Best of the Week
of July 14, 2002

Best of Week Archives

Here are the most intriguing cross-cultural exchanges either begun or advanced during the week of July 14, 2002, 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 answers 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.

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"Why Do White People Smell Like Wet Dogs
When They Come Out Of The Rain?"

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Question:

To men: Why do some of you make an attempt to cover your balding heads with a 'comb-over'? This style does not fool anyone, and you all would look much more attractive if you would get a decent haircut. My current gentleman friend reacted like I asked him to cut off his you-know-what when I suggested he would look much better if he changed his style.

POSTED 7/19/2002

Jo, Ft. Wayne, IN, United States, 53, Female, White/Caucasian, Straight, Programmer, 2 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 7192002121026

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Question:

How does the Spanish spoken in different countries differ? Especially when comparing Spain to Latin America. Do Spaniards view Latinos as butchering the Spanish language? I've heard many English people say this of Americans and English.

POSTED 7/16/2002

Ridley S., Chambersburg, PA, United States, 22, Male, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, Mesg ID 7112002110046

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Question:

I went into a bank recently and several East Indians were in line, and the placed smelled of strong body odor. The sweat and the spice smell made me ill, and I decided to hell with getting money out and left. I do not feel that all of them take a bath, brush their teeth or wash their clothes properly. What do others think?

POSTED 7/16/2002

Lilly, Calgary, Alberta, NA, Canada, 40, Female, Mesg ID 7122002124019


Responses:
You are not alone. Many people of other races accuse us of being smelly. I guess the problem is India is hot and tropical, and Indians smell a lot because they give out more sweat to survive in the tropical climate. Besides, we have a habit of putting on a lot of hair oil (which apparently is great for the hair), which could lead to odor. But the biggest culprit is deodorant. Use of deodorant is uncommon in India, because until recently very few people in India knew about it and hardly used it. After all, the modern deodorant is a Western/European invention. So if you have a smelly South Asian freind, you know what to give on his or her birthday.

POSTED 7/19/2002

Ajay, Anand, NA, India, 31, Male, Hindu, East Indian, Straight, Govt. Service, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 717200265740


I have noticed the same thing, especially a strong 'curry' smell. I don't want to be rude to them, but I would sometimes like to suggest a bath. Is it a cultural thing?

POSTED 7/19/2002

Robert, Vancouver, British Columbia, NA, Canada, 33, Male, White/Caucasian, Straight, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 7172002115523


I'm with you there. I once had to share a flight from London to Chicago with six of the stinkiest Indians in the Northern hemisphere. Their hot, sulfuric BO permeated the cabin and made it difficult to eat. Even more ironically, they were wheeling large bottles of water through the airport with them when they got off. The stewardess said it's not uncommon; the transporting of the water or the stench. Thoroughly disgusting.

POSTED 7/19/2002

Brad, Boise, ID, United States, Male, Mesg ID 719200271441

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Question:

Why do people think that people in the Midwest of the United States are all boring, un-cultured idiots?

POSTED 2/12/1999

B., Minneapolis, MN, United States, 28, Male, Mesg ID 2129944138


Responses:
Short answer: because they are. Having been born in Kansas and grown up in Iowa and Illinois, and having just come home from an obligatory visit, I am realizing anew how much I hate the Midwest and why I left. Minneapolis, Chicago and Madison are exceptions (especially Madison), but the Midwest is by and large a region of boring, uncultured, incurious and intolerant - though seemingly friendly, at least if you're white and American - idiots. They hate and fear anything unusual and different, and they take no pride in what makes them and their region unique. They are racists and bigots. They are too lazy to really think about things or to form their own opinions through experience. They get their news and views from USA Today, their food from fast food franchises, their household goods from Walmart, and if they have visitors, they'll direct them to Hampton Inn and Motel 6 rather than to locally owned hotels.

POSTED 7/16/2002

Outtathere, San Diego, CA, United States, Mesg ID 714200222705

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Question:

Ogden, Utah, has a rising population of Mexican-Americans. I work with several nonprofit organizations that attempt to gain genuine input from this sector of our community. However, we have an extremely difficult time getting residents of Mexican-American ethnicity to become involved as board members of these organizations. Is this a unique phenomenon to Ogden, or is there a cultural influence at work here?

POSTED 7/16/2002

Rick S., Ogden, UT, United States, 55, Male, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, Straight, Physically challenged, Educator, Over 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 716200212943


Responses:
I am a Mexican living on the U.S.-Mexico border, and I think I can help a bit. There are many reasons:

-First, what type of organization is it? If it's too complicated, many would prefer to stay at home or hang out with their family (I would do that)

-Second, if they are immigrants (legal or illegal), they can either choose to stay out of 'American' business, or just wait to see how things go.

-Third, the language factor. Many don't speak 100 percent, no matter what they say.

-Fourth, the 'A mi que me importa' motto. This motto could be translated as, 'What do I care.' Of course, this depends on the organization. -Fifth, and most possible, when they 'feel' a gringo is playing a double game, they will just quit.

POSTED 7/19/2002

Miguel, Nuevo Laredo, NA, Mexico, Male, Mesg ID 719200243105

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Question:

To women: How would you show a male that you wouldn't mind talking to him if he decided to approach you?

POSTED 7/16/2002

Charles, Davis, IN, United States, 19, Male, White/Caucasian, Straight, student, 2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 714200233540

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Question:

Why do so many nail salons have Korean manicurists, managers and owners?

POSTED 7/16/2002

Tracy, Edmond, OK, United States, <lavenderlilycuao@hotmail.com>, 30, Female, White/Caucasian, Straight, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 715200234532

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Question:

How can anyone not believe in God? Even if you don't believe in Him as our Lord and Savior, how can you not believe He is the creator? At least believe that. You can honestly look at yourself, knowing how complex you body is, and think you were just there from the beginning, or that some evolutionary phenomena happened? How can you look at the moon and the stars and the sun and think they just happened "just because"? How can you wake up every day and not know it was by the grace of God?

POSTED 7/2/2002

Erin, Fort Lauderdale, FL, United States, <MsECJ7@hotmail.com>, 20, Female, Baptist, Black/African American, Straight, Student, Middle class, Mesg ID 72200215100


Responses:
I appreciate where you're coming from, and as an atheist I can honestly answer the question 'Where did we come from?' with 'I don't know.' I just don't. It doesn't bother me - there are a lot of things I don't know. When you answer that question with 'God,' it just raises more questions in my mind, and it doesn't seem to get me any closer to a 'truth.' 'God' seems like a way to wave your hands and say, 'There, now I know the answer,' but in fact you haven't explained or proved anything. I'm glad you find comfort in believing that God created everything, but to me the issue of how it all was created is just not important in my life. Interesting, sure, but not important. You accept God and your religion; I just accept the world I live in.

POSTED 7/2/2002

James D., Summit, NJ, United States, <james_witted@hotmail.com>, 45, Male, Atheist, White/Caucasian, Gay, 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 72200264203


I know there is a higher power, but I cannot give it a name. I can't tell you why things are the way they are, and I can't expect others who were not around during the creation of the universe to be able to come up with the explanation, either. I believe in using one's spirituality to become more in tune with the divine. I know my spirituality may not make sense to the masses, but it is what makes sense for me in my life.

POSTED 7/2/2002

Jason, State College, PA, United States, 19, Male, Black/African American, Straight, student, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 72200291614


How can YOU believe in something that has never been seen or proven � ever? How can you mold your life on the supposed words of a never-verified �entity� that was written by various people thousands of years ago? Why do you need threats of punishment from a higher being not to steal, lie, kill, etc.? Why does the immense complexity of the earth require a manufacturer? Why would you worship an �entity� that would relegate an honest, kind non-believer to �hell� and yet spare a murderer/child molester, solely on the grounds of them believing in God and being �sorry�? Do you really think there is some supernatural being �out there� watching over you and worrying about your welfare? If so, how about the welfare of the millions slaughtered, raped, mutilated or starved to death every day? Does �he� choose not to interfere in human affairs even though he is able to do so, or is he unable to intervene? So the question should be � How could anyone believe in God?

POSTED 7/2/2002

Jay, New York, NY, United States, Female, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 722002102716


Why is it that deists have to invent / invoke gods every time they come across something in nature that they can't intellectually comprehend?

POSTED 7/2/2002

Rich, Boston, MA, United States, 35, Male, Atheist, White/Caucasian, Middle class, Mesg ID 722002115324


"...or that some evolutionary phenomena happened?" There's a lot more evidence supporting evolution than there is that God made Adam out of clay. "How can you look at the moon and the stars and the sun and think they just happened 'just because'?" How can you observe such phenomena and think that ancient Judeo-Christian folklore provides the most reasonable explanation for their existence? Ultimately, science may never know what provoked the creation of the universe as we know it. That's no reason to resort to superstition any more than having a disease that modern medicine can't cure is a reason to resort to witchcraft. "How can you wake up every day and not know it was by the grace of God?" Easy. Complexity is not evidence of an intelligent creator. Surely, an omniscient, omnipotent being could design a better mechanism than humans, with our poor backs, painful childbirth and the linkage of our sex organs with our excretory system. Clearly we're the result of evolution. Of course, I can't prove there's no God (you can't prove a negative), but it's a more rational conclusion than the nonsense religions have come up with.

POSTED 7/2/2002

Rick, Springfield, OH, United States, Male, Atheist, White/Caucasian, Straight, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 72200212702


I am an empiricist, which means I believe in anything that can be proven scientifically by experience with the five senses. The existence of a god has not been proven to me. Therefore, while I do not believe there is NOT a god, neither do I believe that there IS one. I have not received adequate evidence to either effect. I don't understand how anyone who has taken a college-level history class can believe that only their particular religion is correct - and that therefore, everyone with different beliefs or faiths throughout history is doomed for eternity. I respect you for refraining from such judgment in your query.

POSTED 7/2/2002

Jessica K., Huntsville, TX, United States, 22, Female, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, Bisexual, Epileptic, Student, 2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 72200213139


Do you have any idea how long 3 billion years is (length of time life has been proven to been present on Earth) and what can happen on its own during that length of time? I entered the workforce in 1977. I worked in one of the most advanced laboratories in the world. At the time, no one dreamed of owning or using a personal computer. Today, 25 years later, even my toothbrush has a computer chip in it. Take the advancement in human thought in just 25 years and multiply it by 40,000 to get to the million years humans have been around in current form, and it is easy to see how we evolved from grunting, club-wielding apes to now. Multiply the last 25 years by 120 million to get the 3 billion years and it is easy to see there has been time to evolve from single cells to us. The problem with people who believe in God is that they have no perception of time. Given all those years, why believe there had to be God? There has been plenty of time for this to all happen on its own. The second issue is your assumption that we are all that complex. We, as humans, have virtually no systems, organs, or body parts that aren't tried and true designs used in other animals. Do you realize that less than 1 percent of our DNA is different from chimps? We have eyeballs that are eerily similar to those of an octopus. Several other animals have frontal lobe brains capable of advanced thought. Every one of our organs exists in cats. Ninety percent of all pharmaceuticals have the same effect on rats as on humans. Face it, we aren't that special. We are mostly made of retread parts.

POSTED 7/2/2002

Steve, Houston, TX, United States, 46, Male, Atheist, White/Caucasian, Straight, Corporate Cubicle Dweller, Over 4 Years of College, Upper class, Mesg ID 72200224247


I consider myself more agnostic than atheist, but earlier in my life I was an atheist, and I still agree with many atheist perspectives on the question of whether God exists. To answer your initial statement: I've questioned the existence of God because I saw no hard evidence. The only historical pieces of evidence presented to me were religious books such as the Bible, which could have been made-up fairytales as far as I know. The fact that our bodies are complex or that the stars or moon exist does not prove God exists to me; one doesn't really have anything to do with the other. Computers are also complex, and that doesn't mean that God created them or that God exists. As for God's grace, I think people who suffer a great deal during their lives might not necessarily feel that their existence is such a gift from above. I don't know if God is the creator because I'm not sure God ever existed. The only thing that has made me think that God exists (as I think you perceive of 'Him') are the Bible, Koran or Torah. Again, I see no reason to rely on those books as factual or literal. So I guess I have not believed in God because I thought about it for awhile and drew my own conclusions. Ironically, today I consider myself a deeply spiritual person (not religious). My beliefs are based on my feelings and on what I have observed of the world, the universe and existence. I feel there are likely higher powers than man, but I don't think that human beings could truly comprehend them/it/her/he in the way many religions proclaim. To me, worshipping a higher power doesn't make much sense, in the same way that I don't think it makes sense for an electron to worship me. Finally, I recoginize that people have different beliefs than me, and I try to respect their beliefs. I try not to make other people feel bad for believing something different than me. I wish everyone would try to do the same.

POSTED 7/3/2002

E.R.H, Silver Spring, MD, United States, 28, Male, Agnostic, Black/African American, Straight, between jobs, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 722002104640


Erin, you believe in God because you look around you and see beauty and complexity. For those of us who view the same surroundings as hateful and chaotic, there is no way we can believe a loving creator would have left us to this mess. I think it breaks down to one's level of optimism. Some of us just can't find anything divine in the state of the world. Organized religion only further alienates us, as it seems the source of many of the troubles of humanity.

POSTED 7/3/2002

Emma, Los Angeles, CA, , Female, Mesg ID 73200264948


I can understand that people don't belive in God. Some people need physical proof. However, I feel a need to point out an error in your thinking process. I am not a religious person, but I am a spritual person. The error is that God and the Savior are, in fact, two different entities. God created the Savior. Many religions believe in God, but their prophets, saviors, etc. are different. That type of confusion of facts would lead many people to believe that if the religions can't get the facts straight, there probably is no God.

POSTED 7/3/2002

Andrea H., Tucson, AZ, United States, 41, Female, No religious affiliation, Native American/White, Straight, Unemployed, Technical School, Middle class, Mesg ID 73200295630

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Question:

I am a white teenager and wear 'black' clothing, like Fubu, Sean John, Phat Farm, School of Hard Knocks, etc. Why do some African Americans dislike it when I wear these clothes? I might wear a leather jacket, or a pair of shoes with a special material that might be seen as 'ghetto,' and I am a little worried about being harrassed.

POSTED 7/2/2002

Jules, East Hampton, NY, United States, 15, Male, Jewish, White/Caucasian, Straight, Student, Less than High School Diploma, Middle class, Mesg ID 712002113506


Responses:
As an African American, I don't care that you are wearing those clothes, especially if you listen to hip hop like I do. I can tell you that some African Americans feel that white people shouldn't wear those clothes because they are designed by African Americans. Like FUBU, which stands for 'For Us By Us' - meaning the clothes are made for African Americans by African Americans.

POSTED 7/16/2002

Danielle, Tampa, FL, United States, 21, Female, Christian, Black/African American, Straight, Full-time college student, High School Diploma, Middle class, Mesg ID 72200241308


I can only speak from my experience, but it seems to me that most black Americans really don't care. If you're surrounded by people who are going to pick on you or harrass you because of your dress, please understand that these people are very immature. You're young now, so you probably will get a lot of that. But as you get older, it should cease. Also understand that if the people who say or do things to you don't accept you now, they probably wouldn't accept you regardless of what you wear or how you talk. It's not your problem. Be yourself. If people don't like it, too bad. There are people who will accept you on terms other than your clothing.

POSTED 7/16/2002

Erin, Fort Lauderdale, FL, United States, 20, Female, Baptist, Black/African American, Straight, Student, Middle class, Mesg ID 73200283148


When I read your post, the first thing I thought of was the 'acting and talking black or white' issue because your question is along the same lines. First, let me clarify your choice of words: you are not wearing 'black clothes.' You are wearing clothes created by a designer who happens to be African American. There is nothing wrong with you wearing clothes by African-American designers. Those in the dominant group (whites) have been appropriating aspects that are attributed to the African-American culture since forever. However, there is something wrong with you wearing the clothing if you are trying to be someone other than yourself. Clothing is nothing more than self-expression. I don't know why some African Americans would have a problem with you wearing clothes created by African Americans, unless they ignorantly perceive your self-expression as misappropriating the African-American culture or not being yourself. Lastly, I would refrain from using the term 'ghetto' to describe clothing or anything else you may attribute to African-American culture. It is a pejorative term and considered offensive to those who live in public housing. I encourage you to look up the word and how it relates to the Jewish culture.

POSTED 7/16/2002

Elle, Chicago, IL, United States, 30, Female, Black/African American, Straight, Black educated at home mom, 4 Years of College, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 75200242147


Thank you for putting money in the pockets of black-owned companies like Sean John and FUBU. But don't you know FUBU stands for "For us, by Us'? Don't wear clothing that says you are black on it. That's disrespect.

POSTED 7/16/2002

Sweetwuzzy, Allentown, PA, United States, Mesg ID 77200221111

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