Best of the Week
of April 8, 2001

Best of Week Archives

Here are the most intriguing cross-cultural exchanges either begun or advanced during the week of April 8, 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.

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Question:

I have noticed that African Americans in general are much noisier than whites, for example in libraries or cafes, and when whites ask them to make less noise because they cant work or talk themselves, the African Americans often react very negatively. Why?

POSTED 4/10/2001

Tony L., New York, NY, United States, Mesg ID 410200120420

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Question:

When I was in high school in the '70s, many girls had beautiful, hairy arms, and no one thought anything of it. Now hair of any kind on a woman is the enemy. Damn. Body hair on a woman is sensual and sexy, especially on the arms and lower back, like the patterns on lots of wonderful Latina girls. I will never understand how hair got to be such a horrible attribute. How did this happen?

POSTED 4/10/2001

Larry, Fort Worth, TX, United States, 48, Male, Christian, White/Caucasian, Straight, professional, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 45200192330

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Question:

Why do men have an innate compulsion to put women down?

POSTED 4/10/2001

Paula J., Wichita Falls, TX, United States, 76, Female, Methodist, White/Caucasian, Straight, Retired, 2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 49200114329

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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


Responses:
First, you yourself identified the white-run media as the reason these crimes received little or no national recognition. I had only heard about one of the crimes you mentioned (the train incident). How is the black community to respond when they haven't heard about something? Second, a racial motivation is not clear in all of the crimes you mentioned, although I would agree that it seems apparent in some of them.

POSTED 4/5/2001

Gregory H., New York, NY, United States, 23, Male, Christian, Black/African American, Straight, law student, Over 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 43200120114


Just because YOU haven't heard anything doesn't mean black people are silently cheering for such evil acts. An injustice will always be bad. It does not matter who commits it. A wrong act is still wrong, whether it is by a black or a white person. The reason you probabply haven't heard anything is that the media chooses what it wants everyone to know. The black community could shout at the top of its lungs how horrible these injustices are, yet that doesn't mean that it will be heard. And it seems you are saying the media is there when hate crimes are committed on black people but not when they are committed on white people. I could pick instances in which the media shows a majority of black people committing crimes and never depicting white people committing crimes. Or, I could talk about other instances in which black people were the only ones depicted as thugs, hoodlems and thieves. But what would be the point? What gets me here is that you would actually think that the 'black community' would 'secretly endorse' such atrocities. The people who commit them will pay, come judgment day. These incidents that occurred are wrong and hateful and happen both ways, but instead of screaming about how wrong they are, we need to concentrate on changing people's perceptions and viewpoints about one another, because only then will these disgusting hate crimes come to an end.

POSTED 4/5/2001

Jummy, Jamaica, NY, United States, <caramel_sunday@yahoo.com>, 21, Female, Lutheran, Black/African American, Straight, Student, 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 44200194147


It sounds like you've answered your own question. I listen to the national news and read the newspaper and have never heard any of those crimes you've mentioned. Are you having flashbacks from crimes you read about against blacks? I guess your point is that blacks are committing racial crimes against whites and no one is saying anything about it, as opposed to whites committing crimes against minorities and everyone gets up in arms about it. To me, any crime is atrocious, regardless of who commits it.

POSTED 4/5/2001

Gloria W., Atlanta, GA, United States, Female, Christian, Black/African American, Straight, 2 Years of College, Mesg ID 44200153627


"Is it perhaps because they secretly endorse this kind of behavior?" That's outrageous. I'm sure that's not the case. You can't put all black people in the one category.

POSTED 4/5/2001

Sarah-Jayne, Melbourne, NA, Australia, Female, White/Caucasian, Mesg ID 45200134827


ArzaThoth's argument is troubling, not just because it is such an insult to good judgment and common sense, but because it reminds us all of the thriving obsession among many in this country with inflaming and reinforcing prejudices. Blacks, who have been the victims of so much crime and suffering in this country, are probably more empathetic than most Americans to the suffering of others. After all, any man anywhere in the world who has ever been hit or kicked in the groin (and that includes most men) will instinctively groan when he sees it happen to another man. Those who have known suffering cannot help but empathize with another fellow sufferer, regardless of race, color or creed. So the notion that blacks would somehow endorse these crimes is ludicrous. It is the classic psychological projection defense, in which whites go out of their way to find reasons for accusing blacks of having the very same unhealthy attitudes and motives held by so many whites. The overwhelming majority of the nearly 500 hate groups in this country are white, and 75 percent of them target their hate against blacks. There is little indication that white Americans are as outraged with the behavior of these groups as ArzaThoth would have us believe. Blacks rely on the national media no less than whites, and if that media ignored those crimes, there is no reasonable basis for blaming blacks for not knowing about them, especially because the nearly 37 million blacks in this country do not all live next door to where those crimes occurred. Plus, black expressions of alarm and outrage have never garnered much attention in this country. That is why so many of our problems just fester and get worse. That a white commits a crime against a black or a black against a white does not in and of itself make that crime 'racially motivated.' A crime becomes racially motivated if the principal reason for the crime is racial. If the principal reason is anything else, e.g. sex, money, drugs, etc., then the crime cannot be adjudged to be racially motivated. And any media, be it local or national, would be irresponsible in labeling it so.

POSTED 4/9/2001

I. Moses, Columbia, MO, United States, Male, Black/African American, Over 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 49200160601

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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


Responses:
A difficult question. Some whites are actually and honestly scared, and show it all the time. Some pretend to themselves that they aren't scared, but they'll still cross the street to avoid a group of black people. And there are some whites who judge people as people, independent of skin color. But whites (and there are other races, too, not only white people) who are scared of blacks are scared because they tend to group people according to skin color, and I guess for them they associate black skin color with crime, i.e. "If you're black, you might be a criminal or harbor violent tendencies toward me, so I'll try to stay away from you if I am a white person who is scared of black people." The association of black people with criminality basically began with an onslaught of media images in the 1920s when blacks and Hispanics were shown as either house servants or razor-wielding maniacs. The debate continues about the portrayal of black people in the media. In addition, because poverty tends to breed crime, and because crime among blacks in poverty-stricken urban centers is highly visible in the local news, many white people see this on TV and say to themselves: 'You see! I was right all along.' The truth is that crime rates correspond to poverty more than race, but we don't hear that message as often as we should. Man, I don't know. It's crazy. But not all whites are scared of all blacks. I guess that's my main point.

POSTED 4/4/2001

A White Guy, Chicago, IL, United States, Male, White/Caucasian, 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 44200114605


To this white person, some blacks appear unsophisticated, uneducated and generally uncivilized by my standards. But please realize, what I consider sophisticated, educated and civilized might not be what you as a black person might. I live in New York and find that some of the time, blacks want me to be afraid. They use loud, aggressive speech with vulgarity to hold simple conversations. They try to obscure their identity using clothing articles such as bandanas and scarves. They show no courtesy when meeting face to face on the street. And some of the time, I am confronted by hostile blacks who I am sure are trying to intimidate me. I respond in a like manner, but I am sure some white people would not. I think some blacks like this relationship. I believe it makes them feel they have power in a society in which they don�t.

POSTED 4/5/2001

Matthew, New York, NY, United States, 43, Male, White/Caucasian, Gay, actor, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 45200155524


Please excuse the generalizations I'm about to make, and understand that they are not 100 percent true. Blacks are angry from the poor treatment they've received/are receiving. Blacks alive today may have brothers, fathers or grandfathers who were lynched by white mobs, besides countless other acts of racism. So, whites may tiptoe when around blacks either because they are racist and don't want to slip and let their racism show, or because they aren't racist and don't want to further aggravate an already upset fellow human. If you see a white woman or man look fearful when nearing blacks, it's because they know the anger may be there. They might not be conscious of knowing, but they know.

POSTED 4/6/2001

N.J. Smith, Akron, OH, United States, 46, Female, White/Caucasian, Middle class, Mesg ID 46200193720

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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


Responses:
I'm not sure what statistics you purport to quote, but your figures add up to 111.5%, which seriously calls into question their accuracy. That said, even if we acknowledge that white people comprise the majority of U.S. society, that's no reason to marginalize minorities. America is supposed to be a 'melting pot.' What's your problem with that?

POSTED 4/4/2001

Alicia, Pensacola, FL, United States, Female, Mesg ID 442001122900


What we see in the media and elsewhere usually doesn't come close to those numbers you mention. Take how often non-whites are on TV shows. After decades of struggle, blacks are finally somewhere close to being represented in as high a proportion on TV as they are in real life, but no other ethnic groups are. Asians aren't, Latinos aren't, and so on. For example, the only person close to being American Indian on network TV is Chuck Norris (he claims a small amount of Cherokee ancestry, I believe), and he's hardly typically native in appearance. As for the news media, as recently as 1995, journalists were more than 95% white males, nowhere near what it's like in the general population. And Bush's Cabinet ... come on, just about every one of the few nonwhites who voted for him wound up there. In any case, they certainly are not typical of nonwhites in the opinions they hold. So in answer to your question, the reasons you still hear these complaints are 1) it's the only way change has ever come about, and 2) the changes still have far to go.

POSTED 4/5/2001

A.C.C., W. Lafayette, IN, United States, Male, Mesg ID 442001110740

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