Best of the Week
of June 17, 2001

Best of Week Archives

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 answering questions.

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Question:

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 answer?

POSTED 6/24/2000

Joe, Phoenix, AL, United States, 30, Male, Atheist, White/Caucasian, Straight, Lawyer, Over 4 Years of College, Upper class, Mesg ID 624200020540


Responses:
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!

POSTED 6/19/2001

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 away...

POSTED 6/19/2001

Jen, Vancouver, NA, Canada, 17, Female, Presbyterian, Asian, not gay, bi, straight, Student, Less than High School Diploma, Mesg ID 818200040720


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!

POSTED 6/19/2001

Lisa J., Los Angeles, CA, United States, 28, Female, Black/African American, Straight, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 1240025549

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Question:

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 movements.

POSTED 6/19/2001

J.L., Jersey City, NJ, United States, 26, Female, Asian, Student, Over 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 6192001124322

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Question:

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?

POSTED 6/15/2001

Matthew, New York, NY, United States, 43, Male, Mesg ID 615200155908

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Question:

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?

POSTED 4/16/2001

Fuschia, Jacksonville, FL, United States, <angel32210@yahoo.com>, 34, Female, Black/African American, Straight, health care, 2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 2801101256


Responses:
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.

POSTED 6/19/2001

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.

POSTED 6/19/2001

Lisa, Gaithersburg, MD, United States, Female, Christian, Straight, Mesg ID 4182001102140

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Question:

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?

POSTED 6/15/2001

L. Garcia, Porterville, CA, United States, <cece_421@yahoo.com>, 21, Female, Catholic, Hispanic/Latino, Straight, Student, Mesg ID 6152001113457


Responses:
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.

POSTED 6/20/2001

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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Question:

If you had to choose between your parents or your lover, who would you choose?

POSTED 6/18/2001

Milee C., Porterville, CA, United States, 18, Female, Asian, Straight, High School Diploma, Mesg ID 6162001103110


Responses:
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.

POSTED 6/20/2001

Stacey, Boston, MA, United States, 29, Female, Middle class, Mesg ID 619200131604

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Question:

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?

POSTED 6/18/2001

Ligu, Changchun, NA, China, <ligu@8848.net>, 30, Male, Mesg ID 6162001113617


Responses:
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.

POSTED 6/19/2001

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 wore Aramis).

POSTED 6/19/2001

Jerry S., New Britain, CT, United States, <jerryschwartz@comfortable.com>, 53, Male, White/Caucasian, Mesg ID 6192001114127

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Question:

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!

POSTED 6/18/2001

Alma, Kempner, TX, , 48, Female, Methodist, White/Caucasian, Lesbian, government employee, 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 617200112602


Responses:
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.

POSTED 6/19/2001

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!

POSTED 6/19/2001

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.

POSTED 6/19/2001

Steve, Houston, TX, United States, 45, Male, White/Caucasian, Senior Corporate Slug, Over 4 Years of College, Upper class, Mesg ID 619200155501

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Question:

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?

POSTED 6/18/2001

Vista, Dallas, TX, United States, 39, Female, White/Caucasian, Straight, Self-employed, 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 617200192629

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Question:

Are there any differences in how Japanese people view sex vs. how Americans view sex? Are there different ways to please Japanese women?

POSTED 6/15/2001

Johnny B., Columbus, OH, United States, <blindrefjd@hotmail.com>, 20, Male, Methodist, White/Caucasian, Straight, Student, 2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 6142001112247

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Question:

What exactly are Mormon beliefs? Do the followers believe there's a planet Klobb?

POSTED 6/15/2001

Richard H., Porterville, CA, United States, <brassman@ocsnet.net>, 19, Male, Christian, White/Caucasian, Straight, Computer Network Specialist, 2 Years of College, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 613200185536

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