Best of the Week
of April 1, 2001

Best of Week Archives

Here are the most intriguing cross-cultural exchanges either begun or advanced during the week of April 1, 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 answering questions.

The book on Y? is here!
"Why Do White People Smell Like Wet Dogs
When They Come Out Of The Rain?"

Order it securely via credit card
Delivery in 2-3 days via Priority Mail
Read the Associated Press story on "Wet Dogs"

Order the book on Y? today!

 


Question:

Where were the national media in December 2000 when two black brothers from Dodge City, Kan., committed a quadruple murder against whites in Wichita? Or only a year earlier when three white Michigan teens were brutally assaulted by a gang of blacks after the former had hopped a train and landed in a black neighborhood? Or when in 1998 three black teens in Burlington, N.C., kidnapped, raped and murdered a 10-year-old white girl? Or when a white man was nearly beaten and stomped to death upon leaving a restaurant near Ft. Bragg, N.C., by a gang of blacks? Or when a white woman of Streator, Ill., died in August 1998 after being dragged for three miles behind a black driver�s automobile? Why haven't we heard more from the black community in the United States about this type of behavior? When whites commit idiotic crimes, other whites are quick to call the perpetrators the evil bastards that they are ... but in situations like these, the black community is silent. Is it perhaps because they secretly endorse this kind of behavior?

POSTED 4/3/2001

ArzaThoth, Central, NJ, United States, 27, Male, Methodist, White/Caucasian, Straight, Programmer, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 42200174731

To respond
BACK TO TOP


Question:

Why are whites so scared of blacks?

POSTED 4/3/2001

Jasmine, Las Vegas, NV, United States, 17, Female, Christian, Black/African American, Straight, student, Less than High School Diploma, Middle class, Mesg ID 3282001111546

To respond
BACK TO TOP


Question:

Why do women gain so much respect when they beat a man at any sport?

POSTED 4/3/2001

Kelvin, Carrollton, GA, United States, Male, Mesg ID 330200172956

To respond
BACK TO TOP


Question:

Why are many elderly people afraid of teenagers? Do most of them think that just because some teens are bad that every teenager is a drug addict who doesn't care about anyone but themselves?

POSTED 3/23/2001

Azrael, Central Square, NY, United States, 16, Female, Christian, White/Caucasian, Straight, student, Less than High School Diploma, Middle class, Mesg ID 321200115919


Responses:
I think it has to do with change and the realization of older people that they are physically getting weaker and cannot defend themselves the way they were able to in their prime. Some years ago, my parents were uncomfortable riding a subway late at night with a group of teens sporting colorful mohawks. The hairstyles and dress of the youths were totally unfamiliar to my parents, thus the discomfort. This unfamiliarity (ignorance, though that's a harsher word) leads to much prejudice and bigotry in this world.

POSTED 4/3/2001

Nancy, Akron, OH, United States, 45, Female, Mesg ID 328200194536


I think the attitude you are talking about could be from several things. For example, because they are from a generation during which good manners and courtesy were more common, they may not understand teenagers of today. I've noticed that when I'm waited on at a grocery store, some of the kids that work there are rude in general and don't even bother to say 'hello' or 'thank you.' At times all you see of them is a sort of 'blank stare.' This, to a person who grew up in an age when this kind of behavior would not occur, is no small thing. I think that because many elderly folks have found this kind of interaction with teens to be the most common form, they may generalize. If you think about the changes that have taken place in society in their lifetime, it may give you a better perspective of what they may be dealing with. I would try not to take it too personally, and would even maybe try to go a little out of your way to prove them wrong by smiling and just saying a nice friendly hello - it just might make their day.

POSTED 4/3/2001

Cynthia, Chicago, IL, United States, Female, Mesg ID 328200192943

To respond
BACK TO TOP


Question:

Why do (Asian) Indians shake their heads when they speak?

POSTED 4/3/2001

Charly, Washington, DC, United States, 32, Male, Jehovahs Witness, White/Caucasian, Straight, waiter, High School Diploma, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 330200163342

To respond
BACK TO TOP


Question:

Why does it seem that many members of the Jewish community have a lot of money, power and smarts? From Einstein to Streisand, and Hollywood to diamond dealing, where does it come from?

POSTED 3/19/2001

G. Chan, Monréal, Quebec, NA, Canada, 18, Male, Agnostic, Asian, Gay, student, 2 Years of College, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 316200111512


Responses:
Until recently, Jews were discriminated against when looking for work, so they had to become self-employed by opening a business or becoming a doctor, etc. And you know the saying, 'You never get rich working for someone else.' So with a lot of hard work and sacrifices, they made their fortune. With this money, they can help their kids start or continue the business or go on to higher education. Also, Jews tend to be smarter than average because for centuries they were persecuted. Only the smartest ones survived; the dumber ones got weeded out of the gene pool. Currently, anti-Semitism is very low in North America, and professors are finding that Jewish students don't score as highly as they used to; now there is no pressing need to overachieve.

POSTED 4/3/2001

Ronit, Toronto, Ontario, NA, Canada, 38, Female, Jewish, White/Caucasian, Straight, Technical School, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 326200173150


I always understood that it was because early Christianity forbade the charging of interest on loans (much as Islam does today). Judaism had no restrictions, so the Jews ended up being the moneylenders to all (religious persecution also limited what else they could do). Thus the Jews were forced into doing what they have been historically derided for doing - being the moneylenders.

POSTED 4/3/2001

Sean H., London, NA, United Kingdom, 37, Male, Atheist, White/Caucasian, Straight, Geologist, Over 4 Years of College, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 328200162026


I know several Jews through work, and none of them has any money. The only Jewish family with any money that I have known was that of a doctor. Jews I work with now are journalists. If all I knew of blacks was gathered from television, I'd probably think they were either ghetto poor or NBA rich. People of all races litter every platform in our society.

POSTED 4/3/2001

Brian, Peru, IN, United States, 25, Male, Methodist, White/Caucasian, Straight, journalist, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 329200181728


I don't think it's just time that has helped Jews to become a force in American culture. It's the fact that Jews, maybe more than some other cultural groups, seem to put a heavy emphasis on literacy, higher education and hard work. It's true that Jews do have a disproportionate representation in the media, and in many high-profile occupations. It's not a plot to take over the world, as some seem to think. It's just a culturally ingrained drive to excel. Also, perhaps because of their history of persecution, Jews do tend to have a certain solidarity. They help each other by supporting Jewish businesses and charities and lending a hand to new Jewish immigrants. There is a stereotype that Jews only help each other, though, and that is not true. Many Jews put themselves on the frontlines during the Civil Rights Movement in the '60s, and have been active in countless other causes. If you want insight into Jewish society and Jewish attitudes about civil rights, I suggest you read the book, 'The Temple Bombing.'

POSTED 4/3/2001

Theo, Atlanta, GA, United States, 30, Female, White/Caucasian, writer, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID

To respond
BACK TO TOP


Question:

Why is it that no one wants to acknowledge that the reason U.S. society 'acts' like whites are in the majority is that they ARE in the majority? According to statistics from July 1999, the percentage of the U.S. population with regard to ethnicity is as follows: White - 82.3%; Black - 12.8%; Hispanic - 11.5%; Asian/Pacific Islander - 4.0%; and American Indian, Eskimo, Aleut - 0.9%. Yet I keep reading or hearing statements like 'Bush's Cabinet is racially diverse, but not racially diverse enough,' or 'There aren't enough 'black' shows on television,' or 'There aren't enough 'black' ______ in the country,' or 'When I look at advertisements, I'm reminded that I live in a 'white' country because I always see more white faces than black faces on them,' or 'A good school should be no more than 50% white.'

POSTED 4/3/2001

Brian H., Brooklyn, NY, United States, 23, Male, White/Caucasian, Straight, Network Admin/Student, 2 Years of College, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 3282001100529

To respond
BACK TO TOP


Question:

I've moved back to my hometown, a 'minority majority' city in which the Chicano population outnumbers the Caucasian population. I've met up with an old friend (who is white), and it seems like we might get together romantically. What really bothers me, though, is that every time I've spoken with him since returning to our hometown, he's made derogatory comments about 'those Mexicans' in kind of hushed, confidential tones, like he expects me to agree with him (which I definitely don't). Has anyone had any experience trying to change someone's racist views, or has anyone gotten romantically involved with someone like this? What was your experience like?

POSTED 4/3/2001

S.R., San Antonio, TX, United States, 23, Female, Humanist, White/Caucasian, Straight, Over 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 412001103736

To respond
BACK TO TOP


Question:

Why do Italian Americans dislike or hate blacks, use derogatory terms to descibe them such as 'Mullis,' chase blacks out of their neighborhoods and, in the worst cases, beat them with bats, when to the best of my knowledge blacks have never done anything to Italians?

POSTED 3/23/2001

Wam, Baldwin, NY, United States, 36, Male, Baptist, Black/African American, Straight, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 322200120330


Responses:
Because Italians are, overall, congenitally ignorant thugs who can hardly string two words of English together, but because they had an empire 1,500 years ago and one of them is responsible for discovering (more like falling back-assward into) this continent 500 years ago, they think they are entitled to respect. Despite this - they, the whites who wrote the book on how whites behave - consider themselves an ethnic minority, and every time they're portrayed in the media as organized criminals or ignorant thugs, the Italian Anti-Defamation League (i.e. the Mafia) whines to the media that that's 'racist,' and that 'if blacks were portrayed that way, no one would stand for it.' What a joke. In short, most Italians are type-A personalities who feel the world owes them automatic, unconditional respect because of accomplishments their great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfathers made. And when they see a black guy living the same way in the same neighborhood as them, it forces them to acknowledge that they aren't the superior race anymore, and that burns their ass in ways they're too stupid to express any other way than violently.

POSTED 3/26/2001

Sean, Boston, MA, United States, Male, White/Caucasian, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 323200131347


There is some real merit in Wam's original question about the extremely hostile attitudes of some Italian Americans toward blacks, which should not be lost in the rush to criticize Sean's response. Some of the most anti-black sentiments I have heard or have been informed of have come from Italian Americans, and not necessarily all on the East Coast. Choosing to see this as just an example of 'insular communities' comes across as a self-serving attempt to contort this ugly behavior into something acceptable, using the argument that 'others do it' under similar circumstances of insularity. But such a degree of insularity in any society as open as ours is viewed under most other circumstances as downright sickness, or at best medieval. Sean's response, while colorful and somewhat extreme around the edges, may be much closer to the truth than many of his critics here are aware of or are willing to admit. The truth does not necessarily have to be cloaked in pretty dressing - especially if the truth itself is not pretty.

POSTED 4/3/2001

I. Moses, Columbia, MD, United States, Male, Black/African American, Over 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 328200153308


Sean, it sounds as though you are from my neighborhood. Or Southie, or Quincy. No matter, though. Italians are certainly not the only white ethnic group that is racist. History has shown that. However, in the last 20 or so years, there have been several high-profile racist incidents involving Italian Americans. I believe it lies more with their class than with their ethnic group in those cases. Most of those were crimes performed by blue-collar, working-class whites. Because I've spent 21 years among people like them, I know that their racism is probably the same as any other group of white people, but their roots cause them to deal with it differently. Their low monetary status means they can't discriminate in the job market, so they use violence to put blacks down and feel better about themselves. They use the excuses of keeping the neighborhood safe and clean, but it's really xenophobia and fear of change. I reiterate, I've spent 21 years in Charlestown, where until forced integration of our housing projects, a black person or any other minority would've been in danger to walk through here. And Charlestown is predominantly Irish American.

POSTED 4/3/2001

Seamus, Charlestown, MA, United States, <madskat@home.com>, Male, Irish-American, Student/Construction, Mesg ID 3302001123822

To respond
BACK TO TOP


Question:

I am an outspoken female leaving for India. I want to know if there is anything I should be worried about, such as covering my face or how I dress, drinking at bars, etc. I do not want to offend anyone, and I do not want to put myself in danger. Are there any web sites I can visit to find out what is acceptable, or does anyone have any advice? Also, I will be meeting my boyfriend's parents for the first time and wanted to know some dos and don�ts.

POSTED 11/16/2000

Marie, Tampa, FL, United States, 22, Female, White/Caucasian, Mesg ID 1113200094504


Responses:
People will always be asking 'what country?' Unless they are people your boyfriend introduces you to, don't tell them. If you tell people, they'll try to cheat you, and if they're male, they'll also sexually harass you. If you get inappropriately touched, the best thing is to tell the person you are offended, or yell at them. Don't let them get away with it so they'll treat other foreigners the same way. It doesn't matter what you wear, if people know you're a foreigner and they're not educated about other cultures, they will sexually harass you, so try not to go anywhere without your boyfriend.

POSTED 4/3/2001

Diana, Sacramento, CA, United States, 18, Female, Catholic, Chicana, Straight, Student, Less than High School Diploma, Middle class, Mesg ID 328200125627

To respond
BACK TO TOP


    Copyright and disclaimer