Best of the Week
of Feb. 15, 2004

 

Best of Week ArchivesArchives

Here are the most intriguing cross-cultural exchanges either begun or advanced during the week of Feb. 15, 2004, 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 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.

 

 First-time users should first make a quick stop at Y?'s guidelines pages for asking and answering questions.

 


Question:

I have often seen young Latino men playing with their nipples under their shirts. I have seen this in public several times. Sometimes they also stroke or fondle their chests. Anyone else notice this? Is it a kind of sexual exhibitionism?

POSTED 2/15/2004

Matt A., Los Angeles, CA, United States, 31, Male, White/Caucasian, 4 Years of College, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 26200445318

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Question:

I believe AIDS in Africa is a massive conspiracy by racist whites. Such things like this have happened in the past, such as the Tuskeegee experiments, where black men were secretly injected with syphillis. I believe the same thing (or something similar) happened in Africa, since AIDS first appeared in the United States but Africa has the deadliest, most infectious form of the AIDS virus. I've discussed this with black and white people. The white people said I was crazy, whereas the black people tended to agree. Do others think AIDS in Africa is a conspiracy? Or does that just sound crazy?

POSTED 2/15/2004

Keil, Boston, MA, United States, 19, Male, Atheist, Black and White, Straight, High School Diploma, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 2112004125735


Responses:

You are quite wrong. AIDS is a human condition. The virus does not single out any race. The virus would have infected only blacks for it to be a conspriacy. Death and disease know no color. There are many reasons the AIDS virus is rampant in Africa. It has more to do with living conditions, poverty, lack of education and so much more that I could write a book. Yes, there are some elements of racism, but it is no conspriacy. As a native of Tuskegee, Ala., I am quite familiar with the Tuskegee Experiment. Those victims were not given the disease, but they were not treated. It was truly a horrible event. You must remember that AIDS is 100 percent preventable. Others will write to disagree. You should get some interesting emails on this subject. Just one reminder: AIDS was once thought to be a 'gay' disease. Do more research on Africa. Read books written by Africans and you will discover many wonderful things and, sadly, many terrible things. Knowlege is a powerful tool in life.
POSTED 2/17/2004
Harvey, Los Angeles, CA, United States, 50, Male, Black/African American, Straight, Mesg ID 216200492632



HIV/AIDS was first diagnosed in the United States and France at approximately the same time. But the origins have been traced back to Africa; i.e., the virus had a global migration out of Africa. Check out http://www.sfaf.org or http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/dhap.htm to get some excellent historical data on the virus. Are you crazy to think it could be a conspiracy? Not at all. Our government has a poor history in regard to medicine and minority groups. But, there is a ton of medical research available on the internet that documents both strains. Information is power, and an informed community is able to deal with issues openly. The articles I have read about HIV/AIDS and the African-American community indicate that the topic is still not readily discussed, as it carries the 'gay' stigma; a stigma that hasn't yet been effectively quelled in the African-American community (or many others, for that matter). HIV/AIDS doesn't discriminate - it infects anyone who puts himself or herself at risk.
POSTED 2/18/2004
Mark, Dallas, TX, United States, <civic-si@swbell.net>, 43, Male, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, Gay, Financial Analyst, 2 Years of College, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 217200441759


Call it what you want, friend, but the fact is that you have a lot of people in African countries making poor decisions when it comes to their personal choices for the behaviors in which they engage. Putting the blame on someone else for one's bad decision-making is not the problem. In Africa, you have a tribalistic, often chauvinistic, cavalier attitude about sex, which is the primary venue for HIV transmission there, as well as head-in-the-sand responses to personal responsibility. Compound that with deep-rooted attitudes of ignorance and you have a lethal cocktail of disaster waiting to happen. Saying there is a white conspiracy against Africans just ain't gonna fly with this brotha.
POSTED 2/18/2004
Thomas, Colombia, SC, United States, Male, Black/African American, Mesg ID 218200475234


Please do yourself and those around you a favor and get an education. I understand the anger you feel as a minority, but your mind could be put to better use if you stepped out of the conspiracy theory world and learned something about the world, biology, history, etc. Then, if you could pass on what you learn to those around you, just think of the world you might help create. I apologize if I seem harsh, but 30 years-plus into this pandemic to hear a young person spout what you did is too much.
POSTED 2/18/2004
Matthew, New York, NY, United States, 45, Male, Middle class, Mesg ID 218200483751


Because of your use of the word 'racist,' I'll assume you mean that the virus was introduced with the intention of causing harm or death to blacks. I agree that certain people might be motivated to try this, but the lack of selectivity of the virus (infects all humans) makes this an implausible scenario to me. I do agree with many articles that this virus is proabably not 'naturally occurring' and probably stems from a vaccination program, but I think that the consequences were unintentional. Africa is more affected due to poverty, health conditions and lack of education as much as being the target of any particular vaccination program. Crazy? No. But maybe a little 'over the top.'
POSTED 2/18/2004
Mark, Durham, NC, United States, 37, Male, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, Straight, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 2182004124142

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Question:

Why is it so easy for most people to believe that miracles and visions from God took place and were valid 2,000 years ago, but not today? Millions of people around the world base their lives and the lives of others on books written by men, supposedly dictated by God, but If I had a vision from God or claimed God spoke to me today, I'd be considered a fanatic or just plain crazy. Why?

POSTED 2/15/2004

Daniel, Phoenix, AZ, United States, <originaldan@excite.com>, 34, Male, Deist, White/Caucasian, Straight, Sales, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 27200494531

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Question:

I am a college student and have often noticed that Asians at school will switch to an Asian language, most often Korean or Chinese, when white people approach, even though they speak English perfectly well. Do they not realize that this is extremely rude?

POSTED 2/15/2004

Raymond G., New York, NY, United States, 21, Male, White/Caucasian, Student, Mesg ID 212200483216

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Question:

If a there was a genetic test that showed that your unborn child would grow up to be homosexual, which would be the bigger sin - bringing a homosexual into the world, or having an abortion?

POSTED 2/15/2004

David, Renton, WA, United States, 46, Male, White/Caucasian, Straight, volunteer, Technical School, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 272004125141


Responses

We are all born with 'flaws'. No one is perfect - genetically or otherwise. So which is worse - to give someone a chance to experience life that may not agree with society's specifications, or to kill an innocent being without giving it a chance at all? I say the latter. Simply being born is a miracle. How we live our adult lives is our own choice.
POSTED 2/17/2004
Allison, Solon, OH, United States, 34, Female, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, Straight, 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 217200455357



Thou shalt not kill, David. First, I don't believe homosexuality has anything to do with genetics. I know straight people with one or more homosexual parents. Next, I just don't believe in abortions, so even if homosexuality was genetic, I believe that child has a right to life. It has the right to choice. And who in the world loves their child less just because they're gay? Love is unconditional.
POSTED 2/18/2004
Whitney, Robinsonville, MS, United States, <braejelle@yahoo.com>, 24, Female, Baptist, Black/African American, Straight, 2 Years of College, Mesg ID 218200491725

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Question:

To people with any degree of fame: how do you wish people would treat you in public? Is it more annoying to have strangers talk to you about your work, or for them to pretend not to recognize you?

POSTED 2/15/2004

A. Reed, Salt Lake City, UT, United States, 24, Male, Atheist, White/Caucasian, Gay, Writer, 4 Years of College, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 29200493544

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Question:

How to Iraqi teenagers live? How do they worship? What do they eat? How do they deal with constant blackouts and bombings? Do they watch TV? Do they attend school? What are their houses and bathrooms and yards like? Do they play sports? What do they do for fun?

POSTED 2/15/2004

Smurf, Greer, SC, United States, <Dafantasy4u@aol.com>, 18, Female, Christian, Hispanic/Latino (may be any race), Bisexual, student, High School Diploma, Upper class, Mesg ID 212200491042

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Question:

Is it appropriate to hold the door or go out of my way to help an individual in a wheelchair?

POSTED 2/15/2004

Joe M., Sioux falls, SD, United States, Male, Mesg ID 213200433721

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Question:

I recently saw a British show where the judges and lawyers all wore white wigs and colonial-type clothes in court. Everyone else in the courtroom wore modern clothes. Is this normal, or just for the show I was watching?

POSTED 2/15/2004

Kare, Herndon, VA, United States, Mesg ID 215200425858

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Question:

I am Italian-American. I find it weird how everybody I have ever met who is Irish has a problem with me. I also know many Italians who have a problem with Irish people. Does anyone know how this hatred came to be? I have heard a lot of stories, but many of them are just blaming the problem on the other culture.

POSTED 2/15/2004

Franchesca, Philadelphia, PA, United States, 18, Female, Catholic, Italian-American, Straight, Student, Less than High School Diploma, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 25200455857

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Question:

Why does it seem that many people look down on people who do things themselves instead of paying someone to do it for them? For example, washing your own car, doing your own nails, etc. Aren't these people wiser with their money for doing what they can?

POSTED 2/15/2004

Butterfli M., McMinnville, OR, United States, <butterflyracr881@yahoo.com>, 20, Female, Christian, White/Caucasian, Straight, Retail worker, 2 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 27200425234


Responses:

Doing it yourself can be a good way to be frugal, but that depends on two things:

1) Are you actually capable of doing a good job (be honest), and,

2) Is your time more valuably spent doing something else?

With respect to 1), I cannot even count the number of houses I've seen where 'Do-it-yourselfer' projects have significantly hurt the value of the house. Unless your craftsmanship is good and you know building practices well, home DIY projects will take money off the value of your house. This is a long way of saying: If you're going to do it yourself, make damn sure you do it right and don't cut corners or you won't be saving yourself any money. With point 2), you should always ask yourself what the most valuable expenditure of your time is. For instance, if your typical pay rate is $8 an hour and it costs $15 to have someone else wash your car, then do it yourself. On the other hand, if you could spend that hour working to improve your marketability toward getting a higher-paying job, or already get paid more, or could develop a business lead to bring in a big sale, then pay someone else to do the grunt task and focus your energy and efforts on the things that yield bigger gains. That's what rich people do, and that's part of the reason they're rich. It's not a 'looking down' so much as asking the question: is what you're doing really the most effective use of your time?
POSTED 2/18/2004
J.G.W., Seattle, WA, United States, 35, Male, Atheist, White/Caucasian, Straight, Deaf, Architect/Real Estate Developer, Over 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 2182004125944

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Question:

Why do some African Americans bring large groups of people with them when they are angry at you? For example, my sister had to fire a young African-American woman because of performance issues (doing her nails, talking on the phone or reading magazines rather than waiting on customers). When she left the building that night, she was confronted by a large group of the young woman's friends and family, who made threats that included following my sister home and killing her children, which did not improve the chances of the young woman getting her job back. Is this class, culture or age-related? I see it a lot, but am not sure what the defining thread would be.

POSTED 2/15/2004

David, Renton, WA, United States, 46, Male, White/Caucasian, Straight, volunteer, Technical School, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 27200430424


Responses:

What you experienced has to do with socially low-class people. I don't know if other races do things like that, but I know that growing up, if a 'low-class' kid thought you did something to him, he was going to 'Get his brother (and everybody else) and kill your whole family.'
POSTED 2/18/2004
Nathan, Seattle, WA, United States, 40, Male, Black/African American, 2 Years of College, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 217200474543



I'm black and have never noticed this kind of thing. I don't know any black people who do this. This woman is a lone female who obviously has issues of her own, and it has nothing to do with my race as a whole.
POSTED 2/18/2004
Whitney, Robinsonville, MS, United States, <braejelle@yahoo.com>, 24, Female, Baptist, Black/African American, Straight, 2 Years of College, Mesg ID 218200492126

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