tend to interpret integration as "the personal and systematic threat of contamination by blacks" while blacks see it as "a strategic means of attaining necessary social and environmental resources." In fact, for blacks, integration has less to do with a desire to be more intimate with or in closer proximity to whites and more to do with the need for economic and educational security and preparedness. Hard-working, goal-oriented and civic-minded persons of all colors have in common a desire to live free, safe and uninterrupted. However, because of skin differences and cultural misunderstanding, it is difficult to convince even the most open-minded that whites and blacks can co-exist cooperatively. Poverty erodes both institutions and spirits, yet has little effect on intelligence or ability. On the other hand, wealth and resources tend to enhance the environment and contribute to achievement and health within communities (it is no accident that, on average, those who have more struggle less). Population studies indicate that blacks and whites have an equal fear of living near one another. However, most blacks do admit they are willing to make "cultural sacrifices" for the sake of their children's education and future security. The reality of integration and the need for equality is harsh. I've said enough. What do other people think?
POSTED FEB. 15, 1999
Dee W., black female, <
westde@hiram.edu>, Cleveland, Oh

FURTHER NOTICE:
I don't know if it's entirely true that blacks still wholeheartedly support integration. I think blacks, like whites, support their own self-interest. Moving into areas with the best housing, jobs and schools becomes more a matter of plain economic good sense rather then a broader integrationist agenda. If the best areas happen to be mostly white, and a degree of integration occurs, so be it.
POSTED FEB. 15, 1999
S.F., black, male <
sfinley@wans.net>, Naperville, IL

FURTHER NOTICE 2:
Blacks in the United States have been begging the white man for acceptance since the beginning of slavery. And it's for some twisted, ignorant reason - like if we change our looks to resemble whites and start acquiring things like them, they'll have no choice but to accept us (sickening). We've tried skin-bleaching to make us look white, we've straightened our hair with hot irons, we've added weaves to make it flow, we've changed our eye color with contact lenses, we've shopped where whites shop, we've even tried to move into their neighborhoods so that we can be side by side.

What blacks in the United States have to realize is that we are who we are, and no matter what we do, we cannot make any other race or society accept us if they already have their minds made up not to (and believe me, whites in the United States have had their minds made up for well over 450 years).

We'll never be accepted until we stand up and start fighting and killing for our rights. We have to acquire respect before acquiring acceptance.
POSTED FEB. 15, 1999
Charles, black male, Washington, D.C

FURTHER NOTICE 3:
I'm taking advantage of the unalienable rights we are endowed with, among them, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Unfortunately, not so long ago, these were denied us. I've been a 15-year resident of an all-white neighborhood, and in that time two families moved because of fear. They periodically come back to visit old friends and have admitted they were afraid we would "run the neighborhood down." I support integration because you can't run from it; there's just so much real estate in the United States. What ya gonna do? Attach a barge to the Florida Keys?
POSTED FEB. 15, 1999
A.A.W. 43, black female <
anabwi@aol.com>, Plantation, FL

FURTHER NOTICE 4:
Should they just give up and accept being ostracized, shut out and banished? Or should they continue to work for acceptance of what they can offer to society? I think it's ridiculous to not allow a family to buy a house in my neighborhood just because they're black, or Jewish, or whatever. It has been proven that black children benefit from school integration. They get better grades, learn better, etc. They just want what everybody else wants - a place to live, with nice people, and good schools for their kids. Would you deny them this?
POSTED FEB. 15, 1999
Kerry, 28, bisexual female, CA
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THE QUESTION: 
GE26: Why is it that you only hear jokes about dumb blondes, and not brunettes or redheads?
POSTED MAY 12, 1998
Amie <
Amie@aiis.net>, Marine City, MI

FURTHER NOTICE 5:
I was once told that the reason there are so many jokes about blondes is tied to the dying of the hair to attain the color. For one thing, people who dye their hair are doing it because they think it will make them look better, i.e. sexier or better looking which is why the jokes focus on blondes being "easy." The other reason is that the chemicals used to turn a person's hair blonde were once dangerous and thought to kill brain cells. While this is no longer true, the stereotype has hung around and is now a part of modern culture.
POSTED FEB. 16, 1999
Rachel, female, Rotorua, New Zealand
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THE QUESTION:
SO92: What would be the reasons for "outing" a gay person, especially if it is against his or her wishes?
POSTED NOV. 3, 1998
Stephen S., 31, straight male, San Antonio, TX

FURTHER NOTICE 3:
In almost all cases I am against outing lesbians and gay men who are in the closet, because they may have legitimate reasons for being there (i.e. personal safety, job security, family approval issues, etc.). I think it is much more important for gay people to out on their own, and demonstrate through example that they are just as decent, loving and valued contributors to society as everyone else. However: If you were gay and knew of a closeted gay public official who consistently supported anti-gay public policies, I think you would find it very hypocritical and would want that public official to be accountable for his or her positions. If I knew of a lawmaker who was gay and in the closet, and yet voted against civil rights for gay people just to save his or her political career, I would consider that person a good candidate for outing.
POSTED FEB. 16, 1999
Chuck A., gay male, 39 <
PolishBear@aol.com>, Spring Hill , WV

FURTHER NOTICE 4:
Often, outing is done in response to hypocrisy. For example, a closeted politician who votes against a law that specifies equal rights for gay people. Or a closeted public figure who has publicly denounced gay people in some way. Another factor is the critical need for gay role models. Gay children and teenagers need those role models; a third of teen attempted suicides are by gay teenagers, even though they make up only 10 percent of the teen population. Also, having more people who are out in all walks of life will show that gayness is a simple, natural variety of the human equation, as "normal" as any other human attribute. Besides, celebrities and politicians who have come out or have been outed have gone on to some of their biggest successes (Elton John, k.d. lang, Neil Tennant, Martina Navratilova, Barney Frank, and so on).
POSTED FEB. 16, 1999
Chuck M., gay male. San Francisco, CA
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THE QUESTION:
G69: Why, exactly, do most American women feel it necessary to shave their armpits?
POSTED FEB. 15, 1999
B.K., 20, Baltimore , MD

ANSWER 1:
I was taught by my peers as a teenager that unshaved armpits (or legs) are gross, unsexy, unfeminine and a sign of being a dead beat (I think the last was an anti-hippie sentiment). Though I gave up on shaving my legs years ago, I still shave my armpits every month or so - the hair seems to make it harder to keep them clean, and while I don't mind getting stinky and sweaty, I do like to be able to wash it off.
POSTED FEB. 16, 1999
Catherine H., 25, female <
tylik@eskimo.com>, Woodinville, WA

FURTHER NOTICE:
The main reason is that it's what fashion dictates. There may be some, but I've never seen a supermodel with hairy armpits. Secondly, and this is only a personal observation, I feel cleaner with my underarms shaved. And my legs, too, for what it's worth.
POSTED FEB. 16, 1999
Jen, white female, 28, Detroit, MI
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THE QUESTION:
G31: When naming the days of the week, the English, French and Germans derived the names from the moon, sun, etc. In Lithuanian, the translations are first day, second day, etc. What have other cultures named the days of the week after?
POSTED SEPT. 23, 1998
A. Urbonas, 45, Lithuanian <
urbonas@agric.gov.ab.ca>, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

FURTHER NOTICE 3:
In Japanese, the days are (starting with Sunday): Nichiyobi (sun-day); Getsuyobi (moon-day); Kayobi (fire-day); Suiyobi (water-day); Mokuyobi (tree-day); Kinyobi (gold-day); and Doyobi (earth-day). In Hawaiian, the days are (starting with Sunday): Lapule (prayer-day); Po`akahi (first day); Po`aula (second day); Po`akolu (third day); Po`aha (fourth day); Po`alima (fifth day); and Po`ono (sixth day)
POSTED FEB. 15, 1999
Dru, 33, Asian male, Honolulu , HI
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THE QUESTION:
R607: I am an African American not completely well-versed in the language of hip-hop. Could someone please explain to me the hip-hop meaning of the words "pimp" and "playa"? I've always thought that a pimp (an exploiter and abuser of women) was a bad thing, but I seem to hear this word used frequently in a complimentary context (not something that would seem to promote the social health of our community). Could someone please enlighten me?
POSTED FEB. 15, 1999
Sam, 30, male, brown American <
SamAlex67@aol.com>, Chicago, IL

ANSWER 1:
You are correct in your definition of the words "pimp" and "playa." As with a lot of negative phrases in the black community, some are turned around to mean something good. A pimp, as you stated, is what you said, but a playa is a guy who has a lot of women. I am a diehard hip-hop fan, but I do not agree with everything said. I understand and respect the culture, but it's been tainted since it's been exploited by all the big record companies. Hip Hop is an art form, not just music. Lately all this pimp and playa stuff has been selling, so artists give the fans what they want. I personally miss Old School Hip Hop.
POSTED FEB. 19, 1999
Gary, African American, 32, male <
gshuny_@hotmail.com>, Louisville, KY
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THE QUESTION:
R604: I have dated a few women of Spanish/Latin American descent, and I don't understand why their family or friends always call me "weto." Is this a racist thing or an affectionate running joke?
POSTED FEB. 12, 1999
M. Smith, 24 white male <
skiir2@prodigy.com>, Oceanside, CA

ANSWER 1:
"Weto," which is actually spelled "guero" (with two of those little dots above the "u"), means blonde. So in essence, they're calling you blonde, or "blondie." Among most Latino cultures, blondes are a rarity (though they do exist), which is why they make such a big deal about you being blonde. Guero can also refer to a person with fair skin, or an Anglo. In my experience, this isn't a derogatory term, but in most cases, a term of endearment. I have light-haired relatives, and family members affectionately call them Guero or Guera (or guerito, which means "my little blonde one"). "Gringo," on the other hand, is usually derogatory. My question to you is, why don't you feel comfortable enough with the Latinas that you date to ask them these questions? I know I am more than happy to clarify these matters for those who want to know. Try it next time.
POSTED FEB. 15, 1999
Erika C., 23, Hispanic female <
erika.chavez@mcall.com>, Allentown , PA

FURTHER NOTICE:
I'm wondering if you're misunderstanding what they're calling you - here in Northern New Mexico, people who are blond or very light-skinned are called "huero" or "huera." I haven't noticed that it has any negative connotation - its more affectionate. And it's not necessarily related to race, either.
POSTED FEB. 15, 1999
Danelle, Anglo, not huera <
dsmith9346@nmhu.campuscwix.net>, Las Vegas, NM

FURTHER NOTICE 2:
I think you mean "guero" pronounced "weh-ro." It means fair-skinned. It is not racist at all. The same term is used for light-kinned Latinos. It's very common among Latinos to note someone's appearance in an affectionate way, such as calling children "morenitas" - little brown ones.
POSTED FEB. 15, 1999
A.C.C., Mexican and American Indian, San Antonio, TX

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THE QUESTION:
R587: Why would blacks allow other ethnic groups to do business in their communities, when black entrepreneurs have not been given the same opportunities (outside of mainly government contracts) in other ethnic communities?
POSTED JAN. 20, 1999
Cindy M., white female, Somerset, NJ

ANSWER 1:
I don't think it's a question of "allowing" people of other races to build businesses in the black community. A lot of times it is just that African Americans don't have the capital to purchase that empty store on the corner and begin a business, or that blacks have not been offered the opportunity to learn what it takes to start and run a business. At many of the high schools here in Chicago (at least up until about 10 years ago) most of the students were steered toward the service or trade professions (laborers and such), and they weren't taught the rules of business. Therefore, I think there is some trepidation on the part of blacks to invest such a great amount of money and time into owning their own business.

Also, blacks have not taken advantage of the networking that can be used to start a business. Many of the small businesses are the result of families pooling their resources to open a store. Asian families, for instance, often form "investment" groups, where each family will put money into the pot and let the first family use it to start a businesses. That family will then put a larger sum of money back into the pot, and the second family will start their business, and so on. And finally, many of the empty storefronts in less-affluent black neighborhoods are relatively cheap, allowing other groups to get them for practically nothing. As for blacks building stores in other neighborhoods, there are a lot of factors, including the ones mentioned above, as well as the reluctance on the part of some real estate developers to sell to blacks, and the general animosity and reluctance to shop there on the part of some whites in the neighborhood, which would make the business unprofitable.
POSTED FEB. 15, 1999
Ken G., African-American male <
KennyG9@yahoo.com>, Chicago , Il

FURTHER NOTICE:
Blacks do not have the opportunity or the economic power to make such determinations.
POSTED FEB. 15, 1999
Black Female, Dallas , TX

FURTHER NOTICE 2:
No community can pass an ordinance banning a particular business based on the race of its owner. That's unconstitutional. I'm sure you wouldn't advocate harassment, vandalism or theft in the name of civil unrest. And if you are suggesting a boycott, consider that despite all sweatshop horror stories in the news, you can't get the average American to even look for a "Made In The USA" label on clothes (not that that's a guarantee, anyway).

What you are proposing could have a great deal of economic impact to a huge number of people, some of whom may not even share your cause. Have you considered the additional cost and inconvenience to the members of these African-American communities? Besides, if a Caucasian- or Hispanic- or Asian-run business locates itself in an African-American community, provides a valuable service at a fair price, employs African Americans from the neighborhood and contributes taxes and fees to help support community efforts, why would you feel the owner of that shop should be punished for any reason?

Finally, all Americans, including African Americans, are free to live where they wish, attend school where they wish and start and conduct business of whatever type and in whatever location they wish, subject only to the same laws that all Americans must follow (unless you're rich enough to hire a good lawyer, but as we've seen African Americans can do that as well, and besides, that's another argument).

It seems to me that your questions are really getting at "Why doesn't the black community respond to the racism directed at them (and there is plenty of that to be sure) with racism directed at others?" The answer is that they do, but no racism is justifiable, and none should be encouraged. Two wrongs do not make a right.
POSTED FEB. 15, 1999
Mark, 32, white male, Alexandria , VA
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THE QUESTION:
RE140: What is kosher gelatin? I see it in yogurt, and since I know no Rabbi is going to bless a meat product mixed in with a milk product, I'd like to know what the heck it is.
POSTED FEB. 12, 1999
Sidna <
baskthed@flash.net>, Fort Worth, TX

ANSWER 1:
Kosher gelatin is often made from fish. And to counter another popular misconception, kosher food isn't kosher because of a Rabbi's blessing; the supervising Rabbi only makes sure that all of the ingredients in a manufactured product are kosher.
POSTED FEB. 15, 1999
Shevi D., 22, Orthodox Jew <
shevi@geocities.com>, Baltimore , MD
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THE QUESTION:
R601: I lived in Japan for a year and was very interested to find that cross-dressing was popular. The males I encountered were usually straight but could slip easily into a flamboyant female role. Why is cross-dressing so accepted in Japan? Is it a type of rebellion toward the stern, traditional society?
POSTED FEB. 9, 1999
Cassandra, 29, white female, San Diego, CA

ANSWER 1:
It is my understanding, according to various sources, that there is a strong fetish movement in Japan. Fetish fashion usually refers to vinyl, leather, latex, etc. Part of this subculture is cross-dressing. I would think they go hand in hand. Of course, that begs the question: Why is fetish fashion so popular in Japan? Maybe someone in Japan can tell us.
POSTED FEB. 12, 1999
John K., 25 <
the-macs@geocities.com>, Cranford , NJ

FURTHER NOTICE:
I think the cross-dressing is a direct reaction to the very stoic Japenese culture. I too lived in Japan, and was surprised when I went out to clubs to see the cross-dressing trend. In fact, during Halloween, one of my Japanese male friends talked me into dressing in drag for a costume. He said that "everyone does it" and the experience was exciting, like letting go of your personality for a while. But let me assure you, I refused to wear the panties ... boxers were under my dress!
POSTED FEB. 126 1999
Justin, white male, 24, Seattle, WA
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