Best of the Week
of Aug. 1, 1999

Best of Week Archives

Here are the most intriguing cross-cultural exchanges either begun or advanced during the week of Aug. 1, 1999, as selected by Y? These postings, as well as "Best of the Week" entries from previous weeks, also can be found by accessing our new database using our search form, or, in the case of answers posted before April 24, 1999, in our Original Archives (all questions from the Original Archives have been entered into the new database as well). In the Original Archives and the new database, you will find questions that have received answers, as well as questions still awaiting responses. We encourage you 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 our guidelines pages for asking and answering questions.


Question:
To heterosexuals who are married or who live with their partners: In all honesty, how do you divide the domestic work in your home? Is my girlfriend - who thinks I'm naive for expecting my new live-in partner to do half the cooking and cleaning (and maybe someday, childcare) - wrong?
POSTED 8/6/1999
Rhiannon, Eden Prairie, MN, United States, <rock0048@tc.umn.edu> , 29, Female, Jewish, White/Caucasian, Straight, Middle class, Mesg ID 84199955224
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Question:
How do women feel about the fact that men in general are physically stronger than women? Do you like being weaker, do you wish you were stronger, or is it something you never think about?
POSTED 2/9/1999
Mark N., London, NA, United Kingdom, 40, Male, Mesg ID 299921357

Responses:
I hate to admit it, but I do sometimes wish women had the same physical strength as men (on average) for two reasons: 1) Men would no longer be able to call us the 'weaker sex.' 2) Women would feel less vulnerable in some cases of domestic violence, sexual assault, etc. Of course, I do in my heart believe women have remarkable strength of many kinds.
POSTED 8/4/1999
Jessica N., New York, NY, United States, <jessica@pioneeris.net> , 26, Female, Mesg ID 84199961351

Yes! I certainly wish women were generally physically as strong as men, and as big. Aside from being safer in the world, I think it would change some of how our society is set up. I'm a fairly large, powerful woman: 5'8' and 200 lbs. I also practice martial arts. After a Women's Studies class I took in college, as an experiment, I stopped doing some of the inculturated submissive behaviors women are expected to do. These include "giving way" in the hall or on the sidewalk to men, dropping my eyes first after eye contact, allowing men to interrupt in a conversation, etc. All this was subconscious behavior I had learned from childhood on. The shock, anger and hostility I got from men was quite frankly shocking to me. I think the only way I got away with it was because I am a large and tough woman. I had guys body check me because they either didn't care that I had right of way or were annoyed that I didn't step out of the way. This was usually accompanied by snarled insults. I think that if women were as strong/large as men that rape would be much less common. It's easier to push around smaller, weaker people. I'm not bashing men in general. There are lots of caring, thoughtful men who are vehemently opposed to inequality. However, "force" is a pretty seductive power, and men (in general) are raised with the assumption and experience of superior force. Of course these are generalizations and there are exceptions, but it is very empowering to look straight into some threatening butthead's eyes and know that I can whup his ass if he tries to back up his threats with force. I know that is not the case with most women ... and that sucks.
POSTED 8/6/1999
Amy, Milpitas, CA, United States, 30, Female, Buddhist, White/Caucasian, Bisexual, Veterinary technician, Over 4 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 84199951951
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Question:
I am a black female who's been married to a white man for five years. We live in a somewhat diverse neighborhood (the majority is white). I have always felt welcome here - my husband's family has always treated me like a second daughter, his friends treat me as if they've known me all their lives, my family adores him, etc. The only negative experience I have had has been with people of my own race. I have been accused of 'selling out,' being 'contaminated' - I was even told that if my husband were to leave me, I would be useless to any black man because of my betrayal. Many of my black friends have simply lost touch or are too busy to come around whenever I call and want to do something with them. This is very hurtful. With all the bigotry our people have encountered, is this what we have turned into? I love my husband because of the beauty of his soul, not the color of his skin. What's going on?
POSTED 8/4/1999
Stephani S., N/A, VA, United States, <Stephani@dc.jones.com> , 29, Female, Black/African American, Mesg ID 84199965726

Responses:
I read your post and felt hurt for you. It's sad that we treat each other so poorly, especially since we know what it means to be discriminated against. The hypocrisy is shameful. I admire your courage and strength to follow your heart despite the backlash and simply wanted to extend my encouragement and support. Do know that in Detroit there is a sista who celebrates the love you've found (he could've been green as far as I'm concerned). Lasting love is rare. Pity on those foolish folks who fail to acknowledge love for what it is: Unconditional.
POSTED 8/4/1999
Zawadi, Farmington Hills, MI, United States, 34, Female, Black/African American, Publishing, Mesg ID 84199990726

Try to understand your African-American ex-friends by remembering the bases of your friendships before you entered into the interracial marriage. I think the reason some of your friends may have lost touch after you "crossed the tracks" is that, like many intra-African-American community friendships, some of the base of your friendship had been empathetic conversations about the discrimination you faced day-to-day from European-Americans. When you married a white man, that base for friendship was compromised.
POSTED 8/4/1999
AFRAN, Oklahoma City, OK, United States, Male, Christian, Black/African American, Over 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 84199945552

I feel what's going on is that you're finding out who your true friends are. A true friend loves and cares for you unconditionally. I know how hurtful it is when someone "throws you away" because of some condition or restraint they've put on the friendship. What these (ex)friends don't realize is that they will be the biggest losers in the end. It sounds like you do have many "true" friends, family and in-laws, so hang on to that. Hopefully some of your friends who have hurt you may see the light one day.
POSTED 8/4/1999
Randy B., Houston, TX, United States, 39, Male, White/Caucasian, 2 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 84199910508

Unfortunately, one of the products of racism is that its target members usually express opposition via measures that can seem as extreme as the oppression they resist. The idea of "selling out" or "being contaminated" by your white husband reflects how deeply affected many blacks are by white racism. However, the feelings of distrust are real, and the disdain for whites, by some blacks, also reflects valid emotions. The reality is that we live in a society whose race relations are strained at best. People are indeed judged by skin, relationships and associations. If I could offer you anything, I'd say that it's time to make some new connections with people who have a broader vision of the human experience. As well, keep in mind that the reaction you are getting from some of your friends has more to do with society's unwillingness to accept and validate all human beings rather than with you personally. For your own emotional health, seek truth rather than acceptance - truth, when tested, stands on its own. Best and congratulations on a happy union.
POSTED 8/6/1999
Dee W., Cleveland, OH, United States, Mesg ID 85199943645

I think there is more than one thing going on here, some more pernicious than others. For example, the comment about being "useless to any black man" speaks volumes of nasty stuff, both racist and sexist, because it implies at the very least that you are only "useful" as an object of a black man's attentions. Somewhat less vile is the general and apparently inherent tendency for groups of people to sort themselves out by drawing boundaries, and at various times and places to enforce those boundaries to different degrees. Although many minority groups view this as defending themselves from being swallowed up by the majority, being a minority group doesn't cause this behavior: Often a majority group resists what it sees as "contamination" by minorities. The root seems to be a drive to preserve "us" at the expense, if necessary, of "them." We can all think of examples far less striking than skin color, wars of extermination being fought between two groups that are indistinguishable to outsiders. I suspect that this is least in evidence when the majority feels secure; I think that security leads to tolerance. This tolerance can easily evaporate if the majority suddenly feels threatened, as happened in Germany between the wars and in the Arab countries after World War II.
POSTED 8/6/1999
Jerry S., New Britain, CT, United States, <jerryschwartz@comfortable.com>, 51, Male, Jewish, White/Caucasian, Middle class, Mesg ID 84199934729
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Question:
Do men who are impotent or not having erections experience sexual pleasure and fulfillment? Are sexual experiences satisfying or frustrating? I have always wanted to know this.
POSTED 8/4/1999
Jessica N., New York, NY, United States, <jessica@pioneeris.net> , 26, Female, White/Caucasian, Mesg ID 84199963915

Responses:
Personally, no erection, no fun.
POSTED 8/6/1999
Steve, Houston, TX, United States, 38, Male, White/Caucasian, Straight, Sales, 4 Years of College , Upper middle class, Mesg ID 85199914531
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Question:
Although I don't feel there are inherent differences in intelligence levels among various races, there are vast differences in the way various races and cultures have developed thoughout history. Most European and Northern Asian countries developed sophisticated technological societies, while indigenous cultures from other parts of the globe remain largely undeveloped. Yet, when African Americans are given true equal opportunity in this country, they do equally well as Caucasians. Why the apparent disparity otherwise?
POSTED 6/21/1999
Ambopat, Brooklyn, NY, United States, <ambopat@juno.com> , 47, Male, Catholic, White/Caucasian, Straight,anager, Technical School , Middle class Mesg ID 6189985822

Responses:
I think the reason many "Third World" countries are technologically under-developed has a lot to do with the political histories of those countries. Much of Africa and South America were colonies of European countries for centuries. Colonization has stunted the growth of many of these countries, resulting in poor economic situations. When people are struggling for daily necessities, technological advancement is not a priority. One thing to remember, though: Before the Europeans got involved in Africa, the Americas and other places around the world, things were very different in these areas. Ancient, very technologically advanced societies flourished, while Europeans were still living in the stone age.
POSTED 8/3/1999
Lucy H., San Jose, CA, United States, 24, Female, Hispanic/Latino, Mechanical Engineer, 4 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 6259970859

Another theory that can help to account for the phenomenon you describe has to do with geography. Generally, technological advances occur in areas where many different cultures mix and interact because the interaction introduces and spreads new ideas, brings different viewpoints together, lets people see various solutions to the same problem and combine and improve upon them, etc. This kind of interaction historically occurs in places like the crossroads of several trading routes. Geographic features, like navigable rivers, mountain passes, good natural harbors and the like are big factors in where trading routes go, and trading routes used by many different cultures result in cultural mixing. Europe has abundant navigable rivers, many good harbors, etc., whereas much of Africa does not. Therefore, European peoples had a geographic advantage that made the necessary cultural mixing more likely than it was in Africa, where travel was more difficult. Thus, to some extent technological advancement or otherwise can be a factor of geographic location. I wish I could say these were my ideas, but I read them in some books by Thomas Sowell. I recommend his work highly because it explores many different ways in which things like geography and culture can influence technological advancement while maintaining what seems to me a fair and balanced viewpoint of humanity in general.
POSTED 8/4/1999
Jean M., Plano, TX, United States, 38, Female, Christian, White/Caucasian, Straight, Writer, Over 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 841999113117

There is a fascinating book called Guns, Germs and Steel, by Jared Diamond that addresses this question. Diamond shows that the beginnings of the technological disparity go way, way back into pre-history. Some of the factors have to do with the availability of domesticatable plants and animals and even the physical geography of the Eurasian landmass. An example of the latter: Eurasia runs roughly east-west (not north-south like the Americas). This means that Eurasia has a greater amount of land in temperate, arable latitudes than the Americas do. It is also easier for agriculture to spread east-west than it is north-south, since plants such as wheat or rye can only grow in temperate latitudes.
POSTED 8/4/1999
Ninkasi, Houston, TX, United States, 36, Female, White/Caucasian, Technical writer, Over 4 Years of College , Upper middle class, Mesg ID 841999122723

Anyone who desires a good explanation to questions such as this should read Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond. It contains excellent explanations for the disparity between the developments of human populations worldwide.
POSTED 8/6/1999
E.D., Kansas City, MO, United States, 43, Female, Black/African American, 2 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 71899115157

Although we are generally taught that Europeans had superior civilizations, many recent findings have shown that many present-day Third World countries were far advanced while Europeans still lived in caves. Indian Ayurvedic medicine is thousands of years old, and the Indians, Egyptians and Chinese had mapped the stars and found the value of pi and discovered the Pythagorean theorem long before Europeans.
POSTED 8/6/1999
Priya, Berkeley, CA, United States, <priya_grewal@yahoo.com> , 19, Female, Mesg ID 725199982229

Not to be rude, but you are way off base. There are genetic differences (mental and physical) between the races - this has been proven in hundreds of different studies. These studies haven't been widely talked about because they go against Politically Correctness. Contact me via email if you wish to discuss this further.
POSTED 8/6/1999
Mike, Pawtucket, RI, United States, <mmikemm27@hotmail.com> , 21, Male, Atheist, European American, Straight, Engineer, 4 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 84199920517

Perhaps, despite what we want to believe, there is a difference in IQ, not only between blacks and whites, but between whites and Jews, Jews and Chinese, Eskimos and and Europeans, etc. We happen to live in a time that demands the celebration of certain diversity: Sexual, skin color, culture, etc. But we do not acknowledge other types of diversity: Differences in group IQs, differences between men and women that make men better suited for combat and differences in moral codes leading to superior cultures.
POSTED 8/6/1999
Normand O. L., Alameda, CA, United States, 50, Male, Catholic, White/Caucasian, Straight, Mechanic, 2 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 62299124244

I don't consider "Colonialism" to be an answer. However politically correct, it doesn't explain why (for example) the Africans didn't colonize Europe instead of the other way around. It certainly doesn't explain why Europe was at about the same level, technologically, as China before the Renaissance but then pulled ahead. If it hadn't, Europe certainly could not have colonized China (assuming that one believes it did). Personally, I'm inclined to believe that it was in some measure dumb luck. The ferment (and conflict) of European politics and trade led to strong competition, and innovations gave nations a sought-after edge. At times, this constant competition led to collapse, as during the decline of the Roman Empire; that's why I think it was just luck that got us where we are today. Arguably, we're in for another collapse.
POSTED 8/6/1999
Jerry S., New Britain, CT, United States, <jerryschwartz@comfortable.com>, 51, Male, Middle class, Mesg ID 84199940327
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Question:
I am a nurse and would like to be sensitive to all the patients I care for, so my questions is: Why do some males from India wear head coverings? What is the religious meaning of this, and why is it important to them ?
POSTED 8/3/1999
Maggie, Pine Bush, NY, United States, <margo@tbls.net> , Female, White/Caucasian, RN, 2 Years of College,Mesg ID 821999111805

Responses:
I believe you are refering to people who follow the "Sikh" reliegon in India. The reason for wearing the head covering is to cover their long hair. Sikh men grow long hair and take a vow not to cut it to honor their guru (master) who had won freedom for them and taught the Sikh way of life. I am not Sikh but am still taking the liberty to answer this question based solely on my knowledge from Sikh friends I had in the past.
POSTED 8/4/1999
Abhinav, Troy, NY, United States, 25, Male, Hindu, Asian, Straight, Manager, Over 4 Years of College , Upper class, Mesg ID 83199943111
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Question:
How do I cope with the recent knowledge that my father is a priest? He is not the person who raised me and with whom I identifed as my father all my life. Help. I am still in shock mode, aka denial.
POSTED 8/2/1999
Henry B., Los Angeles, CA, United States, mid-30s, Male, Catholic, Professional, 4 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 730199944320

Responses:
You're in your mid-30s; you have lived a little while. It's not like you don't know a little something about life and circumstances. I guess I don't understand what you really have to "deal" with. Your birth father is just that. He supplied the genes - he didn't raise you. His breaking his vow of celibacy is his issue, not yours. I don't know where you are with your church's dogma -perhaps what your intimating in your question has to do with the Catholic institution. I am not Catholic, but I've always felt that the vow of celibacy for many people (especially men) is a very difficult vow to keep. A lot of folks who go into the priesthood do so when they are very young (in their 20s) and have not had a chance to experience certain things. I understand why the vow is taken - sex and marriage can definitely co-op one's focus, especially if one's mission is to serve the church. But I'm not wedded to the idea that forced celibacy is the greatest thing in the world. I think it is wrong to deny such a natural thing as to express one's love and/or feelings to another in a physical way. Sex is just as much a gift from God as anything else. It is man in his finite wisdom who puts the negative spin on it. Remember, most dogmas of most religious institutions were constructed by man. All the rules and regulations are constructed by man, not God. I don't think God much cares if your father is a priest or not. Out of all the things you could spend time thinking about, in the big scheme of things this should be at the bottom of the list. You're here. He fathered you. Hopefully you're living a good life. What more can you ask for? If you are so moved to connect with him, then do it. But don't waste your time mired in something that happened 30-plus years ago. Don't judge your birth father. What's done is done. Good luck to you.
POSTED 8/3/1999
Kim H., Minneapolis, MN, United States, <KCHines22@msn.com> , 43, Female, Humanist, Black/African American, Actress, Playwright and Director, Over 4 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 821999115255
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Question:
Why do older men try to talk to young girls? Do they actually think I am going to want to hook up with someone three times my age who I don't even know? To older men who have done this: Why?
POSTED 7/26/1999
Lilly, Brooklyn, NY, United States, 18, Female, Christian, Black/African American, Straight, Student, 2 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 7169965009

Responses:
In my work place, there are a lot of kids still in high school. As a superviser, I speak to them all on a regular and casual basis. I believe these older men are just having a casual conversation with you. If you do not like what they are saying, change the topic.
POSTED 8/2/1999
Christopher D., Arlington, TX, United States, 23, Male, Christian, White/Caucasian, Straight, Customer Service, High School Diploma , Lower middle class, Mesg ID 731199925238

Chris, Just as a point of clarification, when Lilly used the term "talk to" I believe she did not mean to literally be spoken to by an older man. In fact, in some cultures, the term "talk to" means the same as trying to "pick up" or "date." I wanted to throw this out because it seems her question was referring to more than just casual conversation. (This is exactly why I love Y? Forum ... there's always an opportunity for healthy interchange!)
POSTED 8/3/1999
Dee W., Cleveland, OH, United States, Mesg ID 831999121142

Thanks for the question. It really made me think, and I may not be proud of all that I am going to say. First, we are all people. Anyone can "try to talk" to anyone. Did you mean talk, or what in England I would call "Chat up" or try to "Pick up"? Second, some young girls do want to hook up with older men. In my early forties, I went out for three years with a girl who was 18 when we met. I was older than her father, and he liked it about as much as I imagine I would have done in his shoes. Third, it is biological: Mid- to late teens (I assume this is your "young") is when human females are most desireable to human males. It is the age at which men first start to notice women, and some of us get stuck at that age. But then I went out for seven years with a woman of my own age, and it was wonderful! No rush, no feeling I had to perform, just enjoyed all of each other, and I wish it had not ended (yeah, I deceived and betrayed her). I still fancy young girls; I am flattered when they do talk to me, and if I can manage to pretend that they are ordinary people for long enough, they turn into ordinary people. I try to be accepted, but struggle with the awareness that they are, indeed, young and plumptious. But do not assume that all older men want to hook up with you; some really have got things under control, and may have interesting things to say. As Christopher D. says, see how they are with you, and break off if you do not like what you hear.
POSTED 8/4/1999
Steve H., Leeds, NA, United Kingdom, <steve.hill@stevehil.globalnet.co.uk> , 54, Male, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, Straight, Publisher's Rep, Middle class, Mesg ID 83199955433
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Question:
I have noticed that young women, ages 15 to 25 and sometimes even younger, like to date or pursue guys who are going to treat them badly. Is this true, and if so why?
POSTED 5/27/1999
Justin W., Canton, MI, United States, <justin23@mediaone.net> , 20, Male, Mesg ID 5279962939

Responses:
Many girls find the "bad boy" image exciting, and unfortunately the image and the poor treatment go hand in hand. I can speak only for myself, but I found that in my relationships I want a strong man who can hold his own and isn't going to back down to my every whim. Unfortunately, the "nice guys" I've dated were spineless when it came to standing up for themselves. I found they made better friends than lovers. But I also found that there are "bad boys" who are strong-willed without being abusive. I don't tolerate abuse, but I welcome a strong opinion. Unfortunately, some young women have a hard time seeing the difference.
POSTED 8/2/1999
Bren, Detroit, MI, United States, 25, Female, Pagan, White/Caucasian, Bisexual, Day Care Director, 4 Years of College , Lower middle class, Mesg ID 81199940744

Sadly enough, I'm only 21 and have known three women close to me who are/were in abusive relationships. In all cases, the father figure was either non-existent, sexually explicit or a misogynist. Sometimes that kind of father teaches a girl what not to tolerate in a man, but more often than not, she'll go out with men who are like her father. In one case, my friend married too young and to a mentally/emotionally abusive, racist man. Toward the end he began getting physically abusive, and she left him. Her father was verbally abusive to her; I know because he did it in front of her friends. He also cheated on his wife and treats her like a second-class citizen. The other two situations aren't much better, and they follow the same pattern. In turn, the daughters went out with terrible men, unworthy of anything but a cell space in jail. This isn't the only cause for women going out with abusive men, but I find the pattern pretty scary.
POSTED 8/4/1999
Syd, Austin, TX, United States, 21, Female, Christian, Asian, Lesbian, College student, 4 Years of College , Upper middle class, Mesg ID 83199993021
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Question:
From my observations, it seems that many Italian youth who would be steroetypically classified as being "ginos" or "ginas" put a tremendous importance on surface appearance and material values, almost to the point of looking "plastic" in those efforts to appear attractive. Not only that, but when this degree of observed "plasticity" appears high, there also seems to be a corresponding lack of depth, complexity and intellectual substance in the person displaying these traits. Where can this possibly originate from, when considering the fact that Italy has such a cultivated artistic and intellectual history?
POSTED 7/14/1999
G. Chan, Caledon East, NA, Canada, 23, Male, Agnostic, Asian, Gay, Student, 2 Years of College , Lower middle class, Mesg ID 71399125352

Responses:
I believe most teenagers are concerned about their physical appearance more then adults. Even the ones who are "grunge" try hard to look like they don�t care how they dress. It�s part of the insecurities of being a teenager. In my experience, part of the Italian culture is to be dramatic and flamboyant. Therefore, the teenagers may appear more concerned than they are about their appearance - it is just more noticeable.
POSTED 8/2/199
Kerry, Philadelphia, PA, United States, <kmormel@yahoo.com> , 29, Female, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, Straight, Human Resources, 2 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 730199940221

This is not just a youth thing within the Italian American community, and certainly not something unique to Italians. Italians are an outward-looking culture, very demonstrative, expressive. Some people believe Italians live life as if it were an opera - dramatic, colorful, vibrant, loud. Thus, Italian Americans first learn to live life on the outside. It also makes strong pressures to have material gain so that one can show his or her joy for life and presence in the world. I think it does make us look more superficial, but I think that characteristic is more Western than anything else. We learn later in life about having a rich, reflective life. There is also a historical trend that more Italians came to American during periods of extreme poverty, thus there is even greater presure to "show" that one has overcome these factors and to rationalize the sadness of leaving loved families and small villages in Italy.
POSTED 8/6/1999
Geno, Boston, MA, United States, Mesg ID 7169960458
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Question:
I was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease two years ago and sometimes have trouble walking because of it. However, when my medication is working well, there is almost no sign of the disease. Still, the medication can wear off in the space of a few minutes. I am considering getting a handicapped placard for my car, but am slightly concerned I will get dirty looks and questions if I am in one of my "on" periods and use the placard. If the medication wasn't so volatile and didn't wear off so quickly, I could use the placard only during my "off" periods. But I do not feel it would be wise to do so, since my "off" periods can come suddenly. Is this something I should worry about? Do people consider that a disabled person may not be visibly disabled, or that it may not be a full-time disability?
POSTED 6/11/1999
Larry, New York, NY, United States, <mancub@gay.net> , 36, Male, Presbyterian, White/Caucasian, Gay, Parkinson's Disease, Network Administrator, 2 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 689972456

Responses:
Larry, I can understand and relate to what you are going through. I, too, have a "hidden" disability - a heart condition that makes it difficult for me to walk far. I have had a handicapped parking card about 12 years. I do get some stares, but it is definitely worth it to go out and be able to get things done without worrying if you will be too tired or fall down, etc. I can't use stairs, and I get looks when I use the elevators to go up or down one flight. I have learned to ignore it. You should get one if you are eligible; as I see it, it is worth it.
POSTED 8/2/1999
DeAnne, Springfield, IL, United States, <Jiraff1@aol.com> , 35, Female, White/Caucasian, Straight, Congenital heart defect, Data input operator, 4 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 7311999120313
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Question:
I was browsing a Usenet group the other day and saw a posting by an African-American man who referred to young, white women as "Meagans." I have never heard an African-American man use this term to refer to a white woman (at least not in front of me). Is "Meagan" a common expression or just this one guy's term? I also got the feeling it was derogatory. Is it?
POSTED 7/26/1999
Crystal, Oakland, CA, United States, 30's, Female, Pagan, White/Caucasian, Straight, 2 Years of College, Mesg ID 5319974910

Responses:
Forever and a day, we've referred to white women as "Miss Ann," or we might use the term "gray girl." The term "Megan" is probably this guy's own term - but it makes sense: As blacks are no longer required to address white females with the pronoun "Miss." Prior to the civil rights movement, you could lose your life not using a "Miss," whether the white female was 3 or 103. I'm sure the name Megan is not one of the top 10 names a black family would name their daughter. It's just a name that, when used, would make you assume the person was a white female.
POSTED 8/2/1999
Kim H., Minneapolis, MN, United States, <KCHines22@msn.com> , 43, Female, Humanist, Black/African American, Actress, Playwright and Director, Over 4 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 727199991008

From my perception, the term "Meagan" has nothing to do with blacks having to refer to a girl/lady as "Miss..." I feel it is a non-racial term refering to the hordes of 13- or 14-year-old girls who go around dressing the same, listening to the same bubble-gum pop music and getting their views of life from Seventeen magazine. The term "Meagan" comes from the fact that Meagan is a common name. I imagine that the term was the guy's own creation, but I have also heard the term "Jennifers" tossed around, as in "The concert really was ruined because of all the Jennifers dancing around."
POSTED 8/6/1999
Jeremy, N/A, WI, United States, 17, Male, Atheist, White/Caucasian, Straight, High school student, Less than High School Diploma , Middle class, Mesg ID 84199973234
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Question:
Do most people think leaders of the religions of today are doing a good job helping others understand and open their hearts to other religions and people? Or are they mainly trying to show us, by all means, that there is no other truth but their own? What will happen to the world if all religions stay stuck in their own world and don't want to open up to other religions? Should they, or should they not? Will there be more ethnic cleansing, or will there be a single religion to replace all others to show the path of the soul and spirit?
POSTED 7/23/99
Sultan O., Geneva, NA, Switzerland, <sogva@iprolink.ch>, Mesg ID 7189953958

Responses:
I don't think it's the "job" of religious leaders to help people open their hearts to other religions. At least not religions that use the Bible as the basis for their religion. The Bible does teach to have love for all, even our enemies. (Romans 12:20) Regardless of someone's beliefs, each person should be respectful of that person's choice. With that said, it seems to me that some religious leaders have become more tolerant of beliefs of other religions. I also feel religious leaders are tremendously missing the mark with their "worship" and beliefs, so I hope they don't succeed in forcing people to believe their faith is the only truth. However, there is only one truth. At Ephesians 4:3-6, you can read about what is meant by "one faith." It points to a unity of thought; not a brainwashing, but the uniformity of beliefs in relation to God and His Kingdom. In verse 13 of that chapter, it refers to the oneness of the faith, and accurate knowledge. Accurate signifies precise, or adhering closely to a standard. Something precise cannot have many different beliefs regarding the soul, death, mode of worship, etc. So, even though religious leaders are not following the Scriptures as intended, they are somewhat correct in believing there is only one faith, one truth. As far as ethnic cleansing, let's hope we see no more of that in the near future. What will happen if religious leaders continue in their steadfast beliefs? Sooner or later, we will face the end of this system of things and Jesus will judge people, including religious leaders, to determine who has worshiped God in truth and deed, who are sheeplike at heart and who have misled many, are wicked or too haughty to submit to God's will (Matthew 24 & 25). Then, those religious leaders will find out if their faith was the one true faith or not.
POSTED 7/26/1999
Stacey, Northampton, MA, United States, <stimply@bigfoot.com> , 27, Female, White/Caucasian, Computer consultant, Over 4 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 7241999111021

The implications and concerns raised by the initial question are clearly illustrated, I believe, by Stacey's response. Her actual words are: "However, there is only one truth," which implies that those who do not agree with her are wrong. Her truth, conveniently, happens to be that one truth. As evidence, she relies on the tenents of her belief. Without debating whether her truth is the truth, the slippery slope that leads to ethnic cleansing begins with such propositions. Therein lies the dilemma: If one believes in Absolute Truth, then others, by necessity, are wrong. Those who believe that one pervasive Religious Truth will blanket the world, I believe, are unfortunately mistaken. The challenge, therefore, is to figure out how to accept the fact that others can believe in very different Absolute Truths. I don't have an answer for that. I know what works for me, and I also know that what works for me won't work for others. But I believe that religious tolerance and religious acceptance are important to strive for.
POSTED 7/29/1999
Daniel, New York, NY, United States, <dms@hotmail.com> , 43, Male, Jewish, White/Caucasian, Consultant, Over 4 Years of College , Upper middle class, Mesg ID 7291999122526

Some religions are open to other beliefs. Others are not. If they believe they are the one 'true' religion, they would not be honest if they allowed for the idea that whatever anyone wishes to believe has an equivalent level of truth. Yes, there will be a one world religion in the future. This is predicted in the book of Revelation. The religion will be a false one, however, and many will be decieved.
POSTED 7/29/1999
M. Kelley, Dallas, TX, United States, <Mark1k@aol.com>, Mesg ID 727199961328

I see religious leaders as saying "ours is the only truth." I hate the way some religions seem to be governed by rules rather than ethical discussion. It is generally believed that, for example, the Catholic Church has one opinion on homosexuality, rather than it being subject to individual interpretation. I can imagine a person who is totally committed to Catholicism yet thinks the reason for forbidding homosexuality was that sex outside marriage is immoral. If we allow gay people to marry, this problem is overcome. The problem is due to the preconceptions society had around/before Jesus' time. When religious beliefs can be individual and "de-institutionalized," it will be a more open and liberated world.
POSTED 7/30/1999

Tim M., Bagshot, NA, United Kingdom, 22, Male, Atheist, Over 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 730199912028
To M. Kelley: As I understand it, the Book of Revelation predicts two religions. The one that you mentioned in your message, and God's church.
POSTED 8/2/1999
T.R., San Jose, CA, United States, 17, Female, Student, Less than High School Diploma, Mesg ID 730199922523
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