Best of the Week
of Aug. 25, 2002

Best of Week Archives

Here are the most intriguing cross-cultural exchanges either begun or advanced during the week of Aug. 25, 2002, as selected by Y? These postings, as well as "Best of the Week" entries from previous weeks, also can be found by accessing Y?'s database using the search form, or, in the case of answers posted before April 24, 1999, in the Original Archives (all questions from the Original Archives have been entered into the database as well). In the Original Archives, as well as in the database, you will find questions that have received answers, as well as questions still awaiting responses. You are encouraged to answer any questions relevant to your demographic background, as well as to ask any provocative question you desire. Answers posted are not necessarily meant to represent the views of an entire demographic group, but can provide a window into the insights of an individual from that group.

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Question:

I feel very uncomfortable because my daughter is dating a Chinese man. I have nothing against his culture and respectable occupation as a dentist, I just find it difficult to imagine part Chinese grandchildren. I am from Spain and am white, and they do look different from us. What do others think of this?

POSTED 8/28/2002

Alan, Dallas, TX, United States, Male, White/Caucasian, Mesg ID 822200244948

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Question:

Are white people just happy to be white? I don't want to be white, but if I were, I'd sure be happy. If I were white, no one would ask me questions like how come all of you people are in gangs and afraid of water. I would not have to hear my mother cry about how she can't hail a cab. I would not have to see people clutch their purses or grab their children as I went to get a bite to eat. Overall, I would not be a victim of harsh discrimination unless I was old, paralyzed or underdressed. Of course, these are just microcosms of American minority life, but we do go through a lot worse, and the white American seemingly never does. We all have family, relationship and money issues, but aside from that, shouldn't white people just be happy to be white?

POSTED 8/28/2002

Jarrett, Chicago, IL, United States, 20, Male, Black/African American, Straight, Student, 2 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 824200233019

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Question:

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

POSTED 7/29/2002

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


Responses:
It is sad that in today's society, where all strive for perfection, there is little room for those considered 'imperfect.' I am glad that in the United States all that money is being poured into those disadvantaged mentally and physically. I wish the same were happening here in Kenya. Perhaps you need to change careers, because all are the same in the eyes of God, and we cannot measure success in terms of achievements only. Success is in the process of trying and the strength one gets out of it.

POSTED 8/28/2002

Wanjiru, Nairobi, NA, Kenya, 28, Female, Christian, African, Straight, Social Worker, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 83200250904


I must say that I, too, was offended by the suggestion that educational resources allocated to the disabled are being 'wasted' and could be better used elsewhere. As a disabled person (I have been confined to a wheelchair since age six), I am appalled by such a suggestion. We are as entitled to an education as the next person, and yes, we can learn as well (or better) as them in spite of (or perhaps due to) our physical limitations. I hold a Ph.D. in molecular biology - not an easy task even for so-called 'normal' people. I feel that everyone is entitled to an education, no matter what their situation in life. Would it be fair to limit access to an education only to those from middle- to upper-class areas - since statistically those from the lower social-economic areas are more likely to end up as criminals or on drugs? Wouldn't that be a waste of our resources as well?

POSTED 8/28/2002

D.D., Toronto, Ontario, NA, Canada, 26, Male, Atheist, White/Caucasian, Straight, Paralyzed, Molecular Biologist, Over 4 Years of College, Upper class, Mesg ID 84200245857


You clearly don't know what it is like to be disabled. I have a sight problem that isn't that serious, but I know people with much more severe disabilities than mine. Everyday life is challenging for them, so of course they won't achieve what 'normal' people would. When they do achieve something, though, they are incredibly proud, even if it seems a simple task to others. To achieve something often means you overcome something that is difficult, whether you are disabled or not. Different people achieve different things, and it means different things to the individuals. Don't push disabled people aside. They have a lot to offer. It's sad that people like you don't realize that.

POSTED 8/28/2002

Glen, Exeter, NA, United Kingdom, 19, Male, White/Caucasian, Partially sighted, Student, Mesg ID 8282002100234

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Question:

Why do women nag so much?

POSTED 8/28/2002

James M., San Salvador, NA, El Salvador, 30, Male, Mesg ID 826200223425

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Question:

I was with a new (white) friend at an event where a woman went up on stage and unexpectedly revealed her rear end to the audience. The context was hilarious, and the show continued uninterrupted. Later, my friend made reference to the woman's 'black crack.' I'm new to the United States and have heard several comments or labels I would consider inappropriate but have discovered are perfectly acceptable in U.S. society. Is this one of them? Or should I fully explore my 'friend's' views on race before I commit myself to a friendship with her?

POSTED 8/28/2002

Shawna, Sacramento, CA, United States, 28, Female, White/Caucasian, Lesbian, Mesg ID 827200241806

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Question:

I want to know the straight-up truth from guys and girls: I am an amputee and am on crutches all the time. Would that really keep someone from dating me or asking me out?

POSTED 8/19/2002

Samantha, Seattle, WA, United States, 21, Female, Lutheran, White/Caucasian, Straight, amputee, student, 2 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 318200292359


Responses:
Your amputation might prevent some people from asking you out, might attract some and might make no difference to others. Some people are all about appearances and could be hesitant to ask someone who doesn't fit their ideal of perfection (which they don't realize doesn't really exist in the first place). Some people are VERY attracted to amputees to the point of fetishism, but you may find yourself turned off by these folks as they tend to objectify their desires, seeing the individual as a sexual object rather than a person. Still others see the person, not the missing limbs. These folks are the ones I would encourage relationships with, as they want to know the person inside, not the exterior shell. So if you break people down by categories, you've got people asking you out in two out of three. Sounds like pretty good odds.

POSTED 8/21/2002

Doug, Phoenix, AZ, United States, 39, Male, New Age/Metaphysical, White/Caucasian, Gay, Administrator, 2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 8212002104942


I believe there are many people who would have no problem dating someone disabled. I see it happening all around me. People are especially interested in someone who has a positive attitude despite their perceived difficulties in life.

POSTED 8/28/2002

Tracy, Edmond, OK, United States, Mesg ID 823200251259


If I were under 30 and met you, I would be wanting to date you. Women missing a leg are as attractive to me as women with large, inviting breasts are to most guys. But I'd still want to get to know who you are, and whether our lives could mesh together.

POSTED 8/28/2002

Kent, Brisbane, NA, Australia, 58, Male, Episcopalian, White/Caucasian, Straight, Retired, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 825200212254


In my opinion, an amputee (or any challenged person) has the advantage of sorting out the riff-raff before getting to square one. There are guys out there looking for a good-looking, perfect specimen, regardless of personality. Other guys are looking for a woman of character. Often, women of physical beauty and perfection lack good character qualities. If you radiate self-confidence and are friendly, a guy of character will give you full consideration. Any woman would be wise to downplay her physical attributes and find someone who likes her for what she is inside.

POSTED 8/28/2002

Ronald V., Edmonton, Alberta, NA, Canada, 49, Male, Christian, White/Caucasian, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 8262002112743

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Question:

I was raised in a non-denominational, non-religious household by a mother from a strict Roman Catholic household and a father from a strict Southern Baptist household. They were married by a Justice of the Peace and never made me go to a church of any kind. As a result, I have had the adventure of learning about many different religions and asking questions about all of them. It puzzles me that so many people can attest to aspects of their religion as if they are proven scientific fact (e.g., 'Jesus died for our sins') when there really isn't any proof that such things are true. I mean no disrespect to anyone of any faith by asking, but how can you say something is true if you don't have proof? Just because something is written in a book does not necessarily mean it happened, or that it happened just the way it was written. Please explain to me how you have developed absolute faith in your religion given lack of proof.

POSTED 8/19/2002

Tracy, Edmond, OK, United States, <lavenderlilycuao@hotmail.com>, 30, Female, Spiritual but not religious, White/Caucasian, Straight, Electronic Banking Administrator, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 816200221917


Responses:
That is exactly what faith is: being able to believe strongly in something without proof of its reality. I was raised similarly, with a Roman Catholic mother and Jewish father. My fiancee is Muslim, and me, I'm pagan, through choice of study of culture, religion and other hard facts. Thus, my faith is placed on hard history rather than stories that are claimed to be history (and may quite well be). In the end, true faith is whatever you believe in, not what others would have you believe.

POSTED 8/21/2002

Daniel, Guymon, OK, United States, Male, Pagan, Straight, Mesg ID 821200222254


I too come from a mixed religion household (Southern Baptist and Mormon) and as a result was raised without being required to attend church. I have for years counted this as a blessing, as it allowed me to view all religions on an equal footing and see many similarities without first having to overcome preconceived notions of what 'should' be based on my upbringing. I also have been free of religious doctrine regarding behavior and 'sin,' allowing me to develop my own sense of self-worth and behaviors without fear of recrimination or self-judgment. You are asking people to prove faith. Faith cannot be proven, it just is. You either have it or you don't. I have had personal experiences that have led me to believe in a spirituality (blessedly free from dogmatic rules and regulations), and though I have faith in my experiences and perceptions, I cannot convince you of the same. Faith is an individual expression. For some people it is ingrained at an early age. Others come to believe on their own. You find in yourself the faith to believe what you feel to be right (or what is right for you at this moment) regardless of the religion or lack thereof. Faith cannot by definition be proven, only demonstrated.

POSTED 8/21/2002

Doug, Phoenix, AZ, United States, 39, Male, New Age/Metaphysical, White/Caucasian, Gay, Administrator, 2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 8212002111826


Who are you to decide if something is worth believing for other people? Why do you care if I believe that Jesus died for my sins and as a result of that mankind may be reconciled with God? It makes me angry that some people who are not religious have the nerve to cast doubt on others who believe. As you weren't there when the Bible was written, who are you to say what did or didn't happen? Yes, I question my beliefs all the time. But don't you or anyone else tell me what I should believe in, and don't make me feel like I'm wrong or naive just because I believe in Jesus. Some things just cannot be explained. It's called faith.

POSTED 8/21/2002

Monique M., Ft. Myers, FL, United States, 16, Female, Pentecostal, Black/African American, Straight, Less than High School Diploma, Middle class, Mesg ID 821200214915


Most people feel they need a 'religion' to tell them what to 'believe' in order to be 'saved.' Religion seems to connotate church attendence, thus believing the church's interpretation of the Bible, Koran, Book of Mormon or whatever. With 50 years of church attendence of almost every 'mainline' denomination behind me, I am convinced there is only one thing right for me: I am spiritual and believe in a 'higher power.' I believe that higher power gave me a conscience. I don't need to believe what anyone tells me, written or spoken. What matters is and as it should be, in one's heart.

POSTED 8/28/2002

Carol S., Mountain Home, AR, United States, <edg_org_ar@hotmail.com>, 57, Female, White/Caucasian, Straight, retired, Mesg ID 819200255719


We cannot believe anything with absolute certainty. There is no way of being absolutely sure the whole world is not a simulation in an alien computer, or a dream in the mind of God. We develop faith in the everyday world by experiencing it reliably day after day. Same goes for faith in a Faith.

POSTED 8/28/2002

Ian, B/water, NA, United Kingdom, 34, Male, Christian, White/Caucasian, Straight, Over 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 822200275957


Faith is a gift from God. My proof is the peace and assurance I feel in my heart. If you get in your car every day and believe it will start when you turn the key, you have faith in the automobile industry. What kind of proof do you have that the car won't explode while you are driving? You are relying on the history of the automobile and testimonies from other drivers, as well as what the car dealership tells you. I'm relying on the Bible (God's word to man), testimonies from other Christiansand what I'm hearing at my church. I have had so many amazing things happen in my life that I have faith in what I believe. I have hope for the future and joy that I will spend eternity in heaven with God, my Father, and Jesus Christ, my savior.

POSTED 8/28/2002

Annie, Lawrenceville, GA, United States, 50, Female, Lutheran, White/Caucasian, Straight, copy editor, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 823200292243

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Question:

I have been wearing glasses for quite some time and am not a candidate for laser surgery, and I'm sick of the negative stereotype of women who wear glasses. Watch any movie or TV show with an 'ugly girl,' and I guarantee she'll wear glasses or be overweight, sometimes both. In real life, people see women who wear glasses as ultra-intellectual, bookish, reserved, Puritanical and very plain and boring. Why is this? I got a lot more attention from men when I was wearing contact lenses between age 16 and 26, but now that I am a 'speccy git,' I am virtually ignored. I am the same woman, but now it's obvious I'm blind as a bat. I'd appreciate any opinions about society's stereotype of women with glasses.

POSTED 8/19/2002

Tracy, Edmond, OK, United States, <lavenderlilycuao@hotmail.com>, 30, Female, White/Caucasian, Straight, Electronic Banking Administrator, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 816200223612


Responses:
I find glasses to be very enticing. They draw attention to the face and highlight the eyes, while also obscuring the face ever so slightly. Given that the face has been repeatedly surveyed as women's most attractive feature, and that the eyes form the focus of the face, it constantly surprises me that more men don't like glasses much. I would suggest the problem is that the frames you have are unbecoming on you. For some reason, whenever you go in for a new prescription, the doctor gives you the drops that make your pupils expand for the next two hours BEFORE you choose frames, and so you can't see very well when selecting said frames. Next time ask to pick out your frames first.

POSTED 8/20/2002

Alex, Beloit, WI, United States, <first_wizard@hotmail.com>, 19, Male, Jewish, White/Caucasian, Bisexual, Student, High School Diploma, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 8202002124922


I believe you are correct in the stereotype assumption, but to me a woman with nice eyes who wears fashionable glasses is incredibly attractive. I think it's the assumption that she is intelligent on first glance (maybe because of the stereotype!). True, an attractive bimbo can put on some specs and look good, but you'd find out the truth as soon as you had a conversation. So don't fret, there are people who appreciate the look.

POSTED 8/20/2002

Zeke, Auburn Hills, MI, United States, 35, Male, Christian, White/Caucasian, Straight, engineer, 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 8202002112530


I grew up in a family where everyone (at least all of the adults) wore glasses, yet I have to confess that a woman tends to look more attractive to me without glasses - IF she has a pretty face to begin with. It isn't a big difference, but I think it has to do with the fact that glasses obscure the eyes and interrupt the contours of the face and hair. Despite this, when my wife started to wear glasses, my first impression was not that she looked less attractive, but that she now looked 'normal' to me.

POSTED 8/28/2002

Jerry S., New Britain, CT, United States, 54, Male, Jewish, White/Caucasian, Straight, 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 819200215807


Perhaps you are letting your negativity 'color' your vision. I don't pay much attention to movie stereotypes. I wore glasses from the time I was nine and switched to contacts at 19. I love the new lighter lenses for people with heavy prescriptions. I did hate the old heavy frame and glasses, but now I now wear my contacts and glasses interchangably and notice no difference in the attention. I am still the same person with or without glasses. How do you feel and look in your glasses to YOU? If you feel confident, sexy, attractive and attention-worthy, then you are. Trust me, I prefer being able to see when a person is flirting or paying attention to me, rather than seeing something fuzzy. It's all about attitude. Haven't you ever twirled the stem of your glasses flirtatiously or clamped them between you teeth? Drives men wild. My feeling is, throw those negative sterotypes out of your mind, get a couple pair of dynamite glasses that really complement you and enjoy yourself. See and be seen!

POSTED 8/28/2002

Serene, Chandler, AZ, United States, 43, Female, Black/African American, Business Owner, 2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 821200282621

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Question:

Why is it that whites and Hispanics who are keen on black culture are still so hateful toward blacks? I have never heard of a Hispanic person hiring a black person in my life (all my black friends say the same) and affirmative action is needed for a white person to even look at a black person's resume. Yet these same people listen to 'black' music. Why? It doesn't make sense to like a group's culture but hate the people.

POSTED 8/19/2002

Alea, Bronx, NY, United States, 23, Female, Straight, student, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 816200245817


Responses:
I have noticed this phenomenon, too. I live out in a nowhere hicktown where every kid is white, dresses in fubu, etc., and has DMX blasting from souped-up cars. Some are even friends with a few blacks at school, and act 'down' when around them, and then call them 'nigger' behind their back. I don't get it. They also regard blacks with mistrust and as thieves, rapists and just plain violent, as well as uneducated and just about any other stereotype you can think of. I asked one why this was, and he simply said, 'I hate niggers, but there ain't nothin' wrong with likin' their music, is there?'

POSTED 8/20/2002

Ridley S., Chambersburg, PA, United States, 22, Male, White/Caucasian, Mesg ID 8202002123247


Why do black people love all the things that come with 'white' culture, such as democracy, personal freedoms, capitalism and technology, yet treat white people with such disdain? I have yet to hear a black person say anything positive about Western culture, and yet they continue to live in the West. And why do black people absolutely love anything to do with Africa, extol the virtues of their ancestral land, and yet go through their entire life never visiting or even considering living there - even though they associate with the continent more than the United States?

POSTED 8/28/2002

Pete, Jacksonville, FL, United States, Male, Mesg ID 8202002123007


Millions of black people have jobs, and a great many of them were hired by white and Hispanic people. Why do you think they were hired only because of affirmative action? Do you have any evidence of this? I don't think there's necessarily a level playing field yet for people of different races or genders; you have made a generalization. The top reasons resumes go into the trash are: Poor presentation (typos and bad spelling on the resume or cover letter), lack of experience relevant to the position, or a spotty work history (for instance, someone who has changed jobs five times in three years).

POSTED 8/28/2002

Lori, Los Angeles, CA, United States, Female, Mesg ID 820200220207


In my experience and the encounters I have had with other blacks, they deserve to have people being hateful toward them because they themselves are very hateful. I can say this even though I'm a part of this race. Black youths in general are very nasty and evil, rude and are always looking and preying on weak, vulnerable people. A person can like another person's culture and not like them; it all depends on what kind of people they encounter. Other non-blacks can listen and enjoy rap and R&B because of its rhythm and and not because it has to do with a particular group of people. As for myself, I enjoy some R&B but don't like the youths who normally listen to it. Keep in mind that those people you're taliking about probably have had bad encounters with blacks. Then again, you could be exaggerating or generalizing a bit. I know what I'm saying is controversial, but that is the truth.

POSTED 8/28/2002

Monique, Ft. Myers, FL, United States, Female, Black/African American, Mesg ID 822200241228


I don't really listen to black music, but I can answer your question about hiring. I am a manager in the customer service industry in a mostly black area, and after I hired more than a hundred blacks in the last 5 years, only 2 were good to keep. About 75 percent were substandard in education, had personal problems, always called in because of 'situations' and had terrible attendance with bad attitudes. Many were fired for stealing company or customer property, etc. I have never been prejudiced, but after years of trying, I don't really want to deal with them anymore. By the way, my boss is black and he's fed up, too.

POSTED 8/28/2002

Francis, Oakland, CA, United States, 40, Male, Catholic, White/Caucasian, Straight, Management, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 8262002114353

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Question:

Why is it that whenever white men write about a black woman in the media and she is 'attractive,' the white guy must stress that she is mixed and that that is responsible for her being attractive? Many black women in the media are not mixed, and if they are, still look like regular, everyday black women, so I don't understand it. Non-black female actresses are NEVER constantly talked about in terms of them being more than one race. Why is this the case for black women?

POSTED 8/19/2002

Alea, Bronx, NY, United States, 23, Female, Straight, student, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 816200250543


Responses:
Black women are considered attractive if they are of mixed race because of how we as black females are portrayed. We are often seen as unattractive because of our dark skin, naturally coarse hair and broad features, which may be considered by Anglo-Americans as not fitting the criteria of what is feminine as far as appearance goes. Usually when you see a biracial black woman, most of the time she has a good grade of hair, very soft and pretty to look at, with curls or waves, and she has longer, faster-growing hair, more European-like features and a lighter complexion. And that sums it up: those are the criteria white America says makes a beautiful female. As opposed to black women we're seen as aggressive,unattractive,loud, and ignorant, and of course a little too dark. Furthermore, biracial black women could be seen as more passive or should I say less hostile as opposed to the stereotype of black women that I mentioned earlier. A woman the Bible may describe as a 'gentle, quiet spirit.' So that alone could make her seem more 'desirable.' As a society we have a hard time viewing black females as feminine and beautiful and if they are they must biracial. This reminds me of the whole slavery thing dark skin vs.light skin. Simple as that whomever appears more European is the beautiful one.Beautiful black women appear in all shades of hues,just look through Hype Hair or Ebony magazines.

POSTED 8/20/2002

Monique M., Ft. Myers, FL, United States, 16, Female, Pentecostal, Black/African American, Straight, Less than High School Diploma, Middle class, Mesg ID 820200225020


You are wrong about non-black mixed-race people not being pointed out by the media. One can barely read an article about Michelle Branch, Kristen Kruek or Keanu Reeves without their Eurasian heritage being bandied about. And how many non-black actors are referrenced as 'part Native American' - Val Kilmer, Lou Diamond Phillips? Too many to count. You are overly sensitive to African-American stereotypes and the intense and unnecessary hype that accompanied Halle Berry's Oscar win.

POSTED 8/28/2002

Ems, Los Angeles, CA, , Mesg ID 820200272602

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