Best of the Week
of July 6, 2003

 

Best of Week ArchivesArchives

Here are the most intriguing cross-cultural exchanges either begun or advanced during the week of July 6, 2003, 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 database using the search form , or, in the case of posted before April 24, 1999, in the Original Archives (all questions from the Original Archives have been entered into the database as well). In the Original Archives, as well as in the 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.   

 

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Question:

Why is it that Asian women insist on dragging their feet when they walk? I have noticed that whenever I hear or see someone dragging their feet on the sidewalk, 90 percent of the time it is an Asian woman. I find it very sloppy.
POSTED 7/7/2003
Trixie, Toronto, Ontario, NA, Canada, Female, Mesg ID 613200384506

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Question:

I'm 15 and gay. I came out of the closet a year ago, and my best friend was very surprised and kind of stayed away from me for a while. Six months later we started talking again and now he acts like my being gay doesn't bother him. Every time we talk on the phone, though, he makes comments like 'shut up faggot' or 'queer.' It bothers me, but we play around like that - I will now and then call him 'bitch,' but we're just playing around. Is this normal behavior (e.g. playing around with insults), or is it really derogatory, and should I tell him to stop?

POSTED 6/15/2003

Josh M., Los Angeles, CA, United States, <ck3vin11@yahoo.com>, 15, Male, Hispanic/Latino (may be any race), Student, Less than High School Diploma, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 66200322953


Responses:
Josh, you have to accept that what used to be considered derogatory is now known as 'playing around with insults.' Times have changed, and it is common and OK for, among friends, insults to be used in a manner of just joking around. I am sure you have heard the word "nigger" used in a common sentence that does not signify any bad meaning toward that person. It may be hard for you to get used to the gay-slangs because you are gay, but if you just remember that you and your buddy are good friends, then it's OK for the name-calling. I have been called someone's bitch a few times in my life, and it does not bother me at all. So don't let it bother you.
POSTED 7/3/2003
Adonis, Washington, DC, United States, 25, Male, Catholic, Straight, Finance, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 616200330953

I went through this with my best friend (straight male). It's a habit for some people. I told him to knock it off. I know he's kidding, but other people might not, and he could wind up getting his hiney kicked if he said it at the wrong place and time, so he could practice watching his mouth by not saying that stuff to me. If your friend makes any comments like 'they wouldn't do that,' or anything else implying gays are weak or complacent, then maybe his comments are not just out of habit. I've also told my friend that I won't bring him around any of my gay friends if he makes comments like that, so he knows he's isolating himself from my life with those comments.
POSTED 7/3/2003
Betty, San Diego, CA, United States, 29, Female, White/Caucasian, Lesbian, web designer, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 617200315256

First, congratulations on having the courage to come out at such a young age. To this day I regret not coming out when I was a teen. I hurt a lot of people by not doing so - but that's another story. I often hear teenagers downtown refering to each other as 'faggot' or 'queer,' and I am highly insulted by this. But I do have straight friends who jokingly call me 'faggot' on occasion, and it doesn't bother me because I know they are, as you say, just playing around trying to get my goat. The decision is really up to you. If you feel insulted, tell him to stop, explaining that you have to face enough hate in the world because of your orientation and you don't appreciate it coming from him. Ask him how he would feel if you called him some racially derogative name all the time. I have had friends who have taken it a little too far, and I have asked them to stop with the 'faggot' and 'queer' stuff. On the other hand, neither I nor any of my gay friends have issues about calling each other 'faggot' or 'queer'. - much like some blacks seem to have no problem calling each other the dreaded 'n' word. When used between gays, the word 'queer' is somewhat a badge of honor. As in 'I'm here, I'm queer, deal with it!'
POSTED 7/3/2003
Mike, Santa Cruz, CA, United States, 42, Male, Humanist, White/Caucasian, Gay, Finance, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 617200365022

I don't think it's necessarily offensive to have jokes like this within one's own community. I think everyone does this on some level, whether it's in regard to race, gender or, in your case, sexuality. It is different, however, if an outsider decides to make these types of jokes, especially if the outsider may already have prejudice toward whatever group. If you feel the jokes are being made because of this reason, you should tell your friend to stop. Keep in mind that it sounds like your friend is treading on new ground having a gay friend. You must let your feelings be known if he seems to go over the line with his jokes, comments, etc. He will only joke as far as you will let him if he's truly your friend.
POSTED 7/3/2003
Kristina, Washington, DC, United States, 22, Female, Christian, Black/African American, Straight, Student, 2 Years of College, Upper class, Mesg ID 618200321638

Your friend says things like '"shut up faggot' and he knows you're gay? I would tell him it makes you uncomfortable. When I hear a comment like 'That's so gay,' I always say something. I find it very offensive. Explain in a nice way that this kind of language is offensive to you, and hopefully he will stop. If not, he is much more homophobic than you think.
POSTED 7/3/2003
Bil, Ft. Dodoge, IA, United States, <lwgavitt@hotmail.com>, 31, Male, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, Gay, student, 2 Years of College, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 619200312058

I'm going to guess that you've seen South Park. The boys are all friends, and call each other 'butt muncher', etc. When asked about swearing, the creators said that when they were in fourth grade, you always called your friends things like that, but you never meant anything by it. Let's face it - straight guys aren't going to call you 'sweetie' and are usually busy being hypermacho during high school. But part of the names is also part of him dealing with it - a way to distance himself, a way to keep proving he's not gay, too, or make you think he's hitting on you, or the part of him that still has a problem with it. I know that there are others I've kidded in similar ways, but it's done in the way your brother would give you noogies. But if it bothers you, say so. It's ok to tell him it hurts you if it does.
POSTED 7/3/2003
Craig, Minneapolis, MN, United States, 39, Male, Gay, Mesg ID 620200364659

It depends on how it makes you feel. Lots of friends 'insult' one another with the understanding that it's all in fun. Your asking the question, however, suggests that you're somewhat uncomfortable with the name-calling. If you feel the intent is derogatory, then it probably is, and you have every right to tell him to stop (provided you're willing to stop, also).
POSTED 7/3/2003
E.D., Kansas City, MO, United States, 46, Female, Black/African American, Mesg ID 621200315044

Yes, it is normal behavior to 'play around with insults,' and he has probably done this with you before, even before he knew you were gay. This form of sarcasm is often used between close friends and usually is not derogatory. In fact, it is almost a sign of closeness. For example, you and your friend would probably not call a stranger bitch or queer, but because or your friendship, you are comfortable using those terms with each other. However, the real issue is this: if your friend's comments make you feel uncomfortable, tell him to stop. But my guess is that he is not doing it out of hate.
POSTED 7/3/2003
Rashid, washington, DC, United States, <vibedc@yahoo.com>, Male, Over 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 628200360119

You are very wise to question you and your friend's behavior, because it is not clear at all whether it is derogatory or just funning around. The answer rides on how it makes you feel, and involves how he feels doing it. It speaks well of your friend that he returned to the friendship after coming to some sort of terms with your gayness. If his calling you names is his way of dealing with still being uncomfortable, then over time he may well stop on his own (especially if someone else joins in and he has to defend you). However, if he is dealing with your gayness by showing hostility in order to demonstrate that he is superior to you, though still willing to be your friend, then it sounds unhealthy (and he would be unlikely to defend you when someone attacks you for being gay). Then there's the question of how YOU feel about it. Does it hurt you, even a little, when he calls you a faggot? If it does, it needs to stop. Friends don't deliberately hurt friends. If it does hurt you, can you tell him and ask him to stop doing it, or are you afraid that that might harm your friendship? 'Faggot' is a mean word when applied to a gay man, just as 'bitch' is when applied to a woman. They can be funny in the right context, when everyone knows that the speaker is not intending any harm, but if your father called your mother a 'bitch,' do you think she would think it was funny? I don't. Think about what you are feeling, and if you are feeling bad at all when he calls you a faggot, then you should mention that to him. Not in a mean way, but just let him know that it makes you feel bad. If he dumps you because of that, then he wasn't really your friend to begin with. If he makes an effort to stop, then you are truly lucky, because you have a good friend, and they are hard to find.
POSTED 7/3/2003
James D., summit, NJ, United States, <james_witted@hotmail.com>, 46, Male, Atheist, White/Caucasian, Gay, programmer, 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 6302003103520

If you feel that his 'playing around' is actually just a way for him to express hostile feelings, you should talk about it and tell him to stop. Are his comments limited to gay-related epithets, or does he also call you 'dumbass,' for example (as my friends and I often did at your age)? If you think he really is just joking around, you might want to let it go, unless it makes you too uncomfortable to talk to him. In this case, I would couch your request in a joke by saying something like, 'your ugly straight ass isn't allowed to call me that, bitch.' (Or something that doesn't make you sound as old as me!) I lost some people that I thought were 'friends' when I came out. Others remain my friends, but they avoid mentioning anything about it or acknowledging it. Given the choice, I'd prefer a straight friend who jokingly called me a fag.
POSTED 7/3/2003
Benjamin C., Brooklyn, NY, United States, 31, Male, Catholic, White/Caucasian, Gay, Over 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 72200313752

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Question:

Why does the media ignore African-American celebrities with politically incorrect views, but then crucifies white conservatives like Charlton Heston for their unorthodox views? Movies like 'Bowling For Columbine' portray Heston as a lunatic and crazed Nazi, while movies like 'Ali' portray Muhammad Ali as the epitome of heroism, even though he was a member of the Nation of Islam. According to the Nation's doctrines, black people are superior 'gods' and white people are genetically inferior 'devils' created 6,000 years ago by a mad scientist named Yacub. If an athlete like Ali believes that other races are inferior to his, how does what he believe differ from what pitcher John Rocker believes? If both John Rocker and Muhammad Ali believe their races are superior, why does the media only crucify Rocker and not Ali for their racist views?
POSTED 7/7/2003
B.V., Toronto, Ontario, NA, Canada, Male, Catholic, White/Caucasian, Straight, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 6162003111057

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Question:

Why do lesbians dress in what amounts to a costume of lesbianism? I know several lesbians who know quite well that wearing their hair one way would be more becoming in terms of style, but nevertheless they wear it in a fashion that clearly identifies them as lesbian. The same thing applies to dress. Do they want people to know that they are members of a particular set, identifying themselves primarily by their sexual orientation? If that is not correct, I'd like some help in understanding this.
POSTED 7/7/2003
Lea, Austin, TX, United States, <frlww@aol.com>, Female, Mesg ID 6212003115427

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Question:

Why do Hispanics call white people gringos?
POSTED 7/7/2003
Debra S., Columbus, OH, United States, 48, Female, Buddhist, White/Caucasian, Straight, RN, 2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 622200335045

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Question:

Could someone who is well-traveled and has lived in various regions of the United States give me general patterns in regional societal differences? For example, what, if anything, makes the Pacific Northwest different from the Deep South?
POSTED 7/7/2003
Alfonso, Brooklyn, NY, United States, <crazedmogx@aol.com>, 19, Male, College sophomore, 2 Years of College, Lower class, Mesg ID 722003105357

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Question:

My sister took a business trip to Hyderabad, India, two years ago and was treated with much disrespect and hatred. People would not speak to her or acknowledge her presence. although they would speak kindly to her white male co-workers. She said the customs officer in Mumbai acted as if she was a criminal trying to get into the country. After some time, he finally stamped her passport with such force that it made it quite clear that she was not a welcome visitor. If Indians are prejudiced against African-American women, then her boss, who is Indian, should have warned her so she would have been mentally prepared. Why was she treated differently from her white male coworkers? Meanwhile, on the last episode of the TV show "The Great Race," the two African-American women could not enlist anyone's help with directions while in India. They were also sexually assaulted on the train. One women said she was pinched on the buttocks at least 15 times. Because of the hostile treatment, these women reached the check-in post last and therefore were eliminated from the race. Are these situations in India a case of racism or sexism?
POSTED 7/7/2003
Claire H., Cincinnati, OH, United States, 45, Female, Black/African American, Straight, Instructor, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 762003111921

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Question:

Quite a few Christians go around saying that if you commit suicide, you won't go to heaven. Why do they consider it a sin, and how popular is this belief among Christians worldwide?
POSTED 7/7/2003
Rob S., Poole, NA, United Kingdom, <rms6859@yahoo.com>, 27, Male, Christian, White/Caucasian, Mesg ID 77200362538

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Question:

Are Americans particularly religious people? I used to think that Americans were mostly secular, but every day I get the impression that in essence they are not (at least not as much as most Europeans and Asians). What role does religion play for Americans today? Does this vary from region to region? How does it affect your view of the world? How does it affect your view of politics?

POSTED 6/15/2003

Karim, Cairo, NA, Egypt, 23, Male, Muslim, Arab, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 62200322433


Responses:
American society is very broad, and any generalizations are going to apply rather poorly. We are much more diverse than most nations: even those nations with substantial minorities tend to have an 'official' culture. China, for example, has many minorities with different religions and languages and traditions, but there has always been an understood definition of what being 'Chinese' means. Egypt has Muslims and Christians, and as I understand it is officially secular, but Islam pretty much rules daily life. The United States is not like that. Even in colonial times, the people who founded the different colonies were as interested in separating themselves from each other as anything else. You had a Catholic colony, a Quaker colony and several colonies with different Protestant denominations. As a result, the government is officially unaligned and there is no consensus as to what the majority religion is. (Yes, most people are Christians; but while to a non-Christian that makes them all alike, to each other they are very different.) That being said, most Americans would say they are religious; it's the diversity that makes it seem otherwise to outsiders. A religious Jew, a religious Catholic, a religious Evangelical Baptist and a religious Muslim would share many core beliefs, but their practices would be very different. Fundamentalist Protestantism does predominate in the South and Midwest, and that's where you're more likely to see religious beliefs affecting local public policy.
POSTED 7/6/2003
Jerry S., New Britain, CT, United States, 55, Male, Jewish, 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 618200375319

I think most Americans are Christians, or claim to be, though the country has no official religion. Still, though, the words 'In God We Trust' are on our currency, and the Pledge of Allegiance (repeated by schoolchildren every morning) includes the phrase 'One Nation Under God.' Both these phrases were added in the 1950s because of McCarthyism, but many Americans become very defensive if there is talk of removing them. Another example is that our schools and public offices are generally closed on the major Christian holidays. I am not Christian and would prefer this to be a strictly secular country, but I definitely feel like I am in the minority on this. Nearly all the country's elected officials are Christian, and I think it would be very difficult for someone who is not Christian (or maybe Jewish) to get elected to a high office. Because so many public officials are Christian, they often seem to forget that there are a lot of non-Christians in this country. This leads to things like 'National Days of Prayer' that say they are for everyone, but which have a decidedly Christian slant. It may be easier for people of other monotheistic faiths (Islam or Judaism) to handle this kind of bias, but it can be difficult for pagans, agnostics or atheists. I think the degree of religiosity and the particular brand of Christianity that is most prominent vary from region to region within the country. Cities tend to be a little less religious than rural areas, and the coasts a little less than the center of the country. There are also a lot more Jews in the northeast than in most of the country, so that religion comes into play more there. For example, in the northeast, many schoolchildren get vacation days for the major Jewish holidays, in addition to the major Christian ones. There are pockets of people of other religions throughout the country (Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, Buddhists), but these are smaller, and usually only affect the local politics.
POSTED 7/6/2003
Nikki, Seattle, WA, United States, 33, Female, White/Caucasian, Over 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 76200351604

I think in general most Americans would claim some sort of religion or spirituality, whether they are practicing or not. The role religion plays in the lives of Americans depends on the individual. I would say there is definite variation from one area of the country to another. For example, religion is probably a much bigger deal for someone in or from an area of the country some call the 'Bible Belt' than it would be for someone in a northern urban center. But again, the preference of the individual makes the most difference. Religion certainly does affect Americans' world and political views. And whether anyone would admit it or not, many political issues in the United States have some basis in differing relgious views (i.e. abortion, the death penalty, gay rights, social welfare, the Middle East).
POSTED 7/6/2003
Sunny, New Orleans, LA, United States, 23, Female, Black/African American, Straight, student, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 619200320952

I'm from Europe and now live in the United States, and I can tell you without a doubt that Americans are much more religious than Europeans. I think the secular media is a reaction to these socially restrictive religious beliefs. In Europe, especially the United Kingdom, it's kind of 'uncool' to be religious - kind of like having no common sense or believing in Santa Claus. I think the United States needs more of a separation of church and state, because the country is so religious and there needs to be an awareness of the relgious right. This level of religiosity creates problems when dealing with laws such as abortion, birth control, etc. - often conforming to religious doctrine rather than creating practical solutions to real problems. I also find that in the United States there is a lot of separation due to religion. Jews and Muslims seem to 'stick to their own,' whereas Christians and Catholics intemingle a bit more. Having said this, I think Europeans are not without morals just because they're not religious.
POSTED 7/6/2003
Jay, New York, NY, United States, Mesg ID 619200384942

Though certainly the United States is a hodgepodge of cultures, Protestant Christianity is the dominant religious movement here. I am an agnostic and believe in the separation of church and state, one thing this country was supposedly founded on. However, I graduated from a public (government-funded) high school and a public university and was asked to bow my head in prayer to God at each graduation ceremony at least once. This is a manifestation of the dominant influence of Protestantism on this country. The only non-Protestant, religious president we have had has been Catholic (John F. Kennedy). We have had several agnostic presidents, but our country fears the powers of religion outside of Protestant Christianity. Personally I have a problem with fundamentalists of any religion - the Jerry Falwells and Osama bin Ladens of the world are all the same to me. I respect other spiritual endeavors, however, and hope that the average American does, too.
POSTED 7/6/2003
Jessica, Huntsville, TX, United States, 23, Female, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, Bisexual, Graduate Student, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 6202003110614

It depends which American you are talking about. I am very religious myself. I come from a strict background of Roman Catholic Christians, and I whole-heartedly believe in my faith. I'm only 15 and I am sympathetic to others who choose not to be religious or are born into families that do not emphasize religion. Religion and family values are making a comeback, so to speak. The focus is shifting off portfolios and Priceline.com and onto religion and the family. This is a good thing, and I expect it to increase with Generation 9-11 (today's high school and college students) with time.
POSTED 7/6/2003
Bosco, Norristown, PA, United States, 15, Male, Catholic, White/Caucasian, Straight, Student, Less than High School Diploma, Upper class, Mesg ID 621200384752

Many Americans usally just say they are whatever religion their parents are, because our society often makes us choose one in surveys, etc. But it does not mean they practice religion or that they are spiritual. For example, there is a joke that most people only go to church on Easter and Christmas. Overall, religion is still one of America's taboo topics, because most people do not know much about religions besides their own, making it hard to discuss. Religion in America definitely varies from region to region. In America there is a whole area called the 'Bible Belt' where religion plays a big role in everyday life. It also varies in different ethnic communities. For example, in the black community, religion plays a big role.
POSTED 7/6/2003
Rashid, Washington, DC, United States, <vibedc@yahoo.com>, Male, mixed race, Over 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 628200364845

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Question:

Why are blacks called bona fide porch monkeys?

POSTED 6/15/2003

Jorge M., NA, NA, Mexico, <mexicandragon431@yahoo.com>, 14, Male, Hispanic/Latino (may be any race), Straight, Less than High School Diploma, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 525200344541


Responses:
Because some people on this planet are mean and stupid.
POSTED 7/6/2003
E.D., Kansas City, MO, United States, 46, Female, Black/African American, Mesg ID 621200320312

I am hoping that you simply misspoke when you said the terms 'bona fide porch monkeys,' a connotation that seems to suggest that you're making a racist statement as opposed to asking a question. Or maybe you don't know what bona fide means. In any instance, your question has a simple answer: hate and bigotry. Blacks have endured a legacy of racist whites likening them to animals such as bucks, bulls, monkeys and the like, none of which have any scientific bearing or fact. Insults like these are the residue of larger stereotypes that some whites who are racist used to justify slavery, lynchings and the general, baseless theory of black inferiority. I suggest you read up on this country's history as it relates to blacks and ask your questions in a more careful manner unless you enjoy getting lit into by the readers of Y? Forum.
POSTED 7/6/2003
Michael F., Chicago, IL, United States, <masterghen@yahoo.com>, 25, Male, Baptist, Black/African American, Straight, Over 4 Years of College, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 623200382535

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Question:

Why are so many young people filing for disability benefits for simple cases of depression? Do they think that just because they may have a disease that sometimes can be out of control that they don't have to work anymore? I live with bipolar disorder and still go to school, work and am a good wife to my husband. Why can't people deal with this disorder? As long as you are properly medicated, you can live a normal life.

POSTED 6/15/2003

Randi M., Flint, MI, United States, <randi_lynn_forever@hotmail.com>, 26, Female, Methodist, White/Caucasian, Straight, Bipolar Disorder/Epilesy, Student, 2 Years of College, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 5232003121406


Responses:
I have epilepsy and grand mal seizures that are under control by medication (I am very lucky), so most of the time I forget to list my disability, and I identify with what you are saying. I also used anti-depressants once to get me over a hump in my life. I understand you do have a medical condition, so please do not misinterpret my question that follows as a personal attack on you in any way - but I ask you (and this, of course, is also my answer to your question), why are people convinced they are entitled to eternal euphoria without having to work for it? Why do people think that if they sit in front of the television all day and do nothing actively to make themselves happy and they are depressed, there is something medically wrong, and that they automatically need a pill to fix it, instead of taking action? I would like to add that I am thrilled to see someone with a true medical disorder doing her part to fix the disorder herself, also - I do not think you would be doing as well if you just sat around and let the medication do the work all by itself.
POSTED 7/6/2003
Jessica, Huntsville, TX, United States, 23, Female, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, Bisexual, Graduate Student, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 6202003111428

Not everyone responds well to medication. Worse yet, not everyone can afford medication. For many people, the only way they can afford the medication they need to function is to be classified as unable to function.
POSTED 7/6/2003
Jerry S., New Britain, CT, United States, Male, Mesg ID 622200354800

Why, you ask? Because with disability, a disability check cometh in the mail. I work in the health care system, and you would not believe the number of people who are 'disabled' and the nature of their 'disabilities.' There are many souls who are disabled and deserve benefits, but there seems to be an equal number who have scammed, embellished, faked and lied outright to get that check. I know of an entire family of which every member is receiving disability benefits. Kinda nice to spend Monday afternoon tinkering with your motorcycle instead of going to work. Equally amazing are the numbers of civil servants and military personnel who do the job assigned to them right up until the bitter end, then as they retire are suddenly 100 percent disabled. What a way to get out of paying taxes. These are the same types of people who send mail without a stamp. "Return to sender," but the sender puts the address where he wants the mail sent in the RETURN address spot. Yeah. The world is full of people who want to be spoon-fed.
POSTED 7/6/2003
John, Hamilton, OH, United States, 48, Male, White/Caucasian, Health care worker, Technical School, Middle class, Mesg ID 623200360024

Let me start by saying that there are a lot of people who do go on disability because they genuinely deserve it. However, there are more and more people jumping on the disability bandwagon just to make quick and easy money. I work at a gambling establishment that will remain un-named. Like all other gambling establishments, it is a place that attracts people trying to make a quick buck, both customers and employees. I see more and more people getting hired, only to claim an injury as soon as they qualify. A lot of them 'milk' this injury as long as possible, then quit or get fired when the company catches on to them. These are mostly young people, but occasionally the odd person close to retirement will do it, too. I think kids are growing up seeing adults take advantage of the system, and decide 'me too.' Unfortunately we are living in a time with more and more frivolous lawsuits and phoney insurance/benefits claims. What's the incentive to work when you can get paid to stay at home? A lot of young people are used to having mommy or daddy pay their way through life. When it comes time to make their own money, they don't want to work. They'd rather live off of the taxpayers' money instead, so they fake claims, file frivolous lawsuits like 'I'm addicted to fast-food' just to make easy money. Unfortunately, this gives people who really do deserve disability a bad reputation.
POSTED 7/6/2003
Taz, Detroit, MI, United States, 32, Male, Middle class, Mesg ID 628200395131

It is a gross oversimplification of some complex problems to say that 'if you are properly medicated then you can lead a normal life'. If Ms. Flint finds that with medication she can still hold down a normal job, then all credit to her, but for a lot of people it may not be as simple as that. I am at present on incapacity benefit. I have had problems with stress and depression in the past. I am not on medication (except for asthma). I am legitimately doing part-time work within the limits allowed while claiming incapacity benefit, and I do have hopes of getting myself back into normal employment, but this is proving a lot easier said than done, although I am getting a lot of help from an employment agency.
POSTED 7/6/2003
Campbell M., Glasgow, NA, United Kingdom, <campannexe@yahoo.co.uk>, 43, Male, Atheist, White/Caucasian, Straight, asperger's syndrome, school crossing patroller, 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 630200333423

I am happy you were lucky enough to manage without disability aid. However, you cannot judge every person getting disability to be in the same manageable circumstance as you. There are levels of severity to everything in life, and in order to get such benefits, a person must go through a very rigorous amount of exams, questions, tons of paperwork and documentation and diagnostic determination by physicians, SSI inerviewers, etc. They do not just give it to you like welfare. I should know; I receive this help, and I do not feel like a freeloader because I have worked and put money into the tax pool when I was able to work, and I do so whenever I buy something that has a sales tax. So, before you try to judge or second-guess someone or their circumstance, you may just want to check your basis in facts.
POSTED 7/6/2003
Me, Anytown, NA, United States, Clinical Depression, 2 Years of College, Mesg ID 72200365845

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Question:

Do you think it would be appropriate for a white couple to give their child a name like Malik, Ahmir, Tariq, Jamal, etc.? My assumption is that it would not be appropriate and would be offensive to African Americans, but I would like to know how people of African-American background would feel if this actually happened.

POSTED 6/15/2003

Carl W., Davis, CA, United States, <originalcarl@hotmail.com>, 22, Male, White/Caucasian, Student, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 5312003112855


Responses:
Given the fact that these are Arabic names, some Arabs (many of whom are white) are already called Malik, Gamal, Tarek, Amir, Latifah, etc.. Actually I think most Arabs find it very weird that African Americans use Arabic names.
POSTED 7/6/2003
Karim, Cairo, NA, Egypt, 23, Male, Muslim, Arab, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 6162003111351

Why wouldn't it be appropriate? The names you mentioned sound more Arabic than black. No black person I know would be offended. My guess is you'd probably get more negative reactions from your fellow whites.
POSTED 7/6/2003
E.D., Kansas City, MO, United States, 46, Female, Black/African American, Mesg ID 616200353733

I don't see how it wouldn't be appropriate. I think having a 'black name' might give the person a disadvantage if they are applying for a job because black people still experience discrimination, and having a 'black name' might make the person be passed over.
POSTED 7/6/2003
Denisia, Fairfax, VA, United States, Female, Black/African American, Mesg ID 616200372239

Those names are actually of Islamic origin, most likely coming from the Arabic language. There are Muslims of every color who speak many languages. While you may not be Muslim, neither are many blacks. They still choose Islamic names for their children. By the way, did you know that names like Malcom and Tyrone are actually of Celtic origin? After all, 'Malcom in the Middle' worked out well. I have a black friend name Yoko, but it doesn't make her a wannabe Japanese girl. My final word of advice is to choose a name based on its meaning.
POSTED 7/6/2003
Jahny, New York Metro Area, NY, United States, Mesg ID 617200321729

I'm not offended, but I wouldn't be surprised if there was someone somewhere claiming that the white couple 'stole' something from them - as if an African-American couple with no Arabic roots wouldn't be 'stealing' that name themselves.
POSTED 7/6/2003
Sunny, New Orleans, LA, United States, 23, Female, Black/African American, Straight, student, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 619200322005

Why would African Americans be offended that whites give their kids Middle Eastern names? I don't even know why so my African Americans give their kids Middle Eastern names, being that they're neither from the Middle East nor of Middle Eastern descent.
POSTED 7/6/2003
Jay, New York, NY, United States, Mesg ID 619200385527

As the names you have listed are Arabic and not specifically 'black' names, the reason behind giving a child the name would play a part. And as Arabs come in all colors (including blond and blue-eyed), you can find a Jamal who is 'white' looking.
POSTED 7/6/2003
Frank, Denver, CO, United States, 35, Male, Pagan, Hispanic/Latino (may be any race), Straight, Military, 2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 622200363048

The names listed are Arabic/Islamic names first and foremost, not African-American names per se. I know that it offends some Muslims that some people in the West not only have those names but that they mangle the pronunciation. There are people named Tariq/Malik/etc running around who can't even say their own name correctly.
POSTED 7/6/2003
AbduSalaam, New York, NY, United States, 22, South Asian, Straight, Teacher, 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 623200331018

First, you have to realize that names such as Malik, Ahmir, Tariq and Jamal are Arabic, rooted in Islam, so there are already many people with these names who are not black. These names became popular in the black community when knowledge of Islam grew, particularly when the Nation of Islam became popular. Anyway, I would not be offended if I met a white couple with a child with one of these names, because no one would name their child out of hate. In fact, it would probably indicate that their parents were very open-minded.
POSTED 7/6/2003
Rashid, Washington, DC, United States, <vibedc@yahoo.com>, Male, Mixed race, Over 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 628200362121

I wouldn't care. It's no different than a white person being named Antonio or Carlos. If you like the name, use it. However, you also have to take into consideration that most black people won't be as open-minded as I am, so think about what your child might go through.
POSTED 7/6/2003
Keimo, Milwaukee, WI, United States, 19, Female, Black/African American, Straight, college student, 2 Years of College, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 71200315803

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Question:

I consider myself straight because I'm not attracted to men. However, I have recently found some transsexuals sexually appealing. This is very weird to me. The more feminine they look, the more attracted I am to them. Especially ones who have enhanced female features like large breasts, hips or butts, and who look submissive. Does being attracted to transvestites mean you are gay? I have never been with a man and have no desire to. Any answers?

POSTED 6/15/2003

Walt, Tampa, FL, United States, 26, Female, Baptist, Mixed Race, Straight, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 522200353059


Responses:
From your letter, it seems that you are attracted to feminine appearance, and many male-to-female transsexuals look as much (or more) like traditional women than many women do. Being attracted to transsexuals doesn't mean you are gay. You're still attracted to the feminine aspect of a person. Consider getting acquainted with a few (refer to them as 'she' or 'her' unless they request otherwise). And if sex becomes an issue, you can simply say you aren't interested.
POSTED 7/6/2003
Betty, San Diego, CA, United States, 29, Female, White/Caucasian, Lesbian, web designer, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 6172003124718

First's there's a difference between liking someone who's a transvestite - someone who enjoys dressing in clothing typically associated with the opposite sex - and being attracted to someone who is transgendered/transsexual. Someone who is transgendered is someone whose gender identity (internal sense of being male or female) does not fit with his or her physical sex characteristics (genitals, secondary sex characteristics, chromosomal sex, hormonal sex). Theres a third category as well: intersexuals, who are folks with physical sex characteristics of both sexes. Their gender identity could be male or female.
So...
if you're attracted to men dressed in women's clothing, but whose gender identity is that of a man, and whose sex characteristics are male - they have a penis - you ARE attracted to men - just a particular type of man – one who's a transvestite. Male transvestites can be gay, wherein they tend to refer to themselves as drag queens. But many men who are transvestites are actually straight, and may hide their cross-dressing out of fear that they will be rejected by their wives. And, of course, many are also bisexual, and so could have relationships with men or women. If you are, as it sounds like you are, interested in folks who are intersexed, transgendered or transsexual, you are interested in folks who were born with male sexual characteristics but whose gender identity is that of a woman. You sound as though you're leaning more into also being attracted specifically to someone who is transsexual - this refers to someone who is not only transgendered, but who has taken hormones and possibly had surgeries to begin changing their bodies so they fit better with their internal gender identity - that of a woman. Hormones will give them softer skin, reduce body hair, broaden their hips, make their breasts larger, etc. Surgeries might be breast enlargements, removal of the adams apple, creation of vaginas, etc. Many transsexual folks are somewhere in process on this, and by choice, some have all the surgeries available. It all depends on their preferences and individual priorities. Male transsexual/transgendered/transexuals are sometimes referred to as transensual. Many folks in the world have the same attraction as you, and you'll find many women very interested in relationships with you. Many identify as straight women - and need to find a man who views them that way, too.
POSTED 7/6/2003
Leanne, Toronto, Ontario, na, Canada, 36, Female, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, queer, polyamorous, social worker, Over 4 Years of College, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 618200345501

Your answer is in your own profile.
POSTED 7/6/2003
Gay King, San Francisco, CA, United States, 35, Male, White/Caucasian, Gay, counselor, Over 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 6192003105229

Whatever turns you on, turns you on, and provided it doesn't involve children or other species and doesn't seriously hurt anyone, just be yourself and be happy. Quit searching for one word to describe yourself, because you'll never find it.
POSTED 7/6/2003
Jessica, Huntsville, TX, United States, 23, Female, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, Bisexual, Graduate Student, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 6202003105454

I'd say you're OK. Look at it this way: Yes, they are guys. However, they are spending a lot of time and money to look as much like a female as they possibly can. You are attracted to someone who appears to be female. When you realize it's not a female, but in fact a male, you lose interest in that particular person. That's not being gay. That's being taken in by false advertising, the way I see it.
POSTED 7/6/2003
Taz, Detroit, MI, United States, 32, Male, Straight, Mesg ID 630200392448

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Question:

Why do straight people have a problem with gay marriage?

POSTED 6/15/2003

Stephen, Mississauga, NA, Canada, Male, White/Caucasian, Gay, 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 613200355637


Responses:
Because the Bible tells them so. Just read Justice Scalia's argument against the recent decision reversing the sodomy laws - it stinks of the so-called 'Christian' agenda against anything gay (and he had the nerve to state that he has nothing against homosexuals after writing that argument). Where is the justice in saying that 'I can do something that you can't just because I'm heterosexual and you're not." I live for the day when this country realizes that the main reason the founding fathers conceived this nation was to escape religious persecution. This is not a Christian nation but rather a nation for all religious persuasions.
POSTED 7/3/2003
Mike, Santa Cruz, CA, United States, 42, Male, Humanist, White/Caucasian, Gay, Finance, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 722003113735

I have a problem with gay marriage for a number of reasons. First and foremost, marriage is a union of a man and woman, by definition. Why does the gay community have to hone in on territory for which they are not qualified? (If you want to live together, or obtain spousal benefits, that's your business.) Marriage by its nature produces offspring, which is impossible for a gay couple. And even before gay unions became legal, they were not as stable as opposite-sex unions.
POSTED 7/6/2003
Ronald V., Edmonton, Alberta, NA, Canada, 50, Male, Christian, Middle class, Mesg ID 618200315901

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