Best of the Week
of Aug. 22, 2004

Best of Week ArchivesArchives

Here are the most intriguing cross-cultural exchanges either begun or advanced during the week of Aug. 22, 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:

What do older adults think of teens listening to classic rock? Quite a few of my friends and I like Led Zeppelin - and, for the most part, older adults comment positively on it. However, we have also encountered a few older adults who have given us grief for liking 'their' music and asked us why we don't listen to, say, Avril Lavigne like 'other kids your age do.' If you're a teen who likes classic rock, what has your experience been with that? If you're an older adult who likes classic rock, how do you feel about the younger generation liking it, too?
POSTED 8/23/2004
Emily G, Toronto, Ontario, NA, Canada, 16, Female, Christian, Mesg ID 822200444707

 


Responses:
I am THRILLED if I hear of the next generation listening to classic rock! We feel that 'our' music will live on for generations, just like the music of the Beatles, and when we hear teenagers rocking to Van Halen, we see it happening. It's a wonderful thing. The people who give you a hard time are just being selfish, I guess. Maybe they want it for themselves, which is ridiculous. Music is for everyone, not just certain age demographics. Rock on, sister!
POSTED 8/29/2004
Shari, Canton, MI, United States, 33, Female, White/Caucasian, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 824200433041

To tell you the truth, I am quite surprised by the reverse prejudice you have received by those select few who wonder why you are listening to 'their' music. I was raised with classic rock alongside other genres, and my mother and I are always finding interesting things between old and new rock. I think it's great that you have the desire to listen to what has been done, which can only give you an appreciation for what is being done now. Like anything in history, the more you know, the better you can articulate and critique your interest.
POSTED 8/29/2004
Paul S., Acampo, CA, United States, 23, Male, Half white, half indonesian, Straight, Mesg ID 828200413140


My friends and I listened to bands like Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Queen...and I grew up in the late '80s when those bands were no longer popular. We also listened to even older stuff like The Doors and The Rolling Stones. And you know what? I STILL listen to them, as well as bands people your age listen to like Linkin Park and Godsmack. It's great that you and your friends have an open mind and a broad musical taste. Stay that way. When you get 'older' like me, people will love that about you.
POSTED 8/29/2004
Michele, New Orleans, LA, United States, 31, Female, Pagan, White/Caucasian, Straight, High School Diploma, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 8292004101715

It's weird that someone griefed you for liking music they do. It's usually the opposite. I appreciate all kinds of music from every ethnicity and time, and whenever I meet someone who likes one of those 'off-the-beaten trail' genres, they're usually enthusiastic about finding someone they can relate to. My dad and I listen to classic rock together, and it has more than anything brought us closer. The only logical explanation I can give for someone not appreciating your liking it would be if they think you're just trying to follow a trend by doing it. I know I dislike it when people purposely seek out obscure or unpopular music and bands to sound like they're 'hardcore'.
POSTED 8/29/2004
Zac, Ripon, CA, United States, <Smith7929@yahoo.com>, 19, Male, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, Straight, 2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 829200444750

I think it's fabulous. I enjoy much of the music my parents listened to (Big Band, mostly) as well. My children are in their early twenties. They are quite passionate in their love of a lot of my generation's music. It's nice to know there is a bridge across the generation gap.
POSTED 9/7/2004
William H., San Jose, CA, United States, <immrbill@att.net>, 52, Male, White/Caucasian, Straight, engineer, 2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 952004123357

The fact that you listen to 'Classic Rock' shows that you have an open mind. Music is for all time. You just keep listening and enjoy. Do not concern yourself with the limited thinking of others. If they were true music lovers, they would introduce you to new 'classics' that you may have overlooked!
POSTED 9/15/2004
Harvey, Los Angeles, CA, United States, 51, Male, Black/African American, Mesg ID 9132004102732

I raised seven children. The youngest is still in his teens. All of them love all kinds of music. No one really 'owns' music. It belongs to all of us. I grew up listening to my parents' music, which was swing. But rock and roll came and, well, I loved it and still love it. I cannot believe someone would be so rude to give you 'grief' for liking a certain kind of music. I respect any person who is open-minded enough to listen to different music. When I was 14, I got 'into' Bartok and Stravinsky. My parents hated rock and roll but REALLY hated John Cage. Keep listening to the music you love. I am an older adult who likes classic rock - as I love other music. Keep listening. Rock and roll is here forever!
POSTED 9/15/2004
Juanita, Sonoma, CA, United States, Female, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, Straight, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 913200493652

My older daughter, a college freshman, has an astonishing knowledge of rock and popular music. She knows everybody now current, in all genres, and all the popular artists of the '90s, '80s, '70s and '60s. You can't stump her until you get into some of the more obscure stuff from the '50s. Where she mentally stores all that, I don't know. My younger daughter, a high school sophomore, doesn't have that Velcro memory. She prefers today's stuff, although she does have a few classics she likes - including, of course, 'Stairway to Heaven.' (Oddly, she and all her friends have also picked out Boy George's 'Karma Chameleon' as a particular favorite.) What do I think? I love that they like some of the same stuff I did, and for the same reasons. I'm afraid it's not a two-way street; I don't like much of what my younger daughter listens to because it's too dark and Goth and miserable as far as I'm concerned. No love songs, and pictures of the artists smiling strictly forbidden.
POSTED 9/15/2004
Leslie L., East Lansing, MI, United States, 51, Female, Unitarian, White/Caucasian, Straight, Teacher, Over 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 914200490433

I am an older adult and I think it's great! But, I also have heard negative comments from people my age about teens listening to 'our' music. Perhaps they feel they need to have something of their own to 'own' for their generation, or maybe some folks just like to find something to gripe about.
POSTED 9/15/2004
Nancy S., Buffalo, NY, United States, <yoyoauntie @earthlink.net>, 49, Female, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, Straight, social worker, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 9152004104222

Congratulations Emily! You have just made the amazing discovery that older adults are just as human as everyone else. Some of us are just as insecure now as we were when WE were teens. Personally, I see no more difference in your liking the music of an older generation than there is in my likeing Big Band Era music. If each generation were expected to like only the music of their own age, where would classical music be? Some of those guys wrote centuries ago and their music is still loved. By the way, the best test of a 'classic' is how many generations beyond it still find it appealing. P.S. I really like 'Los Lonely Boys'. Am I not acting my age?
POSTED 10/3/2004
J.D. Ricks, Mesa, AZ, United States, 50, Male, Mormon, White/Caucasian, Straight, crippled with arthritis, mechanic, 2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 915200445921

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Question:

Is it offensive to point out someone by their race? For example, if you point out someone on a street to your friend by saying 'the black person over there.' Here in the United Kingdom some people are very uncomfortable with this, and they will do anything to avoid mentioning someone's race. Is this worrying justified? If there is only one black person in a white crowd, doesn't it make it easier to identify them by just saying 'the black person'?
POSTED 8/23/2004
Dom, Birmingham, NA, United Kingdom, Mesg ID 8232004103728

 


Responses:
If he's the only black guy in the crowd, sure, go for it. In parts of downtown Detroit here, it's easier to point out 'the white guy.' I think that as long as you're not using any racial slurs, you'll be OK. As a general rule, I usually pick the most obvious thing about the person and go with that. Some people are over-sensitive about race. Those types are going to find fault in just about anything you say, anyway.
POSTED 8/26/2004
Taz, Detroit, MI, United States, 33, Male, Middle class, Mesg ID 823200412910

I think it's human nature to use race to identify people, particularly if everyone else is your same race. I know I have done this same thing when pointing out people not of my race. As long as things aren't said in disgust, I don't see a problem doing this.
POSTED 8/26/2004
Kristina, Washington, DC, United States, 23, Female, Black/African American, Straight, Homemaker, 2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 824200471445

The people made uncomfortable by this are people who aren't overtly racist but are just enough that it's uncomfortable for them to mention race in any way. If there's a room full of white people and one black guy, of course I'm gonna use that to point him out. It's not meant in a derogatory way; I just wanted to point that guy out, and he's the only person with that skin color. I mean, if it were a room full of people in red shirts, and one woman had a white shirt on, you wouldn't point her out as 'The person with the brown shoes on.' It's not racist, although I'm sure some people might take it that way.
POSTED 8/26/2004
Frank, Memphis, TN, United States, 19, Male, Atheist, White/Caucasian, Straight, student, 2 Years of College, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 8252004120320

It is not offensive to distinguish someone by their color. The fact is, color is an obvious feature. I will use “color” to narrow down an identity of someone - just like I use hair color, eyes or weight. Even within a crowd of blacks, there are various hues. Many blacks will state various shades of black (high yellow, red, etc.). Not too many whites know about these descriptions because many blacks don’t openly discuss this in front of whites.
So don’t walk on eggshells regarding the description of race. Race is a fact of life. It describes who we are not what we are.
POSTED 9/1/2004
Audrey, Tampa, FL, United States, <riley@therileygroup.org>, 36, Female, Black/African American, Diversity Consultant, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 8302004103948

Maybe my opinion will be ignored since I'm from the United States and because of our country's history when dealing with 'race.' But if I want to identify someone, I use the most obvious characteristics. The first of these is skin color (white, black, etc.). If not white, it may need some elaboration, for example, 'coffee colored' as opposed to 'chocolate colored.' So I don't see anything wrong with mentioning the subject's race, as long as it's done in a non-prejudicial manner. It's like calling a rock a rock.
POSTED 9/1/2004
Wayne, Parsippany, NJ, United States, 43, Male, Black/African American, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 831200484224

I've been around white friends who have identified the black person in a group by their shirt color or hairstyle or something else innocuous when it would have clearly been easier to say 'the black guy,' and I think it's kinda silly. I don't know any black people who would hesitate to describe someone as the 'white guy' if that was the easiest way to describe them. Now if you say 'the nigger over there,' that's different!
POSTED 10/3/2004
Huey, Atlanta, GA, United States, Black/African American, Mesg ID 913200432820

I don't find it offensive when race is just used as a descriptive word to distinguish someone in a crowd, and anyone who is offended by that is just silly and oversensitive and probably would be offended by just about anything.
POSTED 10/3/2004
Alise, Durham, NC, United States, <alisenikkole@yahoo.com>, 25, Female, Christian, Black/African American, Lesbian, Admin. Assist., 2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 914200413243

Your point is well taken and presented. Skin color is a natural part of every person's description. The use of skin color in identifying someone has declined dramatically over the past 40 years. So much so that lost children are seldom identified as 'white' or 'black' or by race. Many times a posted picture is the only way of knowing the missing child's/person's ethnicity. As your example clearly illustrates, using a descriptive color enables quick inclusion or exclusion during a search.
POSTED 10/3/2004
Ep, Nunan, GA, United States, 58, Male, Christian, White/Caucasian, Straight, parent/grandparent, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 9152004124627

The tendency to avoid the mention of race is rampant in the United States, too, even when it makes communication easier and more logical. Race seems to be a taboo subject in all occasions. I specify any characteristic that makes communication easier and have not found it to be offensive to anyone. I am an African American, by the way.
POSTED 10/3/2004
Cedric, Houston, TX, United States, 58, Male, Black/African American, At;torney, Over 4 Years of College, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 9202004113917

To be honest with you, I think blacks are overly offended. If a white person were to go to an area with all blacks, they would refer to that person as the 'white person' and the white person would most likely not be offended by that. Actually, I do not know one white person who is offended by being called white. Black is the color of the skin, so get over it. It's just like saying 'the one with the blond hair.' Now, I know black people will say 'oh but we're not technically black,' but hey, we're not technically white, either.
POSTED 10/3/2004
Nicole, Pittsburgh, PA, United States, 16, Female, Christian, White/Caucasian, Straight, Less than High School Diploma, Middle class, Mesg ID 928200474214

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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


Responses:
I won't go into why you might be attracted to the Gothic image; that is something you will have to figure out. And I know this doesn't sound too cool, but instead of getting your parents over to your side, why don't you compromise and go with just black clothing? When Goth first appeared, it was an intense look, but it did appeal to a lot of people (mostly older teens and young adults in larger cities like London, Los Angeles, etc.) So, instead of doing the hair, the make-up and the jewelry thing, most of us just started wearing black street clothing. You know, normal shirts, with normal pants, but all black. Although I am now 45, I still prefer to go out in all black. What is also cool is to go with different colors, but all along the dark, Gothic line - like dark reds with black, dark blue and black. It all speaks to the energy of a Gothic mind. In your mind, don't associate your desire to look Gothic with trying to shock. Use it to express your nonconforming individuality. Seriously, who wants to look and dress like everyone else? That's just boring.
POSTED 8/23/2004
Matthew, New York, NY, United States, 45, Male, Middle class, Mesg ID 811200470533

Some of this is just a given due to generational in-fighting. Have you ever seen the movieStand By Me? It's based on Stephen King's story 'The Body.' Anyway, there's a scene where the dad is griping at his younger son for not looking and acting like his older brother (who happened to have just died). His older brother was the jock, while he was more of an outcast-type. The story was set in the '60s, I think, but today the narrator could have been a Goth or a skater. You might ask your dad specifically what it is that he thinks you should be. It'll take a little dragging out, because he's going to be inclined to say something non-specific like 'normal,' to which there is no real definition. Once you get him to admit that he wants you to be a quarterback/honor scholar-type, then you can explain that that's just not you and how much it hurts that he won't accept you for trying to fit into your own mold.
POSTED 8/23/2004
Brian, Kokomo, IN, United States, 29, Male, Christian, White/Caucasian, Straight, management, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 811200414359

I live in New Orleans, where the Goth scene is huge (I dress like it myself pretty often). My boyfriend is Goth, and he's responsible, hard-working, does not do drugs, hardly ever drinks and doesn't worship the devil (it seems every generation has an image that people assume does that - when I was your age, I was into the punk/heavy metal scene and people assumed that's what we did, too). Most Goths are just like everybody else. And you're too young to get tattoos and piercings, so your parents don't have to worry about that. I'd ask your parents to make a deal with you: let you dress how you want for a few months. If your grades and attitude keep improving, let you keep doing it. If they slip, you stop. What's most important is that you should feel comfortable and good about yourself. Even if your father doesn't understand why you like wearing black, he should at least respect your individuality. Good luck. Make sure you post and let us know how it turns out.
POSTED 8/23/2004
Michele, New Orleans, LA, United States, 31, Female, New Age/Metaphysical, White/Caucasian, Straight, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 812200433628

If you found something you really like, that's cool. But what is more important? Peace in the home, or your own apartment? If your parents pay the bills, feed you and clothe you, they call the shots. That's what Dr. Laura would say. If you still like Goth when you're 18, you can move out and do your thing.
POSTED 8/23/2004
A parent, Edmonton, Alberta, NA, Canada, Mesg ID 812200494321

Try to explain Goth to your parents in ways they can relate to. I'm not a hardcore Goth. But I've known a few people who are into it, listen to a few Goth bands like VNV Nation, etc. My understanding of the Goth scene is that it's mostly about feeling melancholy, listening to certain music, and the fashion. I'm sure your parents can relate to sometimes feeling melancholy. Any classic poetry they like that conjures up that sort of feelings? Poe, Emily Dickinson? Or maybe there are some Shakespearean tragedies they appreciate. Some appeal to classic literature may be a great way to point out that there is hardly anything new about a fascination with depressing or morbid subjects. As for fashion and music: I'm guessing your parents would have been teenagers some time between the '60s and the '80s. If they can't identify with having been interested in fashion and music that shocked their own parents but proved harmless, they must have a very selective memory. Or maybe they're worried about your nonconformism. Would they be comfortable with the opposite: a mindless conformist for a son? It's a good thing to express your individuality, as long as it's in a way that doesn't hurt others or is self-destructive. Most Goths I've known are normal people inside, just trying to look a bit weird. I think you may need to help your parents realize this. It's the people who are a bit weird inside but trying to look normal that I worry about.
POSTED 8/23/2004
Matt, Oxford, GA, United States, <supersixman@hotmail.com>, 26, Male, Christian, White/Caucasian, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 813200432224

Why are these clothes so important to you? Do you like their uniqueness? Their associations? Do you simply enjoy the cut and color? I am not saying the clothes are unimportant, but before your parents can see there are good reasons to allow you to wear them, you should try and figure out what those reasons are, even if it's as simple as, 'I like them.' Taste can't always be justified, but it will help if you try. After figuring out why you like them, write a letter to your parents explaining why you like these clothes and what being Goth means to you. Be honest. It's all well and good to say, 'My parents don't understand me,' but first you have to try to help them understand. When they understand, they can accept. Then give the letter to your parents. Then talk. Again, be honest. Also, be receptive and willing to compromise. Yes, it's hard and awkward. But I assume you wanted solutions, not platitudes.
POSTED 8/23/2004
Alex, Beloit, WI, United States, <first_wizard@hotmail.com>, 21, Male, Jewish, White/Caucasian, Bisexual, Writer, 2 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 814200465448

There are many people who see Goth as being weird, and this perception is probably worse among older people who have never been exposed to it. You could try to appeal to your parents by pointing out fashion trends they followed in their youth that (despite being chastised by their parents), did not do them or anyone else harm. Otherwise, there's not much you can do. You can't force someone to accept Goth, and as a minor, you have to abide by what your parents want. So, you might want to consider other ways of expressing yourself that would appease them.
POSTED 8/23/2004
Kristina, Washington, DC, United States, 23, Female, Black/African American, Straight, Homemaker, 2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 810200415433

Unless you're prepared to live many years worth of arguing and anger between you and your parents, I'd suggest trying this: Compromise and get a couple outfits (non-Goth black) that you can live with, and wear them once in a while to make them happy. Your parents where nice enough to allow you the Goth outfits, so return the favor and wear something they would like once in a while. Once you are on your own, you can wear whatever you want. Trust me, the arguements and threats are not worth it.
POSTED 8/23/2004
Taz, Detroit, MI, United States, Mesg ID 818200470816

You could tell him that 'pale people in black' have been around for a while; I'm thinking Lord Byron, beatniks, etc. Of course, they weren't strictly Goth. Many 'artistic types' I know today still wear only black, usually out of convenience: it doesn't show stains, and everything goes with it. What specifically is angering your dad? Is it the association with devil worship? You could tell him that a pretty large percent of Goths are Christians, or that the Goth obsession with death is a way of contemplating one's own mortality. There's an almost 'monastic' streak in some Goths, focusing on the emptiness of the present world and the omnipresence of death. That certainly fits within most Christian sects. Is it the nature of the clothes themselves? Sometimes Gothic men's clothes are gender-neutral or close to gender-bending. That doesn't mean all Goths are gay; the men wearing the lace cuffs are doing it to catch the women in the latex bodices. Maybe he associates Goth with rampant drug use; again, there are a lot of sober Goths. And virgin Goths, and married Goths, and so on. But the most important thing is to let them know you feel that you like the Goth approach and that it's improving your grades. I think what you need to do is find out what your Dad and Mom are worried about and try to address that. If you can show that being Goth doesn't mean you're turning into a drug fiend, devil worshiper or sex-crazed madman, maybe that will help.
POSTED 8/23/2004
E, Boston, MA, United States, 27, Female, Mesg ID 821200453934

People often fear what they don't understand. Explain to your parents in a graceful manner how Goth makes you feel. Explain that being Gothic doesn't mean you worship Satan, but that you are at an age when you need growth, experience and ways to express yourself through a spiritual movement. Also, try doing some research on Goth and help gain experience by meeting others with the same situation.
POSTED 8/23/2004
Alexander, Porterville, CA, United States, 18, Male, Christian, Straight, 2 Years of College, Mesg ID 821200421441

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Question:

Why does it freak so many people out when a family has a lot of children? Why do these people feel they can make gratuitous, condescending comments to or about the parents ('don't you know what causes that?' or 'you've had enough, now stop')? I could understand if the person were being called upon to help support these children (either directly or indirectly, e.g., welfare), but otherwise, whose business is it besides the parents? I suspect that a lot of it is fed by contempt for being outbred by a perceived undesirable 'other' group (ethnic, racial, religious, etc.).
POSTED 8/23/2004
Augustine, Columbia, SC, United States, 43, Male, Catholic, White/Caucasian, Straight, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 216200475538

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Question:

I have always cringed at the word 'denigrate,' even when used by African Americans. It is always considered negative, and literally, the word means 'to blacken.' Does anyone else find this word offensive?
POSTED 8/23/2004
Lynn, Charlotte, NC, United States, 30, Female, Episcopalian, Black/African American, Straight, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 812200413938

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Question:

I have a co-worker who cannot get off his cell phone. He's been counseled twice by management but still constantly talks on it while working. He goes to great lengths to hide his conversations. What is his problem?
POSTED 8/23/2004
Alma, Kempner, TX, United States, 51, Female, Methodist, White/Caucasian, Lesbian, government employee, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 812200425745

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Question:

I work in a small office with three Filipino employees and live in an area with a large Filipino population. It seems that most or all of them smack their lips when eating - and not quietly. I avoid taking lunch when they do because this is so annoying to me. I was taught that smacking lips and eating with your mouth open is very rude. Is this something common to the Filipino culture and not considered rude there?
POSTED 8/23/2004
Mike, Santa Cruz, CA, United States, 43, Male, Humanist, White/Caucasian, Gay, Finance, Over 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 8132004122029

 


Responses:
I am not Filipino, but I know a few people who have spent time in the South Pacific with Filipinos. As I recall, it is considered normal to eat loudly, and even encouraged. I believe my friend said that when eating, you were always supposed to take extra helpings and eat loudly, and even burp, or risk offending the host. Now, this was a while ago, and my memory may be changing some parts, but I believe this is largely correct.
POSTED 10/3/2004
Matthew, Lawrence, KS, United States, Male, Mesg ID 9132004104647

I have been to the Far East 9 or 10 times, and I am married to a Filipina. Also, several of my coworkers are from the Pacific Rim. It's cultural. Filipinos, as well as others from that part of the world, will smack their lips. A host will perceive this as a subtle sign that her meal is good. At my work, it appears that my Vietnamese coworkers will smack their lips even louder. (I am sure that none of them are aware that they could be annoying.) By the way, my Filipina wife does not smack her lips when eating.
POSTED 10/3/2004
Jerry H., Houston, TX, United States, 54, Male, Catholic, White/Caucasian, Straight, letter carrier, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 917200453539

Most Asians do not consider it bad manners to smack their lips or keep their mouths open while eating. And I'll bet that no one has told them it is considered bad manners in the United States. Here in the United States, it is considered rude to slurp one's soup, but in Okinawa (where I'm from) it is considered good manners and complimentary to the cook.
POSTED 10/3/2004
Kim R, Wichita, KS, United States, 39, Female, Christian, Asian, Straight, Enginner, Over 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 928200445043

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Question:

I'm 19 and have a one-year-old son. I weigh 160 and am 5'7". I'm having the worst time getting over the way my body looks. I love my son and would never take anything back, but I have stretch marks all over my stomach. And my tummy is shaped different. I just can't get myself to love my body. Does anyone have any advice?
POSTED 8/23/2004
Jessica, Louisville, KY, United States, 19, Female, Atheist, White/Caucasian, Straight, unemployed, Less than High School Diploma, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 8142004110645

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Question:

Why are so many deaf men gay? Is it something genetic connected with the disability? Or does it come from early experiences at boarding schools for the deaf?
POSTED 8/23/2004
Scott, Denver, CO, United States, 46, Male, Christian, White/Caucasian, Straight, Editor, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 820200452736

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Question:

It seems to me that religion has separated us from our common goal of unity. Every religion based on Christ could be considered Christian, and every one of them believes He came and died for our sins. Except religion has intervened with different beliefs and guidelines. Is religion really necessary, or can we establish one main one that could unite all in how to follow in the name of Christ?
POSTED 8/23/2004
Alexander, Porterville, CA, United States, 18, Male, Christian, Straight, 2 Years of College, Mesg ID 821200422311

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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


Responses:

Kabbalah is a real Jewish belief but not a core one. Nearly all Jews believe that the Hebrew language was given by God to humanity. Because of its holy origins, the language has power. Hence almost all prayers are in Hebrew, the Torah and other parts of the bible are read in Hebrew during ceremonies, and all religious documents are in Hebrew. Here's where Kabbalah diverges. Every letter has a numerical equivalent, but Kabbahlists believe that by understanding the numerological significance of certain words and letters, they can work 'magic' (for lack of a better word). For example, the Hebrew word 'Chai,' made of the letters chet (8) and yud (10) has a value of 18, so 18 is considered a lucky number. Multiples of 18 are considered very fortuitous. Despite this, Kabbalah is not conisdered to be a central tenet of Judaism.
POSTED 8/23/2004
Alex, Beloit, WI, United States, <first_wizard@hotmail.com>, 21, Male, Jewish, White/Caucasian, Bisexual, Writer, 2 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 814200470411



In my humble opinion, it's a fad for celebrities who are looking for something to fill that empty void in their lives.
POSTED 8/23/2004
Jake, Duluth, MN, United States, 17, Male, Catholic, White/Caucasian, Straight, Work at family store, Less than High School Diploma, Middle class, Mesg ID 817200411947

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Question:

How come if a black cop kills a white person, people have no problem with it, but if a white cop kills a black person, there is a court case about it? I have no problem with black people, but I can't stand how they have a fit when a white guy kills a black man. Yes, I understand that sometimes white cops kill black people when it's not necessary. I hope someone can answer my question.
POSTED 3/3/2000
Carrie, Constantia, NY, United States, 15, Female, Catholic, White/Caucasian, Straight, student, Less than High School Diploma, Mesg ID 3300121859


Responses:

I think maybe black people feel that the white cop deserves this punishment for what his (white) people did to their (black) people in terms of slavery.
POSTED 8/23/2004
Kathy, San Jose, CA, United States, 22, Female, Asian, Mesg ID 5122004105342



In a white suburb, police are friendly and courteous, waving to children on bikes and soccer moms out for an evening walk. Not so in a ghetto or barrio. Many police, especially recent recruits, go into the 'hood not to serve, but with the attitude that they're going into the jungle to tame animals. In places like inner-city Los Angeles and New York, people get stopped and frisked for no reason. Someone who even remotely resembles a 'thug' gets harassed verbally and physically. Certain segments of the LAPD are coming under fire for misconduct, but even years before all this, such things were common knowledge in the 'hood. I can name people who have been framed and are still locked up. I can name people who've never broken a law in their lives who were 'thumped' (that is, physically harassed) by cops. Basically, relations between the police and inner-city residents are under severe strain. Whenever an extraordinary event such as the Amadou Diallo shooting happens (a black man shot numerous times by New York police in 1999 after reaching for this wallet), the citizenry uses it as an opportunity to point out the state of it all. The majority of cops are good, and I am proud of the fact that I have family members who are police officers. But all I can say is that there is quite a bit of work to be done before the hatchet can be buried.
POSTED 8/23/2004
Dan, Los Angeles area, CA, United States, 21, Male, Pentecostal Christian, Hispanic/Latino (may be any race), student, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 382000124436

Try to imagine if you were always looked upon as a potiental criminal. Three-quarters of black men are. Other races don't have to hear a siren and wonder if they will be picked up for something. And now more than ever, racisim has gone underground. Look at the Amadou Diallo case (a black man shot numerous times by New York police after reaching for this wallet). Or the man who was beaten and sodomized in a NY police station of all places. If this happens, then what else could? Right now the LAPD is under investigation for setting up people of color. So I guess the answer to you question is "we can't trust them." Would you?
POSTED 8/23/2004
Darrel, San Diego, CA, United States, <Darrel-Sonya-Forney@excite.com>, Black/African American, Mesg ID 326200045422

The problem is twofold. The memory of the wrongs blacks suffered while whites had full power is kept alive by verbal tradition. When a white police officer kills a non-white, it reinforces or confirms that verbal history. Too many decades were spent with blacks being killed with the unofficial approval of local authorities. Yes, sometimes there are justified killings, but they are often dismissed by blacks in favor of the verbal history. I guess you could say that racism is a two-way street. Progress in our society must be recognized on both sides before we can be more objective on both sides.
POSTED 8/23/2004
Delbert S., Florissant, MO, United States, 47, Male, Agnostic, Black/African American, Straight, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 372000122123

You've asked a deeply complex,sociological question, for which there is no simple answer. At 15 it is difficult to grasp the motives behind governmental and corporate criminal activity. I can only tell you that no actions are taken before an intense (and always 'profit-oriented') investigation. Those who we allow to rule us have made decisions concerning what we, (the 'common herd'), refer to as our future. Technological techniques used on the public in everyday media are carefully evaluated for maximum effect. There is a pre-planned agenda that dictates the areas in which these techniques are utilized. 'Controlling' the different ethnic groups that make up the U.S. population in order to bring about this pre-planned agenda requires intense (and pre-tested) psychological manipulations. The fact that you are asking this question is a demonstration of the programming to which you have been exposed, and you are not alone. Once the American public has been fully indoctrinated, they will feel as though their country is no longer 'working,' and they will accept an alternative government; one with its own social parameters. Vice President Gore once stated (on C-SPAN) that the day of the Nation-State had passed. (America is the greatest Nation-State the world has ever known.) With our most powerful leaders dictating that we, as a nation, must yield to a 'New World Order,' it becomes easy to see from what governmental depths these 'programmings' originate. A wise man once said, 'A house divided soon falls.' So, in answer to your question, whenever you perceive what appears to be an imbalanced emotional response from any ethnic or social group, it is, in fact, a reflection of the level of programming to which that group has been exposed. I hope my explanation is comprehendible. I know it makes the near future sound scary, but sometimes the truth isn't pretty.
POSTED 8/23/2004
Joel, Texarkana, TX, United States, Male, Mesg ID 392000123855

It is false to say that when a black cop kills a white person people don't have a problem with it. Whenever any cop kills anyone in the line of duty, regardless or the ethnic background of everyone involved, the cop is put on administrative leave while an investigation is conducted to determine if the action was justified. The American public is more aware of cases involving white cops and a person of color for a couple of reasons. One is that this country has a history of racism and oppression of people of color by those in authority. So when someone of color is killed by a white cop, it touches a nerve in a lot of people. Another reason is that the U.S. media chooses which stories to cover based on the ratings they will get, and anything that has anything to do with racism gets high ratings, so these stories are covered very heavily.
POSTED 8/23/2004
Lucy H, San Jose, CA, United States, 25, Female, Hispanic/Latino (may be any race), Engineer, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 33200060703

The issue is not that it is OK for black cops to kill white people. It is that it happens overwhelmingly to black people by white cops. Of course, cops are going to kill people at the wrong time, but cops seem to kill innocent blacks far more than they do whites. Case in point: The case of the NY cops in 1999 who shot a black man 41 times after he reached for his wallet. That is an amazingly high number. The issue is racism that cops display regularly against blacks. Cops have a reputation for being notorious against people of African descent. With the hell that ordinary cops make black people suffer through every day, it isn't surprising that blacks would be outraged when they hear about white cops abusing black people.
POSTED 8/23/2004
Robert R., St. Louis, MO, United States, <shinryuu64@hotmail.com>, 17, Male, Agnostic, Black/African American, Straight, Less than High School Diploma, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 34200061955

In all my years I have never seen on the news or heard on the radio about a white guy getting killed by black cops. If you can come up with something, please let us know. If an alleged white criminal is shot and killed by cops, as far as I have seen, it has been by white cops in white communities under the most extreme circumstances (the guy is on a shooting spree or is holding someone hostage). But it is too often that we hear about cops shooting black men and boys because they 'thought' he had a weapon. The cops wouldn't even shoot to wound or disarm these people; they killed them. In a lot of instances it was overkill, like in the 1999 case of the Amadou Diallo shooting in New York. They shot this innocent, unarmed young man 41 times in 8 seconds. Unfortunately, this is not a rare event in black communities. And in most cases, if a black man (not cop) kills a white person, he gets the death penalty, which is hardly ever the case if the situation is reversed. So do you still want to have that fit?
POSTED 8/23/2004
Summer, Washington, DC, United States, Middle class, Mesg ID 36200035653

I do not scour the news daily, so educate me here: Is there a specific case when a black cop killed a white man unjustifiably and there was no social outcry? Secondly, keep in mind, much of what you see in the media is based on sensationalism. You might not have seen much hoopla from blacks in particular because we we'ren't aware. I don't profess to speak for all black people. I'm simply admitting I don't have a point of reference. I am affected anytime a life is taken senselessly. When you witness blacks' outrage, we are not simply responding to a single incident. We as a group, particularily our men, have been systematically and randomly abused, jailed, maimed and killed solely because of the color of our skin. In our collective consciousness we identify with the injustice inflicted on any African American. It may be difficult for you to understand. You are a young girl and are white. I believe it would be safe to say that in terms of race and the short time you've been on this planet that your experiences are radically different from that of blacks.
POSTED 8/23/2004
Zawadi, Farmington Hills, MI, United States, <aquarius9@hotmail.com>, 35, Female, Black/African American, publishing, 2 Years of College, Mesg ID 310200075332

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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


Responses:
I noticed that, too! Both here in Detroit and in Chicago. I thought it was some kind of 'white t-shirt club'. I asked my 14-year-old brother about it; he lives in an 'urban' area of Chicago. He has no idea what that's about, but it doesn't seem to be gang related. I've also noticed that black people (this theory probably extends to other classes and races, too) tend to purchase whatever clothing the neighborhood store sells, no matter how unusual it is. Maybe there's a special on extra-long white t-shirts?
POSTED 8/23/2004
Chandra, Detroit, MI, United States, 27, Female, Black/African American, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 811200481643

I'm not the most knowledgeable about current cultural trends, but I don't think there is anything racial about the long white t-shirts. Not that I've heard of. Just a bad fashion style.
POSTED 8/23/2004
Wayne C, Parsippany, NJ, United States, 44, Male, Black/African American, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 813200431225

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