Best of the Week
of Feb. 25, 2001
Best of Week
Here are the most intriguing cross-cultural exchanges
either begun or advanced during the week of Feb. 25, 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.
First-time users should first make a quick stop at Y?'s
guidelines pages for asking and
on Y? is here!
"Why Do White People Smell Like Wet
When They Come Out Of The Rain?"
Order it securely via credit card
Delivery in 2-3 days via Priority Mail
Associated Press story on "Wet Dogs"
To gay men who have had sex with a female before, I'm assuming
it was your first time having sex. Knowing you were a closet gay, how
did you feel when you got into bed with that female? Were you scared
that you wouldn't 'perform' right? Did it turn out OK? Also, how did
you get aroused by a woman if you were gay?
Rocky T., Boulder, CO, United States, Male, White/Caucasian,
Straight, 4 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID
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People often talk about skinny people and it is considered OK,
but as soon as you make a comment about someone who is fat, you are
being 'mean.' Why is that? Also, when you make jokes about 'capable'
people, it is the most funny thing in the world, but as soon as you
make a joke about someone who is disabled, you are again being
'mean.' I crack jokes about everyone, so why should I not make jokes
about these people? That would mean I was making an exception for
them, and they have explicitly stated that they want to be treated
like everyone else.
Syncere, Columbus, GA, United States,
<email@example.com>, Female, Mesg ID 227200144204
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I always wonder why a lot of these kids are going the wrong way
and don't have respect for their folks. When I was growing up, I
wouldn't have even thought about cursing my family, etc. Where are
parents going wrong? One thing I learned when I was young was
respect, and honoring my family.
Diana, Richmond, VA, United States, 53, Female, Catholic,
Italian, Straight, nurse, Technical School , Mesg ID 227200131930
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Why did Jews discontinue the practice of animal sacrifice?
Jo, Rochester, MN, United States, 25, Female, Christian, Mesg
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It is extremely exciting for a man to look at a woman's body
and to touch her. What about women? Do they really enjoy looking at a
man's body? His sex organs? Do they enjoy touching it and feeling the
P.C., Kuala Lumpur, NA, Malaysia, Male, Christian, Asian,
Straight, Technical School , Middle class
Mesg ID 221200194519
I think it is normal to be attracted to a guy, but I don't have
the desire to touch him, just to look and admire.
Diana, Richmond, VA, United States, 53, Female, Catholic, Italian,
Straight, nurse, Technical School , Middle class, Mesg ID
I do. Yes. Yes yes yes yes yes.
S.R., San Antonio, TX, United States, 23, Female, Humanist,
White/Caucasian, Straight, unemployed, Over 4 Years of College , Mesg
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I have noticed when walking on the sidewalk that black men
frequently seem to look back over their shoulder, even when there is
nothing interesting to see. I don't notice other races doing this. Is
there a specific reason?
A. Jordan, London, NA, United Kingdom, 37, Male, Catholic,
White/Caucasian, Straight, Finance, 4 Years of College, Middle class
Mesg ID 2100154352
Only blacks and Latinos have had their males lynched for no
apparent reason - only for looking at a white woman, or just because
someone felt like hanging someone for pleasure. The bad thing is that
some black men still have this little fear in the back of their
Michelee, Chicago, IL, United States, 24, Female, Black/Latino,
Straight, Over 4 Years of College , Upper middle class
Mesg ID 2222001121736
I think you're looking too hard for things. I have neve noticed
what people do as they walk down the street. Black males looking over
their shoulders? Just how many black males have you seen do this? How
many people have you seen look over their shoulder? Have you ever
done it? I ask all these questions because it's not out of the norm
for people to want to know who's behind them and to be aware of their
Lisa, Gaithersburg, MD, United States, Female, Straight
Mesg ID 223200123314
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Why do so many gay men speak with a lisp?
Jeff, Upland, CA, United States, 27, Male, Christian,
White/Caucasian, Straight, 4 Years of College , Upper middle class
Mesg ID 226200171445
I am gay, and none of my friends speak with a lisp.
Matthew, New York, NY, United States, 43, Male, self-developed
spirituality, Gay, actor, Middle class, Mesg ID 228200145918
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I am almost 30, and when I was 11 something happened that I
still do not understand. I watched a black woman in her sixties pull
up her purse and clinch with a hostile face when a young, very
dark-skinned man approached in her direction along a path. Although I
thought it was just odd at the time, I saw it more often, when I
would be at the bus stop or something: older black women who appeared
afraid of younger black men. Why is this? Why do older black females
appear to be afraid of younger black men when they are out in public?
I'm not sure I see the same dynamic between older white females and
younger white men. I want to make sure I am not socializing my
daughter to be that way, and without knowing how it happens, I don't
know how to defend against it.
Rhonda R., Aurora, CO, United States,
<firstname.lastname@example.org>, 29, Female, Baptist, Black/African
American, Straight, Computer Technician, 2 Years of College , Lower
Mesg ID 225200143945
In the past, young black men have targeted older women because
they usually had the mis-notion that older people have money, and an
older woman is an easy target because of her age and inability to
chase after them. If you live in a area where all your targets look
like you, you usually have to target them. At least, this is the way
it used to be years ago. I'm sure it still goes on.
Gloria W., Atlanta, GA, United States, Female, Mesg ID
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Do African-American people (or other minorities) view affluent
white people as spoiled, or, put differently, do African-American
people believe that, for white people, wealth/status is easy to come
by? I'm a 'racially colorblind' white teen who comes from a wealthy
family who has worked hard for their money, and (although I don't
mean to generalize) I believe that the majority of Afro-Americans and
other ethnic groups that I interact with see me as just a spoiled
little white kid from a rich family - rather than the hard-working,
responsible person I see myself as. I'd like to hear some people from
the African-American community give their take on this subject.
William, New Hartford, NY, United States,
<email@example.com>, 16, Male, New Thought Movement,
White/Caucasian, Bisexual, Student / Office Assistant, Upper class
Mesg ID 225200160413
Who cares what people think of you? Be proud of the white race,
and your family. I'd rather be looked at as a rich kid than a poor
one. Stick to the people who are like you if you don't feel others
can understand the way you are.
Arthur, N/A, NA, Poland, <firstname.lastname@example.org>, 18, Male,
Catholic, White/Caucasian, Bisexual, Paralyzed, schooling, High
School Diploma , Mesg ID 2272001112605
My husband, who is black, and I (I'm white) have similar class and
educational backgrounds, yet our experiences in the world are very
different. I find it much easier to secure employment, housing and
other opportunities, because of my racial privilege. The history of
slavery and racial oppression in this country confers advantages to
white people, whatever our class may be. As white people, we benefit
from an elevated status, no matter how poor we are or how
'colorblind' we might think we are. Although you and your family may
have worked hard, it is their status as white people that allowed
their hard work to be transformed into success. This country has had
millions of people of color who have worked just as hard, if not
harder, yet have not had economic success because of the
discrimination and racism they've experienced. Not recognizing these
key facts about U.S. history certainly makes us seem ignorant, if not
spoiled. Don't let being 'colorblind' keep you from recognizing the
reality of racism in this country and your own racial privileges.
(See Peggy McIntosh's article on the invisibility of white privilege
for more information.)
K.L.O., San Diego, CA, United States, 26, Female, Atheist,
White/Caucasian, Straight, Over 4 Years of College , Middle class,
Mesg ID 2272001114510
I think it all depends on how you portray yourself. I have friends
who work hard and have some money, but they don't come off like they
have 'worked sooo hard and earned their money by slaving away more
than the rest of us.' And I have some friends who do have that
attitude, along with the 'If you work hard and you work smart, anyone
can do what I have done.' attitude. Those people annoy everyone, no
matter what their color.
Samm, Boston, MA, United States, 36, Female, New Age/Metaphysical,
Black/African American, Straight, office manager, 2 Years of College
, Mesg ID 227200121034
There are wealthy teens of all sorts of races and ethnicities. I'm
sure you'll find some very wealthy black kids, Asian kids, etc.
Katherine, Somewhere, NA, Canada, 21, Female, Upper middle class,
Mesg ID 228200163500
I admit to being a class bigot. I stereotype those who are better
off than I in myriad ways, from thinking of them as marks to seeing
them as bigots. I also never realized it until I had contact with a
few in college. I will say this, many who don't make as much money
feel superior about rich people, especially people who grew up rich.
Do we have any reason or right to feel this way? No, it's mainly
jealousy on my part, a way to feel superior to a group that by all
social inclinations and feelings is usually considered superior to
mine. Now, my own prejudice doesn't affect the rich like their
prejudice would affect me. Individually, the lower-class's prejudice
might hurt, but institutionally, it really has no effect.
Seamus M., Charlestown, MA, United States, Male, Irish-American,
Tree-Trimmer/Student, High School Diploma , Lower class, Mesg ID
I can give you an answer as a Latino, which is more or less
congruent with the African-American/ 'minority' perspective. The
thing I have observed is that many of my brown and black brothers
feel that affluent white kids have come up 'soft.' Whereas the
toughest neighborhoods in Los Angeles County are filled with Latinos,
blacks and poor whites, the cushiest neighborhoods are filled with
affluent whites and a few token minorities. Many (but not all) of us
feel that such people don't know what it's like to go through hard
times... and that debt or divorcing parents is small-time compared to
seeing your cousin get murdered or seeing the girl next door turn
into a street addict, etc. The other factor is history. It used to be
that the majority of wealthy people gained it via inheritance,
whereas someone such as yourself, having witnessed your parents work
hard for it, would have been rare. It's a bit different in this day
and age, but for the most part, a rich kid's grandparents were going
to formal balls in the late 1940s while our grandparents were out in
the fields picking lettuce or trying to hold their own in the slums.
Also, the United States' long history of discrimination is attributed
to the ruling classes (wealthy plantation owners pressuring for the
continuance of slavery, factory owners screwing over the workers,
etc.). Also, it can be a political thing. Certain folks with leftist
views may view the rich as 'bourgeoise' who don't deserve what they
have. However, don't go thinking that the people who are judging you
like this are representative of the entire African-American (or
'minority') spectrum. Certainly Black America is not a monolithic
entity, and their opinions and beliefs are as diverse and varied as
that of the majority.
Dan, Los Angeles, CA, United States, 22, Male, Pentecostal,
Hispanic/Latino, student, 2 Years of College , Lower middle class,
Mesg ID 31200190454
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Why are gay people gay? And why do they like anal sex and
Andrew, Miss, n/, Denmark, Male
Mesg ID 2160153151
(1) No one knows why gay people are gay, but most of us feel it
is some combination of genetics and prenatal delvelopment, and that
we have no choice in the matter.
(2) Anal sex is practiced by gays and straights, and there are gay
people who do not do it.
(3) Fisting (entire hands inserted into the rectum or vagina) is a
fairly uncommon practice mostly associated with people (gay and
straight) in the SM scene. It is again not limited to gays, and
conversely, most gays don't do it.
John, Chicago, IL, United States, 44, Male, Atheist,
White/Caucasian, Gay, systems analyst, Over 4 Years of College ,
Upper middle class
Mesg ID 221200112238
I am gay. I am not interested in anal sex or fisting. Some of my
gay friends are. Some of my gay friends aren't. Some of my straight
friends are. Some of my straight friends aren't. I am afraid I don't
understand the question. Presumably, people (straight or gay) enjoy
certain sexual practices because they are physically pleasurable and
part of an emotional closeness between themselves and their partner.
Why do *you* like sex, Andrew?
Iteki, Stockholm, NA, Sweden, 24, Female, Recovering Catholic,
White/Caucasian, Lesbian, Student, 2 Years of College , Lower middle
Mesg ID 2232001124026
I can't answer why people are what they are. Why are you straight?
As far as anal sex and fisting are concerned, not every gay person
enjoys either of these. Being gay does not require 'gay sex.' Being
gay is about who you are attracted to, who you have relationships
with, who you love. Just as there are gay people who don't enjoy
being penetrated, there are plenty of straight women who enjoy anal
sex. Sexual acts don't define the sexual orientation.
Me, San Francisco Bay Area, CA, United States, 27, Male, Straight,
Over 4 Years of College
Mesg ID 2190164113
Why are straight people straight? And why do they like anal sex
and fisting? (I've seen the magazines and web sites.) Being gay is
about more than the sexual act. It's about your entire emotional (and
sexual) resonance being with members of your own gender. As to sexual
likes and dislikes, a simple check of the spam in my e-mail account
shows a bewildering array of behaviors - hetero, homo and all-sorts
of sexual - none of which has anything to do with anything. When
straight people focus on the 'act,' it's usually part of a pattern of
denigration toward the gay person. The first step is to discount the
relationship as something that's only sexual (and perverse or
damaged), which knocks them down a notch on the social order, which
then makes rationalizing about bashing them all the easier. It's
especially bad when someone secretly harbors a sexual response and
their internalized homophobia causes a violent lashing out.
Michael, Houston, TX, United States, 39, Male, Methodist,
White/Caucasian, Gay, E-Business Manager, 4 Years of College , Upper
Mesg ID 2200141005
Some people think it's a choice, others think it's genetics. I
believe people are born gay. You just don't 'choose' your sexual
orientation. Like race, you can't 'choose.' And not all of us are
into fisting; that depends on the couple, or whoever. As far as anal
sex goes, that's just part of the sexual relations. It's like when
heterosexual have sex: the penis goes in a certain hole.
Devon, Albany, GA, United States, 22, Male, African Methodist
Episcopalian, Black/African American, Gay, Psychologist, 4 Years of
College , Upper middle class
Mesg ID 2232001115530
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