Best of theWeek
of Aug. 10, 2003
 

Best of WeekArchivesArchives

Here are the most intriguing cross-cultural exchangeseither begun or advanced during the week of Aug. 10, 2003, asselected by Y? These postings, as well as "Best of the Week" entriesfrom previous weeks, also can be found by accessing Y?'s databaseusing the search form , or, in the case ofposted before April 24, 1999, in the OriginalArchives (all questions from the Original Archives havebeen entered into the database as well). In the Original Archives, aswell as in the database, you will find questions that have receivedanswers, as well as questions still awaiting responses. You areencouraged to answer any questions relevant to your demographicbackground, as well as to ask any provocative question you desire.Answers posted are not necessarily meant to represent the views of anentire demographic group, but can provide a window into the insightsof an individual from that group.

 First-time users should first make a quick stopat Y?'s guidelines pages for asking andanswering questions.

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When They Come Out Of The Rain?"


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Question:

What do people on the coasts think about the Midwest and its inhabitants?Do you think we're all unsophisticated, easygoing farm folk? And if you'veever visited the Midwest, where did you go and what were your impressions?And why do (some) people from the coasts think that where they live is somuch better?
POSTED 8/12/2003
Molly, St. Louis, MO, United States, 23, Female, Catholic, White/Caucasian,Straight, student, 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 810200365704


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Question:

Why are so many men completely ignorant when it comes to female anatomy?I've come across men who swear women pee out of their vaginas or butts. Somemen have no idea about PMS and they constantly repeat the false stereotypethat all women are raging and angry during PMS. Some have no idea that womendilate to accommodate men during sex or to give birth; they think they canjust push something in or that she can just push something out on a whim.Did these men forget what they learned in sex ed?
POSTED 8/12/2003
Annie, Somewhere, MO, United States, Female, Mesg ID 810200335257


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Question:

From my real-life experiences, and also from browsing through Y? Forum andother sites on the Internet, sometimes it seems that the most racist commentscome from people who should be more understanding: fellow minorities. SometimesI think open-minded whites are much more understanding of a particular race'splight than someone from another minority background, who usually has alsobeen a victim of white racism. Why is this? Why would Asians, Hispanics,Asian Indians, Native Americans, etc. view blacks through stereotypical lenses,when they themselves have also been victimized by white racism? By the sametoken, why do some African Americans lack compassion for other minorities'plights, or are quick to believe the media? I have seen some of this evidentamong perceptions of Arab Americans after 9/11. At least with an open-mindedwhite person, they're more apt to see a need for a change in their thinking.Sometimes I think minorities are less apt to see they need to change theirperception about another race, especially when it comes to African Americans.Why is this issue so ignored by the media and minority communities?
POSTED 7/20/2003
Kristina, Washington, DC, United States, 22, Female, Black/African American,Straight, Student, 2 Years of College, Upper class, Mesg ID 719200350126


Responses:

I can think of a couple of reasons. Let me start with an example: Do youknow that some Louisiana Creoles (of mixed black and white ancestry) triedto form their own units in the Confederate Army? At first that might notmake sense, until you realize that they thought the Confederacy would win.And who would it make more sense to ally yourself with, racist whites withall the guns, money and power, or virtually powerless black slaves? I thinkmuch the same thing is going on when you hear someone nonwhite being racisttoward another minority. Even some black comedians told jokes about thisafter 9/11: 'Oh, now that Ay-rabs are the ones getting profiled, I'm allin favor of it! It gets the cops and the white people to quit from alwaysstaring at me!' And some of these minorities are more 'white-looking' than'black-looking.' Lighter-skinned Latinos, mixed-blood American Indians andeven some Asians can get mistaken for white and thus enjoy some of the sameprivileges of white skin. This is hardly the first time minorities have triedto win acceptance by joining in on the prejudice against another group. Tryreading 'How the Irish Became White,' or for that matter, go see Martin Scorcese's'Gangs of New York.' Many of these minorities also have a long history oftheir own, prior to even getting to the United States, of discrimination.There is a color bar in Latin America, as well as color/caste bars in India.Finally, has it occurred to you that this doesn't get as much attention becauseit's not as important? Who has more ability to make your life and mine miserable,racists in the GOP like David Duke and Ann Coulter, or the East Indian shopkeeperon the corner?
POSTED 7/22/2003
A.C.C., Phoenix, AZ, United States, 37, Male, Mexican and American Indian,Teacher, Over 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 721200345837

I agree with you totally. After 9-11, almost all racial slurs I got werefrom blacks and Hispanics. I am starting to think that suffering probablyhardens people rather than makes them more compassionate.
POSTED 7/22/2003
Karim, Cairo, NA, Egypt, 23, Male, Muslim, Arab, Grad student, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 722200354403

I think that maybe minorities discriminate against fellow minorities becauseit takes the pressure off them, even for a brief period of time. There isa theory (the theorist escapes me) that says the oppressed eventually becomethe oppressor when given a chance. I'm not saying this is right, but beforeyou go with the compassionate white vs. the angry minority stance, rememberthat studies have been done to show that still, in 2003, the defense attorneyrepresenting a criminal (whether he or she is minority or not) on trial wantsthe jury to be mostly composed of minorities, because they tend to be morecompassionate than white jurors when it comes to judging someone on the basisof a criminal activity.
POSTED 8/9/2003
Alex, Houston, TX, United States, 20, Female, scientist, 2 Years of College, Lower class, Mesg ID 7242003121922

Just about every ethnic group that has come here has treated African Americanspoorly. And Muslims are no exception. Whenever an injustice was committedagainst a black person, I didn't see any 'ethnic' people rallying with us.In the aftermath of 9/11, when Muslims were treated badly, unfairly labeledas terrorists and criminals, my thoughts were, 'Well, now you know how mypeople feel.' Now they, too, know the humiliation of being labeled 'lessthan' just because of their color or your religion. My empathy lies withmy own people, who are still being treated 'less than.' So sorry, I'm allout of empathy for others.
POSTED 8/9/2003
Rhonda P. Outlaw, Laurelton, NY, United States, <Rhonda_Outlaw@ars.aon.com>,41, Female, Lutheran, Black/African American, Straight, 2 Years of College,Middle class, Mesg ID 728200320015

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Question:

I have often heard black Americans refer to a white woman as 'Miss Anne'or sometimes 'Miss Amy.' Where do these terms come from?
POSTED 8/12/2003
Amber, Cambridge, MA, United States, 42, Female, 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 810200333048

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Question:

I'd like to get some personal impressions from people about obesity:
1) How does an overweight person look to you, compared to an obese person?That is, how big their stomachs, arms and legs are; what their dress sizeand weight are; etc.
2) What other physical features do you look for or notice in such a person?And is there a point at which a person's weight becomes the only thing youcan focus on?
3) In appearance and personality, what sort of things make an overweight or obese person more appealing to you?
POSTED 8/12/2003
Elise, Birmingham, AL, United States, 21, Female, Episcopalian, White/Caucasian,College Student, 2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 811200311703


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Question

I'm 38 and recently divorced, with no children. I still want to havechildren but have barely reached the point of dating again. I hear the 'clock'in the back of my head, but I don't want to get involved with someone justbecause time is of the essence. I'm interested to know what people thinkabout older first-time moms. What would be a cut-off point (age-wise) whereit wouldn't be looked upon as strange to deliberately have a child in one'sforties?
POSTED 8/9/2003
Nancy, Houston, TX, United States, 38, Female, Episcopalian, White/Caucasian,Straight, Teacher, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 89200340333

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Question:

I read in a travel book that in parts of Australia, finishing a drinkand putting a glass upside down on the bar means you think you can win afight with anyone present. Why would that be so, and what parts of Australiadoes this happen in?
POSTED 8/9/2003
Cathy L., Dhekelia, NA, Cyprus, 19, Female, Christian, White/Caucasian, Straight, High School Diploma, Mesg ID 89200362056


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Question:

There are paid sex services for straight men and women, and gay men. Butis there any lesbian prostitution? Also, is 'lesbian porn' consumed onlyby heterosexual men, or do women watch it, too?
POSTED 8/5/2003
I.S., Helsinki, NA, Finland, 32, Female, Atheist, White/Caucasian, Straight,Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 82200374752


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Question:

I am a middle-class teacher in a low-to-middle class area and wouldlike to hear your thoughts on why some parents seem to put little value ontheir childrens' education. Don't they want their children to have everyadvantage possible in life, and aren't basic reading and math skills advantagesfor everyone? Or do some people have such issues with the public schoolsthat they 'sabotage' teachers' and schools' efforts just out of spite? Iam not talking about responses to bad teachers and hateful administrators;I am talking about general disdain for anything academic. I sincerely wantto understand, because it kills me to see this happening to kids before theyeven know what they could be capable of.
POSTED 7/20/2003
Marita L., Athens, GA, United States, 27, Female, Christian, White/Caucasian,Straight, Teacher, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 715200313511


Responses:

It has been proven, through standardized testing and school rankings, thata parent's reaction to what a child learns in school has much to do withthe parent's education level. Parents who have post-secondary educationsand/or are in professional jobs (e.g. teachers, managers, doctors, etc.)are more likely to encourage their kids to do well in school than those whoare less educated.
POSTED 7/21/2003
Cynthia, Toronto, Ontario, NA, Canada, 23, Female, Asian, Grad Student inEducation, Over 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 721200385547

I share your disappointment with some parents and the education of theirchildren. My parents came from Eastern Europe and valued education, and promotedit. Some North Americans have a disrespect for achievement, which can bea distortion of humility. Recognizing that our abilities come from God, weare being good stewards by using what has been given to us, and to use itto the best of our ability. From what I have seen, it is better to have adesire to achieve in a person of average ability than to have a person withgreat ability having lost their desire to achieve.
POSTED 7/21/2003
A. Urbonas, Edmonton, Alberta, NA, Canada, 50, Christian, Over 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 721200322647

I've had experience with people from almost all classes in society, rangingfrom the lowest to at least upper-middle class. I can't say I know any filmstars, but I do have friends with incredibly large houses and two-doctorsalaries in their household. I'm also incredibly interested in psychologyand people in general. I think there are numerous reasons why parents putlittle to no emphasis on their children's education. Sometimes it is becausethey truly believe education holds no actual value. If they themselves grewup in a lower-class household, and their parents had jobs requiring littleskill, or those that just didn't pay well, and they now have these same kindsof jobs themselves, they will often think, 'What's good enough for me isgood enough for my kids.' Sometimes they truly believe that because theirchild doesn't have an IQ of 150, he or she can't get anywhere that far inlife, and will follow the same path as they did. Other times, it's becausethey need the child to do other non-academic tasks at home. This will bemore common when the child is one of a large family, and one of the olderfew. He or she might be required to look after his or her younger siblings,run errands, etc. This could also be the case in one-parent families, especiallyif that parent is consistently unwell, or has a demanding job. It soundsodd that a parent would take a child out of school simply to do the jobsyou'd normally expect the parent to do, but it does happen. Using the childis obviously cheaper and easier than hiring a nanny or asking someone elseto weed the garden.
POSTED 8/5/2003
Pic A., Birmingham, NA, United Kingdom, <punk_in_chains@hotmail.com>,16, Female, Satanist, White/Caucasian, Bisexual, Student, Less than HighSchool Diploma, Upper class, Mesg ID 82200341414

I find it disturbing that you make the sweeping assumption that all poorpeople lack any interest in anything academic. I was raised by a single motherfrom a poor to a working/middle class neighborhood. From my own experience,my mother emphasized the importance of education, even though she never attendedbeyond high school. What's even further disturbing is that if you, as a teacher,carry this assumption every time you enter the classroom, you are creatingan environment of low expectations, which can also be translated into 'sabotaging'the academic progress of your students. The problem in the United Stateswith respect to education is the fact that many adults and children failto see the connection between academics and success. And to some extent theseopinions have some truth to them. Preferences based on social class, raceand gender significantly affect the opportunities needed to become successful.When people perceive that hard work, ambition and motivation lead to successin life, you see a significant difference in the performance of students.
POSTED 8/9/2003
SoulOnIce, Philadelphia, PA, United States, 26, Male, Black/African American,4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 722200342106

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Question:

Is the phrase 'Call a spade a spade' racist? If so, what does it mean? Does anyone know the origin of this phrase?
POSTED 7/20/2003
Thomas, South Orange, NJ, United States, 34, Male, Jewish, White/Caucasian,Straight, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 3182003100727


Responses:

Other than a pointy shovel or a card suit, what is a spade as pertaining to a population group?
POSTED 7/21/2003
John, New York, NY, United States, Male, Mesg ID 721200313818

Calling a spade a spade just means calling something what it really is. Forinstance, calling a fat person fat instead of big boned or heavy. You cansee how it would be used in a racist way, though.
POSTED 7/21/2003
Ivana, Lancaster, PA, United States, Female, Mesg ID 721200365812

I don't think this saying has any racial connotation - it simply means 'don'teuphemize, just identify something as it really is.'
POSTED 7/21/2003
Jay, New York, NA, United States, Male, Mesg ID 7212003114902

I have never heard the phrase used as such, but if you read the FAQs forthe Internet newsgroup alt.english.usage, you'll find that 'to call a spadea spade' was not originally a slur, although in present usage it can be takenthat way via another popular phrase 'black as the ace of spades,' referringto a deck of playing cards: http://www.english-usage.com/faq.html#fxtocall
POSTED 7/21/2003
T.C., Phoenix, AZ, United States, 35, Male, White/Caucasian, Gay, Web Developer,Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 7212003124357

I was always under the impression that it was referring to the suits in adeck of cards. Everyone I know has always thought of it this way, too. It'sanother way of saying 'tell it like it is'. If it does have a racist origin,I'm sure most people are not aware of it, and certainly don't mean it thatway. There are a lot of words that at one time had completely innocent meanings,but over time have been re-defined to mean something else not so nice. It'sa shame people do this, but that's life. Sometimes things are meant to betaken at face value with no hidden malicious meanings.
POSTED 8/9/2003
Taz, Detroit, MI, United States, 32, Male, Mesg ID 723200394140

I remember seeing this phrase in the English translation of the Greek writerErasmus; 'I have learned to call wickedness by its own terms: A fig is afig and a spade a spade.' This would make it 300 BC or so. The saying ismeant to indicate someone who speaks frankly. 'Spade' is clearly a racistterm in the United States, likely due to the black color of the spade, asin shovel, or the spade, as in the Ace of Spades. Therefore, the saying hasalso had its meaning adjusted to 'if someone is black, call them black.'
POSTED 8/9/2003
Steve, Houston, TX, United States, 47, Male, White/Caucasian, Straight, CorporateSlug, Over 4 Years of College, Upper class, Mesg ID 728200393742

One of my friends has been called 'spade face' for years because she hasa big nose, but I've never heard of any racist connotations with the phrase.Why a 'spade,' anyway? Why not a bicycle, or a raincoat?
POSTED 8/9/2003
Letty, London, NA, United Kingdom, 16, Female, White/Caucasian, Straight,Less than High School Diploma, Middle class, Mesg ID 89200332139

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Question:

I would like to hear from Jewish people about why there is such hostilitytoward them. I have read about biased people who hate Jews, but I also sensethat political correctness masks so much insight that it makes it difficultfor non-Jews to gain an understanding of Jewish people. Please, if you will,offer explanations, and hopefully we can have a better understanding of eachother.
POSTED 7/20/2003
Reez, Toronto, Ontario, NA, Canada, 32, Male, Asian, chemist, 4 Years of College, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 319200310104


Responses:

I am on the left in politics. Everyone says that the left hates Jews.But there are leftist Jew-haters, rightist Jew-haters and anti-Jews who justdon't give a **** about politics. Lots of it has to do with the occupationof Palestine. The problem is that good Jews are not outspoken enough. Theyare blamed as self-hating. If the only Jews that Palestinians see are settlersand soldiers with Kalashnikovs, their image will not be that great.
POSTED 7/21/2003
John, New York, NY, United States, Male, Mesg ID 721200320317



It appears to me that you should be asking your question of anti-semites,not Jews. How on earth should I know why people hate me because of my religiousbeliefs?
POSTED 8/9/2003
Jerry, Tampa, FL, United States, 69, Male, Jewish, White/Caucasian, attorney,Over 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 723200375339

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Question:

Why do women's versions of sports generally go ignored by the mediaand the population, with the exception of gymnastics, ice skating and tennis,in which women manage to garner a major percentage of the attention?
POSTED 7/20/2003
Andromeda, Washington, DC, United States, 17, Female, Agnostic, Hispanic/Latino(may be any race), Straight, Student, High School Diploma, Middle class,Mesg ID 720200323043


Responses:

Really wanna know? Voyeurism. If the participants of these sports were towear black body suits, how many people would watch? Spend some time observingMEN sometime. Even the most 'respectable' men will steal a 'crotch shot'when the opportunity presents. Observe the family man checking into a resorthotel, bending his eyes looking at females his daughter's age walking throughthe lobby to the pool. Men are dogs.
POSTED 7/27/2003
Tommy, Sault St Marie, MI, United States, Male, Mesg ID 726200322557

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Question:

Why do Jehovah's Witnesses believe Jesus was crucified on a wooden pole andnot a cross, if it has been historically proven that Romans used crossesfor their crucifixions and not poles?
POSTED 7/20/2003
Andromeda, Washington, DC, United States, 17, Female, Agnostic, Hispanic/Latino(may be any race), Straight, Student, High School Diploma, Middle class,Mesg ID 720200331019


Responses:

In the Jehovah's Witness version of the Bible, it doesn't say he was crucifiedon a cross but on a wooden pole. It could be a mistake in the translationor just a plain fact. You should speak to a Jehovah's Witness to get moreinformation if you are really interested.
POSTED 8/9/2003
Luis, San Jose, CA, United States, 20, Male, Christian, Hispanic/Latino (maybe any race), Straight, student, 2 Years of College, Lower middle class,Mesg ID 87200353207

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Question:

Is it just me, or does it seem like a disproportionate number of people withleg disabilities, like shortened or twisted legs and pronounced limps, areAsian? I've been in the San Francisco Bay Area all my life, where there arelots of Asians, and I never really see whites or blacks with such disabilities- Asians predominate. The handful of such people (like my ex-boss) I've personallyknown have been immigrants, as opposed to second- or later-generation Americans.Is it something about the way such injuries and/or birth defects are handled(or not) in countries like Taiwan and Vietnam (citing two examples from mypersonal experience)?
POSTED 7/20/2003
Kevin, Walnut Creek, CA, United States, 38, Male, Atheist, Straight, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 720200334532


Responses:
I noticed that myself at the local shopping mall last night. There was anelderly Asian man missing his entire right arm and part of his shoulder.According to several magazine articles I read, there are many land minesthat were left over from the Vietnam War that were never removed. Now theyare being inadvertently 'discovered' by innocent people, adults and children,who often lose limbs when they accidently step on them.
POSTED 7/22/2003
Chandra, Detroit, MI, United States, 26, Female, Jehovahs Witness, Black/AfricanAmerican, 2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 722200374302

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