Best of the Week
of April 23, 2000

Best of Week Archives

Here are the most intriguing cross-cultural exchanges either begun or advanced during the week of April 23, 2000, 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.


Question:
To kids: Why do kids feel they have to take their lives, and that they can't turn to anyone? What would make someone take their own life? What kind of person can make someone feel so insignificant that they'll take their own life?
POSTED 4/23/2000
J, Lara, CA, United States, <boykenpo@yahoo.com>, Male, Catholic, Straight, Mesg ID 45200011552

Responses:
I'm a 14-year-old high school freshman and have been depressed for about 2 1/2 years. I have had suicidal thoughts for about two of them. I have attempted suicide once, but my parents came home and I was forced to stop. My plan was, and still is, to overdose on aspirin. Frankly, it is hard to explain the feelings associated with depression, especially in teenagers. Often, as in my case, you lose touch with reality. My friends tell me I have become 'too sensitive.' I alternate between crying and yelling, mainly because I do not know how else to express the pain I am carrying around inside of me. I feel like a hopeless recluse who can't do anything right. I think of suicide at least one time every hour of every day. Unfortunately, recognizing there is something wrong with me and knowing I need professional help is not enough to actually get it. It feels like I am at the bottom of a very dark pit, and everyone else is living above me. The more I scream for help, the farther away they get. I've broken off from the world. I'm always tired, and I sleep as much as possible on weekends, just to escape the horror that has become my life. I've lost any pretense of a social life. I am slowly wasting away, becoming a body without a soul. I am rapidly becoming more desperate, and my thoughts of suicide become more frequent and elaborate. The way I see it, the world would be better off without people like me contaminating the gene pool. Yet, I am still afraid to ask for help. Afraid that my peers will see me as even more strange than they already think I am, afraid that I might be hospitalized and be forced to quit school for a few months, which would ruin my chances to go to a good college, if I haven't done that already. Perhaps, most of all, I am afraid that someone might actually listen.
POSTED 4/26/2000
Katie, San Diego, CA, United States, <IntergalacticKat@aol.com>, 14, Female, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, Straight, Student, Less than High School Diploma , Middle class, Mesg ID 425200085524

Katie, here are three numbers you can call. All in San Diego. Please do so. I've been there, I know how hard and scary it is. Please be brave and ask for the help you need and deserve. Crisis Center: (619) 232-2753 Juvenile Crisis Program (619) 543-9850 National Youth Crisis Hotline (858) 292-5683. If they can't help you, ask for a referral to someone who can. And keep asking.
POSTED 4/26/2000
Clio, Boston, MA, United States, 23, Female, White/Caucasian, Lesbian, educator, 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 426200045629

What's causing your pain, Katie? If you can find out why you're feeling this way, you can probably avoid/escape/reduce the pain short of dying, which can't be fun. You can find out, I think, by talking to someone, and from introspection (which you will have to do when your head is clear enough to do so - not when you're at the bottom of a depression.) I know that sounds improbable, but I have been able to find out why I was feeling depressed by naming the exact emotion I was feeling. Depression is an inchoate glob of feelings. Try to differentiate which ones. It's a start. Talk to someone. The Internet is maybe the best bet right now. I found a young woman at work (I was then about 40) who listened to me and made a few comments that helped me in my solitary introspection to trace out my feelings. I hope and expect you will get lots of messages. There will be lots of claptrap, tripe and BS in them, but be careful to examine them all because there will be some help in them.
POSTED 4/26/2000
Jack H., Corte Madera, CA, United States, <jhand@jps.net>, 68, Male, Atheist, White/Caucasian, Straight, Retired, Over 4 Years of College , Lower middle class, Mesg ID 426200081226

Dear Katie, I was heartbroken when I read your posting. Why are you in distress? There is so much to life, of course life has its bad sides, but it also has its wonderful aspects, too. I do not know your pains and what you have gone through, but I do know that you are NOT in the worst position. You should not let you pains overwhelm you, please try and get control of your life. There is so much to this beautiful and sacred world, it really has a lot to offer. Please try and seek help, go to a compassionate school counselor who will relate to your pain and help you. Life is really sacred and should never be thrown away. You have so much to offer. If you think you have a rotten life, can you imagine how the hungry kids in Africa or Romania feel? Indulge yourself with positve things: flowers, candy, genuine laughter, good adventurous novels and good company. PLEASE SEEK HELP. TAKE CARE AND SMILE.
POSTED 4/26/2000
Ify, Miami, FL, United States, <ifebigh77@hotmail>, 22, Female, Black/African American, student, 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 426200090503
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Question:
I've noticed that on every award show I watch, white people never thank God or any other higher spiritual source. They often thank their agent and friends first, but never God. Blacks, on the other hand, are the first to thank God. I've noticed the same for liner notes for CDs as well. Whites never thank God unless they are a gospel artist. What is the deal? It makes it appear that whites do not have a spiritual side or do not want to acknowledge that it is not the producer of the movie who made them the success they are but the one above. Please explain, because everyone at this year's Academy Awards DID NOT thank God.
POSTED 4/23/2000
K.R.B., Detroit, MI, United States, 22, Black/African American, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 4212000120427

Responses:
God doesn't get credit because that would interfere with reaping all the personal glory and benefits of being on top of the world. In a reverse kind of way, I wonder why professional athletes (of any and all ethnicities) are all thanks to God when they make a touchdown (glory), but cussin' and stompin' when they fumble (humility)? God gets used/abused in some funny ways, huh?
POSTED 4/26/2000
Mark B., Dallas, TX, United States, <civic-si@swbell.net>, 39, Male, Christian, White/Caucasian, Gay, Financial Analyst, 2 Years of College , Lower middle class, Mesg ID 4252000102658

Wow ... this is why I like Y? Forum so much; I would have NEVER observed this - not in a million years. I guess if we are going to judge human and racial spirituality by pop stars, we are all in trouble. While not religious now, I was brought up to view one's spirituality as private discourse with God. My guess is most white Protestant Christians are brought up the same. Thanking God for something so trivial as a personal award seems to demean what God stands for. I perceive those who gush on about God while getting such awards as pathetically trying to say, 'Look at me, I am God's favorite,' rather than seeing them as truly thankful. So my guess is that if there is a racial difference, it is just in the privacy of the spirtuality and not the depths.
POSTED 4/26/2000
Steve, Houston, TX, United States, 43, Male, White/Caucasian, Executive, Over 4 Years of College , Upper middle class, Mesg ID 4252000115000

Perhaps more whites, or some whites, just feel that their religion and their work are separate areas in their lives. I guess I'm speaking on behalf of Australian whites rather than American whites, but it can't make much difference.
POSTED 4/28/2000
Kate, Armidale, NA, Australia, 18, Female, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, Straight, Student, High School Diploma , Middle class,Mesg ID 427200042451

Some whites do thank God. In football, everyone thanks God when they win, but nobody criticizes God when they lose. Nobody ever says 'The good Lord made me drop the ball' or 'God tripped me up behind the line of scrimmage.'
POSTED 4/28/2000
Ethan, Berkeley, CA, United States, 18, Male, White/Caucasian, student, High School Diploma, Mesg ID 427200033149

I don't watch award shows much, I think they're all phony, but black artists do many times thank God for their success. But on the flip side of things, how can some black artists, and you know which ones I'm talking about, 'sing' graphically about explicit sexual activity, include vulgar language, degrade women, glorify violence, make videos about these 'songs' that are in essence mini-porn shows, and then have the audacity to receive an award and then 'thank God' for the success that they have? Kind of makes you go Hummm?
POSTED 4/28/2000
Holly, Annapolis, MD, United States, 28, Female, Black/African American, transcription, 2 Years of College, Mesg ID 426200093312

White people are not as vocal or flamboyant about their religious beliefs in comparison to African Americans. That doesn't mean we don't love or appreciate God; we are simply more private about our relationship with Him. Just because you broadcast your faith does not mean you are a better person or Christian. Sometimes showing off one's beliefs and faith can be a farce and a turn-off. Only God knows who the faithful really are.
POSTED 4/28/2000
Sue, Atlanta, GA, United States, 30, Female, Catholic, White/Caucasian, Straight, professional, Over 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 424200023527

I don't think people should thank God when they win awards, win the Super Bowl, produce a CD, etc. I don't believe God has anything to do with whether a person wins something. God doesn't decide who is more 'worthy' to win an Acadamy Award, the awards committee does. If God were to get directly involved in the outcome of an event, I think he would influence something more important than some meaningless awards ceremony - like maybe he would have prevented half a million Rwandans from being massacred by their government. I am not saying that God is not important. God is very important, as is prayer and everything else. A strong belief in God can help a person stay on track in achieving their goals, but it doesn't help a person win an Acadamy Award.
POSTED 4/28/2000
Jacqueline C, San Jose, CA, United States, 26, Female, White/Caucasian, Engineer, Over 4 Years of College , Middle class,Mesg ID 4242000115952
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Question:
I would like to know what people from different cultures - Americans, Latinos, African Americans, Asians, etc. - think the ideal atmosphere is for a food and beverage outlet or restaurant.
POSTED 4/23/2000
Caroline, n/a, n/, Australia, 18, Female, Christian, Australian, Straight, student, 2 Years of College , Upper class, Mesg ID 421200024546

Responses:
I prefer the atmosphere to have the option of inside or outside dining, cool yet relaxed music that is not too loud so you can hear the conversation, some artwork on the walls, interesting lighting fixtures, funky, stylish furniture and window decor, and decent acoustics so it's not too loud when crowded. I also appreciate a candle or flower on the table. Decent service, a well-maintained/clean establishment and an interesting menu also helps keep me coming back. Anything the place can do to add its own signature charm also works, including occasional live entertainment/music.
POSTED 4/28/2000
Anne, Chicago, IL, United States, 36, Female, Humanist, White/Caucasian, Straight, sales consultant, Over 4 Years of College , Upper middle class, Mesg ID 4252000123631
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Question:
Why do most people fail to set goals after the age of 25?
POSTED 4/23/2000
Country, Cleveland, OH, United States, <dmoss22922@hotmail.com>, 31, Male, Baptist, Black/African American, Straight, Computer (C++)Consultant, 4 Years of College , Upper class, Mesg ID 47200031839

Responses:
In the past, many working people stayed with a single company until retirement. Many women were encouraged to view homemaking as their only field of endeavor. So, by 25, when a majority of people were working and married, their lives were set on a specific course. Things are very different today. Most people will have several careers in a lifetime. More women are working outside the home and more professional homemakers are encouraged to foster other interests outside the home, by volunteering or developing hobbies. Today, more people are setting new goals after 25. I'm 31, and I'm working toward my MBA. In the next two years, I expect to have a job in marketing communications. I've also set goals for my retirement. I don't plan to stagnate. I don't think I could stop growing, and still consider myself to be alive.
POSTED 4/28/2000
Lisa, Los Angeles, CA, United States, 25, Female, Christian, White/Caucasian, Straight, 4 Years of College , Upper middle class, Mesg ID 426200031245

Who said they do? I can think of a thousand examples of people who rethink their goals at a later age, usually as a result of a large transition; marriage, children, job change, mid-life crisis, disease, etc., a lot of things can make a person reevaluate their life and set a new path at any time.
POSTED 4/28/2000
Stacee, Houston, TX, United States, 31, Female, Christian, White/Caucasian, Over 4 Years of College , Upper middle class,Mesg ID 426200082825

I'm not sure of the motivation for your question, but I see that people DO continue to set goals for themselves after 25. I think the issue is more one of magnitude - once you're older and have already accomplished a major goal or two, most people will only feel the need to simply fine tune their goals ... get the next promotion, buy the new house, open the new business, have the next kid, move to the islands after retirement, etc. Of course, for those who are in any way disenfranchised and have lost motivation or hope of achieivng more, the nature of their experience and perceptions may well enough answer your question from their perspective. I also think that major consideration has to be given to the great amount of time and energy consumed by earning one's desired level of living, supporting a family emotionally, financially, spiritually, rearing children who will become healthy contributing members to our society ... Given that a person of 25-plus would likely be working toward such ends, who is anyone to say these are not perhaps the loftiest of goals?
POSTED 4/29/2000
Monique, Bloomington, IN, United States, 28, Female, Unitarian, Black/African American, Straight, Graduate Student, Over 4 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 429200010150
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Question:
What are the consequences, if any, if a Jehovah's Witness dates someone of another religion? I have broken up with a young man who was kicked out of the group for not following the rule to not have sex before marriage. He is now trying to get back in and do the right thing. He and I have had sex, so he was advised to discontinue dating me and cut off all communacations.
POSTED 4/21/2000
Denise C., Detroit, MI, United States, 22, Female, Baptist, Black/African American, Straight, 2 Years of College, Mesg ID 915199940417

Responses:
Not having pre-marital sex is not a 'rule' of Jehovah's Witnesses; rather, Jehovah's Witnesses belive in adhering to God's loving commands in the Bible to 'abstain from fornication,' which is just a word that essentially means having sexual relations outside of the marital arrangement, or extramarital sex on the part of married persons (adultery). (1Thessalonians 4:3-8) I don't know if your friend was baptized or not, but his being what you consider 'kicked out' would only take place of he weren't repentant - or in other words, if he didn't think what he did was wrong and had no intention of trying to do God's will. No one is just thrown aside for having pre-marital sex; we're all human and make mistakes. Nevertheless, by him trying to get back in, it would be likely that he was advised not to see you. This is because the Bible says to marry only in the Lord. (1Corinthians 7:39) I don't know what your religious faith is, but if it is not your interest to abstain from sex before marriage, and he is trying to stay on the right track, then there would obviously be conflict. Of course, marrying only in the Lord is not just referring to sex, but to other religious matters, also. The advice for him not to see you is only out of concern for him and in an attempt to help him from repeating the mistake. If you two stayed together long enough, most likely you would become sexually active again. Consider, for the sake of example, a mother who finds out her child has started experimenting with cigarettes with some of his friends. If she confronted him and helped him see the danger in this, and he agreed and was willing to keep away from doing it again, don't you think she would also tell him not to hang around those friends of his who are smokers, as he would probably try it again and may even wind up a smoker himself? The same principle applies to your situation with your friend. It's nothing against you personally; I'm sure you're a nice person, but this loving advice was out of concern for him and in an attempt to aid him in continuing his spritual goals.
POSTED 4/25/2000
Holly, Annapolis, MD, United States, 28, Female, Jehovahs Witness, Black/African American, transcription, 2 Years of College,Mesg ID 424200053640

The Bible says at 2nd Corinthians 6:14 that we are not to be 'unevenly yoked with unbelievers' and at John 17:16 that we are to be 'no part of the world.' We all have free will and can do what we choose, but to go against God's word has consequences. What happened to your ex was based on Scriptural principles. Jehovah's Witnesses try to follow moral guidelines laid out in the Bible, and therefore have high moral standards. The Bible says in many places, including 1st Cor. 6:9, 10, 13, and 18, that we are to have no part in fornication. The Bible says that sex is for marriage only. To fornicate, or to have sex outside the marriage bond, is a clear violation of God's Law. Any version of the Bible you read will tell you that. We are to be a spiritually, morally, physically, and mentally clean people who try to follow in the footsteps and the pattern Jesus Christ (God's Son) left for us. People are disfellowshipped because of willfully violating Scriptural principles without repentance. The Bible says at 1st Cor. 5:13 that if there is one who is PRACTICING wickedness, they should be removed. Removing, or disfellowshipping, an unrepentant person from the congregation is not done out of spite, but as a protection to the rest of the congregation, and is a measure of Scriptural discipline. Our relationship with God is of major importance, and once we decide to commit ourselves do doing things 'by the Book,' we have to play by the rules; that is, God's rules. The disfellowshipped person can still attend meetings so that they are not denied spiritual food, but he or she is asked to refrain from commenting during the meeting and from socializing in the congregation until that person has gone back to the Elders (dedicated, volunteer unpaid men who devote their time to assisting the congregation in whatever way they can) and shown that he or she is repentant and really wants to make sincere efforts to please Jehovah God. Then they are reinstated and welcomed back to the congregation. We do date, we do have fun. But true Witnesses try to keep in mind the high moral standards of the Bible and don't want to behave in a way that would go against Bible standards and displease Jehovah.
POSTED 4/25/2000
Chandra, Chicago, IL, United States, 23, Female, Jehovahs Witness, Black/African American, Office Manager, 4 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 424200054243
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Question:
I live an area with a large population of people from India, and I find they will speak to whites and Asians and people from their own background, but will avoid black people, especially black men. Some of these people are twice as dark as I am, and they don't see themselves as black. I don't understand it. Is there a history of dislike for other people of color, Africans, black Americans, etc., among people from India? I am nice to everyone, and I speak to all.
POSTED 4/21/2000
Tony, Cincinnati, OH, United States, <ubcool@excite.com>, 44, Male, Baptist, Black/African American, Straight, Senior executive, Over 4 Years of College , Upper middle class, Mesg ID 71499101841

Responses:
It's not really that there is a history of dislike between Asian Indians and blacks. Most Indians living in this country are immigrants. What they know about America comes from internationally broadcast American media and word of mouth from family in America, who have limited experience with blacks, outside of TV, themselves. And you know what images of blacks are in American mass media.
POSTED 4/23/2000
Amanda, Boston, MA, United States, 20, Female, Black/African American, Straight, student, 2 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 422200012413

What a lot of people don't know is that the caste system in India is also a system of race. All the darker-skinned Indians are at the bottom of the system, and all the lighter-skinned ones are at the top. Because Asians and white people don't have the stigma associated with skin color (in most cases) they are not automatically viewed as low-class, 'ghetto,' whatever you want to call it. Black people, on the other hand (including other dark-skinned Indians), are automatically conceived of as less and are treated like pariah. I know this is true because of conversations I have had with Indian friends who have lived in Africa, and from speaking with people from Trinidad and Tobago, an island with an equal proportion of black people and Indians. This racism is not true of every Indian person you come across, but when you encounter it, the caste/color thing is definitely in play.
POSTED 4/23/2000
Carlford, Brooklyn, NY, United States, <cocabrotha@hotmail.com>, 21, Male, Christian, student, 4 Years of College , Lower class, Mesg ID 422200035603
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Question:
In general, and from the people who write in Y? Forum, certain races seem to match with certain religions. A lot of black people are Baptist, while a lot of Hispanic people are Catholic. This might be understandable historically and culturally, but I want to know if those of you who violate the cultural-religious stereotypes, for example the Italian Hindu, Saudi/black Jew, etc., are the objects of prejudice from others. Are you even out there?
POSTED 4/19/2000
Mr. Dickerson, Tucson, AZ, United States, 31, Male, Non-Religious, White/Caucasian, Straight, Over 4 Years of College , Upper middle class, Mesg ID 418200063857

Responses:
I'm black and the only Catholic in my family. My paternal family are Catholics and the maternal is Methodist. My parents divorced when I was young, and I've had little contact with my father. The church that I attend has a sizable amount of black parishioners, so black Catholics are not that uncommon. I have a maternal aunt who feels the need to make comments to make it seem like I'm doing something wrong (being Catholic), and once I was complaining to a co-worker that my son's religious education classes seemed to have too much of a Hispanic overtone for me and she replied 'Well, Kim, it is THEIR religion...' ? Other than that I have no problems.
POSTED 4/23/2000
Kim, Southern Calif, CA, United States, 35, Female, Black/African American, Straight, Government, 2 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 423200012701
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