Best of the Week
of June 17, 2001
Best of Week
Here are the most intriguing cross-cultural exchanges
either begun or advanced during the week of June 17, 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.
First-time users should first make a quick stop at Y?'s
guidelines pages for asking and
on Y? is here!
"Why Do White People Smell Like Wet
When They Come Out Of The Rain?"
Order it securely via credit card
Delivery in 2-3 days via Priority Mail
Associated Press story on "Wet Dogs"
I spent a year and a half in Korea and noticed that Koreans'
breath smells absolutely awful. My guess is that it is the garlic in
the Kimchee, but I am not 100 percent sure. Does anyone know the
Joe, Phoenix, AL, United States, 30, Male, Atheist,
White/Caucasian, Straight, Lawyer, Over 4 Years of College, Upper
class, Mesg ID 624200020540
I'm sure that what you perceived as bad breath came from the
garlic in their beloved kimchee. My wife is Korean and primarily has
an American diet, and the only time she (and hopefully I) have bad
breath is after, you guessed it, eating kimchee (or another Korean
dish saturated in garlic) at one of our favorite Korean restaurants.
I had a teacher-assistant at the University of Texas who had just
moved from Korea, and she used to nearly knock me over with her
garlic-enhanced breath. There's nothing quite like being blasted by
kimchee breath at 8 a.m!
Johnny, Austin, TX, United States, 29, Male, Pentecostal,
White/Caucasian, Straight, Over 4 Years of College, Upper middle
class, Mesg ID 619200115611
My, you are perceptive. It is true that kimchee stinks up your
mouth big-time, but Koreans especially tend to put strong (and when I
mean strong I mean STRONG) spices (usually hot) in their foods, and
garlic and hot pepper are some of the most popular. That's why I try
to never get too close to my parents - a meter is a safe distance
Jen, Vancouver, NA, Canada, 17, Female, Presbyterian, Asian, not
gay, bi, straight, Student, Less than High School Diploma, Mesg ID
I know that whenever I go into the Beauty Supply store and they
talk, I almost die. It is so bad. It's not just Koreans' breath; I've
found Asian people's breath in general to be bad, period. Sorry!
Lisa J., Los Angeles, CA, United States, 28, Female, Black/African
American, Straight, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID
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Why do many white people have shaky hands and jerky body
movements? Compared to most Asian, black and Latino people, white
people seem to have more abrupt, harder, stiffer and less fluid body
J.L., Jersey City, NJ, United States, 26, Female, Asian,
Student, Over 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 6192001124322
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I have been an avid reader of Y? Forum for a few years, and my
question comes after having read of the anger, frustration and/or
desolation black people feel over their situation in the United
States. To those of you who perceive yourself to be a member of this
group, do you believe white people in this country have it that much
better than you? Do you feel they are more emotionally centered and
happier, or could they suffer from the same aspects of life that you
do? Do you believe white people are ever discriminated against?
Matthew, New York, NY, United States, 43, Male, Mesg ID
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I've often heard the same comment from white men who find
African-American women sexually attractive: "Black women are less
inhibited and more passionate in the bedroom." How do they think we
are different from any other women?
Fuschia, Jacksonville, FL, United States,
<firstname.lastname@example.org>, 34, Female, Black/African American,
Straight, health care, 2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID
I've got to hand it to you. You've hit the nail on the head!
Asian women have exotic sexual tricks or are sexually obedient and
compliant. Latinas are 'jungle bunnies' and fiery and dance to salsa.
Black women are sexually aggressive and dominant. All are
stereotypes, and though stereotypes may have a grain of truth, the
truth is distorted in the stereotype.
Adoumri, Jersey City, NJ, United States, 26, Female, Asian,
Student, Over 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 6192001125201
I find that sexual performance race stereotypes are not viewed as
offensively as other, equally ignorant stereotypes by most people.
The reason for this, I feel, is that the majority of these
stereotypes are complimentary to the ego (so they think). Like all
stereotypes, they are based on lack of knowledge and ignorance and in
this instance, racism.
Lisa, Gaithersburg, MD, United States, Female, Christian,
Straight, Mesg ID 4182001102140
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Being 21, I find it more exciting to date older men. I find it
more interesting to date a man who has had many dates because of his
experience. I like for him to know what he is doing because it makes
me feel more comfortable. Being shy, I would think dating a man with
little experience would bore the both of us. I don't want to have to
be the one to show the man what to do and how to act. How do other
women feel about this?
L. Garcia, Porterville, CA, United States,
<email@example.com>, 21, Female, Catholic, Hispanic/Latino,
Straight, Student, Mesg ID 6152001113457
Woman mature faster than men. Most women at 21 are at a maturity
level equal to a man at least four years their senior. Most every
married couple I've met in my life is made up of an older man and
younger wife. At 21, I was dating men in their late 20s and having
great conversations and great sex, too. You're right about being
bored by younger men, but you never know. Your Prince Charming might
be in high school right now.
Beth, Jacksonville, FL, United States, 33, Female, Catholic,
White/Caucasian, Straight, Journalist, 4 Years of College, Middle
class, Mesg ID 619200152901
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If you had to choose between your parents or your lover, who
would you choose?
Milee C., Porterville, CA, United States, 18, Female, Asian,
Straight, High School Diploma, Mesg ID 6162001103110
I guess the bottom line for me would be this (and I hope this
doesn't sound too cheesy): lovers come and go, while parents stay
(generally). If it's the lover who is saying, 'It's either me or your
parents,' I would run far, far away. If it's your parents who are
saying it, I would talk with them and try to understand their point
of view. Supposedly these are people who have been in your life all
along and often understand a lot about you. If they tend to make good
decisions, trust that they may be able to see something that you
don't. However, if your parents are always saying, 'It's either
him/her or us' with every person you bring home, then it's a whole
other ball of wax.
Stacey, Boston, MA, United States, 29, Female, Middle class, Mesg
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Whenever I'm close to a foreigner's body, I have always smelled
a kind of strange odor. I want to know if you foreigners have the
same feeling. What do our Chinese people smell like to you?
Ligu, Changchun, NA, China, <firstname.lastname@example.org>, 30, Male,
Mesg ID 6162001113617
I find that most younger Chinese people in North America smell
just like everyone else, but older people, particularily immigrants,
have an herbal odor to them. I think it's the herbal medication and
ointments they're taking or wearing. I also find that things sent to
me from Hong Kong have a strange mothball-like smell to them.
Kate, Somewhere, NA, Canada, 22, Female, Asian, Student, Upper
middle class, Mesg ID 618200124100
I've noticed this, but it isn't restricted to other ethnic groups.
It has to do with the foods and toiletries people use, and related
things. For example, people who smoke some brands of cigarettes have
a particular odor to me; whether it's from their bodies or clothes, I
don't know. Some ethnic groups use spices that permeate their bodies,
such as garlic. If you don't eat garlic, it will stand out to you.
I've heard that Americans smell because they eat a lot of red meat.
As a child I had relatives whose families smelled odd to me, even
though ethnically we were identical. I don't know what it was,
perhaps even a particular laundry product. As an adult I eat
everything and don't seem to notice ethnic variations in odor except
when some perfume or other is popular (e.g. when a lot of gay men
Jerry S., New Britain, CT, United States,
<email@example.com>, 53, Male, White/Caucasian,
Mesg ID 6192001114127
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As part of an employee-management conflict group, we're seeking
middle ground on a family-vs.-tardiness issue. Management has a group
of employees (in this case, all Hispanic) who continually take off
every Friday and/or Monday to spend time with families. It's not part
of their employment agreement and places workload hardships on the
department. The employees are citing discrimination based on culture,
but facts show Hispanics make up more than 85 percent of the
department. The employees are adamant that "family issues take
precedence over work issues at all times, and Anglos are too addicted
to the time clock to understand the importance of family." We're not
talking about picking up sick kids en route to doctors, or preplanned
leaves of absence. It's usually at the last minute, in some cases
when sisters or cousins come by and just want the employee to spend
time with them, and they take off. I'm fighting two battles here: 1)
Other members of the group are starting to take on a negative mindset
toward Hispanics, and 2) I'm trying to get management to acknowledge
that sometimes employees do need family time. Suggestions please!
Alma, Kempner, TX, , 48, Female, Methodist, White/Caucasian,
Lesbian, government employee, 4 Years of College, Mesg ID
I'm sorry to be the one to break this to you, but I think you
will find your Latino employees to be pretty adamant and inflexible
on this issue. If worse comes to worse, believe me, most would rather
quit than change. You claim they are not discriminated against
because they make up most of the workforce, but it's quite obvious
they make up none or virtually none of management, or you would not
even be having this misunderstanding. There obviously IS a pattern of
discrimination at your company beyond this one issue, and that is
what needs to be addressed as well. You will ultimately need to
completely change the way your company chooses its management so you
will have Latino managers who understand these issues from an inside
perspective. You can also try talking to outside groups for their
perspective and perhaps even use them as mediators. Try local church
or community groups that have the respect of your Latino employees.
Finally, I think it's important you integrate the non-Latino
employees into the discussions by appealing to them to help the
company change its policy on family leave for everyone. Plenty of
Anglo people are disgusted by corporate America's attitude on this
issue, and I think that will help prevent most of them from doing
more of the scapegoating they are now engaged in.
A.C.C., San Antonio, TX, United States, Male, Mexican and American
Indian, Over 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 618200194922
It sounds to me as if some of your employees are using your fear
of a discrimination suit to get over on you. There are always people
who will take advantage of the system - regardless of race, ethnicity
or culture. I have known many Hispanics, and as a group they tend to
be very hardworking people. Family is very important to the culture,
but so is working and making a living to support your family. My
advice is to document all absences for everybody. Good records are
essential in showing that you aren't discriminating against anybody.
You might want to make some new policies that clearly spell out your
policies for tardiness and absenteeism, and the consequenses for
excessive absenteeism. Have everybody sign it, and then hold people
to it. This is a free country, which means that if we don't like the
conditions of our employment, we are free to seek employment
elsewhere. And as you said, these people are giving a bad rap to all
Hispanics in the eyes of the other employees. I hate that!
Lucy, San Jose, CA, United States, 26, Female, Hispanic/Latino,
Engineer, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 6182001103007
Tough one here. Because your information says you are a government
employee, the rules might be different, but in industry, the law is
clear: As long as they pay for it, employers set the work rules and
work hours, and violation is grounds for termination. If someone
doesn't like the work rules, it is America, and they can go work
elsewhere. Given that your situation isn't that simple, if you
haven't already, you might want to try instituting a 9/80 schedule.
In this schedule, people work 9 hours a day Monday through Thursday
and then get every other Friday off, and work 8 hours on the Fridays
they do work. Given the workload and other factors, you can play
around with when that day off is (Monday or Friday). As to the
Hispanic part, I find that strange. The place I work is heavily
Hispanic, and I find no difference in work pattern, work life issues
or just plain work ethic from anyone else. Finally, if your missed
days are exclusively Fridays and Mondays, coarse as it sounds, that
is a textbook symptom of substance abuse, and the 'family' issue
might be a red herring.
Steve, Houston, TX, United States, 45, Male, White/Caucasian,
Senior Corporate Slug, Over 4 Years of College, Upper class, Mesg ID
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I have a gay friend (Ray) who is 35 and was married before he
decided to live the gay lifestyle about six years ago. His first gay
affair was a disaster because the guy was just looking for someone to
support him. He has been with his second for five years, even though
he obviously doesn't even like to be around the guy. He is very
uncomfortable admitting he is gay, but you can tell his boyfriend is
gay just by looking at him. The boyfriend is lazy, depressed, hates
everything and everybody that Ray likes, and does very little other
than watch TV and sleep. The only thing they seem to have in common
is sex and a checkbook. Ray is not happy but doesn't want to hurt
this lazy bum. He knows the guy is using him, but he is so
uncomfortable admitting to anyone he is gay that he stays with him
just to keep from having to find someone else. My problem is how to
deal with Ray about his boyfriend. I'm tired of watching him taken
advantage of, but it's none of my business, except that he constantly
bitches about it, and I'm tired of hearing it. How do I make him see
that there are lots of quality men out there who would be thrilled to
be with him and also carry their own weight? Hell, I know hundreds of
women who would kill for a guy like him. He deserves better than this
bum, how do I open his eyes?
Vista, Dallas, TX, United States, 39, Female, White/Caucasian,
Straight, Self-employed, 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg
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Are there any differences in how Japanese people view sex vs.
how Americans view sex? Are there different ways to please Japanese
Johnny B., Columbus, OH, United States,
<firstname.lastname@example.org>, 20, Male, Methodist, White/Caucasian,
Straight, Student, 2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID
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What exactly are Mormon beliefs? Do the followers believe
there's a planet Klobb?
Richard H., Porterville, CA, United States,
<email@example.com>, 19, Male, Christian, White/Caucasian,
Straight, Computer Network Specialist, 2 Years of College, Lower
middle class, Mesg ID 613200185536
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