Best of the Week
of July 28, 2002

Best of Week Archives

Here are the most intriguing cross-cultural exchanges either begun or advanced during the week of July 28, 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.

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Question:

I've worked with disabled children and 'normal' children from low socioeconomic areas in public school settings. I often compare the educational facilities provided for both groups, and the disabled children certainly seem to receive the best educational resources and most support. Unfortunately, many of the 'normal' children become lost in the educational system, fall behind in their schoolwork and develop behavioral problems. It's very disheartening to see potential go to waste. I often feel it would be better if this situation were reversed and the normal children received the 'special' education. The achievments of the disabled children rarely amount to much, so would it really matter if they received a substandard education?

POSTED 7/29/2002

K., Sydney, NA, Australia, 22, Female, Atheist, White/Caucasian, Straight, Educator, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 616200264703


Responses:
First, a lot of the money in the special education budget does go to children of normal or even above-average abilities who happen to have physical, behavioral or emotional disabilities. Two of my children received services, although they are of normal intelligence. This clearly differs from school system to school system, and we were lucky. That being said, there is some merit to your question. Our oldest son (who is physically disabled, by the way) is a special education teacher, and in his first teaching job his major work was to change diapers, wipe drool and touch the students with interesting textures. One might well ask what, aside from eliciting the occasional gurgle from one of his charges, was the point. I suppose it comes down to compassion, which by definition doesn't have well-defined boundaries.

POSTED 7/29/2002

Jerry S., New Britain, CT, United States, 54, Male, Jewish, White/Caucasian, Straight, 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 729200215340


I cannot believe that you worked with special needs children and still have the impression that their achievements don't count for much. I know it wasn't the point of the question, but I was very offended. I hope that my little brother's teacher doesn't hold the same view as you do.

POSTED 8/1/2002

Julia, Arlington, VA, United States, Female, Mesg ID 731200215108

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Question:

Why do young men and women choose to decorate themselves, particularly their faces, with multiple piercings and tattoos? If a person is very attractive, why mar the natural beauty with holes and ink? If a person is not as beautiful (according to society's standards) why draw added attention to their face and at the same time permanently mark it? Isn't any consideration given to the future problems one encounters when it comes time to find good employment?

POSTED 7/29/2002

Pattya, Springville, CA, United States, Mesg ID 6162002115256


Responses:
I can agree with you in terms of why people decide to decorate themselves, facial or otherwise, with piercings and tattoos. I am not a fan of tongue piercing because it just doesn't look right. I have tolerated it and just ignored it when I see it on other people. Then, of course, there is also the argument of being an individual and standing out among the crowd, and doing your own thing. Well, if you are getting ink done or having something pierced to stand out, it's going to look like nobody is unique, because a good majority of people, male and female, have ink and have piercings. It's not what the tattoo looks like or where you got it pierced, it's the principle of the act. I have no ink done, nor anything pierced, because as I get older, I will realize that what I had done in my youth was disgusting and wild and crazy. Imagine an 80-year-old lady with a whole bunch of holes in her ears, face, etc., and faded ink on wrinkling skin. Now see if your grandchildren don't bug out when they see that. Regarding people who mark their faces: again, no need to speak of freedom and individuality because everyone else has something pierced or tattooed as well. For my age I am somewhat old school when it comes to the way someone looks. I don't like the whole one million dragons, old English letters of a last name, and other figures scrawled all over the human body. Although I do understand it is what makes the personality of the person, doesn't the character of that person make them who they are? In terms of the whole employment thing, I doubt these people with their noses pierced and chains connecting it to their nipples, ears, etc., are looking into working in the arena of corporate life. They will have to settle for jobs that allow such things as that

POSTED 7/30/2002

Chris, Los Angeles, CA, United States, 25, Male, Asian, Sales Rep., 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 729200251540


As far as tattoos on the face, unless you are a tattoo artist, I can see where that might be looked at as a little strange, but regarding tattoos on the rest of the body, this is something that been done for hundreds, perhaps thousands, of years. You make assumptions about people's motivations to get them ('to stand out') without really having any idea of what their motivation is. There are a million reasons someone might get a tattoo: to memorialize someone, to express something or simply because they like them. I am 27 and have what would be considered by most a lot of tattoos, especially for a female. I have a college degree, am working on my master's and am a research scientist. I have never had problems finding a job, and I wear a business suit every day to work. I don't take drugs, I'm not a criminal, I'm not a deviant ... I just happen to like tattoos. To me, they are a way of accentuating beauty. If you don't like them, don't get them.. But I don't see what it is that YOU need to 'tolerate' because of a piercing or tattoo that someone else has. Why should you care?

POSTED 8/1/2002

Danielle, Southern, NJ, United States, 27, Female, White/Caucasian, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 730200255133


It's all a matter of personal taste. I was attracted to my girlfriend in part because of some body piercings she has. She is in a career field that allows her to make an excellent living with a couple of piercings, so it is not an issue there. This same debate was probably had at some point when people first pierced their ears.

POSTED 8/1/2002

Jackie, Adams, RI, United States, 29, Male, Computer Related, 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 730200281833


I'm not so sure about the 'individuality' thing anymore. The majority of my friends are marked up and strolling through Hollywood and elsewhere, and half of everyone and their cousin have tattoos and piercings in some form or another. And have you noticed many similarities? Dragons, Kanji lettering, barbed wire, stars (half the kids in Hollywood have a star on themselves somewhere), 'tribal' designs (uh,what tribe was that, again?); it's beginning to get cliched. I think some originality is in order. In some cases tattooing can enhance the body's beauty by accentuating it. However, some tattoos just look like crap because they're cheaply done or ill-thought-out. If done properly and kept up, they'll be maintained in age, providing that the person follows proper skin care guidelines and goes in every several years for a touch up. I suggest that 'timeless' or 'highly unique' designs are the best bet, because that ultra-trendy floral armband you got as a sorority girl is going to be a laughing matter in 20 years. Also, if you don't want it to affect your career choices, make sure it can be covered up with a shortsleeve t-shirt. People who get full sleeves and mark up their hands and necks are pretty much 'black-marked' for life. As for piercings, I've bounced a few mosh pits and have witnessed or been told about many a fight, and that would be why I'll never get any.

POSTED 8/1/2002

Dan, Los Angeles, CA, United States, 23, Male, Pentecostal, Hispanic/Latino (may be any race), Student, 4 Years of College, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 7312002113927

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Question:

Why do women talk so much? I've been all over the world and this seems to be a common denominator of all women. Especially when they talk to other women. I don't think men could ever understand it. Also, do women think that sometimes their talking is annoying to others who happen to be nearby, such as on a train? Do they think that when they talk everybody thinks their conversation is interesting?

POSTED 7/29/2002

Chetan, Philadelphia, PA, United States, 30, Male, Asian, Mesg ID 726200271728


Responses:
Women bond by communicating, whereas men tend to use speech only to exchange information. We are also more interested in finding similarities with the people we are talking to. We want to be like the people we are talking to. The people I'm talking to do find what I'm saying interesting, or they wouldn't continue to talk to me. And I find them interesting. On a train or bus or something, it doesn't matter who you're sitting next to, you're not going to be interested in their conversation, so I generally try to keep the volume low and go on with my business. What's my other option, to sit in bored silence and wait until I have a deserted area to talk to somebody?

POSTED 7/30/2002

Kerry, Ventura, CA, United States, 32, Female, Wiccan, White/Caucasian, Gay, Stagehand, Over 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 729200241350

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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


Responses:
We all want to look our best, and at our age (over 50) most of us have come to the conclusion that 'we can't please everybody, so we please ourselves.' If you love him, don't ask him to change. If you don't love him, why should he change for you? Love him for who he is on the inside. My 'combed-over' husband also wears tan shorts, white socks and a gray shirt on a typical trip to the store. I try laying out matching clothes, but when he says 'these are good enough,' I just smile and put my selections back in the closet.

POSTED 7/29/2002

Carol S., Mountain Home, AR, United States, <edg_org_ar@hotmail.com>, 58, Female, Believe in a Higher Power, White/Caucasian, Straight, semi-retired seamstress, 2 Years of College, Upper class, Mesg ID 725200265015

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Question:

Regarding the recent Arizona forest fire: I saw on the news an Indian spokesperson describing the devastation to the Navajo nation. The spokesperson demanded the culprit be caught and brought to trial. As we now know, a member of the Navajo nation intentionally started the blaze. A second fire, a signal fire started by a woman lost in the wilderness, later merged with the first fire. Here is what bothers me: After it was reported that a member of the Navajo nation started the first fire, another Navajo spokesperson begged for understanding and sympathy for the tribe member. A few days later, these same people went public wanting the woman who started the signal fire charged with a crime. If I were lost and dying of thirst, I'd start a signal fire. What are these people thinking? If they want sympathy for a tribe member who started a fire out of greed, where is the sympathy for a desperate and very thirsty white woman?

POSTED 7/29/2002

Tad B., Fairfield, OH, United States, 47, Male, White/Caucasian, Middle class, Mesg ID 728200295107

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Question:

Why do some people with physical disabilities get offended when I try to help them with a task I think they might struggle with? It upsets me when they get all offensive and mad at me for being nice.

POSTED 7/29/2002

Vanessa, Chicago, IL, United States, 20, Female, Catholic, Hispanic/Latino (may be any race), Straight, student, Mesg ID 5202002101352

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Question:

What is it with teenagers not being able to behave in a public place, be it the train (jumping around and making noise), the theater (trying to see who can be the last to clap when applause for a song is over) or a store (making fun of all the merchandise)? Is the peer pressure to act cool and daring that strong now?

POSTED 7/29/2002

Sarah C., San Francisco, CA, United States, 24, Female, Agnostic, Asian, Over 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 76200231801

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Question:

Why is it that Corporate America seems to have given the edge to hiring minorities over white males? Everywhere you look, there is a disproportionate number of minorities being represented by Corporate America.

POSTED 7/21/2002

Adam R., North Chicago, IL, United States, 42, Male, Catholic, White/Caucasian, Bisexual, Accountant, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 720200262820


Responses:
Yep, and it's a damn shame, too! I think that all the hype over Affirmative Action in the '90s opened the way for people to sue companies because they thought they didn't get hired 'because of their ethnic background,' so rather than getting slapped with a lawsuit, many companies are biting the bullet and hiring too many minorities who might be un- or under-qualified. This also is happening in the academic community. A friend of mine was passed over for a placement in a PhD. program because she wasn't black. She was even told that they chose the other woman because of her color. The sad thing is that these two women were friends and knew each other's scores. My friend's were higher, yet they chose the black candidate. Personally, I would feel slighted if I were given a position within any setting because they were trying to fill a quota.

POSTED 7/24/2002

Mary, Philadelphia, PA, United States, 28, Female, Methodist, White/Caucasian, Straight, social work, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 7242002113458


Corporate America (and colleges) are representative of a society that has decided that the problem of hiring/admitting on the basis of race and gender can be rectified by hiring on the basis of race and gender (affirmative action/pro-diversity/quotas) Unfortunately, many white males with talent may get overlooked, and minorities/females with talent may be viewed as tokens. As a female who could 'benefit' from such policies, I find it disgusting that any success that comes from all my hard work and dedication will be viewed solely as a result of preferential treatment. I don't want to be denied employment because I am female, but I definitely don't want to be hired because I'm female. I think ability, experience, character and education should be the only determining factors for employers.

POSTED 7/29/2002

Jay, New York, NY, United Kingdom, Female, White/Caucasian, Middle class, Mesg ID 723200271037


I am heavily involved in the diversity push at the global electronic giant I work for. I find your premise without support in my company. There is plenty of diversity in the lower levels of 'corporate,' but that mix does not extend to the upper echelons. The diversity 'glass ceiling' is still firmly in place. The only goal at this company is to have a mix that is representative of the available work force, no quota system. Seems fair enough to me. I would theorize that you are seeing a mix of ethnicity and gender where there used to be none at all, so any change seems drastic. The 'white male hegemony' is going the way of the Jurassic Age.

POSTED 7/29/2002

Mark B., Dallas, TX, United States, <civic-si@swbell.net>, 41, Male, Christian, White/Caucasian, Gay, financial analyst, 2 Years of College, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 724200220209


I think this situation is overstated and false. Whites face far more competition from other whites than from black people. There are relatively few of us (12 percent of population), and we are also under-represented in colleges. But I think the most obvious proof that affirmative action is not giving blacks an unfair advantage is that we still have a higher unemployment rate and we're still under-represented in academia. Affirmative action has benefited white females more than any other group (look up education and employment stats from 1960 to present on this site: http://w3.access.gpo.gov/eop/ca/index.html) So people should question who's the real target with the attacks on affirmative action.

POSTED 7/29/2002

Tola, Silver Spring, MD, United States, 23, Male, Catholic, Black/African American, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 724200283324


I agree with Mary's response. Affirmative action has made businesses nervous. What a shame that people seek every opportunity to 'sue' to gain something for nothing more then hurt feelings. What ever happened to 'the best person qualified'? I guess prejudice got in the way of good sense on both ends of the spectrum. White Man's Burden, a movie from some time ago with John Travolta, is worth watching. It could make a white boss really take a new perspective of his own character.

POSTED 7/29/2002

Carol S., Mountain Home, AR, United States, <edg_org_ar@hotmail.com>, 58, Female, Believe in a Higher Power, White/Caucasian, Straight, semi-retired seamstress, 2 Years of College, Upper class, Mesg ID 725200281400


I assume you are referring to affirmative action in Corporate America. Fundamentally, the intent of affirmative action was to depress the tightly controlled networks of privileged white males who monopolized the good jobs and influential positions in U.S. society. That being said, arbitrary racism and exclusion that is institutionalized in education, health care, housing and employment cannot be overcome by affirmative action. The legacy dwarfs the policy by far. So what are you crying about? That African Americans might struggle to reach 10 percent representation on major college campuses and corporations? That is far from a black takeover.

POSTED 7/29/2002

Jarrett, Chicago, IL, United States, 20, Male, Black/African American, Straight, student, 2 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 7252002112610


Yeah, and look what happened at Enron, World Com and Arthur Anderson because of all them damn minorities they hired!

POSTED 7/29/2002

E.D., Kansas City, MO, United States, 46, Female, Black/African American, Mesg ID 725200250219


Your post is a perfect example of how in the United States today subtle racism is encouraged. No. 1, why should you care if minorities are getting hired more than whites? If you view them as human beings first and not people who happened to have different physical features than you, it shouldn't matter. There shouldn't even be a thought to 'disporportion' in comparison to how many white males are hired. Minorities are no less deserving of a position in Corporate America than any white man. Second, you seem to not be very realistic. Most companies in the United States are predominantly white because our country is predominantly white. And companies that are more lenient to hiring more minorities usually find non-white human beings that are of high quality. For example, Asian Americans are entering Corporate America in higher numbers, but their intelligence and work ethic are often higher than many white males. This is also the case for African Americans seeking jobs in Corporate America. The media wants to stereotype blacks as getting certain jobs because of their skin color, but it isn't true. Check out the resume of a minority employee (especially a black person) in Corporate America, and you most likely will see outstanding credentials. Affirmative action helps get many (especially blacks) through the door for an interview, but their own merits get them hired. Those who think differently struggle with subtle racism and cannot judge a minority in an honest light because they are clouded by their own misguided perceptions.

POSTED 7/29/2002

Kristina, Washington, DC, United States, <kfount500@aol.com>, 21, Female, Christian, Black/African American, Straight, Transcriber, 2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 7262002115551

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Question:

A classmate told me white people's butts are so flat because during slavery they sat on them all day doing nothing, while black people worked all the time. I agree, but I want to know if any white or black people have ever heard of this.

POSTED 7/22/2002

Lisa, Brooklyn, NY, United States, 16, Female, Catholic, Black/African American, Straight, Less than High School Diploma, Middle class, Mesg ID 722200295009


Responses:
What I have heard has nothing to do with the flatness of white people's butts, but rather why they look flat compared to black people's. As I understand it, the larger black butt is due to the fact it was used as a water storage location needed to sustain life in the harsh hot climates of Africa. It is left over from that. With respect to white butts: yeah, I guess white people have had more opportunity to sit down and work while the labors of slaves was that of hard field work, very physical in nature. Also, not all whites have flat butts. It just depends on the genetic background.

POSTED 7/23/2002

Matthew, New York, NY, United States, 43, Male, Middle class, Mesg ID 7232002102811

Director's Note: After 40,000 postings, Y? thought it had seen and heard it all until receiving this question and response...


Talk about a blatantly provocative post. I assume you are aware that the majority of white people didn't own slaves? That the majority were poor and worked their asses off as much as anyone else? Obviously, having their freedom, their situation was infinitely better than that of enslaved people, but please, you really think that every single Caucasian in the States at that time was a wealthy landowner whose only exercise was to occasionally arise from his chair to beat his slaves? You do neither yourself nor those who share the same heritage any favors by spouting ill-informed revisionist 'history' around the place.

POSTED 7/23/2002

Iteki, Smalltown, NA, Sweden, 26, Female, Recovering Catholic, White/Caucasian, Lesbian, 2 Years of College, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 7232002110958


How did racist tripe like this appear on Y? Forum? I've had albeit divisive but nonetheless genuine questions 'moderated' out, and yet overtly provocative racism like this passes muster? Why?

POSTED 7/23/2002

Blammo, Ipsilate, MI, United States, Mesg ID 7232002111050

Director's Note: As our long-time users are aware, Y? occasionally posts submissions that fall outside our general guidelines, to keep all of us taking part in this experiment honest. Rather than risking our users (and us) becoming lulled into the false sensibility that everyone submits "perfect" questions or is ready to engage others in a civil manner, we aren't averse to shaking things up a bit from time to time with a submission such as this. Usually, questions that aren't posted are either repetitive, or simply have not been viewed by the (lone) Director, as Y? receives hundreds of submissions per week.


Are you trying to live up to the ignorant black stereotype? You sure seem to make a good argument for it.That is like saying your lips are so big from sucking on watermelon seeds and chicken bones.

POSTED 7/23/2002

William, Columbia, SC, United Kingdom, 38, Male, Methodist, White/Caucasian, Straight, sales, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 722200230746


C'mon Lisa. You can't possibly be serious. I have never heard of this theory before, neither in earnest nor in distasteful jest. Even if the greater likelihood of white people to have 'flat' bottoms could be researched and quantified well enough to be called a biological fact, the evolution of such a trait would have taken thousands of years, at least. So the slavery idea is impossible as well as silly.

POSTED 7/23/2002

Jennifer, St. Paul, MN, United States, 31, Female, Christian, Black/African American, Straight, Non-Profit, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 722200243032


Surely that is a joke (and on a surface level, a bit funny). Only a small percentage of 'whites' have ever owned slaves (I'd venture to say, historically speaking, more had probably been on the slavery end; just look at early European history). Hell, German companies have paid reparations for using Polish slave labor during World War II, and I don't see any difference in the size of their butts. So that doesn't make a whole lot sense. Also, slavery is not entirely a 'white' vs. 'black' issue; history is awash with stories of people enslaving each other, of all cultures and races.

POSTED 7/23/2002

Vittrad, Chicago, IL, United States, 35, Female, Christian, White/Caucasian, Straight, Over 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 722200250557


I am a black female and am embarrassed by the tone of your question. It is so ignorant and racist. I'm sure you already know there are many differences between the races and that Europeans and Africans have different body structures, hair textures, etc. However, your question reads more like slander than a question seeking an intelligent response.

POSTED 7/23/2002

Alea, New York, NY, United States, 22, Female, Christian, Straight, student, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 722200273450


Lisa, That is THE dumbest thing I've ever heard in my life. You are just mocking whites, this site, and showing what an incredible waste of resources a good education is on you. Spare your teachers. Drop out and go get pregnant now. Maybe your children will redeem you.

POSTED 7/23/2002

Jesse R., New york, NY, United States, Mesg ID 722200282237


I have to admit, I've never heard of this, though it did give me a giggle. Take my word for it; I've seen many white women with enormous rears. And by the way; not all whites have slavery in their past. My family, though white, were poorly treated servants. Slaves, no. But they certainly didn't sit on their keesters. Just thought I would clarify.

POSTED 7/23/2002

Laura, Small Town, AZ, United States, 24, Female, Christian, White/Caucasian, Straight, Technical School, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 7222002113218


If this were true - that a way of life 300 years ago would manifest as physical changes - then wouldn't African Americans' brains be underdeveloped, considering the lack of 'work' their brains were required to do during slavery? The statement could also be reversed - that white people work so hard that they burn off all excess body fat, whereas African Americans do so little work that they retain all of their body fat. These, of course, are riduculous statements, to mirror you ridiculous question

POSTED 7/23/2002

Jay, New York, NY, United Kingdom, Female, White/Caucasian, Middle class, Mesg ID 723200272433


Before anyone else comments on this message, let me say I do not agree with what my classmate said. I just wanted to know if anyone else had heard of that theory. I am sorry if it offended anyone.

POSTED 7/24/2002

Lisa, Brooklyn, NY, United States, Female, Mesg ID 723200225451


Do the black slave owners in Africa today have flat butts?

POSTED 7/24/2002

Ridley S., Chambersburg, PA, United States, 22, Male, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, Mesg ID 7232002102215


After reading some of the other responses to this post, I think Lisa was unfairly accused of trying to start trouble because she stated a fact of U.S. history that some just deny. The truth is many whites did own blacks as slaves to avoid doing arduous labor. So this statement I do not have a problem with. However, one cannot say they developed flat bottoms solely on this premise. The size of one's bottom is due to genes and racial 'evolution.' U.S. blacks have been a suffering and starving people, so their bodies began to store extra fat wherever it could to help protect itself during tough times. Notice how I said U.S. blacks. I have noticed that African blacks seem to be skinnier than black Americans. Their bottoms still seem to be bigger than the average white person's, but they are definitely smaller than African Americans. So diet is also a factor to keep in mind.

POSTED 7/24/2002

Kristina, Washington, DC, United States, <kfount500@aol.com>, 21, Female, Christian, Black/African American, Straight, Transcriber, 2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 7242002105745


If your comment had any merit, there would be a large percentage of black Africans who would have flat butts. There are many more blacks in Africa today who own black slaves than there were whites who owned slaves.

POSTED 7/24/2002

Mary, Philadelphia, PA, United States, 28, Female, Methodist, White/Caucasian, Straight, social work, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 7242002112451


No question is a dumb question, but Lisa, yours is ludicrous. As someone pointed out in one of the responses, there is a scientific explanation: evolution. What shocks me the most about this post is the responses by the grown men and women of the forum. Adults are supposedly the wisest and most mature of the human population, yet they have unjustly vilified a 16-year-old high school student for asking a question, one that has an uncanny resemblance to those of her white counterparts at Y? Forum. For instance, white people have asked 'dumb' questions like: why are all black people afraid of dogs, why are all black people in gangs, why do black folks riot when they don't get their way, how come they are afraid of water and why do they all shake their heads and snap their fingers when they talk? In my opinion, these are the most foolish questions asked in the entire race/ethnicity section. In spite of such ignorance, I have never responded by telling those who posted them to drop out of school and get pregnant!

POSTED 7/24/2002

Jarrett, Chicago, IL, United States, 20, Male, Black/African American, Straight, student, 2 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 7242002113656


Obviously the person who told you that must be on some type of drug. What they fail to realize is the size of behinds of any people relates to genetics of the parents. Where the idea about white slave owners sitting on their rears all day while the slaves worked in the fields comes from I have no idea. What you need to do is clear up the facts with whoever told you such an absurd notion. Before you inquire about such things as what this person told you, ask other people to see if they agree.

POSTED 7/29/2002

Chris, Los Angeles, CA, United States, 25, Male, Catholic, Asian, Student, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 724200280629

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Question:

I would like to understand the caste system in South Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladash). I have come across numerous references in books referring to Brahmin, etc., and just wanted a better understanding.

POSTED 6/26/2002

Kenya E., Atlanta, GA, United States, 25, Female, Christian, Black/African American, Straight, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 6262002120414


Responses:
What is strange is that India was and is a melting pot of races, and yet Hinduism has one of the most elaborate racist systems called the caste system. First, in most places there are four castes and the Outcastes. The first caste was the Brahmin. This was the priestly caste, the top caste. Only they had access to the holy books. They normally tend to be fairer and taller (depends upon the region). Second, we have the Ksatriyas, who were the warrior class (the class I belong to). They were the kings, generals, ministers of state. Third, we have the Vaishyas, the merchants, artisans. And the lowest castes were the Shudras. The shudras tend to be darker. They were the lowest servants. Finally the Outcastes. They stayed outside cities. In some regions like Rajasthan, Gujrat (people whose ancestors came as Scythins from Russian Crimea during the time of Alexander the Great), interracial/ethnic unions are normally opposed by our ancient holy books (one of the oldest in the world). The upper castes tended to be cruel - cruelty which would put a slave owner in the South to shame. If a lower-caste person would touch an upper-caste, the upper-caste (Brahmin, Ksatriyas) would have to take a bath. If a Shudra would try to marry an upper caste, he/she would be tortured (including putting nails down their throat, etc). Today Shudras who are behind economically have been helped by the government in jobs and education, which many people in the upper castes consider unfair. Many Shudars (25 percent of South Asia, a huge number because more people live in India than the United States and Africa combined) converted to Christianity or Buddhism to escape the caste system. I have no idea about the racial origins of this. The Hindu nationalists like the VHP, RSS, etc. say we are all the same race, maybe so it can justify themselves in some way. Many studies have shown that the upper castes were nearer to Europeans especially Eastern Europeans, while the lower castes were similar to Australian Aboriginals/Papuans. One study in a state called Andhra Pradesh found that some lower-caste groups were related to Africans. Another claims Indians have a lot of similarity to East Asians and that India is the buffer zone between Caucasoids and Mongoloids. The Nazi concept that the invading Aryans were completely blond, blue-eyed Nordics is been refuted in most places, though green/fair eyes are present among many Brahmin communities and in Afghanistan/North Pakistan. Besides, blond, blue-eyed mummies were found in the Indo-Tibetan border. But again, many Brahmins were shown as dark-haired. But because my knowledge of this is limited, I cannot surely say, but it is safe to say that Indians as a whole have a lot of similarity with Caucasians, and most Indians consider themselves Caucasians (but not white Caucasians). However, the caste system has kind of disappeared. I hope it is confined to history and that Hinduism can forget this bad past. In some backward places it is still strong, but I hope that will not be for long.

POSTED 7/29/2002

Ajay, Anand, NA, India, 31, Male, Hindu, East Indian, Straight, Govt Service, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 717200264715

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