Best of the Week
of April 22, 2001

Best of Week Archives

Here are the most intriguing cross-cultural exchanges either begun or advanced during the week of April 22, 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.

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Question:

Is it true that Hassidic Jews must have a sheet between them (with a hole cut in it) while having sexual intercourse? If so, why?

POSTED 4/17/2001

SingleWF, New York, NY, United States, Female, White/Caucasian, Mesg ID 417200121836

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Question:

I'm a 19-year-old guy and still have a fair amount of acne on my face. Is acne a big turn-off to girls? I'm not particularly ugly, but I was curious about how much acne affects the attractivness of a guy.

POSTED 4/27/2001

Kelsey, Seattle, WA, United States, 19, Male, White/Caucasian, Straight, Mesg ID 4262001121644

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Question:

I'm a 17-year-old bisexual girl. I'm definitely not 'butch' - I'm very feminine. However, I seem to have what would be characterized as very 'gay male' characteristics.' I love drag queens and all things campy, I love showtunes, Judy Garland, Liza Minnelli, Bernadette Peters, all the gay icons. Is there a name for someone like me? Like a slang expression or something? I know a 'fag hag' is a straight woman who has a lot of gay male friends, but what would I be considered?

POSTED 4/27/2001

Jacqueline, New York, NY, United States, 17, Female, Catholic, White/Caucasian, Bisexual, actress, High School Diploma, Middle class, Mesg ID 426200152128

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Question:

I was born and raised in Central Florida, and I was wondering what people from the rest of the country think of Florida and Floridians. Do you really think it's just a bunch of old people?

POSTED 4/26/2001

L.M., Melbourne, FL, United States, 20, Female, Christian, White/Caucasian, Straight, 2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 425200121850


Responses:
After this last election, I think it's a state in change. No, I don't think you are all old, nor stupid, nor Republican. I believe you are a state that reflects a basic change in the country. A Southern state that has outlived its Southern roots. More minorities, more liberal-minded people and more 21st century Americans than your governor would like to believe.

POSTED 4/27/2001

Matthew, New York, NY, United States, 43, Male, actor, Middle class, Mesg ID 426200172505


I always think of Cuban music and booty bass. Also sex. I hear sex is a preoccupation down there. At least from the Floridians I know.

POSTED 4/27/2001

Justin, Chicago, IL, United States, Male, Atheist, White/Caucasian, 2 Years of College, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 426200120035

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Question:

Why do many black youths get a little money in their pockets and go spend it all on a $150 pair of tennis shoes when they don't have a job or car or decent house to live in?

POSTED 4/26/2001

Nicole, Virginia Beach, VA, United States, 24, Female, Christian, Black and White, Straight, Internet Product Developer, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 425200155858


Responses:
I'm sure you know that the multi-billion dollar athletic shoe industry isn't supported solely by poor blacks, but to answer your question, I think that in neighborhoods where no one has much, respect and status is gained by having. It's sad, but people deal with poverty in a lot of ways that don't make sense to others.

POSTED 4/27/2001

Jennifer, St. Paul, MN, United States, <dkflwr2@aol.com>, 30, Female, Christian, Asian, Straight, Writer/Student, 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 426200135716

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Question:

To people of all races: If you realized you had met the person who was meant for you, but he or she belonged to a different race, would you set aside all the differences and continue to build your relationship, or would you start to distance yourself?

POSTED 4/24/2001

Leo O., New York, NY, United States, Male, Hispanic/Latino, Over 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 423200114359


Responses:
I would grab them and hold them very dear to my heart. Race and ethnicity would fly out the window.

POSTED 4/26/2001

Matthew, New York, NY, United States, 43, Male, Gay, Middle class, Mesg ID 425200162911


My husband and I just celebrated our 14th anniversary. I would have to say it has been 14 great years. We are an interracial couple. I am a British-born Jamaican living in the United States, which I consider to be home, and he is from Eastern Europe (or Western Asia, depending on how you look at it). This has been his home since childhood. You might think that from a cultural perspective we couldn�t be more different, but actually we have a lot in common. We were both uprooted from one culture to another at the sensitive age of 12 and were forced to adapt to another culture. He had a language barrier to overcome, of course, but when we compare notes of this traumatic experience, there are also many commonalities. He�s a math person and I�m an artist, both seeking to find beauty and order in the world, you might say. We share a lot of hobbies, music, reading, love of exotic food, travel, comedy. He�s an all-rounder and is at home here, in Jamaica, in England or Eastern Europe, and I am, too. When I meet someone from another culture, to me it is a great opportunity to find out who they really are, and my husband is curious about these things, too. I love people and treasure friends around the globe.

POSTED 4/26/2001

Beverley, Orlando, FL, United States, Female, Jamaican, Mesg ID 425200121406


If I met someone who was 'meant' for me and they were of another race, I would continue to have a relationship with them. It's not even a hard question for me. There is no dilemma. I've dated all kinds of men of differing races. I like to think of myself as 'cultured' in that I've dated men of many ethnicities and experienced their traditions and customs throughout the course of our relationship.

POSTED 4/26/2001

Nicole, Virginia Beach, VA, United States, 24, Female, Christian, Black and White, Straight, Internet Product Developer, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 425200152208


I think that in a relationship setting, race is irrelevant. I would much rather go out with a man of a different race who shared my values than go out with a man of the same race who was completely against my moral code.

POSTED 4/26/2001

Trudy, San Jose, CA, United States, 19, Female, Mormon, White/Caucasian, Straight, Student, 2 Years of College, Mesg ID 4252001114404


It doesn't matter what kind of supreme being or higher power you believe in, if a specific person was 'meant' for me, who am I to second guess that higher power? Don't let something as simple as 'what will my friends think' ruin the chance at a great relationship. It's your life, not theirs. Too many people go on to live lonely lives because they were pressured to 'find yourself a good (insert ethnicity here) girl.'

POSTED 4/26/2001

Taz, Windsor, Ontario, NA, Canada, 30, Male, White/Caucasian, Middle class, Mesg ID 425200195532

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Question:

Is it looked down upon by others - especially by other races/creeds - when art is collected and appreciated by one who is not of that culture?

POSTED 4/24/2001

K. Johnson, Columbus, OH, United States, 30, Male, White/Caucasian, Straight, Middle class, Mesg ID 4202001113752I


Responses:
I know many native communities like the Pueblo peoples and the communites of the Pacific Northwest coast depend on outsiders buying their arts and crafts. They've been using their art to promote understanding and appreciation of their cultures for centuries. What just about all native people (and probably other groups) don't care for are:

1)Inferior and counterfeit knockoffs of their cultural crafts. Always look for an 'Indian-Made' label and the tribal ID number of the artist. Also, make sure the 'Indian' is not referring to sweatshop workers in India. (I'm serious, some less scrupulous dealers do this.)

2)'Art' that promotes a sterotypical view of native people, everything from reproductions of the famous Charles Curtis photos (which usually were staged photos using clothing borrowed from museums to make natives look more 'primitive'), to a lot of ridiculously cornball romanticized New Age and Old West-style art, to the trashy and deeply offensive things like cigar store 'Indians' and sports mascot memorabilia.

3)Things like sand paintings, kokopellis, totem poles, medicine pouches and 'tribal' tattoos. These all have sacred meaning in native beliefs and are being bought, sold and used in a casual, frivolous and disrespectful way.

4)'Art' that misrepresents itself as something it is not. For example, 'dream catchers' actually were crab catchers until a white businessman got the idea of adding feathers to them and selling them to tourists and making up a phony legend to go along with them. A lot of New Age people also sell 'shamanic crafts,' pseudo-native items for use in pseudo-native 'ceremonies.'

But if you use the art to learn, and learn respect for the people you got it from, then go right ahead. If you do it because of some insulting notion that we are 'exotic' or 'foreign' to you, frankly you still don't understand what is right in front of you, not the art or the artists.

POSTED 4/26/2001

A.C.C., W Lafayette, IN, United States, Mexican and American Indian, Mesg ID 424200115130


I'd say 'yes' and 'no.' I say 'yes' because I have often turned my nose up at white people who collect those 'tar babies' because it's almost like they are making fun of how important the black woman was to many white households during the 1800s in the South. It's also an issue of 'hoarding' antiques and relics of another culture so that they may not enjoy them; or, making the price to own such collectibles so high that many black people can't afford to display them in their homes. Then again, I myself would like to begin collecting things from other cultures and countries. I want to do this because I have a very eclectic taste and think incorporating many collectibles from different eras and cultures would enligten my senses. So, I guess I would like an answer to your question, too!

POSTED 4/26/2001

Nicole, Virginia Beach, VA, United States, 24, Female, Christian, Black and White, Straight, Internet Product Developer, 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 425200153105

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Question:

With all the trials and tribulations blind people must contend with in daily life, I wonder how, well, 'lust' is handled. What I mean is that a sighted person can look upon a beautiful woman or handsome man and feel the pleasure that merely looking at the good-looking can bring. Is the blind person, therefore, reduced to feelings of extreme frustration that only actual lovemaking can relieve, or is fantasy, imagination and masturbation able to lessen the annoying itch of horniness that nearly all of us - blind and sighted - experience daily?

POSTED 4/15/2001

John A., Boston, MA, United States, 41, Male, Atheist, White/Caucasian, Straight, 4 Years of College, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 4132001124412


Responses:
I have a close friend who's been blind since birth. He does fantasize and masturbate, thinking of past sexual experiences, sounds and sensations that are stimulating. (He has also had many sex partners, so he has much to draw upon.) Because he has never seen anything or anyone (even himself), he does not miss what he never had.

POSTED 4/23/2001

Cassandra, Chicago, IL, United States, 36, Female, Black/African American, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 422200170734

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Question:

I am 38 and done with child-bearing, and my issue is my weight. I have never been a large-framed woman, but have been uncomfortable for years with my size and weight. To me I have a boyish frame and am small (125 lbs. and 5'7'). To some this is ideal, but to me it is depressing, so much so that I have stopped going to clubs, social functions and even some of my children's activities. Are there any suggestions on what I can do to keep or gain some weight? It is so bad that I have ended a four-year relationship (a good one) because of my insecurities. Don't get me wrong; while out and about, men are always eyeing me or speaking to me, but to me the Twiggy thing just is not working. I have workout equipment in my home office, and I do use it, but I need to build some bulk or something so I don't wither away. Any suggestions?

POSTED 4/16/2001

T-C, Seattle, WA, United States, 38, Female, African Methodist Episcopalian, Black/African American, Straight, Beauty industry, 2 Years of College, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 270125720


Responses:
In my opinion, putting on weight will not solve your body image issues. 5'7' and 125 lbs. is on the thin side, but some people are naturally thinner than average, just as some people are naturally larger than average. The point is to be healthy. Get a physical and discuss your weight with your doctor to determine if you have any health issues around your weight. I am not a psychiatrist, but it seems to me that your body image issues are symptoms of depression. The biggest clue was that you have stopped going out and have ended a good relationship over it. If I were you, I would talk to a counselor or someone to help figure out what is really going on.

POSTED 4/23/2001

Lucy, San Jose, CA, United States, 26, Female, Hispanic/Latino, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 418200140206


This is a disability or challenge? My proportions are almost exactly the same as yours, and I'm convinced that I need to LOSE 10 pounds. This makes me laugh. Maybe the 'challenge' here is in recognizing that we're pretty lucky. More than half of America is overweight and, at the same time, our anorexia/bulimia rates are disproportionately high. If you ended a four-year relationship over this issue alone, your problem might not be your body but your mind. I have heard of a psychological disorder in which people exaggerate their bodily 'flaws' to such a degree that it seriously interferes with their life. You might consider researching it.

POSTED 4/23/2001

S.R., San Antonio, TX, United States, 23, Female, Humanist, White/Caucasian, Straight, Over 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 4192001120650


According to a standard body mass index chart, your BMI is 20 when you compare your weight to height. The ideal range is 20 to 25. Since about half of Americans are overweight, it may be that you are comparing yourself to people who are heavy. I am 5 foot 5 and weigh 118 lbs.(also body mass index 20). I like my weight, but when I am skinnier than this I don't have any stamina. I used to feel more self-conscious, and I still wear long skirts because I feel my legs are too skinny. But I took ballet classes, and they make you feel good about being thin because that is the ideal. When I have tried to gain weight I did it by eating ice cream and cheesecake, but now I have borderline cholesterol and I should stay away from that stuff. I realized that sometimes I am not aware of being hungry. I start to feel tired or depressed, but really my blood sugar is dropping. I need more snacks. I was actually depressed for a while, and I wonder if that might be part of what you're feeling. If so, seek professional help because you can feel better. I say eat healthy, keep yourself strong and praise God for making you perfect just the way you are. He has called you to do some special work for the world and given you the right body to do it. Bless you.

POSTED 4/23/2001

Susan, Jacksonville, AL, United States, 36, Female, Catholic, White/Caucasian, Straight, chronic mental illness (recurrent depression), Registered Nurse, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 4192001125215

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Question:

I find that a lot of the time, people who take special education classes because of learning disabilities don't actually need them. All the 'special classes' do is bring individuals further down in thinking that because they have this problem, they can't do things other people do. What do others think?

POSTED 2/2/2001

Darrel H., Sauk Prairie, WI, United States, <cyberdancer8@yahoo.com>, Male, Mesg ID 210135754


Responses:
As a former teacher and sibling of someone with significant learning disabilities, I've had the opportunity to see these issues from all sides. As a teacher, most of the students I encountered who had learning disabilities were the most hard-working kids in the school. They were frequently the only ones who bothered to fully complete their homework or study for tests. I think the 'special classes' these students were in taught them not only that they needed to work hard, but how to use their strengths and weaknesses to best get the job done. These classes did not label them as dumb or lazy, but instead empowered the students to take control of their lives and work to achieve as best they can. One of my learning disabled students later graduated as valedictorian of her class, so doing your best, no matter what your weaknesses are, can yield pretty spectacular results. On the other hand, I have seen people outside of the school environment, usually parents and relatives of learning disabled students, who assume the child has significant limitations that cannot be overcome. Consequently, they do not encourage the child to work hard and be successful at all, when instead they should be encouraging the child to be successful to his or her ability.

POSTED 4/16/2001

Shelly, Pittsburgh, PA, United States, 25, Female, former teacher, Over 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 2601105749


I was in special classes for the majority of my time in grade school (K-12). However, I don't have a typical learning disability. I have suffered from serious mental illnesses and have gone whole years without viable mental function. If I had not been in these classes I would have been marginalized beyond any fathoming and would have never succeeded. I almost dropped out of high school as it was, just because I couldn't tolerate the environment. Now I'm at a four-year California State University and doing quite well. As for kids with the 'run-of-the-mill' learning disabilities, I would agree whole-heartedly with the first poster. There are very few legitimately diagnosed kids who can function to their fullest without some kind of help. Most will sink like stones without help. Some people may think they're lazy or just plain stupid, but until these people can develop a proper frame of reference, they are not fit to judge how any of them stand.

POSTED 4/24/2001

Dan, Los Angeles, CA, United States, 22, Male, Pentecostal, Hispanic/Latino, Student, 2 Years of College, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 4242001120130

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Question:

Why do some blacks have a problem with guilty white liberals? Aren't they better than racist white conservaties?

POSTED 4/15/2001

Justin, Chicago, IL, United States, Male, Atheist, White/Caucasian, 2 Years of College, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 412200170641


Responses:
'Guilty white liberals' are viewed with suspicion because their empathy is perceived as being something more akin to pity, and their efforts are viewed as patronizing in some situations. 'Guilty white liberals' are the ones who help organize protests against instances of institutionalized racism or other crimes, but then take on the role as spokespeople for the 'poor, helpless oppressed people,' making the people they're advocating feel powerless and resentful. In addition, because they see themselves as the good guys, it's hard to tell the 'guilty white liberals' to back off a little and let someone else speak. I don't know if 'guilty white liberals' actually exist, but some people are viewed as such and thus fulfill this role, to the chagrin of others.

POSTED 4/25/2001

T.R., Newark, NJ, United States, Female, Black/African American, Over 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 418200182726


I am not a liberal in the Western sense, and I don't agree with most of the liberal agenda. I think this liberal thing has gone too far left field.

POSTED 4/25/2001

Denise, Houston, TX, United States, Female, Follower of Jesus, Black/African American, teacher/housewife, Technical School, Mesg ID 418200182827

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Question:

The way I see it, Rap, Hip-Hop and R&B have been viewed as traditionally 'black' styles of music, but Heavy Metal, for example, has been seen as a traditionally 'white' style of music. Why is it that there are many white people who like Rap/Hip-Hop/R&B, but seemingly fewer black people who like Heavy Metal?

POSTED 4/15/2001

Michael, Sydney, NA, Australia, 20, Male, Christian, White/Caucasian, Straight, student, 2 Years of College, Mesg ID 414200151829


Responses:
Because I grew up on metal, I had to answer this. Metal bands that had black members included Thin Lizzy, the Plasmatics, Living Color, Body Count, King's X, Suicidal Tendencies and even Guns and Roses (Slash is black) with their famous anti-black song, 'One in a Million.' There are plenty of black fans of metal. But because there are about six or seven times as many whites as there are blacks in the United States, it's much easier to notice the greater numbers of white kids into rap than black kids into metal. But if you look at the metal scene in places with a large black population, like Detroit, you'd quickly see how many black metal fans are out there. There was a huge problem with racism in the metal scene when I grew up, though. Some bands like Slayer, Marilyn Manson and, ironically enough, Kiss (who are all Jewish) flirt with Nazi imagery or beliefs. Sometimes there were dumb metal fans who'd say moronic things like 'F*** that n****r music, I like rock,' forgetting that rock came from black music, the blues. So there were good reasons for black fans of metal to feel out of place or even threatened at shows, and some stayed home rather than deal with that BS.

POSTED 4/24/2001

A.C.C., W. Lafayette, IN, United States, 35, Male, Mexican and American Indian, Mesg ID 417200182359


Here's one right here. I think most blacks don't like heavy metal for fear of condemnation from their black peers. Also, most of us aren't raised around heavy metal; we're raised around rap, R&B and other forms of black music. I was raised in a mostly white neighborhood, so that may be why I'm open to all kinds of music. Anything but country. My favorites are rap and alternative, but I'm more into '80s metal.

POSTED 4/24/2001

Peter, Detroit, MI, United States, 25, Male, Christian, Black/African American, Straight, Copy editor/newspaper reporter, 4 Years of College, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 418200180118


If you're talking about hard rock, like Led Zeppelin, I think there are a lot of black people who like it. Let's face it: Zeppelin rules! Besides, hard rock can have some rhythm to it, and some melody, and the artists actually sing. With the harder stuff, like Black Sabbath, Dio, MotorHead, Metallica, stuff like that, I think many black people are intimidated by the scary lyrics and image of a given group, and turned off by what they think of as noise, not music, screaming, not singing, and the fact that you can't really dance to it. Others may not like it because they just haven't been exposed to it enough to learn.

POSTED 4/24/2001

Jennifer, St. Paul, MN, United States, <dkflwr2@aol.com>, 30, Female, Christian, Black/African American, Straight, writer/student, 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 418200130731


You have to remember in today's times marketing is everything, and heavy metal is no longer a top priority. Rap and hip-hop are the moneymakers, so record companies and advertising agencies have jumped on the mainstream bandwagon. I'm sure there are many metal bands out there trying to break into the business, but because of marketing and our society's distorted views, some agencies feel no one could possibly buy the idea that black men and women are actually into metal music - much like with non-stereotypical, non-white television series and movies. I could go on forever about why rap/hip-hop is so popular now, but maybe another time.

POSTED 4/24/2001

Lisa, Gaithersburg, MD, United States, Female, Black/African American, Mesg ID 4182001113456


I am no expert on this matter, but my friend who is a fan of hip-hop, gangsta rap and heavy metal players such as Pantera has told me that many fans of heavy metal have a skinhead or punk rock history, which is counter-intuitive to African Americans. If you ever watch a Rage Against the Machine concert, for example (especially the one in Holland), you will find that there is a heavy and noticeable concentration of skinhead types in the audience. My friend also knows a black person who was attacked during such a concert.

POSTED 4/24/2001

David, Chicago, IL, United States, 28, Male, Asian-American, Attorney, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 420200190747

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