Best of the Week
of July 11, 2004

Best of Week ArchivesArchives

Here are the most intriguing cross-cultural exchanges either begun or advanced during the week of July 11, 2004, 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.
 First-time users should first make a quick stop at Y?'s guidelines pages for asking and answering questions.

 


Question:

I'm black but feel I should have been born white. Why is it OK for someone to feel as if they should have been born a different gender, but not a different race? What's the difference? Since we have gender reassignment (sex change) surgery, why can't we also have surgery to change our race? If people can't change their race, they also shouldn't be allowed to change their gender.
POSTED 7/12/2004
BlackNoMore, n/a, AR, United States, Christian, Black/African American, Straight, Middle class, Mesg ID 630200470933

To respond
BACK TO TOP


Question:
I was working in New York City with some nurses from Trinidad and Haiti. I was assigned care of a woman who was to deliver a dead fetus. At delivery these nurses came in and made me place the fetus on the floor. I placed it on a cloth on the floor momentarily, then I removed him for burial. Why did they do make me do that?
POSTED 7/12/2004
Barbara S., New York, NY, United States, <ritecrest@hotmail.com>, 50, Female, Catholic, White/Caucasian, Straight, Nurse, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 6282004103924

To respond
BACK TO TOP


Question:

Do people in 'higher society' think about the way they communicate with those on a 'lower level,' or is their attempt at communication the same?
POSTED 7/12/2004
Rebecca G., Porterville, CA, United States, 28, Female, Baptist, White/Caucasian, Straight, student/homemaker, High School Diploma, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 621200444327

To respond
BACK TO TOP


Question:

To Christians: Do you believe women ought to be subservient to men? If so, what does 'subservient' mean to you? I'm curious because I've talked to a few religious Christian women about this and they all seem to have different opinions.
POSTED 6/13/2004
Rachel, Denver, CO, United States, 33, Female, Jewish, White/Caucasian, Straight, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 610200484407


Responses:

I've been a practicing Christian all my life. We were always taught that all human beings were created equal and deserve to be treated as equals. If you're wondering why Catholic priests aren't allowed to be married, here's the explanation I got from my parrish priest: Catholic priests were allowed to marry at one time. But around the 12th century, it was determined that it would be better if the priests remained celebate and focused all their attention on their committment to God and the Church - and not be preoccupied by family issues. I forgot to ask why women weren't allowed to be priests. But it does sound like a good solution to the shortage of clergy problem.
POSTED 7/12/2004
Taz, Detroit, MI, United States, 33, Male, Middle class, Mesg ID 618200425125

The media is known well for its ability to take words out of context. Many non-media people also have honed their ability to also take words out of context. If you were to look at the Bible verses before the 'one' that says, 'Wives, submit to your husbands,' you will see that there is a whole passage on mutual submission. Submission is to take place between each other, and then Paul puts it into the family context. Subservience and submission are not synonyms. Submission means placing the other person's interests before my own. If my wife wants to see the ballet and I want to see a baseball game on TV, I am to willingly sacrifice my interests for her benefit. Submission is an act of the will to willingly give to the other person's interests. Subservience is a forced service to another.
POSTED 7/12/2004
A. Urbonas, Edmonton, Alberta, NA, Canada, <urbonasa@hotmail.com>, 51, Male, Christian, White/Caucasian, Over 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 627200432027

There is often a mistaken notion of subservience within the context of the Christian marriage relationship. The Bible in no way makes women inferior to men, it makes women equal to men. The Bible, does, however, acknowledge that all people have a specific, distinct, role to play in society. In every workplace, there has to be a leader, a boss, but this person is simply the person accountable for what happens in the company and is in no way superior as a person to the other workers. In a marriage, this holds true, also. The man is the head of the household, the one responsible for providing for and taking care of his family, and the woman is the one responsible for ensuring that her husband has all the support he needs to be able to do this. This by no means signifies that women cannot work or have their own activities or goals. It is a simple acknowledgement of the fact that the husband is the one chiefly responsible for the welfare of the family. As a Christian woman, I have no problem with this concept. I am a happily married woman who strives to provide for all the spiritual needs and moral support of my family while continuing to pursue my goals and interests. I am a counseling psychologist with my own counseling practice, and in no way has my faith required me to abstain from fullfilling my personal dreams.
POSTED 7/12/2004
Marissa, Los Angeles, CA, United States, Female, psychologist, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 71200484501

To respond
BACK TO TOP


Question:

Does anyone know why a lot of upper-class suburban females always have a stuck-up attitude when lower-middle or middle class dudes (mostly Latinos or blacks) try to talk to them? For example, I'm not the type who thinks macho of himself, but I know I'm not ugly. For example, I got a lot of females in my social class who don't mind talking to me if I try talking to them ( this goes for all races). But if I go to a girl who has got a little bit more money than me, she seems resentful to talk to me. What's up with that? I mean, I don't know if it's just the way they are, or if it has to do with money, or what.
POSTED 7/12/2004
Nick, Dallas, TX, United States, <juggalothug6@yahoo.com>, Male, Hispanic/Latino (may be any race), Straight, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 79200432456

To respond
BACK TO TOP


Question:
      
Do other African Americans observe the Fourth of July holiday? For us, it has been nothing more than a day of cookouts and families gathering together. But we always remind ourselves of our ancestors being enslaved when America won its independence.
POSTED 7/12/2004
William, Washington, DC, United States, 32, Male, Black/African American, Straight, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 76200485514

To respond
BACK TO TOP


Question:

I've been pondering a question with a couple of male friends about why white girls seem to go further with sexual activity, i.e. 'put out,' more than girls of other races. Not to be stereotypical, but it seems to me that it's overwhelmingly the case. Could it be that white girls are more aggressive when it comes to sex? Is this cultural? I'd be interested to know any thoughts, especially from white females, and whether they've noticed this particular point, too.
POSTED 7/12/2004
TJ07985, Swarthmore, PA, United States, <tjohnson_3rd@hotmail.com>, 19, Male, Catholic, Puerto Rican, Straight, High School Diploma, Middle class, Mesg ID 625200485735

To respond
BACK TO TOP


Question:

Why is it common to see black people talking to themselves in public? I'm not talking about muttering a thought quietly to oneself (I think we all do that), but rather having full conversations in a loud voice. It happens frequently enough that it can't be just some random, mentally deranged person. Is it a cultural thing? Does it have to do with socio-economic status (I don't see well-off or professional black people walking around talking to themselves). Please enlighten me...
POSTED 7/12/2004
Jen, Dover, DE, United States, Female, White/Caucasian, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 752004104123

To respond
BACK TO TOP


Question:

I am in love with a gay man who says he turned straight after falling in love with me. Can a gay become straight? If yes, what are the chances he'll turn gay again?
POSTED 6/13/2004
Naina A., Ahmedabad, na, India, 25, Female, Hindu, Asian, Straight, 2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 5162004125652


Responses:

The short answer is “no.” Speaking as a man, sexual attraction to others does not “turn off” after falling in love (although acting on it does). Speaking as a gay man, being attracted to men does not stop or change after falling in love. Your friend may love you and have good sex with you, but he’ll never stop being attracted to men.
POSTED 6/15/2004
James D., Summit, NJ, United States, <james_witted@hotmail.com>, 47, Male, Atheist, White/Caucasian, Gay, programmer, 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 615200472503

I don't believe you 'turn' gay or 'turn' straight. I have met many men married to women who have sex with men on the side. So, here's the options I see: 1. He may be bisexual, and may stay happily married to you. 2. He may feel pressured into marrying a woman, and because he has feelings for you, he sees it as a good way to alleve the outside pressure. 3. He may have a hard time dealing with being gay, and so he is trying to 'change' by marrying you. Bad signs of #3: getting irrationally angry at gay people, constantly asking you to go to gay clubs 'because the music is better,' disappearing for periods of time he can't account for and getting defensive when you ask him where he's been, having low sex drive, etc. From your point of view, I would just be honest with yourself and him, and with each other, and decide from there. If you are unsure, give it some time and see.
POSTED 7/12/2004
Craig, Minneapolis, MN, United States, 40, Male, Gay, Mesg ID 623200415747

Don't worry about it. You can remove his habit by getting closer to him not only physically but mentally. Show him the power of love, emotions and feelings. It will definitely change him.
POSTED 7/12/2004
Manoj, Ahmedabad, na, India, Mesg ID 712200482316

To respond
BACK TO TOP


Question:

I have a neighbor who is on disability leave because he is too overweight to perform his duties as a cop. Currently, he is getting paid for this. I am very confused about why overweight people who did not choose to take care of their body in the first place get paid for it. Shouldn't we be working toward a healthier society that exercises and eats healthy rather than rewarding people for being over weight??
POSTED 6/13/2004
Kana, Sacramento, CA, United States, Female, Mesg ID 524200484653


Responses:

I don't know your neighbor's exact situation, but I do know that it's harder than most people realize for an obese person to lose weight. More often than not, a lifetime of sketchy (not necessarily bad) eating habits combined with a series of diets that never result in permanent weight loss can screw up your metabolism so bad that some people actually gain weight if they try to diet, because their body thinks it's being starved and will convert everything to stored fat. Furthermore, for the seriously overweight, exercise is often a difficult and painful experience. It's very easy to avoid taking a walk when you know it's going to result in an abundance of sweat, heat, back pain, knee pain, ankle pain, foot pain, etc. Hopefully your neighbor is not just on disability, but is also being provided the resources to really improve his overall health. A fitness and rehab center would be able to design an exercise plan that would not cause too much discomfort. Being on disability, though, your neighbor may not be able to afford it. I hope this is something that would be encouraged and paid for by his union so that he can return to work.
POSTED 6/21/2004
Cheryl, Woodstock, VA, United States, Female, Mesg ID 618200412935

I understand how you feel. A fellow student at school is very overweight, at about 400 pounds. He is unemployed and on disability because of his weight. He also gets food stamps. I applied for food stamps, too. But because I worked 12 hours a week, I was rejected. Working a low-paying job at a restaurant doesn't cover all my expenses: my car note, insurance, gas, food, books for school, or food for my dogs. Yet this guy who couldn't control his eating habits lives it up on taxpayer dollars. I understand some people gain weight from certain medications or medical reasons. Those people are in a different category. However, it makes me so ****ing mad to see people like your neighbor and this guy I go to school with get easy access to things that some others are more deserving of. I think we should strive toward eating healthy. In a way, our society is trying to do that. There are many diets out. Many fast-food places are trying to compromise with consumers by coming out with foods for people on diets. People with weight problems should realize they need help. It's probably easier said than done, but admitting you have a problem is a start. However, until some people realize they have a problem with eating and do something about it, our society is going to continue to have people like your neighbor.
POSTED 7/12/2004
Melanie, Waco, TX, United States, <morbidpandora666@hotmail.com>, 19, Female, Agnostic, Black/Sioux, Straight, Technical School, Lower class, Mesg ID 6302004112700

What if he has a legitimate glandular problem? Also, many people overeat because they are depressed, stressed or have other mental problems. Does your question still stand? Should people who lose their legs or eyes in skiing accidents still get disability payments even though they became disabled in the pursuit of pleasure? I think it is very difficult to decide who does and doesn't deserve disability payments, and that it is easy to be a victim of prejudice.
POSTED 7/12/2004
Hero, Aberdeen, NA, United Kingdom, Mesg ID 732004112522

I have cops in my family, and I've never heard of a police department giving disability for being overweight. More likely is that he's on disability for a permanent injury that either was caused by his weight, or he got really heavy after hurting himself.
POSTED 7/12/2004
Marie, Chicago, IL, United States, Female, Mesg ID 732004123325

I agree. I work in a hospital, and caseworkers 'borrow' our laundry scale to better weigh individuals like that, those weighing more than 400 lbs. The last guy I helped was torked off because he only came in at 384, meaning he couldn't get disability and had to gain a dozen or so more pounds. I understand there are those with legitimate hormonal problems that cause them to uncontrollably gain weight, but I seriously doubt it's the majority. Being overweight is nothing that can't be cured by two hours in the gym each night and substantially less food intake.
POSTED 7/12/2004
Brian, Peru, IN, United States, 28, Male, Christian, White/Caucasian, Straight, management, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 712200463123

To respond
BACK TO TOP


Question:

I want to date and marry an Indian but it is not allowed in his country. He has to move to the United States just so we can be together. If I try to go and see him, we can't be together because it would cause a whole lot of trouble. Why isn't interracial dating and marriage allowed in india?
POSTED 6/13/2004
Chekeia, Sherwood, AR, United States, <Queenkekee20@yahoo.com>, 20, Female, Black/African American, Straight, High School Diploma, Middle class, Mesg ID 6112004115855


Responses:

I'm not an expert on their culture, but I do know that that caste system seems to divide people pretty strictly on racial or at least 'skin color' lines. But even if he's dark-skinned (the lowest caste by far, as you are automatically ugly if you are dark-skinned) there would be plenty of trouble. I was told of these things by Indian Americans who grew up in the United States but who frequently go to India to visit relatives. You must also be aware that their culture looks at marriage somewhat differently than U.S. culture. It's not that it is bad, but it is different, and this could open you up to a lot of hurt. The bottom line is that if he wants to marry you, he has to either 1) be prepared to defend himself and you from the racism you will encounter -- including loss of career opportunities, or 2) abandon his culture, and maybe his family, and move here. And if you aren't absolutely certain that you and he have the inner strength to fight this battle, you need to let it go.
POSTED 7/12/2004
Wayne, Parsippany, NJ, United States, 44, Male, Baptist, Black/African American, Straight, marketing, Over 4 Years of College, Upper class, Mesg ID 615200471739



At about your age, I was in love and wanted to marry a man who was from Bangladesh, a country that shares a lot of India's culture. In both countries, among their own people, a very high regard is placed on skin color and marrying within your 'status,' whatever the perception of that 'status' may be. Indian men also (I am generalizing) tend to be very deferential to the wishes of their family. If you both really want an emotionally healthy life, it would probably be best to start your lives with one another in a less-stressful environment. If you both are meant to be, it will flourish no matter where you go.
POSTED 7/12/2004
Kimberla K., New York, NY, United States, 34, Female, Agnostic, Black/African American, Straight, Management, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 71200434446

To respond
BACK TO TOP


Question:

I am an elementary education major. I am also gay. How would parents feel about a gay/lesbian person teaching their kids in elementary school? I would also like to hear from gay/lesbian elementary teachers about how they deal with parents. Is it better to teach in a large city?
POSTED 6/13/2004
Bill, Ft Dodge, IA, United States, Male, Gay, 2 Years of College, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 612004121915


Responses:

I would have no problem with it. I would be much more interested in whether the person was a good teacher. I feel that kids are unlikely to be that bothered about a teacher's sexual orientation, and unless it affects your ability to teach, it's none of my business, any more than my sexual preferences are any of your business. Also, as teaching (especially for younger children) seems to be a predominantly female profession, I would be happy for my kids to have a positive male role model.
POSTED 6/15/2004
Margo, Trowbridge, NA, United Kingdom, 30, Female, Atheist, White/Caucasian, Straight, lawyer, Over 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 615200455122

Boy is this question going to spark controversy. Speaking for myself, Bill, I wouldn't have a problem with it. I don't have children yet but I do have enough sense to know that just because someone is gay, it doen't make them a pedophile.
POSTED 6/21/2004
Whitney, Robinsonville, MS, United States, 24, Female, Baptist, Black/African American, Straight, Middle class, Mesg ID 618200413220

I do not have children, but I hope to one day. I would have no problem if my children's teacher was homosexual, or bisexual or heterosexual, as long as they were a good teacher. Honestly, I hate that this is even an issue. It bothers me that some people assume that a homoesexual orientation is somehow immoral. It isn't. It is a characteristic of who you are. Best wishes! Peace, Kim
POSTED 6/21/2004
Kim, Tuscaloosa, AL, United States, 23, Female, Over 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 618200480124

I am the father of two young sons. If you are a good teacher with the ability to control the classroom and make the students want to learn, I do not care about who you sleep with or lust after. Just as I would suspect that a heterosexual female teacher is interested in teaching my children and not molesting them, I would extend to you the same courtesy.
POSTED 7/12/2004
Earl, Shelbyville, KY, United States, 34, Male, Methodist, White/Caucasian, Straight, librarian, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 6262004124859

Different parents feel different ways. Some people will change their thoughts based on the age of the children you are working with. When it comes time to find a job, look into progressive areas, my experience is that they tend to be more accepting.
POSTED 7/12/2004
Travis, Rockford, IL, United States, 33, Male, Christian, White/Caucasian, Gay, Educational Administration, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 74200473542 

To respond
BACK TO TOP


Question:

I am part of an interracial couple. I am African American and my boyfriend is Italian American. We are considering moving to Charleston, S.C., or Wilmington, N.C. We visited there a few times and received a few stares and negative reactions from people. I want to know what others feel about interracial couples in the South. Do you think, from your experience, it would be a bad choice to move there?
POSTED 6/13/2004
Tatum, Manasquan, NJ, United States, <aurora_rise@yahoo.com>, Female, Black/African American, Over 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 610200493304


Responses:

In the Atlanta area, I usually spot a few interracial couples each week while out shopping, at parks or in other public places. I've dated outside my race before, and if there are people giving me rude looks for that, I don't notice it (quite possibly because I try to give my date most of my attention). I've only had one person tell me to my face that he thought interracial dating was a bad idea. This came up during a conversation on relationships and he appeared to have been basing this on his past dating experiences.

Are there people here who hate interracial couples? I'm sure there are, but I haven't had one give me any trouble over dating outside my race yet. Atlanta isn't always 'the city too busy to hate,' but anyone who wishes to give each and every interracial couple here a full 10 minutes of quality personal hatred a week is not likely to have enough spare time to do such a thing. The situation may be different in other parts of the South; I can only speak from my own experience.
POSTED 6/21/2004
Matt, Oxford, GA, United States, 26, Male, Christian, White/Caucasian, Straight, Engineer, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 6192004122737

While in advanced individualized training (AIT) in the Army, I experienced a lot of stares and reactions in Georgia. I am a white man who has dated interacially in the past in Kansas City. I also had some experiences that I didn't experience in Kansas City with other white people. While by myself, if another white person struck up a conversation, they would somehow bring race into the conversation (usually a snide comment about African Americans). Also, in the Army, other soldiers from the South tended to make comments about pictures of women I dated back in KC that I had in the barracks. Back in KC, I've noticed that African Americans living there from rural areas in the South are more fearful of white people than African Americans born in KC. All I know is that the South got problems.
POSTED 6/27/2004
Eric, Heidelberg, NA, Germany, 27, Male, disorganized religion, White/Caucasian, Straight, Military, 2 Years of College, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 6222004100204

I think you should treat your visiting experiences as being 'typical'. These are both big tourism cities, so it's inevitable that you will encounter some people who react negatively (whether they are 'locals' or not), and that may vary depending on whether it's tourist season. Personally, I'd love to live in either city. If you're uncomfortable, you may want to consider Charlotte, or Raleigh.
POSTED 7/13/2004
Mark, Durham, NC, United States, 37, Male, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, Straight, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 622200412558

Maybe you should consider Chapel Hill, N.C., instead - it's a college town and much more open than the rest of North Carolina. Also, you could live near military towns (i.e. Fayetteville or Jacksonville) as you see interracial couples all over the place. I am white and my ex-hubby was black, and funnily enough, HE would always think people were staring, but I never noticed it.
POSTED 7/13/2004
Jay, New York, NY, United States, Mesg ID 628200473204

I'm in an interracial marriage and considering a move to the South. My knowledge comes from talking to friends and relatives, so this is all ancedotal. In general, it's changed for the better. I was advised to avoid the deep South and seek out the larger cities where there is more diversity. I've also been told the North Carolina research triangle area is a very diverse area.
POSTED 7/13/2004
Steve, New York, NY, United States, 33, Male, Black/African American, teacher, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 6282004104122

From experience, I think you're going to find some of the same responses you would anywhere else in the states. While I dated interracially here in Columbia I got inquiring gazes, none of which I found threatening. Charleston is much the same as any other city in America, and I would try and treat it as such. You're going to have your bad apples, but that is the case everywhere. From my account, I don't believe you will have any trouble whatsoever. Some have even argued that because Southern states have a higher ratio of black to white that the people in those states are likely to be more tolerant of interracial dating. In my opinion, the people of all the states have become more tolerant and it will only get better. You and yours will be welcome in Charleston. It's a beautiful city, and I feel confident you will like, probably love, living there.
POSTED 7/13/2004
Lonnie, Columbia, SC, United States, 33, Male, Episcopalian, White/Caucasian, Straight, Audio Producer, 4 Years of College, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 77200435752

I think anywhere in the South you live, someone is going to find interracial couples strange or different enough to elicit a few stares. Remember that that behavior, coming from anyone, regardless of race, is childish. My husband is white and I'm from Alabama. When we started dating, I lost a couple of friends (who clearly weren't good friends to begin with) but found that most people who knew me were accepting of him. I expected to have more stares and strange looks, but that's not been the case. We have lived in California and now in North Carolina, and we are finding that people don't seem to notice much or that they don't place much emphasis on us. We live in Raleigh but visit Wilmington all the time (my father-in-law lives there). It's a much more insular town than Raleigh, but it definitely has a better racial history than anyplace in South Carolina. I say live where your hearts take you and you can't go wrong!
POSTED 7/13/2004
Jane, Raleigh, NC, United States, <jpeterson@wyrick.com>, 33, Female, Atheist, Black/African American, Straight, Paralegal, 4 Years of College, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 782004112346

To respond
BACK TO TOP


This site and all its content,©Copyright Phillip J. Milano 1997-2004
Legal Disclaimer and User Agreement