Best of the Week
of July 11, 2004
Best of Week Archives
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
(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
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.
BlackNoMore, n/a, AR, United States, Christian, Black/African American,
Straight, Middle class, Mesg ID 630200470933
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?
Barbara S., New York, NY, United States, <email@example.com>,
50, Female, Catholic, White/Caucasian, Straight, Nurse, 4 Years of College,
Middle class, Mesg ID 6282004103924
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?
Rebecca G., Porterville, CA, United States, 28, Female, Baptist, White/Caucasian,
Straight, student/homemaker, High School Diploma, Lower middle class, Mesg
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
Rachel, Denver, CO, United States, 33, Female, Jewish, White/Caucasian,
Straight, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 610200484407
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.
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.
A. Urbonas, Edmonton, Alberta, NA, Canada, <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
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.
Marissa, Los Angeles, CA, United States, Female, psychologist, Over 4
Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 71200484501
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.
Nick, Dallas, TX, United States, <email@example.com>, Male,
Hispanic/Latino (may be any race), Straight, Lower middle class, Mesg ID
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.
William, Washington, DC, United States, 32, Male, Black/African American,
Straight, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 76200485514
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.
TJ07985, Swarthmore, PA, United States, <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
19, Male, Catholic, Puerto Rican, Straight, High School Diploma, Middle class,
Mesg ID 625200485735
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...
Jen, Dover, DE, United States, Female, White/Caucasian, 4 Years of College,
Middle class, Mesg ID 752004104123
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?
Naina A., Ahmedabad, na, India, 25, Female, Hindu, Asian, Straight,
2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 5162004125652
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.
James D., Summit, NJ, United States, <email@example.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.
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.
Manoj, Ahmedabad, na, India, Mesg ID 712200482316
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??
Kana, Sacramento, CA, United States, Female, Mesg ID 524200484653
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.
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.
Melanie, Waco, TX, United States, <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
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
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.
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.
Brian, Peru, IN, United States, 28, Male, Christian, White/Caucasian, Straight,
management, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 712200463123
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?
Chekeia, Sherwood, AR, United States, <Queenkekee20@yahoo.com>,
20, Female, Black/African American, Straight, High School Diploma, Middle
class, Mesg ID 6112004115855
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.
Wayne, Parsippany, NJ, United States, 44, Male, Baptist, Black/African
American, Straight, marketing, Over 4 Years of College, Upper class, Mesg
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
Kimberla K., New York, NY, United States, 34, Female, Agnostic, Black/African
American, Straight, Management, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID
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?
Bill, Ft Dodge, IA, United States, Male, Gay, 2 Years of College, Lower
middle class, Mesg ID 612004121915
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.
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
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
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.
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.
Travis, Rockford, IL, United States, 33, Male, Christian, White/Caucasian,
Gay, Educational Administration, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class,
Mesg ID 74200473542
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?
Tatum, Manasquan, NJ, United States, <email@example.com>,
Female, Black/African American, Over 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 610200493304
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Lonnie, Columbia, SC, United States, 33, Male, Episcopalian, White/Caucasian,
Straight, Audio Producer, 4 Years of College, Lower middle class, Mesg ID
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!
Jane, Raleigh, NC, United States, <firstname.lastname@example.org>, 33, Female,
Atheist, Black/African American, Straight, Paralegal, 4 Years of College,
Lower middle class, Mesg ID 782004112346
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