Best of the Week
of April 10, 2004

Best of Week ArchivesArchives

Here are the most intriguing cross-cultural exchanges either begun or advancedduring the week of April 10, 2004, as selected by Y? These postings, as wellas "Best of the Week" entries from previous weeks, also can be found by accessingY?'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, aswell as in the database, you will find questionsthat 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 arenot 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.

 


Question:

Why do some older people have no respect for anyone, yet want all therespect in the world just for being elderly? I was in the store today andthe older woman in front of me was being such a crab to the cashier. So,being me, I asked her, haven't you learned some respect in your years? Andshe said, 'Excuse me, I'm 72 years old, I deserve some respect.' So I said,'Excuse me, I'm 22, and I have to earn mine.' She didn't say anything. Thisis a common phenomenon. Why do older people feel this way?
POSTED 4/12/2004
Phillip, Orange City, FL, United States, 22, Male, White/Caucasian, Straight,Irrigation Contractor, High School Diploma, Middle class, Mesg ID 3282004102423

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Question:

Today I was at the gym, working out, and waiting for the arm bike,which was being used by a man in a wheelchair. This machine has a 15-minutetime limit on it, and I waited my 15 minutes and he was still going. I walkedby and saw that he had been on for 28 minutes. I busied myself on anothermachine, but finally I asked if he was almost done. He said no, that it isthe only machine there he can use, and seemed offended I asked him aboutit. Should I have complained to management? Or should I have not said anything?He got off about 5 minutes later and I was able to use it.
POSTED 4/12/2004
Cherry, Flushing, MI, United States, 18, Female, Agnostic, mixed race, Straight,student, High School Diploma, Middle class, Mesg ID 12302002103117

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Question:

I suppress all of my emotions to a great degree. I haven't cried inthe last 5 years, don't express my anger, and rarely express any emotionin a significant way. I probably do this so I cannot be hurt or cannot hurtothers. Is this common?
POSTED 4/12/2004
Josh, Arcata, CA, United States, <ueberyak@hotmail.com>, 25, Male,Atheist, White/Caucasian, Straight, Cook, 2 Years of College, Lower class,Mesg ID 210200321921

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Question:

Why is it so important for Hispanic Americans to acquire what is calleda 'white' accent? Why is it not enough to merely speak the language right,without sounding foolish by struggling with an accent you will never be comfortablewith?
POSTED 4/12/2004
Tarone, Los Angeles, CA, United States, <dyonesius_apollo@yahoo.com>,23, Male, Atheist, Straight, Middle class, Mesg ID 422004121025

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Question:

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


Responses:

How funny! I think, in general, whites are more uptight and would ratherpretendthat nothing happened. On the other hand, there is my husband, whoonce 'cutone loose' during a church meeting and raised his hand. (I guessto take thecredit or the blame!) He and my stepson couldn't stop laughingthe rest ofthe meeting, so it pretty much went downhill after that.
POSTED 4/11/2004
Granny A., Atlanta, GA, United States, 52, Female, Christian, White/Caucasian,copyeditor, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 3292004105433



Have you been in a lot of elevators with people farting to be able to cometothis kind of conclusion? A person's reaction to something like that willbeindicative of their age and overall level of matureness. It's not racial.Youwere just around some people who felt comfortable enough to joke witheachother about a body function that is often used as a joke in comedy invariousmediums (example: Terrance and Phillip on South Park).
POSTED 4/11/2004
Mr. Black, Miami, FL, United States, 32, Male, Catholic, Black/African American,Straight,4 Years of College, Upper class, Mesg ID 412004115757

It happens that I have been studying the reactions to a fart, and I offer the following conclusions:

1. Most children find farting comical, and react by sniggling.
2. Cultures with a value on social sophistication will recognize a fart asahuman frailty that is not always controllable. Proper etiquette would compelthemto treat the release as an uncontrollable act not deserving of exposingtheoffending person.
3. African Americans have developed a repertoire ofcomical responses thathave undergone years of sorting under competitive peckingorders, resultingin coined phrases. There is no better sense of smell, butthere is a socialdelivery that invites the releaser to respond in a one-upmanshipchallenge.
POSTED 4/11/2004
Dean, Fort Wayne, IN, United States, <WDean37991@aol.com>,60, Male,Baptist, Black/African American, Straight, Engineer, Over 4 Yearsof College,Middle class, Mesg ID 46200452007

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Question:

What encourages people to be porn actors or actresses? Do they feelpleasure doing that? How does a woman feel when facing the fact that shewill be totally exposed and considered as a toy for guys, other women orgroups? For those who have done this, if they could change their lives, wouldthey?
POSTED 4/12/2004
Azucena, London, NA, United Kingdom, <chacalita_satirina@hotmail.com>,30, Female, Catholic, Hispanic/Latino (may be any race), Straight, student,Over 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 43200441524

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Question:

Is Latino culture more sexist? I can't walk through the mainlyLatinoneighborhood near my house without getting harrassed by menwho seem to thinkit's perfectly acceptable to make sexual commentsor catcalls. I understandthe rationale behind street harassment (tocontrol women and keep them sexualizedand uncomfortable) but why isit mainly Latino men who do this to me? Is thisa class thing(they're not extremely wealthy, or they wouldn't be hangingout 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, Middleclass, MesgID 3232004101709


Responses:

Before someone brings up the ignorant stereotype of 'machismo' into thisdiscussion, let me try to nip that in the bud. No, Latino culture(s) arenot more sexist. 'Machismo' is a racist stereotype foisted on us by outsidersand was invented by an Anglo anthropologist in the 1940s to justify racismagainst Mexicans. Anyone doubting that should read The Meaning of Macho byMatt Guttman. First, in Latin cultures, women traditionally have a much moreindependent role than in Anglo ones. You have 'la calle y la casa', the streetand the home. Women are absolutely in charge in the home. Husbands hand overtheir paychecks and get an allowance from their wives. And in the street,men are allowed to "pretend" to be in charge, in order to save face. Second,how does this play out into comments in the street? Men give out 'piropos'(literally 'little gems'), compliments to get a woman's attention that aresupposed to be poetic, sometimes ludicrously so by Anglo standards. 'Tienesojos como la alba' was what I would say when I was single. ('You have eyeslike the dawn.') It has zero to do with the so-called 'control' you seemto be inventing. Third, Latin women (at least in Latin America) generallydon't find comments or male attention uncomfortable or threatening. Theyare taught to be conscious of their bodies at an early age, and the warmerclimate, less clothing and more intense chaperoning by their relatives allaid in that. They don't fall apart at the slightest little perception of'harassment' like some Anglo women (and perhaps you) do. They are not coddledand sheltered or assumed to be so weak that someone simply whistling at themshould make them cringe in fear. I think it's a far healthier attitude, onethat enourages women to be strong and own their own sexuality, and I planto pass that along to my daughters.
POSTED 4/11/2004
A.C.C., Phoenix, AZ, United States, 38, Male, Mexican and American Indian,Teacher, Over 4 Years of College, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 327200420032



I am Hispanic but was born and raised here. I, too, have been puzzled bythis, but I can find no answer, other than that the culture is one of thebasest and most perverted. I despise the language with which they seek toaddress me ... or any living thing of the female gender, for that matter.These guys are desperate.
POSTED 4/11/2004
Jane, Los Angeles, CA, United States, 20, Female, Atheist, Hispanic/Latino(may be any race), Straight, 2 Years of College, Mesg ID 422004123341

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Question:

I'm an American living in a foreign country where there are also alot of British ex-pats. I have noticed that when the British do dishes, theyusually just wash their dishes with soapy water without rinsing them withclean water. Why is this? It certainly seems strange to me - wanting to eatoff dishes with soap scum all over them.
POSTED 4/11/2004
Susan, Istanbul, NA, Turkey, 35, Female, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, travel, 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 411200443839

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Question:

Every time I hear that someone is Hawaiian, they are not Hawaiian byrace, just by state. All of the 'Hawaiians' I run into are actually Asian.So how many Hawaiians are really racially native Hawaiians?
POSTED 4/11/2004
Pena, Herndon, VA, United States, Mesg ID 48200411028

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