Best of the Week
of Sept. 15, 2002

Best of Week Archives

Here are the most intriguing cross-cultural exchanges either begun or advanced during the week of Sept. 15, 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:

Why do Jehovah's Witnesses churches have no windows? I have lived in five different states, and none of the churches I have seen have them.

POSTED 9/18/2002

Jimmy, Edinburg, TX, United States, 32, Male, Catholic, Student, 2 Years of College, Mesg ID 917200282217

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Question:

Why do you never see black pedophiles in the news?

POSTED 9/18/2002

Igor M., London, NA, United Kingdom, 18, Male, Christian, black Portuguese, Straight, student, Mesg ID 918200263847

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Question:

I have a tongue piercing. In all other respects I look totally 'conventional.' I am curious as to what your reaction would be if you saw it and me, and how it might affect your perception of me and others with such a piercing.

POSTED 9/16/2002

Anne, London, NA, United Kingdom, 19, Female, White/Caucasian, Straight, student, Middle class, Mesg ID 9152002110240


Responses:
If I saw you I would think you liked to have oral sex. Isn't that what tongue piercings are for?

POSTED 9/18/2002

Aaron, Palo Alto, CA, United States, 31, Male, Christian, Black/African American, Straight, Customer Service Rep., 2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 918200291941


The only thing that runs through my head is Ow! Doesn't that hurt? I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, and it got to the point that if you DIDN'T have multiple piercings and tattoos, people would look at you oddly.

POSTED 9/18/2002

Doug, Phoenix, AZ, United States, 39, Male, New Age/Metaphysical, White/Caucasian, Gay, Administrator, 2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 9182002121814


If I were to see you with a tongue piercing I wouldn't think anything of it because a piercing is just a piercing and doesn't make a person nor define them. I have seen young people with body piercings, but not too many with tongue piercings. It's never changed my perception of them, and I never judged them as troublesome or as lawbreakers, because that's what they wanted and it has nothing to do with character. Employers in general refuse to hire anyone with body piercings, which shouldn't be an issue if it's in moderation. However, I wouldn't treat a person badly because of their piercings. I haven't in the past. They're trying to do their own thing, and it shouldn't be an issue.

POSTED 9/18/2002

Monique, Ft. Myers, FL, United States, Female, Mesg ID 918200211239

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Question:

Do Muslims smoke cigarettes?

POSTED 9/16/2002

Abby, State College, PA, United States, Mesg ID 916200213844

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Question:

As a female who must contend daily with cat calls, sexual remarks, ogles and being followed, I was wondering if men ever experience these things. If not, how do they feel when witnessing such incidents?

POSTED 8/6/2002

Jay, New York, NY, United States, Female, Atheist, White/Caucasian, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 86200263208


Responses:
I was groped by a girl once. It made me extremely uncomfortable because she wasn't the most attractive, and she was very much bigger than me!

POSTED 9/16/2002

Jon, Greenville, NC, United States, Male, Mesg ID 9162002102446


I have not been groped, but I have experienced a great deal of unwanted attention. This has taken the form of semi-aggressive stares, movements and badly veiled comments. Though this is not sexual in origin (at least probably not by intent) and more to do with social stigmatization, I have drawn some comfort from the notion that I am experiencing something women have had to put up with since time immemorial. The effect on my psyche has been quite devastating.

POSTED 9/18/2002

Ian, B/water, NA, United Kingdom, <yanmcd@hotmail.com>, 34, Male, Christian, White/Caucasian, Straight, educator, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 917200233022


I am considered a sexy/attractive male and get attention from others all the time. The difference is women are much more subtle about it. They can say so much more with a sustained look and smile than a man who is making gutteral noises. Cat-calling and making sounds is usually done to impress other males in the vicinity. The male feels it shows his sexual prowess. I don't think it has a thing to do with the woman involved. Being rude to someone is a put-down, not a compliment.

POSTED 9/18/2002

Matthew, New York, NY, United States, 43, Male, Mesg ID 918200252342

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Question:

Why is it that someone can make fun of another person for being gay or bisexual, but as soon as it becomes 'trendy,' they insist they're more gay than you and are better?

POSTED 9/16/2002

Helly, London, NA, United Kingdom, 16, Female, Atheist, White/Caucasian, Bisexual, Student, High School Diploma, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 913200245556


Responses:
I never heard of that. I guess it depends on the part of the globe a person lives in. I usually assume if a person is homophobic that they're still going to hold their views regardless of whether it's the 21st century or beyond. However, some people do make fun of or scorn homosexuals or bisexuals because of their upbringing, and then there are some who may have homosexual attractions but feel dirty or ashamed, so they project those self-loathing feelings onto someone who may remind them of a part of themselves they hate. I wouldn't say they're closeted gays, but they may struggle with those desires and thus take it out on someone who is gay as a form of denial. Not all homophobes are secretly gay, lesbian or bisexual. I've never been around a homophobe who admitted to being a trendy gay,so it's all new. The best way I can explain this is conformity; some people, when they're around homosexuals, become like those people, while others who are around homophobic people day in and day out become like those people. So it must be conformists who adapt according to the environment they're in that you're talking about.

POSTED 9/18/2002

Monique, Ft. Myers, FL, United States, Female, Mesg ID 918200213252

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Question:

I am 32 and have had four serious boyfriends in my life. I have always imagined having a husband or male life-partner. I love men and am sexually attracted to them, in a low-sex-drive kind of way. However, 95 percent of my sexual fantasies involve women. I cannot stop staring at women's breasts like a big old perverted guy. I am completely turned on by nude women (and have been since childhood), but the sight of a naked man (unless he's in my bed) doesn't do much for me at all. This has been the case for several years, and it's grown stronger as I've gotten older. I can't really see myself becoming emotionally involved with a woman, but all I can think about is having sex with one. Is this bisexuality, even though it's never been acted upon and may never be? I'm curious as to what the 'line' is that people see between heterosexuality and bisexuality - and when that line is crossed. Does simple sexual attraction (not emotional) define our sexuality?

POSTED 9/16/2002

Tris, Seattle, WA, United States, 32, Female, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, Program Manager, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 915200250539


Responses:
Whatever it means, whatever you may or may not be, the most important thing is not to worry about it. People have all kinds of fantasies and are turned on by things that they wouldn't necessarily try. For example, I'm a lesbian and enjoy watching gay male porno. I have no idea what kind of category that puts me in, but I know I don't actually want to do what I see in those movies. I just like to watch it. As far as something being bisexuality when it's never even happened, consider that heterosexuals know that they're straight long before they ever have sex. People like to argue that gay people who've never had straight sex can't really know that they're gay because they haven't had a straight experience. Yet, no one expects heterosexuals to go out and have gay sex to make sure that they're straight. So, yes, I think you can be bisexual without the actual experience. If the opportunity presents itself, you might want to try it with a woman. The worst that could happen is that you'd find you didn't like it. It's possible that you could be physically, but not emotionally, attracted to women. That wouldn't be the wierdest thing in the world. I bet you'd find quite a few women who'd agree that that describes their husband to a tee!

POSTED 9/18/2002

Jean, Los Angeles, CA, United States, 37, Female, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, Lesbian, Computers, 4 Years of College, Upper class, Mesg ID 917200240259

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Question:

What is the proper etiquette when referring to someone who is black or black and white? What is offensive? Is 'colored' considered racist?

POSTED 9/16/2002

T. Sands, Denver, CO, United States, 32, Female, Christian, White/Caucasian, Straight, Sales, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 915200294303


Responses:
I have a niece who is biracial, and this is the word I have most commonly heard used to describe her race. Her mother is white and her father was black. She is also absolutely gorgeous. I am a very proud aunt. But back to your question, I do not think 'colored' is a good choice, too old of a word and for some, could be taken as negative. I usually refer to African Americans as black, and I think that is commonly accepted as appropriate and the equivalent to calling Caucasions white. When asked what race my niece is, I reply that her father was black and her mother is white. However, in general, I think biracial is the appropriate term when speaking about children whose parents are from different races.

POSTED 9/18/2002

Michelle, Kansas City, MO, United States, <meesha29@hotmail.com>, 25, Female, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, Straight, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 916200291958


Colored is certainly archaic, and because the term was in use during more 'offically' racist times, it would be offensive. It also seems to imply that 'colored' isn't normal, as though one is somehow less of a human because he or she is 'colored.'

POSTED 9/18/2002

Ridley S., Chambersburg, PA, United States, 22, Male, White/Caucasian, Mesg ID 9172002113603


Very simply, yes, it is offensive.

POSTED 9/18/2002

Aaron, Palo Alto, CA, United States, 31, Male, Christian, Black/African American, Straight, Customer Service Rep, 2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 918200292850


It depends on what the person prefers. Some people prefer African American, some prefer black American. The rule applies for all nationalities. However, I can tell you one thing: the term 'colored' is not acceptable, and you should know that.

POSTED 9/18/2002

Marron B., Anniston, AL, United States, 23, Female, Black/African American, Clerical, 4 Years of College, Lower class, Mesg ID 918200210835


The best term in my opinion to refer to someone who is black is African American; it doesn't sound so blunt, and doesn't emphasize race. For example, some people may say 'That black woman over there is the president of this company,' as oppose to 'The woman who is African American is the company's president.' The latter sounds a lot better because it puts emphasis on what she does, as opposed to her race. I am a black American, so when someone outside my race refers to me in terms of race, African American sounds better. To someone who is a mixture of black and white, the best thing to say is that that person is of African and Caucasian descent or heritage.

POSTED 9/18/2002

Monique, Ft. Myers, FL, United States, Female, Mesg ID 918200220542


Is it possible to refer to this person by name? If speaking of someone you know, I would consider it proper etiquette to call that person by name. In what context would you be speaking of a person that would call for using a racial description? I can say that using 'colored' would date you, as this term has not been used in 50 years. Some people of African extraction prefer the term African American, but bear in mind that not all African Americans are 'black' or brown-skinned. Then there are people of African extraction, who are brown-hued and prefer to be called black. And there are black people whose heritage is not African. Then there are brown-skinned people who just want to be called American. It gets kind of complicated, so probably the simplest and most proper way would be to use a given name, unless, of course, you know this person well enough to ask what they prefer to be called.

POSTED 9/18/2002

Serene, Chandler, AZ, United States, 43, Female, Black/African American, 2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 918200254257

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Question:

Why do young men and women choose to decorate themselves, particularly their faces, with multiple piercings and tattoos? If a person is very attractive, why mar the natural beauty with holes and ink? If a person is not as beautiful (according to society's standards) why draw added attention to their face and at the same time permanently mark it? Isn't any consideration given to the future problems one encounters when it comes time to find good employment?

POSTED 7/29/2002

Pattya, Springville, CA, United States, Mesg ID 6162002115256


Responses:
I received my first tattoo when I was 16. I had originally asked for a tongue-piercing, but my mother said she would not sign for me to get one. This angered me, but she said I could get a tattoo instead. Why she said OK to a permanent mark still blows my mind. But I got a tattoo, anyway. I guess when I was 16 I thought it would be really cool to have one because none of my friends did. I did not do it to fit in, because none of my friends had them, and if my friends did have them I would not have to have a tattoo to be friends with them. They are my friends not because I have piercings or tattoos. I believe most people get tattoos for a number of reasons. Some do it because they really enjoy the way they look. Others get them to see the reactions of others who see them. Still others do it as a way of self-expression. There are people out there who draw their own tattoos. This lets the artist carry around a portfolio at all times, because you never know who you are going to run in to. Others get tattoos or piercings to set records. I recently talked to someone who just got into the world records book for the most piercings on the body. I believe it was around 290. This gives some people a sense of great accomplishment. I know some individuals get works of art on their bodies in order to make memories of those individuals who have made an impact on their lives. I have nine piercings and two tattoos and do not regret getting any of them.

POSTED 9/16/2002

Becca G., Grand Blanc, MI, United States, 21, Female, Catholic, White/Caucasian, Straight, 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 915200260934

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Question:

What are the pros and cons of being a lawyer?

POSTED 9/10/2002

Ashley J., Kinston, AL, United States, <platinum_princess53@hotmail.com>, 17, Female, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, Straight, Student, Less than High School Diploma, Middle class, Mesg ID 4242002125549

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Question:

I'm an Italian American who grew up in New York City. My whole life I've heard people use the derogatory term 'guinea' when speaking about Italians. What is the origin of this word?

POSTED 9/12/2002

Ariane M., Ft. Myers, FL, United States, <TropicalToots@aol.com>, 31, Female, Catholic, White/Caucasian, Straight, Estetician, 2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 911200265033

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Question:

My fiance is Puerto Rican, and I've noticed how much importance their culture's music and dancing is to him and his family. Is it just his family, or is it the whole Puerto Rican culture?

POSTED 9/12/2002

Sara C., Davison, MI, United States, 22, Female, Christian, White/Caucasian, Straight, Student, 2 Years of College, Lower class, Mesg ID 911200282130

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