Best of the Week
of May 28, 2000

Best of Week Archives

Here are the most intriguing cross-cultural exchanges either begun or advanced during the week of May 28, 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:
When Cubans come to the United States, how does it affect their children? Is there culture shock? What does the parent expect the school to do to help the child adjust? Are there any dos or don'ts for school personnel to follow for Cuban children?
POSTED 6/1/2000
Sabrina D., Renton, WA, United States, 42, Female, Lutheran, White/Caucasian, Straight, ECE student, Upper class, Mesg ID 527200064224
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Question:
To females: Did you have any side-effects when you went on the Pill, and if so, what were they and how severe were they? I am worried that I will put on a lot of weight if I go on it.
POSTED 6/1/2000
Netta, Armidale, NA, Australia, 18, Female, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, Straight, Student, High School Diploma, Middle class, Mesg ID 531200025338
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Question:
Why is it that black people often seem to have a look of resentment, or an angry, belligerent sneer, on their faces, even when no one is looking at them? Is it a reaction to the racism they are surrounded by? Or is it just the way their faces look, and white people misinterpret it? Granted, people of all races can have a sullen look on their face, as many can have a cheerful look, but why does it seem that black people make themselves less likeable by looking so resentful?
POSTED 6/1/2000
Raul F., Denver, CO, United States, 40, Male, Jewish, White/Caucasian, Bisexual, cataloger, 2 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 528200041037
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Question:
I saw a black woman I know who is a very devout Christian wearing a cap resembling a Jewish yarmulke. It was a little larger, and made of white satin. Is this part of perhaps a Baptist sect? I seem to recall hearing somewhere that women need to cover their heads in church as a sign of respect, but this instance was at a graduation ceremony. Can anyone enlighten me as to her religious affiliation and the reason for this article of clothing? Or perhaps it was just a fashion statement?
POSTED 6/1/2000
Jessica, Framingham, MA, United States, 21, Female, Catholic, White/Caucasian, Straight, student, 4 Years of College , Upper middle class, Mesg ID 5292000113841
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Question:
To men: If you were a woman for one day, what would you do or what would you be most curious about? To women: If you were a man for one day, what would you do or what would you be most curious about?
POSTED 5/30/2000
P., E-Town, NA, Germany, 20, White/Caucasian, Straight, Student, Mesg ID 529200072301
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Question:
Why do white people allow their animals to live like human beings in their homes? I've noticed from homes of whites that I have visited that they allow the dogs, cats, etc. to climb on the kitchen counters, sleep in their beds, lick their faces after the dogs have licked filthy things, and the list goes on. I am not trying to be disrespectful, I'm just curious. Also, why do white people eat out in restaurants so much? Do they ever make home-cooked meals?
POSTED 5/30/2000
Carole T., Atlanta, GA, United States, Female, Mesg ID 5302000123913

Responses:
I can't speak for other white people, but this white girl thinks it's disgusting to let a dog lick your face. I have a dog. He stays in the back yard, and when I am done playing with him or walking him, I wash my hands and usually change my clothes. When he was a puppy, he lived in the house, but was never allowed on the bed or couch. I'm really uncomfortable in people's houses where the dogs are everywhere. I always feel smelly when I leave. As for cats, they are a lot cleaner than dogs, and I allow mine to sleep on the bed or the couch, but would never let him climb on the kitchen counters. As for why white people eat in restaurants a lot, I don't know. Maybe it's a matter of priorities; they don't make time to cook at home. Personally, we eat at home all the time. I prefer to cook for my family and friends than to go to a restaurant.
POSTED 5/30/2000
Jacqueline C., San Jose, CA, United States, 26, Female, White/Caucasian, Engineer, Over 4 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 530200012410

Some pet owners are fastidiously clean. Some have homes that reek of animal odor (and yes, I'm not too comfortable in these homes, either.) My pets have always lived somewhere in the middle. My home is hygienic. The reason animals live, to some degree, like family members is that they are just that. A dog or cat stays in the family for five to 20 years. They love unconditionally. There are a lot of human relationships that are more ephemeral. And technically speaking, dogs and cats are cleaner in many respects than humans.
POSTED 6/1/2000
Lisa, Los Angeles, CA, United States, 25, Female, Christian, White/Caucasian, Straight, 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 531200043107
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Question:
Why is it that more and more white men are interested in black women?
POSTED 5/30/2000
Cheron, Coopersville, MI, United States, Female, Christian, Black/African American, Straight, customer service, 2 Years of College , Lower middle class, Mesg ID 5292000101101
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Question:
To doctors: Assuming all doctors practice on a wide variety of people from different ethnic origins, do you find that certain races get certain/particular illnesses? For example, do you find that white people tend to get the stomach flu more easily than black people? Or, do you find that one particular race has a higher rate of cancer than any other race combined? Also, do you find that any particular race seems to be healthier above all the rest? And what about hypochondriacs? Are there any races that are more likely to 'think' they are sick?
POSTED 5/30/2000
Murray C., Halifax, Nova Scotia, NA, Canada, 31, Male, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, Straight, Draftsman, Technical School , Middle class, Mesg ID 5292000120158

I'm not a doctor, but just as an observation I bet that more well-to-do white people are bigger hypochondriacs. I think when people don't have to battle every day for the basic necessities (food, clothing, shelter, security, safety) as well as their civil rights, they have more time to make/focus on other problems. It's a luxury to consider your happiness and well-being all the time. Whether this luxury is necessary or admirable, who's to say? But being white and rich a wimp does make. And I know. I was raised with these people. I am one of them. As comedian George Carlin said: 'Anorexia? White rich girls who don't eat? Ah, let 'em die. I've got bigger problems.'
POSTED 5/31/2000
Lisa, Los Angeles, CA, United States, 25, Female, Christian, White/Caucasian, Straight, Comedy, 4 Years of College , Upper middle class, Mesg ID 531200044205
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Question:
Why are there so few black contestants on the TV show 'Who Wants To Be A Millionaire'? I can't see how the program is in the slightest bit racist - you either know the information or you don't. Incidentally, I would have no problem with one of every eight questions (the approximate percentage of the population that is African American) pertaining to black-oriented subject matter. If anything, it would make the show more interesting!
POSTED 5/24/2000
Augustine, Columbia, SC, United States, 39, Male, White/Caucasian, Over 4 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 5202000102928

Responses:
I was discussing this with a black friend the other day. He is highly intelligent, a writer, has a master's degree, et al. His take on this was that African Americans in general are less likely to believe they would be treated fairly in such a situation. Ergo, fewer of them pick up the phone in the first place to get in on game shows, as they already assume the tables are tipped against them. 'Do you feel that way?' I asked. He doesn't, but responded: 'I'd never parade myself around on television that way. I'd rather earn my million.' Two different takes on the same question, I suppose.
POSTED 5/30/2000
Emma, Los Angeles, CA, United States, Female, Mesg ID 530200021435

Producers rely on demographics to decide what goes on TV. If audiences want to see lots of black people on TV, then the producers will put more black people on TV. As of right now, most people prefer to see mostly white people, so that is what you get.
POSTED 5/30/2000
Jon H., Kitchner, NA, Canada, Female, Mesg ID 526200013908

What are black-oriented questions?
POSTED 5/30/2000
Amy, Charleston, WV, United States, 28, Female, Baptist, White/Caucasian, Straight, Lab Tech, 4 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 524200072640

As a fan of the show, I have noticed the same phenomenon: a dearth of any group besides white men sitting in the hot seat. Seeing as how the process for contestant selection is done over the phone, and indeed is double-blind, there is no way the show's producers can know someone's race and take that into account. Only the people who answer the questions correctly are up for consideration. Anyone can get on as long as they are smart and have a very good short-term memory bank. I highly doubt that in these sensitive times there is any motivation on behalf of ABC to consciously discourage blacks from getting on the show. Perhaps we are witnessing a microcosm of society, whereby the educated white men dominate the game, while only a few women and even fewer minorities succeed. In order to get more women and minorities on the show, ABC could resort to affirmative action!
POSTED 6/1/2000
Ron, Feldman, NJ, United States, <underpar@selway.umt.edu>, 41, Male, Jewish, White/Caucasian, Straight, Architect, Over 4 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 61200031007
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Question:
As a customer service representative, I talk to people from all over the United States. I have noticed that people from the South tend to talk at a higher speed than folks from other parts. Why is this?
POSTED 5/25/2000
John P., Tampa Bay, FL, United States, 28, Male, Catholic, White/Caucasian, Straight, High School Diploma, Mesg ID 5252000105543

Responses:
I have noticed this in the South and in southern Appalachia (which, in the case of West Virginia and Kentucky, is not culturally Southern but neither is it Northern). Many Southerners tend to describe things and situations in great detail, and it takes talking faster to 'get it all in'. There is also a nervousness or intimidation factor that may come across in something like calling customer service, feeling the need to 'explain it all' lest a pivotal detail be lost. I have also found, and this is not peculiarly Southern, that talking slowly causes the listener's mind to wander and you lose their attention. I am a relatively slow talker and, frankly, am offended when my listener uses my pauses and deliberation in speech as an opportunity to quit listening to me or, worse, to interrupt me in mid-sentence. Americans do not so much converse as they carry on simultaneous monologues.
POSTED 5/31/2000
Augustine, Columbia, SC, United States, 39, Male, White/Caucasian, Over 4 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 5272000104042
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Question:
Why is there a need to believe in a God? Is not the God concept outdated? What's wrong with dependence on oneself?
POSTED 5/24/2000
Romas, Berkeley, CA, United States, 70, Male, Black/African American, Straight, wholistic consultant, 2 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 523200032631

Responses:
I would suggest that maybe your concept of God is outdated. As I have grown, so has my concept of my God. At first, it was decided by my parents, then I let go of the whole idea of God and religion. Today, I have a comforting grasp on my God. I will also tell you that my God is not the one you hear so much about today. To think that God stopped talking to us 2,000 years ago is unbelievable to me. Be leary of a belief that limits or defines God too narrowly. God is bigger than that. With respect to self-reliance, my God would have me put my trust nowhere else.
POSTED 5/30/2000
Matthew, New York, NY, United States, 42, Male, White/Caucasian, Gay, actor, Over 4 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 526200081216

Is the concept of God outdated? From the beginning, God was. The ancients believed in God. People throughout the ages have believed in God, whether they would listen to God or not. The Bible says in Romans 1:20 that 'Ever since God created the world, his invisible qualities, both his eternal power and his divine nature, have been clearly seen ... They know God, but they do not give him the honor that belongs to him... V 25: 'They exchange the truth about God for a lie.' Romans speaks to the question quite clearly. Many civilizations in the past have tried to deny God, and have adopted strange practices that did away with themselves. Self-reliance and dependence on God are not mutually exclusive. As a parent, I do for my children what they cannot do for themselves. But I would be amiss to do for them what they can do themselves. They would not mature. But God does provide for those who cannot do for themselves. Only in a very limited sense can we depend on ourselves. Our health, our ability to work, our desire to work and our opportunity to work are all gifts to us.
POSTED 5/30/2000
Ronald V., Edmonton, Alberta, NA, Canada, 47, Male, Christian, White/Caucasian, Mesg ID 529200023732
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Question:
I've heard that women prefer the circumcised penis in general, but I'd like to know if this is the case for those countries where circumcision is not as common as it is in the United States or Australia. I have a friend from France who assures me that she and almost all her friends have a preference for the circumcised penis, even if they're a bit more difficult to find over there. This surprised me a little, as I would have thought preference would have been mainly a cultural thing. I'd be interested to hear from anyone, especially those people who may live outside the United States.
POSTED 5/24/2000
Bob, Sydney, NA, Australia, 31, Male, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, Straight, counselor, Over 4 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 5202000102655

Responses:
I don't know about it being a cultural thing - maybe it's just what you've been used to. I can't think of any reason why one would prefer circumcised, but I suppose that's because I prefer uncircumcised. Foreskins are fun to play with! Plus I think they create more friction, and that's always good.
POSTED 5/31/2000
Netta, Armidale, NA, Australia, 18, Female, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, Straight, Student, High School Diploma , Middle class, Mesg ID 529200022055
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