Best of the Week
of March 23, 2003

Best of Week ArchivesArchives

Here are the most intriguing cross-cultural exchanges either begun or advanced during the week of March 23, 2003, 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.  

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Question:
Are all the kids out there slackers? That's a question I would ask myself about young men my son's age. He's 20. I don't ask that anymore. He left March 19, 2003, to report to the 101st Air Assault Battalion after spending two weeks at home on leave after Army basic training and quartermaster school. I have a lot of respect for the young men (especially my son) who have chosen to enlist to support our country during these difficult times. You don't need to support the war in order to support our troops. Slackers? Not on your life. I'm looking at this generation of young men in a different light than I did previously, with pride. I'd be interested to know how the young men of this generation feel about the U.S. military as a viable option and how they feel about world events. (No, I'm not a recruiter, just a parent of three young adult children).
POSTED 3/24/2003
Bill, Burlington, VT, United States, 44, Male, White/Caucasian, Finance, Over 4 Years of College, Upper class, Mesg ID 321200335115


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Question:
I know someone who is from a background of the "working poor" (I hope that term is all right). She has a regular job and works hard but is always struggling financially. She is about to buy a $15,000 car on credit. I am from a middle-class, educated background and have trouble understanding this decision. Why would she invest so much money in a car instead of, say, going back to school part time to become a nurse, which she says she wants to do? (P.S. She is the same race as me.)
Original Code C10. Click here to see responses from the original archives.
POSTED 1/11/1999
Jessica N., New York, NY, United States, 26, Female, Middle, Mesg ID 1119970954



Responses:

Coming from a person who is what you would call working class, I can relate to your friend. If I had the chance I would also get the car. Your friend probably would like to go to school and get her nursing degree, but like most of us, she has to put a roof over her head and food in her tummy, and she has to get back and forth to work to do so. I have continued on the road to education and am walking to class and work every day just to keep myself out of debt and my head above water. After purchasing the car your friend may return to school and finish. By the way, coming from the working class, this isn't as easy as it sounds. We haven't had everthing just given to us, so we consider some things more important. I would love to have a car, but right now I can only have one or the other, and I choose education over transportation.
POSTED 3/24/2003
Melissa C, FAFB, WA, United States, <ladyrain@stinkyferret.com>, 20, Female, Catholic, White/Caucasian, Straight, Housekeeper, High School Diploma, Lower class, Mesg ID 320200323938

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Question:
How do you know if you're gay? Is there any way to find out or help you find out? I live in a community that is very unaccepting and prejudiced toward gays and lesbians. I think I might be gay, but I'm not sure. One day I think I like guys and the next I think I like girls ... and the next I like no one. Can someone give me some advice for dealing with a prejudiced community and figuring out who I am?
POSTED 3/23/2003
Allie, n/a, OH, United States, 15, Female, White/Caucasian, don't know sexual orientation, Less than High School Diploma, Mesg ID 322200390042

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Question:
I'm 19 and went to a dermatologist recently. He said that if I don't use Rogaine I will be obviously bald, at first glance, in 3 to 5 years (I'm balding in the front, not 'crown balding'). That stuff is a big hassle and a pain in the butt to use, but I can put up with it if I have to. But do girls (specifically those 17-25) really care about baldness at my age? Can I let myself go bald?
POSTED 11/8/2002
Ian C., Broken Arrow, OK, United States, 19, Male, Christian, White/Caucasian, Straight, student, 2 Years of College, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 116200263841


Responses:
Shave your head! I am a 25-year-old woman and think a mature man with a shaved head can be very sexy. A man who is witty and smart will always turn my head. So shave yours, and don't worry about it. That is much better looking than balding. Rogaine is kind of a turn-off to me. I've heard that Rogaine doesn't work for receding hairline, anyway, so shave it baby!
POSTED 3/23/2003
Andrea, Santa Cruz, CA, United States, 25, Female, Straight, student, 2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 321200325316

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Question:

Why is it that when white people are grouped together, such as during spring break, bike fests and so forth, they have no shame in performing sexual acts out in the open? It is as if they have lost all sense of pride. You would never see black people doing such things, such as performing oral sex or putting a beer bottle in a woman's vagina in front of people, all recorded on film. Do they not realize their family will eventually see this?
POSTED 2/2/2003
Ms. Molly, Clermont, FL, United States, 34, Female, Christian, Black/African American, Lesbian, Retail Manager, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 22200353542



Responses:
White people don't have a monopoly on this. The occations you mentioned usually involve free-flowing alcohol and illegal drugs, which lowers the individual's inhibitions. I have found other races do this as well when they let off steam. Asians do this on business trips to the United States, Saudis do this when they vacation in Bahrain, Europeans do this in Amsterdam on vacation and business trips, and African Americans do this in every nightclub in the United States every weekend.
POSTED 3/23/2003
S.Gentry, Spokane, WA, United States, 36, Male, Christian, White/Caucasian, Technical School, Middle class, Mesg ID 3232003110007

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Question:

I worked with a lot of African-American women at a fast-food job when I was 16. I was given a warning by my boss for flipping my hair because the African-American women said it was 'a prejudiced action.' They wouldn't explain to me why. To African-American women: If you think a white woman who flips her hair is prejudiced, why do you feel that way?
POSTED 3/11/2003
Mary, Winston-Salem, NC, United States, 23, Female, White/Caucasian, Straight, 2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 311200322742


Responses:
I don't believe that it's as much prejudiced as it is not a clean practice while working around food or a place that serves food. You should recognize that no one likes to find hair in their food, and when you flip your hair that's basically what these ladies were saying.
POSTED 3/23/2003
Beth, Spokane, WA, United States, 22, Female, Baptist, White/Caucasian, Straight, Government, 2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 321200395043

Your boss' comment ranks up there as one of the more ridiculous statements about race relations. Comments like that perpetuate racism and stereotypes. It's been said here before, but I will say it again: please don't base your opinion of an entire race on the actions of a few. How are flipping hair and being prejudiced related?
POSTED 3/24/2003
Redeemed One, Newport News, VA, United States, 54, Female, Black/African American, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 313200340425

I don't understand how flipping one's hair could be considered a 'prejudiced action.' If a girl's hair is in the way, it's got to be put out of the way, somehow. Maybe she was mad about you touching your hair in a place that serves food or something and didn't know how to express that. To me, her statement makes about as much sense as saying brushing your teeth makes you a racist.
POSTED 3/24/2003
Nia, Brooklyn, NY, United States, 22, Female, Christian, Black/African American, Straight, art student, Over 4 Years of College, Upper class, Mesg ID 313200393649

I don't think flipping hair is prejudiced, but it is a way to say 'screw you.' I do it all the time, especially to females, because it's just a brush-off.
POSTED 3/24/2003
Kayne, Raleigh, NC, United States, 18, Female, Baptist, Black/African American, Straight, Student, High School Diploma, Middle class, Mesg ID 3132003102012

That's pretty odd. I think the people you formerly worked with are a little touched in the head. I have heard before of some people believing that that action is prejudiced, but it isn't. Some black women who feel that it is prejudiced probably feel that way because they feel you're 'taunting' them with your beauty. (Example: Beauty is defined in America as having straight, long hair...etc) In my opinion, your boss was wrong to reprimand you for that. They couldn't explain it to you because there is no reason. Just years of being brainwashed. I flip my hair, especially when it's in my way.
POSTED 3/24/2003
Anna, Providence, RI, United States, <LiaTheAngel@yahoo.com>, 18, Female, Catholic, Black (Ethiopian)/Indian (East India), Straight, Student, High School Diploma, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 316200371105

I don't think it is prejudiced unless you are doing it to get on a black person's nerves. Swinging your hair comes naturally if you aren't black. If you asked a black person what bothers them the most about their body, they would probably say their hair. Every other race in the world has flowing hair.
POSTED 3/24/2003
Denisia, Chantilly, VA, United States, 21, Female, Black/African American, Mesg ID 3182003122739

Sometimes I consciously flip my hair to get it out of my way. At other times I might do it subconsciously just out of habit. I've never heard of hair-flipping being offensive. I'd be upset if someone (of any race) did it over my food or hit me in the face with their hair. That's just plain gross. Was your boss African American? Maybe you were the one experiencing prejudice.
POSTED 3/24/2003
Finesse, Pittsburgh, PA, United States, <finesse_29@blackplanet.com>, 29, Female, Black/African American, Straight, Mesg ID 318200323924

I do not think black women find this a prejudiced action. They are made to feel less than because most of them do not have the ability to grow long, beautiful hair. Beautiful hair is seen as a very attractive, feminine feature by men, and when you do not have it, envy rears its head. Hair tends to be a touchy subject with black women, and you flipping yours may have created tensions at work. Do not forget that it was black women who coined the term "good hair."
POSTED 3/24/2003
William, Charleston, SC, United States, 41, Male, Methodist, White/Caucasian, Straight, sales, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 318200360356

I don't believe a white woman flipping her hair is a sign of prejudice ... unless the woman is flipping her hair because she knows that the average African American's hair will not flip in the same manner. This has a history. A white woman flipping her hair around was seen as a sign of beauty, and because African-American hair is less likely to 'bounce and behave,' and African Americans have been constantly told that their hair is ugly because of this, many blacks feel instant offense when they see white women constantly flipping their hair. Personally, I just think it's not a good idea to flip one's hair around food products. If i were your manager, I would have asked you to wear a hairnet or put your hair in a ponytail to avoid the flipping all together. But no, I do not think you were being prejudiced, just unaware of the history. I worked with a lot of African-American women at a fast-food job when I was 16. I was given a warning by my boss for flipping my hair because the African-American women said it was 'a prejudiced action.' They wouldn't explain to me why. To African-American women: If you think a white woman who flips her hair is prejudiced, why do you feel that way?
POSTED 3/24/2003
Sheri, Redwood City, CA, United States, 36, Female, Jewish, Black/African American, Straight, writer, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 318200393759

I'm not black but I would think it's because black people don't have hair that they can 'flip. It's silly, but I guess prejudices are.
POSTED 3/24/2003
S., New York, NY, United States, Female, Muslim, White/Caucasian, Straight, Middle class, Mesg ID 323200343947

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Question:

I cannot understand how anybody in his or her right mind can actually like rap or hip-hop 'music.' For one thing, music entails melody and beauty, which both forms lack. The only way I can understand the existence of rap and hip-hop is as political cry, social discussion, racial identification, etc., and as such, I can see why these forms originated. However, most rap and hip-hop today have nothing to do with discussing social issues, as they may have in the beginning. My question is, how many people today actually enjoy rap and hip-hop - as opposed to convincing themselves that they enjoy it, because they want to fit some image.
POSTED 3/11/2003
Idearte, Los Angeles, CA, United States, 36, Male, Humanist, Hispanic/Latino (may be any race), Straight, Over 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 311200335839 


Responses:
There is a reason why no occupation on earth pays like a rap/hip hop/pop artist. Making $8 to $22 million on one CD is no joke. People like me buy them. For example, take the 'hottest cat out there,' Eminem. There are humans who buy his CD, like me, and I bet fewer than than .000000001 percent of them are trying to fit an image. Hop hip and rap won't go away, so don't waste your time wishing. For those who don't want to have anything to do with country or classical music or political issues, there is rap, hip hop and pop. Music doesn't have to portray special views to be enjoyed; it just has to sound good.
POSTED 3/24/2003
David R., Fontana, CA, United States, Male, Mesg ID 311200370632

I have a love-hate relationship with hip/hop. On the one hand, rhythm and hook are enjoyable and fun and make you wanna dance. On the other hand, the lyrics and attitude that accompany the songs are so negative - glorifying violence, male bravado, anti-intellectualism and poor grammar and glamorizing ghetto life, etc. I think (hope) most people listen to it, enjoy it and get on with life, but some emulate and adopt its speech, mannerisms, etc., and this is when it is destructive. At that point there is a downward spiral of declining interest in academics or leading a respectable life, followed by a victimhood mentality that blames the more influential in society for the ghetto existence - even though they revel in being in such an environment. This is not just a distant assessment of 'those kinds of people,' but comes from my living in the ghetto and being around people who complain about it but refuse to adopt a lifestyle that allows them to escape. It's quite sad.
POSTED 3/24/2003
Jay, New York, NY, United States, Male, Mesg ID 3122003102906

Beatniks recited poetry to drums in the 1960s, which was a similar musical movement to rap and hiphop. I don't understand how some country music, which sounds like the whine of a mosquito, can be listened to without agitation, so I suppose we all have different taste.
POSTED 3/24/2003
Jessica, Huntsville, TX, United States, 23, Female, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, Bisexual, Graduate Student, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 312200341259

Hip-Hop music covers many areas, and you may not fully understand the locations of it and culture. You may not like some of it, but my guess is that some of the music you do like is heavily influenced by Hip-Hop (and rap and is considered a part of Hip-Hop music). Have you ever listened to Eryka Badu, Lauryn Hill or Mary J. Blige (speaking of beauty and melody)? You may not like Hip-Hop or rap music, but many people do, and there is nothing wrong with that. If you don't like it, don't listen to it. I don't think Hip-Hop will mind you not participating. I like some rap and hip-hop. Just like all other forms of music, some of it is good and some is bad. Hip-Hop is not required to be a social cry for change. It is one of many tools that have been used to foster social change, but it is not limited to that use. As far as making a statement, any kind of musical form can be used to make a statement. Also, as far as racial identity, I am black and think you can be a Hip-Hop artist and/or a person who likes Hip-Hip regardless of race. Ask the millions of Hip-Hop heads worldwide of all races and colors. Ask Eminem. And there are some Latin Hip-Hop groups as well. You may want to ask them how they feel about Hip-Hop as racial identity - Jennifer Lopez may have a word or two on the topic as well. Perhaps you need to check your own bias issues about black people and Hip-Hop culture and what you think they mean before you get on your high horse next time. A book you may want to read to expand your knowledge of Hip-Hop is Vibe Magazine's History of Hip-Hop. It talks about rap and Hip-Hop from the late '70s to the present. I think it may help you see some things about that music that you may not understand.
POSTED 3/24/2003
Carmela, College Park, GA, United States, <carmela_mk68@yahoo.com>, 34, Female, Black/African American, Straight, College Administration, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 312200361455

Many people enjoy hip hop/rap or whatever term you would like to call it. Everyone has different tastes, and music means different things to different people. You may have a (huge) dislike of hip hop, and I may have a huge dislike for whatever kind of music you like. I don't listen to music that doesn't appeal to me. It's not difficult.
POSTED 3/24/2003
Hyps, London, NA, United Kingdom, 27, Female, Mesg ID 313200383803

Not all music has to be about political cries, social discussions and racial identification. Music is a form of creativity that allows you to express yourself. Plus, just because you might not understand some issues that rappers and hip hop artists sing about today doesn't mean they're not valid forms of music. Also, you might want to take other forms of music into account, such as classical and electronic, when saying that rap nowadays doesn't express any issues, because, last time I checked, neither of those forms of music are known for their political cries, expression of social issues, etc. And for the record, I like rap only a little bit, but I still consider it a valid form of music that's valuable to many people worldwide.
POSTED 3/24/2003
Andromeda, Washington, DC, United States, <Polar_Andromeda@hotmail.com>, 17, Agnostic, Hispanic/Latino (may be any race), Straight, Student, High School Diploma, Middle class, Mesg ID 313200391141

Unfortunately, today it seems most rap is offensive toward women and is focused only on attaining items of monetary value - the 'bling bling.' I mean really, that guy 50 cent's new CD is titled something like 'Get Rich or Die Trying.' Now THERE'S a good role model for our nation's youth. I prefer rapper-vocalists like Lauryn Hill. She sings and raps about love, peace, humanity and other good stuff. I really love Aaliyah's music too, she always sang about really positive things, if you listen to the words. Basically, there's a lot of good stuff out there, if you open your mind and your heart.
POSTED 3/24/2003
Nia, Brooklyn, NY, United States, 22, Female, Christian, Black/African American, Straight, art student, Over 4 Years of College, Upper class, Mesg ID 313200395254

I love rap and hip-hop. It doesn't matter what you think of it. I cannot see how anyone in their right mind could stand rock or heavy metal 'music.' To me it sounds like a bunch of noise and nonsense that has no logic at all. That doesn't mean people who like it are stupid. It's just my opinion, just like your opinion is your own. You don't have to understand or like hip-hop. Its following is enough of an example of how well it can thrive - even without your approval.
POSTED 3/24/2003
Tha Real Deal, P-town, IL, United States, 22, Male, Black/African American, 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 314200342759

I'm not a fan of the genre but am of a few genres that many people are also not favorable of, like country music and extreme metal. I've found that one's taste in music is not only built on images, but also on what they hear all the time. With music like popular rap, which is available all around MTV, cars, commercials, etc. people begin to become familiar and accustomed to it. Besides, though I dislike most of it, rap music has its merits. The drums and rhythm are like no other music before it, and are very catchy to the ear. Plus, even if the music is lacking, there is a whole culture, including breakdancing, graffiti, fashion and politics, that goes along with it, that many people find interesting and deep. Music has always been different strokes for different folks and probably always will be. That's why new music is always coming out and there litterally is something for everybody.
POSTED 3/24/2003
Seamus, Charlestown, MA, United States, 23, Male, Construction, Lower class, Mesg ID 314200360944

I enjoy hip hop very much, and that's why I became a DJ. When I was younger, I used to listen to hip hop for the beats, and not necessarily the lyrics, because I didn't understand what was being said. But after a while, you begin to mature and listen to the music for more than just what is being said but how they are relaying the message. Being in my mid-20s, I can see how someone wouldn't want to listen to hip hop, because of what the radio and video saturate the consumer with - 20-inch rims on trucks, $200,000 cars, furs, $50,000 watches, etc. All those material things being shown on videos and rapped about in songs is supposed to be what you can achieve if you work hard at what you do. Instead, the label, along with the promotion staff, push the idea of 'you need to have this' in order to boost the sales of artists' albums, and sell their songs. It's the radio tunes that you are referring to that are lacking the melody and beauty you have mentioned. I can also see how you can see how it lacks those two things, because all it is now is recycled hits from the '80s, manipulated to refresh the listener where the original song came from, and to make it catchy. But in the world of hip hop, there is such a thing as a sample, which is where a section of the record is used, then arranged and reworked, or is repeated, and then extra drum kicks and basslines are added, to create a new beat, so as not to make it sound just like the original song. Listen to Bobby Caldwell's 'Open Your Eyes' and then listen to Common's 'The Light.' The Bobby Caldwell song had a section sampled, then was reworked to make what the Common song sounds like. Being a DJ, I listen to more than just hip hop, because all the beats originated from old soul from the '60's and '70s, and learning the artists from whom these artists sample gives you a greater appreciation for where the music comes from. Take this into consideration: there are two types of people in hip hop - the rappers and the emcees. The emcees are the ones who don't need a gimmick to sell their albums, but just the skill of their vocabulary to move the crowd. Rappers are the ones who need a gimmick to sell their image and music.
POSTED 3/24/2003
Alphonzo, San Diego, CA, United States, 25, Male, Asian, DJ, 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 315200364035

Your definition of music is inaccurate. Music is like love; it can't always be explained, nor does it have to make sense to everyone to be appreciated by many. For example, music can entail playing the piano, or banging on a brass pot. You would be surprised at how many people enjoy hearing the pot. I enjoy rap and hip hop as well as many other types of music, and contrary to what you may believe, I am not using them as political cries, or for racial identification. I seriously doubt these judgments would fly in the country music world (perhaps these perceptions have something to do with the type of people most commonly associated with rap and hip hop; perhaps their language, style or maybe their skin color?) I could probably guess that you turn rap/hip hop off the radio or TV the moment you hear them. How, then, can you judge these types of music when you probably don't know the first thing about them? You are wrong about hip hop and rap not discussing social issues. This clearly shows that you don't know the first thing about either type of music. If you want to talk about rap and social issues, contact the king of hip/hop, Russell Simmons. Before judging, you should probably have a real taste of rap and hip hop. If you end up not liking either, get over it. I am sure there are types of music you enjoy that I couldn't stomach. That’s just what makes us all different. Not everything is meant for us to understand, and sometimes, prejudiced feelings get in the way of our attempts to understand.
POSTED 3/24/2003
Alex, Houston, TX, United States, 19, Female, Scientist, 2 Years of College, Lower class, Mesg ID 316200384712



I agree that most hip/hop and rap music is not what it used to be. When rap music first came about, it was about having fun, and there was no cursing in the music. Now it's about sex, money and women. I can't stand rap music now. Its not original. That also goes for other types of music, also.
POSTED 3/24/2003
Carolyn, Washington, DC, United States, 27, Female, Methodist, Black/White/American Indian, Straight, Computer Programmer, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 3192003102418

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