Best of the Week
of April 30, 2000

Best of Week Archives

Here are the most intriguing cross-cultural exchanges either begun or advanced during the week of April 30, 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 women: Does the pill reduce your sexual desire?
POSTED 5/4/2000
Zuhair R., Dubai, NA, United Arab Emirates, <zuhair@lcnsys.com>, 20, Male, African of Asian Decent, Straight, Network Engineer, 4 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 54200040658

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Question:
Why are disease rates higher among blacks for life-threatening conditions such as diabetes, heart attacks, AIDS and cancer? Why is this always the case? Am I the only one who notices?
POSTED 5/4/2000
Country, Cleveland, OH, United States, <dmoss22922@hotmail.com>, 31, Male, Baptist, Black/African American, Straight, Computer Consultant, 4 Years of College , Upper middle class, Mesg ID 522000105547

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Question:
To people who have loved ones who are suffering or have suffered from Alzheimers disease: My mother is in the final stages of the disease. Can you give me any details on how bad they were in their final days?
POSTED 5/1/2000
Concerned daughter, Nicosia, NA, Cyprus, 45, Female, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 426200024153

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Question:
Knowing that homosexuality is in many instances deemed immoral in the Bible, how can a gay person be a true Christian? Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed for reasons of sexual immorality and perversion (homosexuality, bestiality, premarital sex, etc.), so how can a gay person claim to be a Christian with this knowledge in mind? Christians are not perfect, but in our daily walk, we continually make the effort to be as good as possible. A true Christian would eliminate homosexuality from his or her life in order to have a true relationship with Christ. So how do gay people rationalize this?
POSTED 5/1/2000
Jared, Baton Rouge, LA, United States, 19, Male, Christian, White/Caucasian, Straight, student/office clerk, 2 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 419200055551

Responses:
Go back and read your Bible. You have been told that the Bible condemns homosexuality; go back and read the verses. For example, Leviticus, 18:22 and 20:13. You think because the Bible says it, it must be law. Have you really read all of Leviticus? If so, you know that you are not following the law, and as such, you are not a 'true' Christian. The sin of Sodom, per the 'true' Christian's reading, is homosexuality. Read Ezekiel, 16:49-50, Matthew, 10: 14-15 and Luke, 10:7-16. Hmmm. Unless you can say that you faithfully follow each and every law that Leviticus lays out, don't accuse gay Christians of rationalizing their belief/faith. My experience has been that most gay-baiting Christians who come into Oak Lawn to save us lost sheep can't withstand more than five minutes of detailed Bible reading before they give up and look for someone more vulnerable. Faith is not an absolute - remember that Christ is the PERSONAL savior for all, not the GENERIC savior. My vision of and belief in God is just as real as yours, even if it is different from yours. Check out http://www.whosoever.org/index.html for further reading on the subject.
POSTED 5/1/2000
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 512000103808

Jesus himself said that all we needed was to love God, and love our neighbors as ourselves. The message of Christianity is tolerance and love, not judging and pointing fingers and saying, 'I'm a better Christian because I don't do what you do.' It seems to me that people who do that commit their own special sin - the sin of arrogance, presuming to know the mind of God. Who are any of us to decide that we have a better chance of going to heaven than anyone else?
POSTED 5/4/2000
Laura O., Bel Air, MD, United States, 38, Female, White/Caucasian, Straight, teacher/writer/editor, Over 4 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 532000111153
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Question:
To journalists: How has the Internet affected your career and/or industry? What will future journalists in your field need to do differently as far as training and education are concerned? Where do you see the future of your field in the hands of the Internet? And does it make you nervous?
POSTED 5/1/2000
Evelyn H., Columbus, OH, United States, 23, Female, Atheist, White/Caucasian, Straight, student, 2 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 425200055904

Responses:
The Internet is changing journalism just as writing changed oral societies, radio changed print media, television changed radio, etc. I don't feel nervous regarding newspapers, television or any other form of medium, because the fact is, we all end up working in circles and this is just one more ring. Man bites dog in Podunk, USA, where the little newspaper picks it up, it hits a wire, it goes on television, radio, the Internet, etc. You could replace any one of those mediums in the order and it would be the same. Also, as long as there are advertisers, there will be those forms of media that they support. People like newspapers because they offer local sports coverage (sorry, your kid probably won't be on MSNBC online) and other local stories. Overall, the Internet is another tool that all journalists can use for research and access.
POSTED 5/4/2000
Brian, Kokomo, IN, United States, 24, Male, Christian, White/Caucasian, Straight, journalist, 4 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 52200052110

I've worked for newspapers for 15 years, and the main effect of the Internet is to give journalists more options: More places to work and, for those of us who want to stay in newspapers, more sources of information and people. It's been a terrific tool. In my daily job, the only difference is that I might write an earlier version of a story for our web site on a breaking story before I do one for the next day's paper. I'm not sure that future journalists will need any different training. The same rules apply with information from the Internet as from any other source - beware of the motivation behind what you find, make sure it's accurate and doublecheck what you can. As far as I'm concerned, the Internet is nothing but a blessing for journalism. The more information outlets, the better.
POSTED 5/4/2000
Andrew, Huntington, NY, United States, <ziptron@start.com.au>, 36, Male, Reporter, 4 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 53200090544
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Question:
To female athletes: How do you feel playing traditionally male sports? What do you think about the boxing deal with "Smokin' Joe Frasier's" daughter?
POSTED 5/1/2000
Carrie, Constantia, NY, United States, 15, Female, Catholic, White/Caucasian, Straight, Student, Less than High School Diploma, Mesg ID 425200075239

Responses:
I am female, a college student and a freestyle wrestler. My view on being in a male-dominated sport is this: If I'm good at it and have fun, it doesn't matter which gender dominates the sport. I suppose it helps that wrestling is gaining more popularity among women, so I'm not in the same boat as a female boxer or hockey player, who are still in the extreme minority.
POSTED 5/4/2000
Mel, Gunnison, CO, United States, <tjolims@hotmail.com>, 19, Female, Christian, Black/African American, Straight, Mesg ID 522000103323

I say more power to them and God help their boyfriends. Personally I can't watch female boxing. It just doesn't sit right with me. I can't even watch two drunken bag ladies rumble. It ruins the pristine image I have of the female. Maybe it's time they came off of that pedestal.
POSTED 5/4/2000
Seamus, Charlestown, MA, United States, 20, Male, Clock watcher, High School Diploma , Lower class, Mesg ID 522000103325
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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

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

People commit suicide because they are suffering from an illness called depression. Depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain that is an actual illness just like diabetes or cancer. The only thing that will help is medication and therapy. You cannot "will" this illness away by thinking how lucky you are to have what you do have. Usually people don't ask for help when they need it the most because they are aren't being themselves and are not thinking clearly or acting normally. If you know of somebody suffering from this illness, please see that they receive the help they need.
POSTED 5/1/2000
Peggy, Ontario, NA, Canada, <dptanner@magma.ca>, 39, Female, Catholic, White/Caucasian, Straight, Bipolar Disorder, 2 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 429200031629

To Ify: Talk about devaluing someone's feelings! Should Katie feel better knowing she is only depressed and not starving or suffering some other fate? To her, her pain is just as real, just as devastating as anyone else's, and to say, 'Tut tut, come now, there are kids out there starving to death' sure does dismiss what it is she is feeling. It sounds like your heart is in the right place, Ify, but what anyone who feels despair to such depths needs is someone to REALLY LISTEN and REALLY CARE in a way that they can understand and feel (in my opinion). Not being able to climb out of a big, dark hole is a pretty major life event, especially if you've ever been there. Comparing their pain to someone else's does them no good and makes them feel insignificant (again, in my opinion). All the advice given Katie further up is good and valid information. And Katie, thanks for being so brutally honest. Take a chance and reach out ... it might make a difference in your life.
POSTED 5/1/2000
Jammy D., Burke, VA, United States, <Jammydodger10@yahoo.com>, 39, Female, Christian, White/Caucasian, Straight, Financial Services, 4 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 429200032829
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Question:
If this is to be a color-blind society, why do blacks have the Negro College Fund, NAACP and other organizations that promote racial separatism?
POSTED 5/1/2000
William J., Lihue, HI, United States, Male, Mesg ID 4192000101507

Responses:
If this were and had been a color blind society, we would not need the Negro College Fund, NAACP and other organizations that promote racial separatism. But it is not. Therefore, such organizations are needed to avail opportunities to people of races denied the chances in life by the 20/20 vision of our prejudicial society.
POSTED 5/4/2000
Michael P., New York, NY, United States, 24, Male, Mesg ID 52200015121

My understanding of it is that 'color-blind' means one skin color will not carry privilege over any other skin color. Not that we all have to be the same. How boring would that be? Racism is abundant in the world today. It can be very subtle and can also be unintentional because of lack of awareness. Organizations aligned with any given culture seek to promote racial equality by evening up the playing field, politically, economically, etc. They also help those who are put at a disadvantage by racism to maintain their cultural identity. This is usually essential to one's self-esteem and overall well-being. This is something that may be difficult to understand if you have never experienced discrimination. I have only begun to understand how all this applies to me, and I have a long way to go.
POSTED 5/4/2000
Lia, San Diego, CA, United States, 23, Female, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, Straight, Over 4 Years of College , Middle class,Mesg ID 54200042229

I wonder if you would level the same criticism at a St. Patrick's Day parade. Doesn't that 'promote separatism' of the Irish against everyone else, according to your argument? For the the record, the NAACP was founded by blacks AND whites and has people of all backgrounds as members. Historically black colleges have non-black faculty and students, such as my cousin. A real example of separatism would be the college George W. Bush got so much flack for speaking at. But the NAACP or St. Patrick's Day are just designed to promote the well-being of people of a particular group with their own needs, not to be hostile to other groups.
POSTED 5/4/2000
A.C.C., W. Lafayette, IN, United States, Male, Mexican and American Indian, Mesg ID 512000105742
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Question:
I've seen it said in the media many times that in Islam, a male who dies fighting for Islam goes to Heaven and gets some large number of virgins (maybe 70? I can't remember). All of which is fine, but I always wonder what the incentive is for Islamic women to behave. Do women go to Heaven? Do they have a role except in relation to men?
POSTED 5/1/2000
Leslie, Topeka, KS, United States, Female, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, Over 4 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 4302000120232

Responses:
I guess you would probably expect a woman to answer this, but I hope my point of view will be able to help you out. Rights and responsiblities of men and women in Islam are divided so that they reach an equilibrium. An accusation often made against Muslims is that the Qur'an says Man has been made stronger than women, to be able to handle certain responsibilies. This is not discrimination, but a fact of nature, that man is physically stronger than a women, but the best of people is decided on faith and not whether they are a man or a woman. In regard to women in heaven, they are called Hurs, and believing women will be given Men, called Ghilman. So there is no difference in that. I suggest you check the links below, especially the second one; they should answer all your questions and show you the position of women in Islam. If you require any further information, you can always email me. Here are the links: 1)http://www.al-islam.org/al-tawhid/default.asp?url=women-society.htm; 2) http://www.al-islam.org/WomanRights/index.html
POSTED 5/4/2000
Zuhair R., Dubai, NA, United Arab Emirates, <zuhair@lcnsys.com>, 20, Male, Muslim, African of Asian Decent, Straight, Network Engineer, 4 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 54200040434
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