Best of the Week
of Oct. 21, 2001

Best of Week Archives

Here are the most intriguing cross-cultural exchanges either begun or advanced during the week of Oct. 21, 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.

First-time users should first make a quick stop at Y?'s guidelines pages for asking and answering questions.

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Question:

I was wondering if nurses, doctors or morticians have ever had strange experiences when working with people who are dying/dead, such as ghosts, something strange the person said, any suggestion of life after death, etc.

POSTED 10/25/2001

Craig, Minneapolis, MN, United States, 38, Male, Gay, Mesg ID 10232001112451

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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


Responses:
Just because 94 percent of Americans are in favor of military action against the Taliban, that doesn't mean 94 percent are in favor of killing innocent people. It's two different things.

POSTED 10/23/2001

Danielle, Southern, NJ, United States, Female, Middle class, Mesg ID 1019200175859


I guess since there hasn't been an innocent massacred in Europe in, say, the last 10 minutes, you can now ask this question of us. The talk in the United States is that we have been too predictable and passive in the past. Inserting the element that we might react with overkill might cause future terrorists to rethink the outcome of their actions. People need to take into their calculations what might happen on the homefront when they blissfully convince some moron to crash a commercial airliner. I am truly sorry that an occasional retaliatory bomb goes astray, but the world needs to know that these are now the rules. Afghan civilians have had a month to plan - far more than the World Trade Center victims were given.

POSTED 10/23/2001

Steve, Houston, TX, United States, 45, Male, White/Caucasian, Still on The Top Floor of a Skyscraper, Over 4 Years of College, Upper class, Mesg ID 1019200192636


The simple answer is that not all Americans are in favor of these actions. Now the in-depth explanation: Despite our claim of being a democracy, we're not. The United States is barely a Republic, but is closer to an oligarchy that must respond to public whim. And the current whim is for revenge. If you study the U.S. newspapers, you see that the politicians are focusing on aspects of the 'war' that do not reflect the human casualties. The country is being presented a view that we are punishing Afghanistan, when in reality we are doing nothing of the kind. I am disgusted at the actions of my government, but until elections I have no way to affect the situation beyond taking part in a few demonstrations.

POSTED 10/23/2001

Alex J., Beloit, WI, United States, 18, Male, Jewish, White/Caucasian, Bisexual, student, High School Diploma, Middle class, Mesg ID 1020200184156


Contrary to what you may think, the media says that many Americans are in favor of the war in Afghanistan. I don't agree with a war in Afghanistan. I'm conflicted about what the United States should be doing. On one hand, war doesn't seem like the right resolution. On the other, if we don't do something, it will encourage others who want to do something terrible on our soil, and they'll think they can get away with it. It's not OK, but people are angry, and it's a blood-for-blood thing. People were killed who had nothing to do with U.S. foreign policy; they were killed simply for going to work. Second, it wasn't only Americans who got killed - many people from around the world worked in those buildings and boarded those flights, and they were killed for nothing. What it comes down to is that it's not OK with all of us, but to some of us here, it's justification.

POSTED 10/23/2001

Marco, Chicago, IL, United States, Mesg ID 10212001111810


I can't speak for every American, but I support our military action in Afghanistan for several reasons. As far as your question about innocent people being killed, this is why it is 'OK' with me: Innocent people are killed in every war. America is fighting a war right now, a war on terrorism. When the World Trade Center was bombed, many Afghanis were cheering in the streets. Americans are not cheering. We are scared and deeply saddened by the events of Sept. 11 and everything since. I, as I believe many Americans, never like to see innocent lives taken. Unfortunately, that's not always possible. Terrorism has to be stopped before it takes more lives.

POSTED 10/23/2001

Summer, Norfolk, NE, United States, <gzusfreak01@yahoo.com>, 19, Female, Christian, White/Caucasian, Straight, Student, High School Diploma, Middle class, Mesg ID 1021200194912


It is the same energy used by those responsible for the Sept. 11 massacre, but from another perspective. All action has a reaction. Now do you see?

POSTED 10/23/2001

Matthew, New York, NY, United States, 43, Male, Middle class, Mesg ID 1022200151738


There is no double standard. Those who are against military action in Afghanistan are the ones who need their heads examined. We have to speak in 'their language' (i.e. violence) for them to understand. Peace negotiation won't work this time around. I am sick of anti-war protests and sit-ins. This isn't Vietnam, baby.

POSTED 10/23/2001

C.C., Somewhere, NA, Canada, 22, Female, Asian, Straight, student, 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 1022200164009


You cannot equate the attack on the United States, in which 5,000 civilians were targeted for death, to an ongoing military mission in which war has been declared to destroy the Taliban and Bin Laden and his clan of terrorists. Our military is not targeting civilians, it is targeting the terrorist network and the government that is protecting them. The U.S. government has repeatedly declared that we are not targeting the Afghan people or Islam. Unfortunately, civilians get killed by accident in war. The Taliban can choose to end all of this by not harboring terrorists and turning over Bin Laden and his clan. I am fully in favor of this, as are the majority of Americans. Trust me when I say this is not a tit-for-tat retribution. I had business relationships with four men who are missing and believed dead in the World Trade Center towers. My brother has an office in the Pentagon in Washington but was uninjured. This has touched me personally, yet I am not out for payback on the innocent Afghanis. This act of cowardice has brought the United States to war, and we (with the help of our allies) will wipe the terrorists out, whoever and wherever they are, and regardless of the time it takes. There is a lot of hate being directed at us right now in the foreign press and in other media, and yes, this has been a wake-up call for America. We are calling in our chips for all the aid we have provided other countries over the years to help us win this war. Because, guess what? These terrorist scum are targeting people all over the world, not just Americans in the United States. And if Edinburgh gets targeted, you can bet your American friends will be there to help you. Twenty years ago, it would have been myself helping you; today it would be my sons. To quote our president: 'We will not tire, we will not falter and we will not fail.'

POSTED 10/23/2001

Bill, n/a, VT, United States, 43, Male, White/Caucasian, Finance, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 1022200180203


I am repeating what I heard on a talk show: When the World Trade Center was bombed, the perpetrators intentionally took innocent lives. The U.S. military is bombing the military targets and is unintentionally killing the innocent. In any war, innocent people are killed. Hiroshima and Nagasaki are examples. There are no winners in a war. Both sides sustain major casualties.

POSTED 10/23/2001

Ronald V., Edmonton, Alberta, NA, Canada, Male, Christian, White/Caucasian, Over 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 10222001112432


If the purpose of our military action was to target innocent civilians at random and to inflict 'terror' on them, then you would find that 100 percent of Americans would be opposed to that sort of activity. The Taliban - owned and operated by Osama Bin Laden and Al Queda - set out to target and kill innocent civilians on Sept. 11. They succeeded. And now they must suffer the consequences of that immoral behavior. Unlike the attack Sept. 11, we gave the Taliban and Afghan people plenty of warning before commencing the targeting of military objectives - warnings and targeting that very well may cost additional American, British and other Allied lives because we seek to minimize civilian casualties. Had we no compunction about the loss of innocent civilians in Afghanistan, they would be laid waste - and no food support would be sent to them, either.

POSTED 10/23/2001

Michael, Houston, TX, United States, 40, Male, Methodist, White/Caucasian, Gay, Intranet Manager, 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 10222001121653

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Question:

I recently fell in love with a Japanese girl on an exchange program from her university in Japan. She has since gone back, but we e-mail and talk a lot on the phone, and I plan to visit her next summer. We have talked about whether our relationship will work after we graduate. The problem is that she seems too willing to sacrifice her life's goals and ambitions for the wishes of her parents. For example, she is studying to be a teacher but doesn't think she will find a teaching job in Japan. Because she loves other cultures and travel, she would like to work in a country other than Japan, at least for awhile. But her parents have said they don't want her to leave Japan, and if she can't find a job as a teacher there, she will work for her father's bank as a teller or something. Also, she wants to be with me, but her mother has told her she doesn't want her to date non-Japanese because of language-cultural-religious differences. While she is certainly not happy with her parents' views, she doesn't seem willing to stand up for what she wants. Is this a common attitude among young Japanese women? That what they want is not necessarily important in relation to the wishes of their parents? Do I encourage her to stand up for herself, or just leave it and hope they come around eventually?

POSTED 10/23/2001

J., Toronto, Ontario, NA, Canada, 21, Male, White/Caucasian, Straight, Engineering Student, 2 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 1022200125528

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Question:

When I moved to the United States (from the Caribbean) I was surprised to hear the term 'white trash' used by whites to describe other white Americans upon whom they look down. My assumption was that white people stick together and wouldn't make derogatory comments of someone within their own race. I guess I was wrong. Why is this?

POSTED 10/23/2001

Natasha, Washington, DC, United States, 29, Female, Christian, Afro-Caribbean, Straight, administrative assistant, Technical School, Middle class, Mesg ID 1023200122553

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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


Responses:
I've heard that it's higher than in other groups, but I don't know if it's true. I think people are genetically predisposed to having addictive personalities, just like they're genetically predisposed to being gay. I would imagine, then, that the ethnic breakdown would be the same for anyone who abuses substances. Also, some people think that because the only 'acceptable' place for us to meet and socialize is in bars, that contributes to the abuse rate. But I think that's a load of hooey. All people who hang out in bars might drink more than those who don't. But I don't think gay bar-goers drink any more than straight bar-goers. I mean, people who ride in cars are also more likely to get killed in a car wreck.

POSTED 10/25/2001

Allison, Mission Viejo, CA, United States, 36, Female, Atheist, White/Caucasian, Lesbian, Analyst, 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 1023200111557


It is estimated that between 20 and 3 percent of the gay population has an addiction problem related to substance abuse. Here is a web site with more information, although I've yet to discover any breakdown by ethnicity: http://www.nyu.edu/odae/lgbtfact.html

POSTED 10/25/2001

Doug, Phoenix, AZ, United States, 38, Male, New Age/Metaphysical, White/Caucasian, Gay, Adminstrator, 2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 1023200141336


I would guess the rate of substance use in the gay community is a bit higher than the norm. This may be due to persecution of gay people - obviously some are going to seek relief in substance use. Also, a community told that its sexual expression is illegal or frowned upon is probably not going to care too much about similar prohibitions on substances. Drug use is certainly implicitly encouraged in some commercial gay scenes. In some cases there is even a strong message that use of drugs is essential to effective participation in those scenes - eg. parties that go on all night and have particular music and lighting designed to be appreciated by someone who's used a particular substance. I would say too, that because of the high rate of substance use, there is likely to be a higher rate of abuse. Gay newspapers depend on advertising revenue from the commercial scene, so it's in their interest to portray that scene as vibrant, exciting and new. This image is often maintained to the extent of excluding stories about the human cost of participation in that scene. I do not know any statistics giving an ethnic breakdown of substance abuse figures. I would imagine the type of substance abuse depends at least partly on whether members of the ethnic group participate in the commercial gay scene.

POSTED 10/25/2001

Ben S., London, NA, United Kingdom, <bscaro@yahoo.com>, 33, Male, Rosicrucian, White/Caucasian, Gay, traveler, 4 Years of College, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 1024200154610

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