Best of the Week
of June 27, 1999


Here are the most intriguing cross-cultural exchanges either begun or advanced during the week of June 27, 1999, as selected by Y? These
postings, as well as "Best of the Week" entries from previous weeks, also can be found by accessing our new database using our search form, or, in the case of answers posted before April 24, 1999, in our 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. 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.

Question:
Has anyone else noticed a double standard in describing the appearance of different-race women who wear promiscuous clothing? When women of color wear tight/short clothes, they are often called "hoochies" or something of the sort, while white women in similar clothes are at worst called "skanks" (if not "hot.") Could part of the reason be that women of color tend to have more voluminous bodies and so look more provocative in the clothing?
POSTED 6/28/99
Priya, Berkeley, CA, United States, <priya_grewal@yahoo.com> , 19, Female, Mesg ID 6279951922
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Question:
I lived in Washington, D.C., for 10 years. Is there such a thing as "Washington Nice"? I'm referring to overdone, almost unctuous politeness at a superficial level with nothing underneath it. For instance, I could be approaching a door and the person nearby, regardless of race or gender, would almost knock themselves out to hold it open for me. (And no, I don't resemble anyone highly placed in politics!) Yet if you would attempt to take the encounter one step further, such as striking up a conversation, they'd look at you like you were from another planet. I always kind of felt like "I can handle my own doors, but a little human warmth would be nice." Has anyone else noticed this about D.C.? And is this anything like "Minnesota Nice" or "Mormon Nice" - both of which I've heard of but not sure I've ever experienced?
POSTED 6/25/99
Augustine, Columbia, SC, United States, 38, Male, White/Caucasian, Over 4 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 6219930415

Responses:
I hear the phrase "Minnesota Nice" so much that it grates on my nerves. Here, it generally means saying something like, "You don't have your wallet? Well, I'll pay. No big deal," then mumbling what a cheap jerk your friend is. (Remember The Mary Tyler Moore Show?) It's very passsive aggressive. But I am amazed when I see a car get stuck in the snow, and strangers help without even being asked. There is a positive side to the "Nice." I do avoid talking to people because their conversation, nine times out of 10, starts, "Hi. Say, my car just ran out of gas..." or "How's it going? Lookin' to buy? Got some great weed." or "Hi. Can I talk to you about this Republican? Would you like to make a contribution?" Rarely does anyone just want to talk, and once you start the conversation, they don't go away. I was once waiting at a designated spot for a friend, and a man began talking to me about the weather, etc. Then he asked if he could talk to me about Jesus. I said, "No, thanks," so he launched into a monologue anyway - for 10 minutes, concluding that I was going to hell. Committing to a conversation with a stranger on the street is like opening Pandora's Box. Opening a door to a stranger is just that - opening a door.
POSTED 6/28/99
Craig, Minneapolis, MN, United States, <cmorris@loft.org> , 35, Male, White/Caucasian, Gay, 4 Years of College,Mesg ID 62599110515
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Question:
To male college freshman or sophomores in intercollegiate team sports (football, basketball, baseball, soccer, etc.) who are dealing with or have dealt with coming-out to family, coaches and teammates: How was your coming out accepted by your family, coach and teammates? Are you still on the college team? Did you know from "the beginning" that you were gay? What type of impact did this have on your participation in sports? Any additional information about your experiences as a college athlete and being gay would be greatly appreciated.
POSTED 6/28/99
Scott, Bowling Green, OH, United States, 31, Male, Catholic, White/Caucasian, Straight, Gradute Student, Over 4 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 62499122653
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Question:
As the Caucasian mother of a wonderful little girl adopted from China, I'm curious about how the Chinese community feels about these foreign adoptions, as well as the issue of abandonment of infants in China.
POSTED 3/5/99
Dianne, Kitchener, Ontario, NA, Canada, Female, White/Caucasian , Mesg ID 3599125117

Responses:
My feelings: Another white family adopting Asian females; never seen a white family adopt an Asian boy; another Asian female to be white-washed and to believe that white men are superior to Asian men; Asian boys are not worth adopting; Asian men are not adorable enough to be adopted; Asian men could all die off, and it wouldn't matter.
POSTED 6/28/99
David, Chicago, IL, United States, 26, Male, Campbellian, Asian, Straight, Student, Over 4 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 5219975730
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Question:
What are the real reasons marijuana is illegal?
POSTED 6/3/99
Tam-Ken, San Diego, CA, United States, Asian, Mesg ID 639953821

Responses:
Marijuana, in its unenhanced form, is a relatively mild narcotic. Its effects are, arguably, more calming and less immediately debilitating than those of alcohol. I think the "war" against marijuana and other more potentially harmful drugs displays the American propensity for moral hypocrisy and politically expedient grandstanding. The public, as represented by our legislators, seems to have forgotten the basics of supply and demand, as well as the lessons taught by the outcomes of the first Prohibition (zero decrease in alcohol consumption; the blossoming of organized crime). With ridiculously biased and Draconian federal drug sentencing laws and "three strikes" legislation on the books (hand-in-hand with the explosion of the prison-for-profit industry), the criminalization of the drug culture continues to do far more harm to vulnerable communities than the drugs themselves.
POSTED 6/28/99
Sam, Chicago, IL, United States, <SamAlex67@aol.com> , 31, Male, Black/African American, Straight, Firefighter, High School Diploma , Lower middle class, Mesg ID 6599111522
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Question:
My youngest daughter has told me she is bisexual. I have no problem with this because I love her very much and she is quite an intelligent young woman who knows her own power. But what exactly does "bisexual" mean? I know that may sound ignorant on my part, but I really want to know about her lifestyle.
POSTED 6/22/99
Charlette H., Mt. Washington, KY, United States, <charlettehines@eudoramail.com> , Female, Wiccan, White/Caucasian, Straight, Librarian, 2 Years of College, Mesg ID 6219972505

Responses:
Bisexual means you are sexually attracted to both males and females. Many people are. I am a divorced mom with two kids. I am bisexual. It's completely normal in all respects. Relax; your daughter is OK.
POSTED 6/28/99
Elizabeth, Indianapolis, IN, United States, Female, Atheist, Bisexual, Sales, 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 6279932319

I feel that bisexuality is the hardest moniker to have because it usually doesn't mean anything except "I love whomever I choose to love." Your daughter is probably a very open-minded young lady with the ability to enjoy her own body without the guilt programmed into most of America.
POSTED 6/28/99
Glenn O., Austin, TX, United States, <gortego@hotmail.com> , 28, Male, still searching, White/Caucasian, Straight, Electronics Technician, Technical School , Lower middle class, Mesg ID 6269981500
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