Best of the Week
of June 21, 1998


Here are the most intriguing cross-cultural exchanges either begun or advanced during the week of June 21, 1998, as selected by Y? These postings, as well as "Best of the Week" entries from previous weeks, also can be found in their respective archives, which we invite you to browse. There, you will find questions that have received answers, as well as questions still awaiting responses. We encourage you 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 our guidelines pages for asking and answering questions.

THE QUESTION:
C5: Do people who live in expensive houses on hills that overlook a city feel superior to those who live below? I often wonder when I look up at these houses whether people buy them because they like the view or because they feel superior to everyone else, or a combination of the two. Or are there other reasons?
POSTED JUNE 3, 1998
Tom, Fremont, CA

ANSWER 1:
The English language seems loaded with examples of phrases in which height or altitude has positive connotations. Examples include "King of the hill," "upper class" or "rising above." Some of this may date back to the Middle Ages, when castles (homes for the upper class) would be built on hills for defensive purposes. Those living off of the hill (the "low life") would plainly be in the poorer social classes. So maybe this tendency is a legacy of our culture's predominantly European heritage. Alternatively, perhaps this is biological. The ability to see danger farther away has an obvious survival advantage. Those who can afford it would buy houses on a hill because of the added feeling of safety the view gives them. Personally, I think aesthetics have value even without psychological underpinnings: The rich live on the hill simply because the view looks cool.
POSTED JUNE 17, 1998
Dave K., 34 <
dkline@worldnet.att.net>, Caldwell, NJ

FURTHER NOTICE:
I believe this is a status symbol of wealth. I would also live further from the crowded city life if possible. But because of El Nino's effects on many of the hillside homes in California, a lot of these homes are ending up at the bottom of the hill.
POSTED JUNE 25, 1998
Maureen, CA

FURTHER NOTICE 2:
I believe they feel they are superior to the rest of society. They feel they are "looking down" on the socioeconomic infrastructure that supports them, and that they see and understand things us "working stiffs" cannot grasp, and thus deserve to live above us, enjoying the wealth we working people produce.
POSTED JUNE 26, 1998
Dave, old, white, working-class Haole, Honolulu, Hi

FURTHER NOTICE 3:
I grew up in one of those expensive hilltop houses overlooking a city. My parents bought it because they liked the view and it was in a very safe neighborhood. One interesting thing: Most of the people around us were in serious debt. We never cared how much money anyone else had. My first love was smart, talented and poor. The class difference made him uncomfortable at first but was never even an issue for me. We were much more alike than different.
POSTED JUNE 27, 1998
Anna, 33, single female, San Francisco, CA
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THE QUESTION:
SO40: Are there any specific reasons for the lisp many gay men have when they talk?
POSTED JUNE 3, 1998
Dan J., 32, white male, Sonoma County, CA
(Similar question posted June 23, 1998, by Mark, straight male, Chicago, IL)

ANSWER 1:
I'm sure some people won't like your question, but I know what you're saying. I'm a gay man and there definitely is a "lilt" to the voices of many gay men. It's very easy to detect. Sometimes it's a lisp, but more often it's an extra inflection (i.e. taking two syllables to say "please"). I don't think there's a clear reason for it - it's definitely not something gay men try to do consciously. It just happens to some of them, and the reasons are mysterious to us as well. Some gays try to deny lisps and lilts even exist, but they're kidding themselves.
POSTED JUNE 26, 1998
W. Cranston, gay <
tcran@hotmail.com>, New York, NY
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THE QUESTION:
R358: My young son has a dark, quarter-sized birthmark on his forehead. On two separate occasions, Hispanic females have stopped, pointed and spoken in Spanish to each other about the birthmark. Are facial birthmarks culturally significant to Hispanics, and if so, how?
POSTED JUNE 25, 1998
Cindy B., 34, white female <
burses@worldnet.att.net>, Tallahassee, FL
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THE QUESTION:
R110: I am a 23-year-old white female graduate student who was recently visiting a friend living in Mexico. I have very fair skin and was often referred to in Spanish as "little white girl" or simply "whitey." My question is: How are these comments meant? I generally associate them with catcalls in the United States. Do people not understand they are offensive? Or should they be considered flattering?
POSTED MARCH 28, 1998
Travis, Carbondale, IL

ANSWER 1:
As a white woman with a Mexican husband and in-laws, I have also struggled with this question. My husband insists that when his father calls me "huera" (white girl), it is not meant to be offensive, but is merely a descriptive term. He says that anyone (including other Mexicans) who has particularly white or dark skin is referred to as "whitey" or "darky," respectively. It seems to be customary in the Spanish language to refer to people by distinguishing characteristics (skin color, hair type, body type, etc., i.e. "skinny") rather than always by their name.
POSTED JUNE 22, 1998
Chris, 24, white female, Long Beach, CA
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THE QUESTION:
A12: Does anyone know why kids are killing kids and teachers in our schools nowadays? What is happening and why? Is anyone out there afraid for their school-age kids?
POSTED MAY 23, 1998
Cheryl G., 44, black <
blackcherrie@yahoo.com>, Jacksonville, FL

ANSWER 1:
I heard an answer the other day that made sense to me: Teens today are products of our video culture, which portrays violence as cool and attention-getting. Violence is also depicted as a direct solution to correcting a perceived wrong or a sure way to getting your minute of fame. Teens and others, especially those who think they have to pay back others for real or imagined wrongs, find all kinds of encouragement to take matters into their own hands. The media will give them all the attention they think they deserve, so they convince themselves they must act violently against their peers, in many cases their worst tormentors.

These teens are acting out in their school environments the acts of Tim McVeigh and Ted Kasczinski and the America First-ers. The media doesn't describe these acts as cowardly and demeaning to the perpetrators; instead, it finds all kinds of "human interest" aspects of these cowards and their anti-human acts. The media plays to our prurient interests, and we read this stuff and give our teens the impression there is something of value there. The teens are acting out our least generous and most anti-social ways of thinking and talking. All the stuff vented on talk shows like Jerry Springer, et. al., gives teens the impression that life is like that - a mess. So why shouldn' t they act to "clean it up"?
POSTED MAY 26, 1998
Robert, 62, white male <
robertgagnon@hotmail.com>, Ottawa, Canada

FURTHER NOTICE:
Many young people do not have the stability to know what is right and wrong to meet the challenges of today. They have the TV image of life: Overpower or kill to make things right. Lack of parental guidance has left them with nothing to determine whether their actions are right or wrong.We must remember that guns and weapons that kill come from a source, and many belong to parents. It is a parent's responsibility to teach these things, but unfortunately many parents are ignorant as to the way to do right themselves, being victims of their childhood teachings. I don't think kids want to be bad, they are just not thinking right or have the right direction. Let's also remember that these kids are in the minority, as I believe the majority of kids show a very high level of behavior and intelligence when it comes to making the right decision.
POSTED MAY 27, 1998
Charlie D. <
CTD28@aol>, Ocala, FL

FURTHER NOTICE 2:
I would like to add that the ability to discipline our children is greatly hampered in this day and age. Look at the track records of some of these kids: They seemed to have a very loose leash. I read in a newspaper that the boy in Oregon was angry his parents took his guns away from him as a form of restriction for his pulling stunts like throwing rocks at cars from overpasses and toilet-papering houses. Then he was caught trying to buy a stolen gun in school, after which he sought retribution. Most "problem kids" know that if they are disciplined too harshly, they can call someone and it will be stopped. What else could happen with things working this way?
POSTED JUNE 3, 1998
David B., 21, DHBrantner@worldnet.att.net, St. Petersburg, FL

FURTHER NOTICE 3:
I have a five-year-old and am very worried about the world he is facing. We worry more about the rights of an individual than the rights of society, including raising our children. Parenting is not secondary to your professional success or increasing your income. Instilling values and self-discipline in a child requires time and interest in their growth. It is not easy when television, movies, toys, etc. seem to show them that all behavior is acceptable. Parents are using television and day cares to raise their children. I have been to see Jurassic Park, The Lost World and Godzilla. All had scenes of violence and pretty tense moments. The theaters were full of small children, some as young as three. I was angry with the parents. What are they thinking? My wife and I can't watch television with our son because of the constant references and displays of sex and violence, and we don't have cable! When we talk with other parents, I feel we are in the minority. I wish we had more time to spend with our son. The parents I talk to wish they had less time with their kids. I'm not trying to be superior to anyone, but I've got to believe that not enough parents get involved with the growith of their children.
POSTED JUNE 17, 1998
Snorget, 34, white middle-class parent <
rcoate@robinent.com>, Columbus, OH

FURTHER NOTICE 4:
Single parent homes, little or no parental supervision, lack of rules or restrictions and misunderstanding of personal responsibility are all factors in what causes children to kill and break the law. Yet these young people are making a conscious choice to do something illegal. Our society tends to blame anything and everything for the way people behave. It's time we take notice that we are responsible for our own actions and choices. It is our job as parents to teach our children right and wrong. I feel that many parents leave discipline and child-rearing to schools, day care providers or other means.
POSTED JUNE 17, 1998
Charlynn, 39, Middletown, CA

FURTHER NOTICE 5:
I would like to point out that this rash of murdering teens cannot be entirely blamed on the influences of television. I go to school in a public, suburban high school, and I can tell you that the way a parent handles a child can warp or redeem him or her for the rest of their life. In my own small circle of five close friends, three have been physically abused by their fathers; another's mother emotionally breaks her down; my own father committed suicide and my mother is intent on making sure I never feel I am worth anything ever again. And these are not isolated cases: This is through the whole school, if not the whole country. No offense, but why don't baby-boomers know how to be good, loving parents? Divorce, death, suicide, homicide, adultery and an array of abuses take their toll on children who are as impressionable as a dollop of warm wax. So don't blame TV or gun culture or violent movies. Blame the parents whose treatement of their child has caused him or her to snap. I think it was Dostoevski who said that whenever a child murders his parents, his parents are partly to blame.
POSTED JUNE 22, 1998
Kendra N., 17 <
englishgoddess@hotmail.com>, Carrollton, TX
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THE QUESTION:
G9: I live in the Northwest, grew up in the Southwest and was born in Washington, D.C. My question: Why does it seem that many Easterners, mostly New Yorkers, are so rude and do not respect another's personal space?
POSTED JUNE 4, 1998
Bickelb, 51, male, Clinton, WA

ANSWER 1:
New York City and its surrounding areas have a culture all their own that many people don't understand. (I'm a Long Islander currently living in Southern California.) New Yorkers prefer their own space; they like to be left alone to do whatever they're doing. They work hard and can't be bothered with any silliness (like singing on the subway). To make some generalizations: East Coasters are true, genuine people. You know where they're coming from. They don't mince words. They are not flakey or pretentious. East Coasters have a solid work ethic and a strong sense of family. Just because they don't go skipping down the street saying hello to everyone they meet doesn't mean they're rude. They'd give you the shirt off their back, then ask if there's anything else you need. Many of my friends in California are from the East Coast. It's funny how we all seem to gravitate towards each other.
POSTED JUNE 17, 1998
Kris B. <
bria@connectnet.com>, Carlsbad, CA

FURTHER NOTICE:
What you perceive to be rude behavior and disregard for "personal space" reflects differences of urban life in most major world cities (i.e. Mexico City, Paris, etc.) Also, please note the difference between New York City and New York State. Most of New York is rural. Upstate residents are completely different from New York City residents. I see three major environmental differences between urban NYC residents and those who reside almost anywhere else. I believe these lifestyle difference directly affect an individual's conceptualization of "personal space." Travel: Most NYC residents commute by subway, bus or ferry. In most other areas, individuals travel alone in an automobile. The solitude of an individual in a private automobile is a rare luxury in NYC, where parking costs prevent many from owning autos. Housing: NYC is suffering from a housing shortage. Outside of the city, families generally live in single-family units with at least some yard space separating neighbors. In crowded apartment buildings, residents have neighbors on two sides, above and below. In effect, there is less privacy and "personal space."Culture: NYC residents, even those who remain in traditional ethnic enclaves, frequently interact with foreigners and first-generation Americans who speak limited or no English. Tact is often lost on those who possess different customs. It is sometimes best to be direct. This "directness" is often perceived by outsiders as rude behavior.
POSTED JUNE 17, 1998
Andrew W., 22, Davis, CA

FURTHER NOTICE 2:
New Yorkers encounter thousands of people daily and have few opportunities for privacy. This lack of personal space may cause them to become indifferent or abrupt. All humans need peace to quiet their spirits, and little peace or quiet is available in a city with 8 million people. Consequently, New Yorkers may become aggressive or abrupt because they are emotionally overwhelmed, and because they must compete for something individuals from rural areas may take for granted - space. In addition, individuals from more than 180 countries call New York home. Imagine the communications nightmare that occurs when no one speaks the same language nor shares a common culture. New Yorkers typically "mellow-out" after having lived in a peaceful, spacious, culturally homogeneous environment - but never quite lose their edge.
POSTED JUNE 18, 1998
Peggy, 39, black, former New Yorker <
brownsville3@juno. com>, Atlanta, GA

FURTHER NOTICE 3:
I grew up in New Jersey, lived in North Carolina nine years and have settled back in New Jersey. New York City dwellers may appear to have less respect than others for personal space, but I think their behavior (and maybe my own) is a function of not having any space to start with. Some Europeans, Asians and Middle Easterners have (to my mind) far less respect for personal space than New Yorkers do, and, again, I think it is because they live in very crowded conditions, which simply makes their concept of personal space different from that of people who grow up in wide-open spaces.
POSTED JUNE 18, 1998
Erin B. <
eboyle@planet.net>, Morris Plains, NJ

FURTHER NOTICE 4:
I grew up in Brooklyn, went to college in Boston and now live in Georgia. New Yorkers are not rude. We seem to have an "in-your-face" way of dealing with issues that seems to put some people off. To me, it is because New York has been fast-paced long before many cities; we don't take time for the niceties others may use in conversation and interpersonal relations. I grew up in the "yadda-yadda-yadda" and "cut-to-the-chase" frame of mind, and it is hard to break out of that mold. New Yorkers seem to ask the most personal questions, which people answer without the slightest hesitation, even thought they may feel funny about answering them. I ask those "cut-to-the-chase," work-related questions in meetings, and people always seem put off by them, like they are sorry the meeting cannot last for hours by "beating around the bush."
POSTED JUNE 22, 1998
Tammra N., 35, black female <
nelsont@nscdiscovery.org>, Augusta, GA

FURTHER NOTICE 5:
I grew up in the Midwest, have traveled around the country and world and have now lived in New York City five years. I think the problem is not that New Yorkers don't respect personal space, but that they tend to have less of it, and by extension perceive you as having less of it, too. The rudeness thing is different. I am convinced Southern manners and Midwestern pleasantness are shams that cover a horrifying mass of ill will, resentment and the inability to express thoughts and feelings without a lot of hemming and hawing. It's a cover for the same bad wiring New Yorkers have. New Yorkers, as part of their constant feeling of urgency and the need for forward movement, eschew the pleasantries and formalized rituals that much of the rest of the country holds dear. If you want to get along with a New Yorker, speak plainly, succintly and to the point. Tell it like it is.
POSTED JUNE 26, 1998
Grant B. <
files@smtp.jerrynet.com>, New York, NY
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THE QUESTION:
R196: A question for African Americans: How common is it to hear the word "nigger" used as an intentional insult by non-African Americans? I hear the word occasionally, but never with an African American around.
POSTED APRIL 18, 1998
Joseph, 35, white <
shaules@rikkyo.ac.jp>
Tokyo, Japan
(Director's Note: Because of the high interest we have received from people using Y? regarding the use and power of this word, we would be interested in hearing specific examples from African Americans (when answering the above question) of when this word has been used in front of you by a non-African American as an intentional insult. That is, describe the circumstances, why or how the person used the word, how you reacted, what thoughts or emotions you had, etc.)

ANSWER 1:
My husband was riding his bike when some white males in a car rode past, threw a bottle at him and said "nigger get a car." Of course that was cowardly of them, but these days people have more sense than to use that word to your face. Had they been face to face, there would have been a fight. It's that simple. Don't use the word.
POSTED APRIL 29, 1998
Black Female, N.C.

FURTHER NOTICE:
When we moved to Columbia, S.C., in 1989, our first day there my mom and I went to a convenience store to purchase some items for my new home. When we walked out the door, a group of white boys looked at my mom and called her a nigger. I was very angry, but my mom told me to ignore them and not respond because that would put me down to their level. It bothered me for a long time after. I have heard that word all my life and am raising my children never to use it. It is very painful and only causes fights.
POSTED MAY 2, 1998
C. Lorick, 44 <
blackcherrie@yahoo.com>, Jacksonville, FL

FURTHER NOTICE 2:
Generally, when "nigger" has been directed toward me or people with me, the situation is that we are physically in the minority. Specifically, we're at a "white" club, or maybe at an event with a predominantly white crowd. Me and a couple of friends were at a white club, and one of my friends was involved in a fight with another patron. After the fight, someone said, "Why can't you niggers stay at your own clubs and stop coming to ours causing problems?" My personal reaction to confrontations that involve being called "nigger" is more to laugh than to become angry. If that is the best (worst) insult that can be thrown at me, then I don't feel threatened. Anyone who uses the word as an insult is only showing their ignorance and lack of education.
POSTED MAY 2, 1998
Sean C., 30, black male, Flint, MI

FURTHER NOTICE 3:
I'm a black man, and yet the majority of my friends are white. They have never used the word when I'm around, and because of the people they are, they probably don't ever really use it, at least not specifically to hurt anyone. Words are just symbols, and it is the meaning behind the word that gives it significance. Blacks banter back and forth with each other constantly using that word, and it is a mark of brotherhood among many. Whites avoid the word, unless they have a harmful intent, at all cost when around a black person. Right now, I could spew out an entire roll call of typically loathesome words, but it would mean nothing without intent behind it. Still, people would get offended. Why? Because people give it intent. The word has no value in itself. People get angry when the word "nigger" is used because of the meaning they give it and the connotations they assume it implies. I despise the word because few people are enlightened enough to separate speech from intent, expression from connotation. If you say the sweetest thing to me in the sweetest possible way, but its intent is to destroy me, you are my enemy, and more despicable than a rapper who spews profanity.
POSTED MAY 3, 1998
Ike D. <
nukemall@hotmail.com>, Jacksonville, FL

FURTHER NOTICE 4:
While in the Navy, I heard the word "nigger" used by one of my contemporaries at a meeting. I was the only black person who met with this group, and I don't think he knew I was there. We were discussing plans for our ship's commissioning ceremony in Philadelphia. He made the comment to someone that the only problem with Philadelphia was that there were too many niggers there. He didn't know I heard him. We worked together for four years, and he even invited me to his house a few times, but I never went because what he had said that day stuck in my mind. I hate to stereotype people, but that word makes me stereotype non-blacks as being capable of racism. Probably because of the history of the the negativity and injustice of it.
POSTED MAY 4
Retired Navy, 43, black <
bigbig@aol.com>, Jacksonville, FL

FURTHER NOTICE 5:
I was Christmas shopping in Dearborn, Mich., a suburb of Detroit that at the time was 99.9 percent white (I think they had one black family). It was a common practice for many black shoppers to shop at the Fairlane mall, which was brand new and one of the nicer places in Michigan.

In the parking lot, a couple of black girls walking into the mall were almost hit by a car driven by a white girl who had a couple of other white girls in her car. The black girl hit the hood of the car with her hand and yelled, "Watch where you are driving!" The white girl got out of the car, and both parties had to be restrained by their friends.

As the white girl got back in the car, before she sped off, she leaned out and yelled, "Nigger!" I remember thinking at the time: Hmmm, she has been taught the word is powerful and is designed to hurt. She used it as a weapon, like a knife. The black girl's friend persuaded her to "let it go" because it was Christmas and they had shopping to do, but I was immobilized. I had never been in the presence of a white person calling a black person a nigger before.
POSTED JUNE 3, 1998
Mark A., Los Angeles, CA

FURTHER NOTICE 6:
Once my roomate, who was white, had a few friends from home at our apartment. I met all of them and thought they were pretty nice guys. Well, it seems that one was telling a joke that referred to a "nigger," though I did not hear the joke because I was in another room. Later that night, the guy who told the joke apologized for saying the word "nigger" just in case I overheard him. He mentioned he was not racist and that he never used the word. Never ever. I told him I did not hear the joke, but I give him more respect for telling me what he said before I confronted him than to just hope I did not hear it. Later on, my roommate asked him who won the annual Halloween contest in their hometown, and he replied, "I don't know who he was, but he was a nigger." He could not even look at me; he just dropped his head as if to say, "I can't believe I just said that."
POSTED JUNE 15, 1998
Myron P., 24, black male, Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, GA

FURTHER NOTICE 7:
The word "nigger," as well as any other demeaning word, can be extremely caustic, or it can be benign. I feel it depends on the context in which it is used. I work with many whites. Some affectionately refer to themselves and friends as white trailer- truck- and even boat-trash. I am aware my co-workers refer to blacks as niggers when I'm not around. For effect, I innocently referred to a co-worker as "boat trash" (he lives in a $50,000 boat). The reaction was very caustic. Everyone in the room paused. I was even reported to a superior. My response to my peers was that even though blacks use this word "nigger" affectionately, it is offensive coming from an outsider. Much like a German who is called a "kraut" by an American. They understood what I did, and why. One was moved to tears because of his offensive behavior and predisposed opinions (although I usually was not around).

The context, circumstances, intent and source are determining factors when offensive words are used. I do not believe in double standards. I was never allowed to use the N-word as a child, and I don't like its use in my presence. I, and my parents, grew up in the South. This word not only has a negative connotation but is deeply associated with pain and oppression to me.
POSTED JUNE 21, 1998
SouthCentraLa <
SouthLaCa@aol.com>, Quartz Hill, CA

FURTHER NOTICE 8:
I have a good friend who happens to be white. I was at his house one day and some of his white friends came in the house and said "Hey nigger-lover." They did not see me sitting in the chair away from the door, but once I was seen, there was no apology or anything. They just acted as if nothing was said (they seemed kind of embarrassed). But I was very hurt.
POSTED JUNE 24, 1998
Zakiyyah, 23, black, GA

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THE QUESTION:
RE59: I'm an atheist and very much in love with a Muslim girl. She doesn't think we should be together because of our different cultural (she's from Morocco) and religious backgrounds. Her father does not approve of our relationship. I know there would be difficulties if we were to stay together, but I hope we would succeed. Should I persist, or do people think it wouldn't work, anyway? Does anyone have experience with this?
POSTED JUNE 8, 1998
Thijs, 19, t.j.vinken@kub.nl, Tilburg, The Netherlands

ANSWER 1:
I believe if you plan to marry and have children, both people should be of the same religious beliefs. This does not mean two people from different religions should not marry. It means that one of you should convert, in my opinion. My understanding of religion is that it is a manifest of how one interacts with life. The problem I see is that you're both entering into a relationship with radically different values for which there is no compromise. How can you compromise on religious faith?
POSTED JUNE 10, 1998
D. Nichols, 34, agnostic, Seattle, WA

FURTHER NOTICE:
I am Muslim and was brought up with the belief I should marry only a Muslim from my race. After you are brought up like this, you tend to believe it and base your morals on it. Muslims I know who married out of their race tend to have their partner change their religion because they are devoted Muslims; however, because their partners don't truly believe in that faith, there are many disagreements when they have children or try to impose their beliefs on each other. If you really do love her and she feels the same way, you will find a way to work it out but, must understand that to some people, their faith is very important.
POSTED JUNE 21, 1998
Sarah P., Muslim, Los Angles, CA

FURTHER NOTICE 2:
I have not had a romantic relationship affected by different belief systems, but I have dealt with the issue in a very close friendship. I was raised Catholic, but have been agnostic with atheist leanings for many years. A couple years ago, one of my friends "got conked on the head by Jesus" as he put it, and it put a real strain on our friendship and altered it forever. We struggled to come to terms with our differing beliefs and our affection for each other and, for the most part, were successful. But I would be lying if I said it didn't make a difference in our level of intimacy and ability to understand each other.

In your situation, I would hate to discourage two people who love each other from trying to make their relationship work. However, the facts are that this woman has a profoundly different belief system and cultural background from your own, and she has expressed serious doubts about trying to continue a relationship with you, indicating her level of commitment may also be different. Compromise is an important part of any relationship, but there are some compromises that place people so far outside their own value systems that the relationship is unable to continue. I have concern that the latter compromises are the ones you would end up making. My last piece of somewhat contradictory advice: Don't let others' opinions influence you too much. You are the only person living your life.
POSTED JUNE 23, 1998
Felicia, 34 <
foloughl@n3c.com>, Houston, TX

FURTHER NOTICE 3:
I do not think religious differences mean there are radical differences in values. It seems a given that this couple shares values simply because they are so much in love. The only difference is where they look to for moral guidance, but not necessarily the conclusions they come to from that guidance. Several roads can bring you to the same destination. Thus, it is possible it can work if your girlfriend can see what brings you together and live with her parents' disapproval - that is, if the two of you together cannot convince them you share more than they realize. Best wishes to you.
POSTED JUNE 24, 1998
Terri P., atheist, Fredericksburg, VA

FURTHER NOTICE 4:
I recently married a Muslim Moroccan woman and converted to Islam. If you are truly an atheist, I would suggest you don't pursue this relationship. It will cause problems. Trust me. You need to think deeply about your level of committment. You need to think about her relationship to her parents. You need to have open eyes and not be blinded by love. Don't compromise your integrity.
POSTED JUNE 26, 1998
Brad, 28, white, Honolulu, HI

FURTHER NOTICE 5:
I have friends from Egypt who are Muslim. They are sisters from a very strict, religious family. They have been told that if they marry outside of their religion they will no longer be acknowledged by their family. Their ages are 23 and 27. The 27-yeasr-old is dating a Catholic and the 23-year-old is dating a man who has no religious preference. Their family does not know, so they live with the fear of them finding out, but they still continue to date these men. So, I guess my point is, they choose to live in current times regardless of their family beliefs. They have not left their religion, just their family's cultural restrictions. Tradition is important, but so is honesty to themselves. They choose not to live their lives based on Egyptian customs, but on American ideals.
POSTED JUNE 26,1998
Sue <
107767.46@compuserve.com>,Grosse Ile, MI
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