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Here are the most intriguing cross-cultural exchangeseither begun or advanced during the week of March 21, 2004, asselected by Y? These postings, as well as "Best of the Week" entriesfrom previous weeks, also can be found by accessing Y?'s databaseusing the search form , or, in the case ofposted before April 24, 1999, in the OriginalArchives (all questions from the Original Archives havebeen entered into the database as well). In the Original Archives, aswell as in the database, you will find questions that have receivedanswers, as well as questions still awaiting responses. You areencouraged to answer any questions relevant to your demographicbackground, as well as to ask any provocative question you desire.Answers posted are not necessarily meant to represent the views of anentire demographic group, but can provide a window into the insightsof an individual from that group.
 First-time users should first make a quick stopat Y?'s guidelines pages for asking andanswering questions.

 


Question:

I've noticed one difference between blacks and whites: thereaction to a fart! If I'm in an elevator filled with whites andsomeone farts, there is usually no comment, other than perhaps somerolled eyes. But if blacks are present, the reaction is often vocaland extreme: 'Omigod! Who did that?! Woah - that was intense!' Isthis completely cultural, or is it possible that blacks have a moresensitive sense of smell?

POSTED 3/26/2004

Mark, New York, NY, United States, 47, Male, White/Caucasian,Gay, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 319200415408

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Question:

I'm a Filipino. Can I fall in love with an Asian Indian woman?It seems Indians are tied to their culture, and their culture doesn'tpermit interracial relationships.

POSTED 3/17/2004

Jeff, Manila, NA, Philippines,<jeffreymatawaran@mediabanc.ws>, 24, Male, Catholic, Asian,Straight, Marketing Analyst, Over 4 Years of College, Upper middleclass, Mesg ID 3122004120004


Responses:

As an Indian born into a higher caste family (though I don'tbelieve in the caste system), I will give you the straight and bittertruth. The amount of discrimination present in India is huge, andeven though the caste system is not encouraged by the goverment, thebiases that people have had for centuries have not faded. The NorthIndians who are Caucasians by race consider the South Indiansinferior. Outside India, blacks and Asians are also consideredinferior. Just to narrate an unfortunate personal account thatexplains how rampant this problem is: I was dating an Asian womanfrom China a few years ago, and when my parents found out about it,they threatened to disown me if I pursued the relationship. Beingnaive and afraid of the consequences, I had no choice but to abandonthe relationship. I am now married to a white woman, and even thoughmy parents had some objections about the cultural differences, theydidn't consider it to be a big problem. This should answer yourquestion about the way Indians see interracial relationships

POSTED 3/25/2004

Suresh, Toronto, Ontario, NA, Canada, 31, Male, Hindu,White/Caucasian, Straight, Over 4 Years of College, Upper class, MesgID 319200423209

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Question:

Is there any culture or ethnic group that does not allow orcondone the use of surgical procedures in response to a medicalissue?

POSTED 3/26/2004

Stephanie G., Eau Claire, WI, United States, 28, Female,Pentecostal, White/Caucasian, Straight, student, 2 Years of College,Middle class, Mesg ID 319200493218

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Question:

Is Latino culture more sexist? I can't walk through the mainlyLatino neighborhood near my house without getting harrassed by menwho seem to think it's perfectly acceptable to make sexual commentsor catcalls. I understand the rationale behind street harassment (tocontrol women and keep them sexualized and uncomfortable) but why isit mainly Latino men who do this to me? Is this a class thing(they're not extremely wealthy, or they wouldn't be hanging out infront of the supermarket in the middle of the day) or a culturalthing?

POSTED 3/26/2004

Katie, Washington, DC, United States,<seitzk@georgetown.edu>, 23, Female, Atheist, mixed Korean& White, Bisexual, retail, 4 Years of College, Middle class, MesgID 3232004101709

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Question:

Women seem to always complain about men being cheaters andusers, and about how all men cheat and lie and scheme. But what aboutall those women who have these so-called guy friends who they keeparound just for their satisfaction in whatever category they desire?Or what about women who live just to play games? I believe bothgenders are very equally matched when it comes to being less thangood people.

POSTED 3/26/2004

Tyry, Lithonia, GA, United States, <tyryc@hotmail.com>,18, Male, Black/African American, Straight, Full time student, HighSchool Diploma, Lower class, Mesg ID 3122004113459

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Question:

Why do white people tend to smell raw all the time?

POSTED 3/26/2004

N.P, New York, NY, United States, 17, Female, Black/AfricanAmerican, Straight, Student, High School Diploma, Upper middle class,Mesg ID 318200492223

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Question:

I just wanted to know if any gays are offended by 'Queer Eyefor the Straight Guy'.

POSTED 3/17/2004

Kerrie, Raleigh, NC, United States, 23, Female, Black/AfricanAmerican, Straight, Media Relations Representative, Over 4 Years ofCollege, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 3102004122828


Responses:

I wasn't offended at first, but the more I see it, the more itmakes me uncomfortable. There's something unnerving about watchinggay men play 'court jester' to the straight 'king.' All this work tohelp straights have sex, or to get married, when most people in thiscountry think we shouldn't have either, is unpleasant. And of course,the show perpetuates the stereotype that all gay men have fabuloustaste and worry all the time about what shoes to wear. Ask myboyfriend if you want proof that a lot of gay men are as hopelesslyfashion-inept as straight men, and have more important things ontheir minds.

POSTED 3/25/2004

Mark, New York, NY, United States, 47, Male, White/Caucasian, Gay,4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 319200413634


I don't make it a point to watch the show, but if it's on and Ihappen to be flipping through the channels, I will watch. It's cute,but it continues the stereotype that all gay man are hip,fashionable, can decorate and know what wine goes best with seafood.I don't pluck my eyebrows or shop at Pier 1, or keep exotic cheesesin my fridge. It's great that the Fab 5 are using the word 'queer'with no negative connotation, but it kind of bothers me that it uses'typical' stereotypes (and yes, Carson is annoying). Having saidthat, it's great that folks who don't personally know gay peoplewould embrace the show - even though it uses stereotypes.

POSTED 3/25/2004

Bill G., Fort Dodge, IA, United States, 31, Male, White/Caucasian,Gay, 2 Years of College, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 3222004105318

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Question:

Why is it that Caucasian people don't like talking to theirfriends of different races or ethnic backgrounds about theirdifferences? Why is this subject all of a sudden so uncomfortable todiscuss?

POSTED 3/17/2004

Arree C., Chicago, IL, United States,<aclay@depaulstudents.edu>, 30, Female, Christian,Black/African American, Straight, student, 4 Years of College, Middleclass, Mesg ID 312200492129


Responses:

Fear of conflicts. I was brought up to avoid them, to get along asbest I can and avoid arguments. I am a private person and respectothers' privacy above all else. To respect my privacy is to not pryvery much into my beliefs. But at the same time, I study those aroundme, and from watching I construct assumptions or patterns aboutothers' behavior and what to expect. I listen continuously but rarelyspeak. For me to offend needlessly is something I was brought upagainst. In my work life, it's an "I do my task and you do yours, weare all in this together" feeling. But fear of needless conflict sumsit up. Any pattern of aggression puts a wall between us. I envy someof the closeness I hear about while listening to others speak abouttheir family life.

POSTED 3/25/2004

Kenneth, Winston- Salem, NC, United States, 54, Male,White/Caucasian, Straight, Mechanic, Over 4 Years of College, Middleclass, Mesg ID 318200471820


Talk about what? If you are friends with someone, it is usuallybecause you have common interests - and for the most part you talkabout that. What should people talk about? I find that many blackswant to talk ad nauseum about racism - often with a negative vibetoward whites - so why the hell would you wanna bring up thatresentment if you're chillin' with your buddy? A better questionwould be why do blacks want to talk about racism so much, and why dothey see other races as not people but 'whites,' 'Asians' 'Indians,'etc.

POSTED 3/25/2004

Jay, New York, NY, United States, Mesg ID 3232004100110


I think it's because we are afraid of offending. We have been toldover and over that it is offensive to draw attention to racialdifferences, so we avoid it. Recently I complimented a black woman onher beautiful complexion and then wondered if she was offended. I wassincere in my compliment (she had beautiful skin) and decided itwould just have to be OK, but I was also concerned not to offend whenI was trying to be friendly. We want to be kind and friendly andinoffensive, so we avoid getting too close to areas where we areunsure how any comments might be received.

POSTED 3/25/2004

Jean, Plano, TX, United States, 43, Female, White/Caucasian, MesgID 324200472958

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Question:

How did the Nazis get the Jewish people to wear the yellowStars of David? My theory is they fed them some line of positive B.S.and then when everyone was wearing them, they changed their tune. Andwhy didn't they rip them off when they found out it was being usedfor a nefarious purpose?

POSTED 3/17/2004

klowdermom, Springtown, TX, United States, 50, Female, Pagan,Lesbian, nurse, Technical School, Lower middle class, Mesg ID315200455845


Responses:

The Jews didn't have a choice. The stars were mandated by law, andfailure to comply could mean anything from prison to removal to aconcentration camp (this appeared as someone simply disappearing,much like in Communist Russia). People usually knew if thereneighbors were Jewish and would report if they weren't wearing thestar - for rather substantial rewards.

POSTED 3/25/2004

Alex, Beloit, WI, United States, 20, Male, Jewish,White/Caucasian, Student, 2 Years of College, Upper middle class,Mesg ID 318200490448


Because Adolf Hitler was a dictator. Jews were faced with achoice: 'Do as the Fuhrer says or die.' If you live in adictatorship, it's amazing what you'd be willing to do when a gun isheld to your head. Simply tearing the star off and getting caughtmeant instant death. If you look at any documentaries of World WarII, you will see that Hitler was an excellent public speaker, and hehad the ability to put a positive spin on just about anything. Butwhen worse came to worse, 'Do as I say or die' ended any discussion.

POSTED 3/25/2004

Taz, Detroit, MI, United States, 32, Male, Straight, Middle class,Mesg ID 324200482718

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Question:

Should a person have an affair with a person they work with,provided both know up front it is not a 'power play'?

POSTED 3/17/2004

Eric, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 38, Male, Christian,White/Caucasian, Straight, 2 Years of College, Upper middle class,Mesg ID 3172004124957


Responses:

First, do you mean an 'affair' (as in, one is married and wants tohave an affair) or do you mean dating/attempting to have arelationship? I'll assume you mean the latter. While some peoplewould disagree, I think it's OK. I've known many people who dated andeven married their co-workers. I knew one couple that actually satbeside each other -- not their choice, it just worked out that way.The critical issue is that their relationship doesn't affect workissues. For instance, one should not report to the other, or evenwork in the same department or on the same projects, as this canresult in biased decisions (which can happen anyway, but in this caseeveryone else may get very upset.)

POSTED 3/25/2004

Wayne, Parsippany, OR, United States, 43, Male, Black/AfricanAmerican, Straight, marketing, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class,Mesg ID 325200464529

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Question:

At my university, and when I was in high school, I noticed thatthe Italians, Greeks, Lebanese, Armenians and Persians all seemed tohang out together. To me, there seems to be a link among SouthernEuropeans and Near Easterners. Do you think these groups arerealizing they are largely similar in appearance and are comingtogether? I also noticed that they have quite a lot of racistattitudes toward both minorities and whites. Can anyone help explainthese observations?

POSTED 3/17/2004

D. Heesen, Fullerton, CA, United States, 21, Male, Baptist,White/Caucasian, Straight, College student, 2 Years of College, Upperclass, Mesg ID 39200415936


Responses:

I think most people in my country recognize some sort ofrelationship with Southern Europe (especially Greece). But when theygo abroad (especially America, less so in western Eruope), bothgroups see these similarities accentuated by the very alien societyaround them. I don't think it's looks, though; I alwyas used to thinkI looked distinctly Egyptian until a lot of people in Europe startedtelling me they don't know what the hell 'distinctly Egyptian' or'distinctly Turkish' is supposed to mean. Anyway, I think it's moreattitude. All Mediterannean people are very sociable, very loud, talkwith their hands, have oppressively close-knit families and love toeat. About racism, please don't be judgmental. Most people can'tdecide their own race in this part of the world, so they are hardlyracist, they are just a bit xenophobic. Yes, Hollywood has left a badimpression of blacks and Hispanics (as it is doing to Arabs now), butmost people are open. About whites, most people in my country areinfused with the notion that most whites are racist and must beapproached carefully until you measure how biased they are.Personally, I like to think that this common 'wisdom' is worthless.

POSTED 3/25/2004

Karim, Cairo, NA, Egypt, 24, Male, Muslim, Arab, Straight, Over 4Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 318200435934

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