Best of the Week
of Aug. 8, 2004

Best of Week ArchivesArchives

Here are the most intriguing cross-cultural exchanges either begun or advanced during the week of Aug. 8, 2004, as selected by Y? These postings, as well as "Best of the Week" entries from previous weeks, also can be found by accessing Y?'s database using the search form , or, in the case of posted before April 24, 1999, in the Original Archives (all questions from the Original Archives have been entered into the database as well). In the Original Archives, as well as in the database, you will find questions that have received answers, as well as questions still awaiting responses. You are encouraged to answer any questions relevant to your demographic background, as well as to ask any provocative question you desire. Answers posted are not necessarily meant to represent the views of an entire demographic group, but can provide a window into the insights of an individual from that group.

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Question:

OK I am 12 and in seventh grade. I got my parents to buy me a Gothic outfit. My mom said I could wear Goth as long I don't do devil worship. For a while my mood was good, but then my mom's mood went bad about it. And my dad is totally against Goth. But I liked it and feel my grades were improving. Then mom and I went to the store for clothes and she started cursing at me for picking black. I feel trapped. I thought I had found something I liked. Does anyone have any advice, stuff to tell my dad so he accepts Goth? Please hurry, I need help fast.
POSTED 8/9/2004
River, Heath, OH, United States, 12, Male, Christian, White/Caucasian, Straight, Less than High School Diploma, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 7182004111221

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Question:

Is Kabbalah a religion, a cult, or the new fad for celebrities? Is there any truth to the teachings of Kabbalah, or is it just an interpretation of the Torah from an insurance salesman?
POSTED 8/9/2004
K.M., Long Island, NY, United States, Mesg ID 7262004112040

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Question:

OK guys, tell an old white lady what the meaning of black males wearing long white t-shirts is. I've heard it was something racial and just wanted to be in the know
POSTED 8/9/2004
Cheri, Philly, PA, United States, 50, Female, White/Caucasian, Programmer, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 7302004115253

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Question:

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


Responses:

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

Now this is the most intriguing question I think I've ever seen on Y? Forum. Please, give us some more insight into why you feel you were born the wrong color, and what, if anything, can realistically be done to change that circumstance (Michael Jackson notwithstanding).
POSTED 8/8/2004
E.D., Kansas City, MO, United States, 48, Female, Black/African American, Mesg ID 714200492000

For one, why white? You haven't explained what it is about white people that appeals to you. Second, if it's that you don't want your hobbies and interest to only relate to what most black people find interesting, then you only need to look within yourself to define what it is that makes you who you are and not what other black people feel you should be. If it's only a matter of skin color, then you are not happy with yourself. The surgery question is bizarre because there is no rule saying you cannot change your skin color. Look at Michael Jackson.
POSTED 8/8/2004
J.P. Schumi, Sterling, VA, United States, 27, Male, Agnostic, Black/African American, Straight, Middle class, Mesg ID 715200424231

I don't mean to be unsympathetic, but either this is a hoax or you're mentally unstable. Might I suggest a good therapist in lieu of changing your race? Geez, if you hate yourself this much, I can only imagine how you feel about other African Americans. You sound like a danger not only to yourself but to innocent folks who happen to like and love who they are. If this is real, get professional counseling. If it's a hoax, get a damn hobby.
POSTED 8/8/2004
Rhonda P. Outlaw, Laurelton, NY, United States, 42, Female, Lutheran, Black/African American, Straight, Account Rep, 2 Years of College, Mesg ID 7162004104830

Feeling that you have been born the wrong gender often has a biological basis. Men and women are 'hard-wired' differently. What would be your reasons for wanting to change your race?To be more attractive? More successful? Funnier? Smarter? No race has the monopoly on any of those qualities.
POSTED 8/8/2004
Kimberla K., Brooklyn, NY, United States, 34, Female, Atheist, Black/African American, Bisexual, Management, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 7162004111948

All the skin lightener in the world won't change your heritage. It's who you are. Learn to change the things you can and accept the things you can't.
POSTED 8/8/2004
Keimo, Milwaukee, WI, United States, 20, Female, Black/African American, Straight, student, Middle class, Mesg ID 718200410202

Our identity is partly defined by our gender and our race. I am a Caucasian male, but that is not the most important part of my identity. Being a Christian is far more important to me. But if you don't want to go there, we have many choices to make in our lives. We can choose a career, a lifestyle, our health (by choosing a healthy lifestyle), our degree of physical fitness, our level of education, where to live and a host of other factors. If we choose one area and make it our fixation, then we make ourselves miserable.
POSTED 8/8/2004
A. Urbonas, Edmonton, Alberta, NA, Canada, Mesg ID 718200493934

You can change your skin color, but your race is determined by your parents. Michael Jackson's skin color changed, but he's still considered to African American. Why do you want to change color so badly? There's nothing wrong with being black. Maybe it's just the part of the country you live in that makes you feel the way you do. Don't let other people convince you that you're any less. Here in Detroit, all our mayors for the last 40 years have been black. Be proud of who you are.
POSTED 8/8/2004
Taz, Detroit, MI, United States, 33, Male, Mesg ID 719200481316

Are people telling you that you shouldn't do something because black people don't do it? It sounds more like your feelings are due to problems in society rather than your own problems. Racial identity is a social concept. But you are not responsible for other people's biggotry. I would suggest you accept that you look the way you look, and go out and feel free to ignore any rules you want about 'acting black.' If people won't accept you for doing that, are they really the sort of friends you want anyway?
POSTED 8/8/2004
Matt, Oxford, GA, United States, 26, Male, Christian, White/Caucasian, Straight, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 720200434026

No matter what people say, black people are still looked down upon in society. In the media, white is beautiful and black is just so-so. This may be why you feel the way you do. Besides, Michael Jackson has bascially changed his race, and people think he's weird because of it.
POSTED 8/8/2004
Senta, Herndon, VA, United Kingdom, Mesg ID 722200422606

I don't know where to start. How would one go about chaging their race? If you feel you are 'white,' then become white. Is it your looks, behavior, attitude, what? Being a human being is what defines us. Yes, there are many differences between races, but it is mostly based on cultural and regional factors. As human beings, we all share the joys and pain of life. You were born to be exactly who you are. Cherish the gift of life that God has given you. Surely God did not make a mistake.

Someone recently asked me if I ever thought about being 'white.' I thought about it for about two seconds and said, 'No, never crossed my mind.' However, I have thought that if I were to be born again, would I want to still be black? The answer is yes. Love yourself and you will find happiness.
POSTED 8/8/2004
Harvey, Los Angeles, CA, United States, 51, Male, Catholic, Black/African American, Straight, Sales, 2 Years of College, Upper class, Mesg ID 726200471510

Here's a loaded question. I question the idea of 'race.' I have met blond Latinos. People born in Latin American countries are Latin - even the blond ones. I have met black Cubans who get angry when they are referred to as 'African Americans' because they aren't American, and call themselves Latin. I have sat in front of someone on the bus saying, 'Dog, you a fool for axing me dat, yo. Course you can chill at my crib', but when they got off at their stop, I was surprised to see it was someone white. Historically, people were associated with their country (Othello was a Moor, not 'a black guy,' for example). Race is a relatively new concept. But specifically, what would you change? Your nose? Hair? Color of skin? Vernacular? Where you live? Turn the bass down in your car? Eat coleslaw instead of collards? What? 'Race' is very vague. But with a sex change, it's clear what you are changing. I know one man who often dresses as a woman, but even when he doesn't, you feel like you are with a woman. The energy is just different. So I think you are trying to justify your objections to sex change operations by comparing apples to lawnmowers.
POSTED 8/8/2004
Craig, Minneapolis, MN, United States, 41, Male, White/Caucasian, Gay, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 82200495730



You are who you are. It doesn't matter what color your skin is. It's not you who has the problem, it's the people around you who think the color of your skin should dictate how you act and speak. You could die your skin purple and you'd still be you. Don't focus on your race, focus on your soul.
POSTED 8/8/2004
Jamie, Milwaukee, WI, United Kingdom, 28, Female, White/Caucasian, Straight, 2 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 84200425104

I do not object to sex change operations at all. I just don't understand how we can have sex change operations but not race change operations. Everyone doesn't like their race, either. As for changing my race, I'd like to change my skin color and make my nose a little thinner. If people don't percieve me as black, they won't treat me like one. I won't experience any more bigotry, and I won't have to deal with the ridicule from other blacks telling me that I am 'acting white.' Plus I've always liked white culture more. I don't like rap music, urban clothes, soul food and other things pertaining to black culture. Even as a child, I refused to play with black dolls. I would only play with white dolls. I also preferred to play with white children more than black children. I've always felt as if I should have been born white. There should be procedures available to change your race.
POSTED 8/9/2004
BlackNoMore, n/a, na, United States, Christian, Black/African American, Straight, Middle class, Mesg ID 89200462432

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Question:

Is there a secret among Jehovah's Witnesses and gay men marrying to hide their homosexuality? I know a man who recently married and is a Jehovah's Witness but needs to come out of the closet. He was born and raised as a Jehovah's Witness and makes constant references to homosexuals. He has described seeing married couples and friends of his engage in secret, men-only orgy-type dinner parties.
POSTED 8/9/2004
Lynn M., Dayton, OH, United States, 38, Female, White/Caucasian, Straight, healthcare, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 83200490157

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Question:

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


Responses:

My annual income is over $100,000, and I have a college degree. I hope I never 'talk down' or demean someone who may be of a different socio-economic class than me. As long as someone uses proper English and is respectful, I will address them in the same manner. I do feel that proper English is important and prefer if someone pronounces words correctly, i.e. "library," not "liberry." Otherwise, I'm not sure how I would know someone is of a lower class - unless it is made obvious in a way other than communication.
POSTED 8/8/2004
Kathy, Springfield, IL, United States, 51, Female, White/Caucasian, Straight, Over 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 727200473046



I highly doubt that people in 'higher society' even think about how they talk to people. They're probably interested in their jobs and what kind of scandals they can get away with due to them being in the 'higher society,' as it's put. I also highly doubt that trying to communicate with people on a 'lower level' would even be a factor. They probably would just give a sigh of annoyance because people they communicate with wouldn't understand simple daily vocabulary.
POSTED 8/8/2004
Shane, Sherman Oaks, CA, United States, 25, Mesg ID 730200432901

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Question:

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


Responses:

Please. You know you live in America, where money is king. Why should they give you the time of day when there are probably plenty of rich boys for them to play with (unless you look like Brad Pitt or something)?
POSTED 8/8/2004
E.D., Kansas City, MO, United States, 48, Female, Black/African American, Mesg ID 714200492520



It seems obvious to me that you are dealing with some white people who are convinced that when a white girl gets involved with a minority (especially in an area like Texas), it is because no 'decent white guy' would have her. Not really a class/money issue, but more of a class/perception thing. There exists a perception that the only girls who even get hit on by blacks and Hispanics are the ones who are seen as an easy target (for sex, that is). An easy target is a girl who is unattractive, overweight, poor, undereducated, etc... I guess these rich white girls aren't so much saying you aren't good enough, but that being with you might make them seem not good enough to their friends.
POSTED 8/8/2004
Corey, Dallas, TX, United States, <cmmayo@yahoo.com>, 35, Male, Taoist, White/Caucasian, Straight, Teacher, 4 Years of College, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 715200472520

Under normal circumstances, women do not date or marry 'down.' There are a few real questions that are revealed by the way you phrased your question. One that's fairly obvious is, How would they know what socio-economic class you belong to? I mean, do you walk up to these women and say, 'Hi, I'm Nick and I'm lower middle class?' I doubt it. Another is, Are most of the 'upper class suburban females' white? If so, then again the answer is obvious. Third, and most interesting of all is, Why do you feel attracted to women who are obviously not attracted to you?
POSTED 8/8/2004
Julie, Woodbridge, VA, United States, 33, Female, Straight, Over 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 715200493715

I don't think its so much to do with race as class. I'm a white female from Europe who came from a working class neighborhood, and I can't stand being around rich girls - they are just so stuck up and cold. Maybe they just don't feel there is any common ground, so they don't bother to interact with 'commoners' like us!
POSTED 8/8/2004
Jay, New York, NY, United States, Female, Middle class, Mesg ID 716200455117

How do you act around these women? Some women are turned off by certain types of body language, attitude or tone of voice. It's all about the way you carry yourself.
POSTED 8/8/2004
A Girl From Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, NA, Canada, 25, Female, Asian, Graduate Student, Over 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 716200484948

The answer to your question is yes, no, maybe. Yes, there are stuck-up women, no, some are not, and some aren't sure who they are. OK, now what? Nick, I suspect you are young. Women have always been drawn to men who can provide. This has been true from the beginning of time. It's a fact, not a problem. If you are a decent, good and loving man, it is their loss.
POSTED 8/8/2004
Harvey, Los Angeles, CA, United States, 51, Male, Catholic, Black/African American, Straight, Sales, 2 Years of College, Upper class, Mesg ID 726200481659

Mi hermano, that happens down here in Venezuela too, and we're ALL Hispanic. Although the upper middle and upper classes down here are mostly white, you see all kinds of skin color. It has to do more with the cultural/educational level than anything else. It's a myth that upper level women seek just the money. Most will prefer a sweet, smart and sexy average profesional than a millionaire uncultured jerk. But they won't even talk to what they could consider a broke uncultured jerk. These women (not so much girls) are attracted to 'success,' which means that a man can carry a formidable household. It's biological, it's in their nature as subconscious mothers. That 'success' thing is hard to describe, it's not looks or money, it's a mix of it all: mind, body and wallet. If you look like a well-educated gentleman and you approach these upper-class girls as one, they will most surely respond in an appropriate manner. Socially speaking, birds of a feather flock together. That's the way it is down here, up there and everywhere. Tranquilo, y pa'lante mi hermano.
POSTED 8/8/2004
Nelson A., Caracas, NA, Venezuela, 35, Male, Hispanic/Latino (may be any race), Educator/Lawyer, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 727200493131

The question is, HOW do you approach these women? Are you walking up to them on the street or trying to to talk to them in a bar? I know that I feel uncomfortable when a man I don't know of any race walks up to me and starts asking me for my number, or being persistent, even when I make it clear I'm not interested. A lot of the women you describe may be shy, have a boyfriend, are in a hurry to get somewhere, or are simply not interested. It's all about how you approach and where.
POSTED 8/8/2004
Michele, New Orleans, LA, United States, 31, Female, Pagan, White/Caucasian, Straight, High School Diploma, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 88200430405

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


Responses:

I believe that most African Americans don't really 'celebrate' Independence Day as much as they enjoy the festivities that society at large sanctions for that day - since they typically get the day off work, anyway. My family has chosen to recognize and celebrate Juneteenth (June 19) as a day of independence in the black community. I have a young daughter, preschool age, and she will undoubtedly receive enough information about the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson and the Fourth of July to form her own opinions about it. Therefore, I know that as a parent it is my responsibility to provide her with the education and resources to understand and celerate her own heritage. In order to be an actual celebration, I think an event, holiday, etc has to be meaningful to the parties involved. It's sort of like going to a wedding for someone you don't know, or don't know well, versus going for a close friend or relative. That is when you feel it. That is why I celebrate Juneteenth.
POSTED 8/8/2004
Y., Richmond, VA, United States, 30, Female, Black/African American, 2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 7182004121754



We don't celebrate either, for the same reasons. It amazes me that we are called unpatriotic when our ancestors were enslaved on July 4, 1776. We are one of the most patriotic races; we have lost a lot of lives trying to be free, when other cultures came through Ellis Island with more freedoms than African Americans.
POSTED 8/8/2004
Adele, Philadelphia, PA, United States, Female, Black/African American, Straight, Over 4 Years of College, Upper class, Mesg ID 723200492345

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Question:

My hubby, on occasion, will ask me to fart for him. I don't mind, but I was wondering: how many people are interested in this odd fetish?
POSTED 8/9/2004
Jennifer S., Springfield, MA, United States, <jenst72@yahoo.com>, 31, Female, Lutheran, White/Caucasian, Bisexual, accountant, 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 86200462815

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Question:

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


Responses:

I don't think we put out more, I just think other people are less revealing about it. I think white females are just louder than the rest!
POSTED 7/14/2004
JessTsab, Norfolk, VA, United States, <anydaynow0715@msn.com>, 20, Female, Christian, White/Caucasian, Military, Technical School, Mesg ID 713200441528



Growing up in central Florida, there was a high rate of teen pregnancy among black girls, and a much lower rate among whites, and even lower among Hispanics. Of course this doesn't necessarily mean white girls are having less sex than black girls, maybe it's just they are using protection more often. Recently I taught high school in the same town in which I grew up. About 98 percent of my students who had children were black, and several already had two kids with a third on the way. This expression of sexuality seemed socially accepted within the black community, even almost expected, which I found unfortunate, because the girls weren't even 17 and didn't have the chance to find out who they were before assuming the role of Mom.
POSTED 8/8/2004
S,, Central Florida, FL, United States, 29, Female, White/Caucasian, Straight, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 714200455247

I don't think white girls 'put out' more, but I do think they're more open-minded about sex and have less hangups. And I think this is very healthy (unless of course you're promiscuous, which is not a good idea). White culture in general is more open-minded about many things. If you check any statistics on sexually transmitted diseases or teen pregnancies, you'll find white females have significantly lower rates than blacks and Hispanics, which would suggest that they're not as sexually active as others may believe. I remember one time a Hispanic girl was boasting that 'Spanish girls don't like to give ourselves to guys so easily'. The irony was that she had had a baby at age 15 and had two kids with two different guys, yet I had no kids and had lost my virginity at 21, and here she was suggesting that Hispanics are more chaste than white girls. Even her brother was like, 'What the hell is she talking about?' I couldn't help but laugh.
POSTED 8/8/2004
Jay, New York, NY, United States, Female, Middle class, Mesg ID 716200455946

Contrary to what you may think, from my observations at a high school with many minorities, African Americans were among the first to participate in sexual activity (there is no harm in this statement, it's just an observation). In fact, in the great state of Minnesota, the pregnancy rate for 15- to 19-year-olds was highest among African Americans (almost 4 times that of Caucasians), followed by Hispanics, whose rate was almost twice as much as Caucasians (1990 Census). This pattern continues throughout almost all states in our country. I know pregnancy rates may have little to do with how much girls may 'put out' because some may choose to use protection, but I just thought these would be some helpful statistics.
POSTED 8/8/2004
Jana, Maple Grove, MN, United States, 18, Female, Christian, White/Caucasian, Straight, student, Less than High School Diploma, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 872004112300

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Question:

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


Responses:

I've always assumed most people loudly carrying on a conversation in public alone are talking on a cell phone. Perhaps you don't see the cord?
POSTED 7/14/2004
Christina, New York, NY, United States, Female, Mesg ID 713200452210



Are you sure they're not using one of those new cell phones with the headphones? I've been taken aback by people (of all races) who I thought were talking to themselves, only to discover they were using one of those new-fangled devices.
POSTED 8/8/2004
E.D., Kansas City, MO, United States, 48, Female, Black/African American, Mesg ID 714200492803

I am black and don't talk to myself, nor have I seen any blacks talking to themselves. Maybe it's just Delaware, where you live. Anyone who does talk to themselves I stay far away from because they have too many 'bricks missing from their wall'.
POSTED 8/8/2004
Cocoa, Tampa, FL, United States, Black/African American, Mesg ID 7272004122907

I think what you may be noticing (especially among black males) is the tendency for many of them to rap lyrics or sing while going along with their day. My boyfriend raps the lyrics to his favorite rap tunes multiple times during the day, and if you did not know him, you could understandably think he was talking to himself. Other than that, I really do not see a difference in the way blacks and other races 'talk to themselves'.
POSTED 8/8/2004
Amber, Greenville, NC, United States, 23, Female, Black/African American, student, 2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 727200412311

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