Best of the Week
of Oct. 14, 2001

Best of Week Archives

Here are the most intriguing cross-cultural exchanges either begun or advanced during the week of Oct. 14, 2001, 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 new database as well). In the Original Archives and the new 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:

On Sept. 11, thousands of innocent civilians were killed in the United States. But when innocent civilians are being killed in Afghanistan, apparently 94 percent of Americans are in favor of the military action. Americans: Can you explain why it's OK with you?

POSTED 10/19/2001

Jane C., Edinburgh, NA, United Kingdom, 34, Female, Atheist, White/Caucasian, Lesbian, Writer, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 1018200143958

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Question:

Last year, I would go to a grocery store across the street from my high school to get some lunch. This market would make students wait in line, and then let each student enter one at a time. While students and anyone who would look under 18 would be kept waiting, older people could freely enter. When I asked them why they did this, they said it was because of the high amount of shoplifting going on. I felt very offended that they would think that just because I am teenager, I must shoplift. Is this discrimination based on age? Is there anything I could do to stop this age profiling?

POSTED 10/9/2001

John, Santa Barbara, CA, United States, 18, Male, Atheist, White/Caucasian, Gay, Student, High School Diploma, Middle class, Mesg ID 108200185536


Responses:
Your best bet would be to write a letter to management telling them why you will no longer patronize the establishment. When they receive enough such letters, their practices will change.

POSTED 10/11/2001

Christopher D., Arlington, TX, United States, <christopherdavis@to-scorpio.com>, 25, Male, Christian, White/Caucasian, Straight, Sales/Home Depot, High School Diploma, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 1011200113533


I work in a grocery store, and yes, we are told to watch teenagers, but that's it - just watch them. The grocery store I work at is mostly health food and speciality items, so high schoolers don't think of it as a mainstream store - it's so dorky to think they would steal from it, you know? I think the process you experienced was unfair, but the main culprits of shoplifting are in your age range. And mine, unfortunately. There is nothing you can do about this, other than get older.

POSTED 10/15/2001

Sarah C., San Francisco, CA, United States, 23, Female, Asian, Over 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 10152001102025


Unfortunately, some instances of apparent discrimination are born out of experience. Most stores as you describe are small, privately owned operations. If items are being stolen, the owners may have to raise prices to cover the cost of the lost merchandise. My guess is they noted a sharp decline in lost merchandise after restricting and monitoring teenagers in the store. It is not a direct reflection on you, John, but on those 'rotten apple' teens who were stealing and spoiled it for the rest of you. You might try speaking with the owner about his experiences. Maybe some civic group at your school could volunteer as monitors, thus allowing more teens in the store. Just be prepared for a 'No, thank you' from the owner. Burned once, he's not likely to put himself in a position to be burned again.

POSTED 10/16/2001

Doug, Phoenix, AZ, United States, 38, Male, New Age/Metaphysical, White/Caucasian, Gay, Administrator, 2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 1016200121021


I live in New York and have the daily experience of being around a high school when it releases its students from classes. Without a doubt, it is one of the most depressing sights. All I see are young people who are more concerned with speaking 'McDonald-ese' and having the latest rap line than respect for the people around them. Disrespect and vulgar behavior is the norm from this group (I am sure there are those who are not so interested in being with the 'in' crowd.) I try to soften my perception with the fact that they are young and the possibility that I participated in my own version of this at that age. But from my current perspective, age discrimination is valid, especially when the group involved fails to realize they are a part of a civilized culture that needs to accommodate all types, not just their own. I believe it is not the young people's fault, because they don't know any better. It is their parents who should be educated in the rearing of children prior to being allowed to reproduce.

POSTED 10/19/2001

Matthew, New York, NY, United States, 43, Male, Mesg ID 1010200153054


Well, whattaya gonna do? As a male, when I was between 17 and 25, I paid the highest car insurance rates (and even more so for living in the city) in the country. But you know, you can't argue with a mountain of statistics. Well, you can, but no one will care. The way I see it, you can either refuse to shop and tell them you are offended by the policy, you can put up with it or you can take your anger out on the REAL culprits - the teenagers who have apparently been looting the place.

POSTED 10/19/2001

Carter, Chicago, IL, United States, 30, Male, White/Caucasian, Mesg ID 10172001110232


In London, any shopkeepers with any sense allow only two, sometimes one, student at a time during breaks and lunchtime into their shops - one shopkeeper is at the door acting as the bouncer. A shopkeeper is entitled to prevent whomever they want coming into the shop. Kids are known to be shoplifters - true, it is discrimination, but so is higher car insurance for male drivers - common sense dictates what forms of discrimination are acceptable.

POSTED 10/19/2001

Jamie N., London, NA, United Kingdom, 32, Male, White/Caucasian, designer, 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 1018200163741

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Question:

Why do so many women have a very specific idea of what kind of man they want for a mate? I have noticed that many women have certain criteria without which they will not even consider a man -race (if different from their own), way of making a living, hobbies, etc. For instance, some women will only consider a man if he is military, or if he is black (and she is white), or is into some kind of specialized hobby such as skiing or mountain climbing. I do not think men are so specific. For instance, I find tall women and redheads appealing, but my wife of eight years is neither tall nor a redhead, and I do not regret the fact that she isn't.

POSTED 10/19/2001

Augustine, Columbia, SC, United States, 41, Male, White/Caucasian, Straight, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 1010200160516

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Question:

What is the rate of substance abuse/dependence in the gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender community? Also, is it broken down by ethnicity in that group?

POSTED 10/19/2001

Jackie, Milwaukee, WI, United States, <JBush@pitnet.net>, Female, Mesg ID 1013200140108

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Question:

Why do Afghanistan women have to cover their faces?

POSTED 9/30/2001

Penny M., Melbourne, NA, Australia, Female, Mesg ID 928200164803


Responses:
The Taliban requires this. The Afghan women are being oppressed.

POSTED 10/19/2001

Noel, Fayetteville, NC, United States, 46, Male, African Methodist Episcopalian, Black/African American, Straight, Over 4 Years of College, Upper class, Mesg ID 1013200184917


The Prophet Mohammad said that the believing woman should dress and behave modestly in the presence of the believing man - and that the believing man should dress and behave modestly in the presence of the believing woman. Most of the strictures that the Taliban (and other fundamentalist countries like Saudi Arabia) impose on women are either based on pre-Islamic tribal practices or (such as the burqa) based on laws the wives of the Prophet had to obey, not ordinary Muslim women. Like the anti-choice fundamentalist Christian movement, this has much more to do with men controlling women than it does with religion.

POSTED 10/19/2001

Jane C., Edinburgh, NA, United Kingdom, 34, Female, Atheist, White/Caucasian, Lesbian, Writer, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 1018200151716

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Question:

Why do Canadian men always seem so friendly and happy? I have been talking to a Canadian man for some time now, and he's always friendly and nice, and all his friends seem that way, too. I was wondering if there have been any studies on this. Also, are there any studies that show how or whether men from different countries act differently from each other?

POSTED 10/19/2001

Christina, Nashville, TN, United States, Female, Mesg ID 10182001111424

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Question:

Why do African-American women and girls scream so much, or talk so loud? I'm a teacher, and sometimes I can hardly think in class because my African-American girls are so loud. Also, they are so quick to jump to conclusions and get really defensive about everything.

POSTED 10/9/2001

Gina, Loves Park, IL, United States, Female, Mesg ID 108200144144


Responses:
How would you feel if I asked, "Why don't white women have no backside, or no rhythm?" You would be pissed. I and most of my friends, relatives and co-workers do not portray the characteristics of the young black girls and women you have seen. Maybe the black girls you claim to teach have no home training, or no guardian to teach values and discipline. You should attend my school, where the white and Hispanic girls (they are even worse) are just as loud and ghetto as the African-American girls. A good example of loud non-black females (particularly white women) would be guests on Jerry Springer.

POSTED 10/16/2001

Tamala, Atlanta, GA, United States, Female, Black/African American, Mesg ID 1014200190125


Here's an explanation I've heard before: Many African Americans live in poverty. Poverty often creates crowded conditions in housing. In order to be heard in a crowded household, one must be loud. A quiet person would quickly fade into the background in many of these homes. As for the defensiveness, I'm guessing it comes from a lifetime of discrimination and needing to be able to defend one's decisions and choices. Those are my two cents.

POSTED 10/19/2001

Lisa, Tampa, FL, United States, Female, Mesg ID 1010200193307


I don't think it's fair to assume that every black woman on the face of this earth talks really loud and screams. True, some do, but then again, so do some white women. As a black woman, it gets really irritating when people think that just because one or two black women are loud, then those black women are representing the entire race of black females. White women can be loud, too. I know from firsthand experience, but I don't generalize and assume that every other white woman on earth talks really loud just because a few do. If you're looking for some definite answer as to why it is that black women talk so loud, there is none. Maybe it's just the personalities of the black girls in your class. Everyone is different. I'm a young black woman who doesn't talk loud and scream all the time. As far as black women jumping to conclusions and getting defensive all the time, once again, not all of us do. It's impossible for me or any other black woman to really answer these kinds of questions because I don't feel like this is a racial issue. Some black women will get really defensive over the least little thing, and some won't. But then again, the same thing can be said about white women and any other race of woman. To sum it all up, if you want to know why some black women talk so loud, you will have to ask the ones who talk loud. If you want to know why some black women get really defensive and jump to conclusions, you will have to ask the ones who get really defensive and jump to conclusions

POSTED 10/19/2001

Stacia, Naperville, IL, United States, 25, Female, Christian, Black/African American, Straight, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 1012200115241


I would think that as a teacher you would know better than to make a generalizaton about a group, just because of the actions of a few. Black girls are no louder than white, Asian, etc. - and depending on the age group you are teaching, they ALL could be loud, but for some reason, you take note more when it comes from your black female students. I've been in the company of white women who greet each other quite loudly with those 'sorority sister' screams - how does the behavior of your students differ from that? As far as their being defensive, is it your actions and statements towards them that cause them to respond so?? Also, how much exposure did you have to black people before taking this position?

POSTED 10/19/2001

Gail L., Chicago, IL, United States, 39, Female, Catholic, Black/African American, Straight, IT Management, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 1013200182320

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Question:

To people of various backgrounds: Are there any types of music, practices or lifestyle activities that you would like to do or be a part of but feel you can't because of your culture?

POSTED 10/3/2001

Natalie W., Sale, NA, Australia, <natnat50@hotmail.com>, Female, Mesg ID 102200122403


Responses:
My 'corporate culture' doesn't allow me to wear my nose ring, or to publically do anything that could be labeled outlandish or brazen. I've found that even the things I do in my private, non-work time are seen to reflect on my suitability for professional employement.

POSTED 10/19/2001

Lisa, Tampa, FL, United States, Female, Mesg ID 1010200194055


The current euphemism for me is 'African American' (stay away from certain words and you can call me whatever you want). I like rock music, bluegrass and other forms of music that I'm sure I'm supposed to hate, just because the people who traditionally perform it don't look like me. Early on, I learned I had to hide my musical preferences from EVERYBODY. While driving on trips, my parents would let the radio play whatever came in the clearest, yet I in no way was supposed to grow to like anything I heard? I just don't relate to 'R&B' music (it's called that, right?). All the 'baby baby' and 'party down' themes are recycled and repeated so much that I wonder how anyone can stand it. I've never tried to act any way other than what I am, and the fact is that who I am has never been what people like to believe I should be. I'd even like to start a real rock band with other 'black' people who like rock music. I don't know how I would find them, though. Music is everywhere and ears don't close, only minds do.

POSTED 10/19/2001

Nathan, Seattle, WA, United States, 32, Male, Black/African American, Straight, 2 Years of College, Lower class, Mesg ID 1011200170915


I admire clothing from other cultures. For instance, I think Indian saris are beautiful, and I also love Japanese kimonos. If I could, I would wear a different 'global' outfit every day, from every culture on earth (except for those that don't wear clothes!). I don't necessarily feel I 'can't' do this because of my background, but I know it would make it harder for me to carry out my normal activities (going to the store, etc.).

POSTED 10/19/2001

E.D., Kansas City, MO, United States, 45, Female, Mesg ID 10172001100934

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