best
Best of the Week
of Nov. 10, 2002
 

Best of Week Archives

Here are the most intriguing cross-cultural exchanges either begun or advancedduring the week of Nov. 10, 2002, as selected by Y? These postings, as wellas "Best of the Week" entries from previous weeks, also can be found by accessingY?'s database using the search form, or, in the case ofanswers posted before April 24, 1999, in the Original Archives (all questionsfrom the Original Archives have been entered into thedatabase aswell). Inthe Original Archives, as well as in the database, you willfind questionsthat have received answers, as well as questions stillawaiting responses.You are encouraged to answer any questionsrelevant to your demographic background,as well as to ask anyprovocative question you desire. Answers posted arenot necessarilymeant to represent the views of an entire demographic group,but canprovide a window into the insights of an individual from thatgroup. 
 First-time users should first make a quick stopat Y?'s guidelines pages for asking and answering questions.

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"Why Do White People SmellLike Wet Dogs
When They Come Out Of The Rain?"


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Question:

I know there are nice people and mean people everywhere, but it's beenmy sad experience that, per capita, the nastiest, most quarrelsome peoplein the United States are from upstate New York (i.e. north of WestchesterCounty encompassing the rest of the state). People from New York City arefine, making allowance for their hurry-up, somewhat abrupt surface manner.In fact, I have had many friends from New York City. However, I've traveledthroughout upstate New York and have encountered people who have moved fromthere, and I hate to say it, but it's a totally different story up there.Unpleasant personal encounters are practically the norm, and there seemsto be a mean-spiritedness and arrogance behind it. I haven't experiencedthis in neighboring states I've visited. Is it something unique to upstateNew York culture, or could they subsconsciously be trying to live up to astereotype of the 'rude New Yorker' while at the same time feeling inadequatecompared to New York City natives? That's the only sense I can make of it.Albany, Poughkeepsie, Utica, Rochester: take a chill pill. Please.
POSTED 9/10/2002
Augustine, Columbia, SC, United States, 41, Male, Catholic, White/Caucasian,Straight, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 814200263018


Responses:

I lived my first 19 years on Long Island, an hour from New York City.It was just a train ride away, and we hustled and bustled just as much aspeople in the city. Too much traffic, everyone in a rush, etc. Then I movedupstate to Oswego, N.Y., and then Syracuse. Lo and behold, I found everyoneto be a lot nicer, and friendlier. Absolute strangers waving to me out ofnowhere. Of course, after a little while upstate, I realized not everyoneupstate is that nice. I was just so used to ignoring strangers and havingstrangers ignore me on Long Island and in New York City that a few wavesmade all the difference. Upstate New York has just as many rude people asNew York City. But when you see it in Upstate New York, it stands out morebecause that's not how everyone acts. In New York City everyone is rushingand doing what they have to do to get to where they need to be. That doesn'tmean they are all rude. You will know a rude person in New York City whenyou see them. I just think the pace is slower upstate, so the ruder peopleare a lot easier to pick out.
POSTED 11/12/2002
Deb, Syracuse, NY, United States, 23, Female, Christian, Straight, clerical,4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 111200232321



Of course, it could be that we just don't like you.
POSTED 11/12/2002
Me, Upstate, NY, United States, Mesg ID 1111200271106

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Question:

I have manic-depression. While I sought treatment, I know that manypeopledo not. Does American culture and society in general frown on mental illnessso much that many people suffer alone in silence?
POSTED 11/10/2002
Jean, White Lake, MI, United States, 30, Female, Christian, White/Caucasian,Straight,pharmacy tech, Technical School, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 95200221247

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Question:

I'm 19 and went to a dermatologist recently. He said that if Idon't use RogaineI will be obviously bald, at first glance, in 3 to5 years (I'm balding inthe front, not 'crown balding'). That stuffis a big hassle and a pain inthe butt to use, but I can put up withit if I have to. But do girls (specificallythose 17-25) really careabout baldness at my age? Can I let myself go bald?

POSTED 11/8/2002

Ian C., Broken Arrow, OK, United States, 19, Male, Christian,White/Caucasian,Straight, student, 2 Years of College, Lower middleclass, Mesg ID 116200263841


Responses:
When I see a man who has lost most of his hair, I immediately assumehe'sabout 45 or 50. I have a friend who had lost 90 percent of his hairby thetime he was 21. He's 28 now, and if you look at his face alone, hehas nowrinkles and could pass for a 17-year-old. But without hair, he looksat least40, so most women under 40 don't approach him because they don'tlike theidea of dating 'an older man.' If you had lost all your hair bynow, I wouldn'tadvise you to get a toupee. That's extreme. But while youstill have the opportunityto keep what you have, I say the pain in the buttthat Rogaine will be isdefinitely worth it if you can delay your hair loss.
POSTED 11/10/2002
Christine S., Colorado Springs, CO, United States, 27, Female, White/Caucasian,Straight,Engineer, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 1192002120121


I often find myself attracted to blokes with receding hairlines. It can looksexy,but only with very short hair. I find long hair on the rest of a baldingheada turn-off. However, I have always cared more about nice eyes or a sexysmile(not to mention a good personality) than the number of hair follicleson someone'shead.
POSTED 11/10/2002
Anne, London, NA, United Kingdom, 19, Female, 2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 119200234254


I do not care so much about hair. I've dated a guy who was for all intentsandpurposes bald (he'd shaved his head since sixth grade) and it never botheredme.You just have to find the women who look at you and not your hair
POSTED 11/10/2002
E.K.G., Columbia, MO, United States, 18, Female, Southern Baptist, White/Caucasian,Straight,Student, High School Diploma, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 1110200212008

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Question:

Why do white people lock their car doors and clutch their bags or purses when a black male passes by them?
POSTED 11/10/2002
L., New Castle, DE, United States, Female, Straight, Mesg ID 1110200291349


Responses:

Interesting question. Perhaps I'm naive, but I didn't think a lot of peopledid that any more. I'm white but don't lock my doors or clutch my purse,or anything else, when a black man goes by. Granted, I grew up in the Midwest,but I've traveled to other parts of the world, where everyone is different,but we are all essentialy the same.Color plays no part. I certainly don'tlive in a Utopian society, but do you really experience that on a consistentbasis?
POSTED 11/12/2002
Katie, Tooele, UT, United States, <snuggles@aros.net>, 35, Female,Mormon, White/Caucasian, Straight, Homemaker, 2 Years of College, Middleclass, Mesg ID 1110200265645



Most white women do this because they have had it impressed into their mindsfrom an early age that they are to fear black men, and that black men areout to get them. I find that annoying and insulting, but remember, it isnot all white people, just the ignorant ones.
POSTED 11/12/2002
Savannah C., Beckley, WV, United States, 18, Female, White/Caucasian, Straight, Mesg ID 1110200283919



I lock my door and/or tighten my grip on my children/purse when a man ofany color approaches me, and a lot of my friends feel the same. I knew ablack man who was 6'4", 250 lbs. who was running through the parking lotof a shopping mall in the rain with the hood of his jacket pulled over hishead. He almost ran right into a woman walking into the mall. When she recoiledin fear, he naturally assumed it was because he was black. When I pointedout that 1). he had his head covered, 2). he's enormous; and 3). this wasa woman alone, he had to agree it was gender over color - in that instance,anyway. Many women are leary or outright afraid of strange men, regardlessof their color.
POSTED 11/12/2002
Gillian D., fallon, NV, United States, 39, Female, Pagan, White/Caucasian,Straight, administrator, 2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 11112002114053



I'm all for equality: I do the same when a white male passes by, as well.
POSTED 11/12/2002
Anne, London, NA, United Kingdom, 19, Female, White/Caucasian, 2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 11112002122412



It's a combination of bad encounters with black males on the street and increased fear of crime because of social factors.
POSTED 11/12/2002
Seamus, Charlestown, MA, United States, 23, Male, construction, High School Diploma, Lower class, Mesg ID 1111200260726



I live in New York, and only black men get my instincts up. A lot of thetime, it is their manners (or lack of) that scares me. Or they are poorlydressed, have bad hygiene or engage in aggressive talk. To be honest, I haveonly received crap on the streets from black guys, be it aggressive beggingor just anger. So it is a self-preservation thing, i..e. just be ready, becauseyou just never know what to expect.
POSTED 11/12/2002
Matthew, New York, NY, United States, 43, Male, Mesg ID 1112200250013

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Question:

What's the deal with a lot of blacks drinking grape soda, Kool-aidand other weird, fruity drinks? I've worked in restaurants and deliveredpizza, and it's a strange phenomenon.
POSTED 5/12/2002
Trip, Columbia, MD, United States, Mesg ID 5102002101409


Responses:

I've seen this same phenomenon, and I cannot (even as a black man) tellyou why this is. It may be that you're generalizing and relying on a samplesize that is too small to be relevant. But let's suppose you're right. Whydo blacks gravitate toward 'fruity' pops? Here are some possible reasons:

1) They may not like caffeine. Dark pops such as Coke and Pepsi and teastend to have more caffeine than Sunkist, Sprite, 7-up, Nehi and what haveyou.
2) Acne and sweating out of pop due to strenuous activity can affect their appearances.
3) Urban legends about certain pops (especially Mountain Dew - or Mountain Don't, as I call it).
4) Familiarity due to blacks' inability to afford healthier beverages (onesthat actually contain fruit juice) with Flavor-Aid, Wylers, Kool-Aid andother sugar-water beverages.
POSTED 11/12/2002
Michael F., Chicago, IL, United States, <mfleury@ccc.edu>, 24, Male,Baptist, Black/African American, Straight, Education Administrator, Over4 Years of College, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 95200233126


I'd say it is more of a social background thing; I grew up on red Kool-Aidand orange soda. I lived in a predominantly black, lower-class neighborhood,and in the summers when I visited my grandparents in West Virginia, it wasPB&J sandwiches and Kool-Aid (though not with nearly as much sugar),so I think it's as much where you grew up as it is what race you are.
POSTED 11/12/2002
Savannah C., Beckley, WV, United States, <fallingwillow@hotmail.com>,18, Female, White/Caucasian, Straight, cashier, High School Diploma, Lowermiddle class, Mesg ID 1111200284504

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Question:

To all the so-called 'vegetarians' out there: How can you call yourselfvegetarianif you eat fish, poultry or eggs? Is the great white shark thateats tunaconsidered a vegetarian? Is the tree python that eats a parrotconsidereda vegetarian? Is the mongoose that eats crocodile eggs considereda vegetarian?These are all carnivores, so why is the meaning of carnivoredifferent forhumans?
POSTED 11/10/2002
Dwan W., Tallahassee, FL, United States,<dwanjuan@hotmail.com>, 29,Male, Black/African American, Straight,Behavioral Specialist, Over 4 Yearsof College, Lower middle class, Mesg ID118200285226

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Question:

I'm a female kindergarten teacher and am always very curious when meetingamale kindergarten teacher. I cannot understand why they have chosen a careerpaththat has so much unspoken prejudice. Wouldn't the constant pressureand fearof being accused of sexual abuse be enough to choose a differentcareer? Evenas a female I am acutely aware of these issues.
POSTED 9/10/2002
K.,Sydney, NA, Australia, 22, Female, Atheist, White/Caucasian, Straight,Educator,4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 616200260405


Responses:

Some people just won't give in. For me, if I worked at a daycare center,Iwould be haunted by nightmare images of an expensive attorney questioningmein a court of law. We live in a society where men are no longer supposedtobe around children if they aren't their own. And that's a real shame.
POSTED 11/10/2002
Christopher D., Arlington, TX, United States, <christopherdavis@to-scorpio.com>, 26, Male, Christian,


Perhaps they wish to simply break a stereotype. With so many single-parentfamilies,it could be a great thing to have positive male role models atan age forchildren when it could possibly make a huge contribution to thedevelopmentof future generations.
POSTED 11/10/2002
R.W., Brisbane, NA, Australia,34, Female, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, Straight,University student/hairdresser,Technical School, Middle class, Mesg ID 1142002121429

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Question:

Why do women say you should never wear a thong on an airplaneflight?

POSTED 11/8/2002

Ridley S., Chambersburg, PA, United States, 22, Male, Agnostic,White/Caucasian, Mesg ID 1142002112431

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Question:

Why is it that someone can make fun of another person for being gayor bisexual,but as soon as it becomes 'trendy,' they insist they're moregay than youand 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 knowwhat you mean. I've wondered the same thing. It almost getsannoying. Forsome reason, it's not OK or normal or 'cool' for me to be seriouslybisexual,but it's OK for someone else to be 'bisexual on the side.' (Yes,I did hearsomeone at my school say that.) My guess is that they think itmakes themseem more attractive and adventurous. From what I've seen andheard, a lotof people seem to think bisexual equals promiscuous. And promiscuousseemsto be the 'in' thing now. I have a sort-of related question: why isit more'okay' for females to be bisexual than males? It also seems to bethat whenpeople hear a female is bisexual, they assume they're mainly straight,butwhen the person is male they're automatically gay.
POSTED 11/10/2002
Stephanie, Near New York, NJ, United States, 16, Female, Unitarian, White/Caucasian,Bisexual,Less than High School Diploma, Middle class, Mesg ID 1192002110457

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Question:

I would like to hear constructive comments from Muslims on theRev. JerryFalwell's recent TV interview in which he called theprophet Mohammed 'a terrorist... a violent man, a man of war' andsaid 'Jesus set the example for love,as did Moses, and I thinkMohammed set an opposite example.'

POSTED 11/8/2002

Ridley S., Chambersburg, PA, United States, 22, Male, Agnostic,White/Caucasian, Mesg ID 1152002122547

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Question:

I work in the financial industry as a loan officer. Over thepast few yearsI've noticed a trend among younger people: they don'tseem to care one bitabout their credit. It is very rare that I see agood credit report for anyoneunder 30. Most have over-extendedthemselves to the point of bankruptcy, maxingout more credit cardsthan they could ever handle. They gladly accept extremelyhigh-interestcredit cards and auto loans from lenders who fullyexpect them to go intodefault. I am interested in hearing from thoseunder 30 about why this isthe case, and if they realize the problemsthey are causing themselves inthe future when it comes time to buy ahome.

POSTED 11/8/2002

Mike B., Santa Cruz, CA, United States, 41, Male, Humanist,White/Caucasian,Gay, Finance, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class,Mesg ID 115200233751


Responses:

I think two factors contribute to the problem of young people with poorcredit. The first is that it is so easy to get credit now. From the momentyou begin college, you start getting credit card offers in the mail and byphone. I would assume that people who aren't college students get the sameoffers. There are also sales reps all over college campuses the first weekof school trying to get students to fill out card applications in exchangefor free gifts (t-shirts, cups, etc). Of course, no one has to accept thecredit cards, but most do because of the second factor: a lack of financialeducation. The credit card companies certainly aren't going to go into detailabout the dangers of credit; you're lucky if you get a brochure warning younot to use the card too much. Most parents don't discuss money with theirchildren. Financial education isn't offered in most American schools, soyoung people don't understand things like APRs and finance charges. Theycertainly don't understand that having bad credit can negatively affect yourability to purchase a house in the future, especially since most young peopledon't think that far ahead. I wish that financial education were a requiredpart of the curriculum in American high schools. Personally, it would havebeen a lot more useful than some of the things I learned and have since forgotten.
POSTED 11/12/2002
Johnna, Montgomery, AL, United States, 27, Female, Black/African American,Librarian, Over 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 1111200281854

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Question:

From my previous experiences with people from my high school, Ihave gottenthe impression that some atheists dislike Christians.When I was a seniorin high school, I used to have a small 'JesusFish' on the back of my car.One day after school, two atheistjuniors who were in band with me were rippingthe fish off my carwhen I went out to the parking lot. I have no problemwith atheists,and I would like to know if they have a problem with Christians.WhenI started dating my boyfriend nine months ago, he was anagnostic-turned-atheist,so I obviously didn't think less of himbecause of his beliefs, and the samegoes for his views on me and myreligion. He even told me that he admiredmy unquestioning faith in aGod I cannot scientifically prove.

POSTED 11/8/2002

Ali, Iowa City, IA, United States, 18, Female, Lutheran,White/Caucasian,Straight, College Student, High School Diploma,Middle class, Mesg ID 1182002123926


Responses:
I have an aversion to the 'faithful and devout' because I have been harassedbythem due to my atheism. I have been consigned to hellfire and brimstoneanddivine retribution repeatedly for daring to mention my 'blindness' withinareligious family situation, for instance. I was exorcised repeatedly bymyparents in my youth and am even now constantly reminded that prayers aremadefor my 'conversion to the truth.' From what I know of other atheistfriends,many find themselves going through similar experiences with religiousfamilymembers or even former religious friends who are intolerant, zealousand missionary.In my experience, Christians are prone to go to extremes,and though I tryvery hard to keep a tolerant lookout on the basis of "youlet me be and Ilet you be," I still cringe when faced with Christian bumperstickers, tableprayers and similar signs of religious involvement. To date,I have had nosimilar experiences with Muslim, Buddhist or Hindu friends,who seem as arule to have been content to just let me be myself. So I guessthe resultis that I am averse to Christianity. I only wish Christianitywere a littleless averse to me.
POSTED 11/10/2002
T., Munich, NA, Germany, 33, Female, Atheist, Over 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 1192002115522

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Question:

Why is that a lot of 'black' Hispanic people deny their Africanancestry?Why have they bought into the European myth that beingblack is bad? Usually,the first thing that comes out of their mouthsis 'I'm not black. I'm Hispanic'or 'I'm Dominican or Puerto Rican.'Don't they realize that Hispanic is aculture and Puerto Rican is anationality that does not desinate a specificrace of peaople? Whydon't you realize that you are apart of the Diaspora(if you knowwhat that means) and that the only difference is that my ancestorspickedcotton and tobacco and learned to speak English, and yourancestors pickedsugar cane and indigo and learned to speak Spanish?They all came from Africa.

POSTED 11/8/2002

L. Wilson, Tallahassee, FL, United States,<dwanjuan@hotmail.com>, 29,Male, Black/African American,Straight, Behavioral Specialist, Over 4 Yearsof College, Lowermiddle class, Mesg ID 118200275709


Responses:
1). People in most Spanish-speaking countries were never exposed to the blackpridemovements that spread through the United States, Europe, the West Indiesandsome parts of Africa. As a result, despite many people's claims thatLatinosocieties are not color-conscious, blacks still deal with problemsthat blackAmericans were facing before the civil rights movement. An exampleis thatAfro Latinos are generally absent from the media - and when theyare included,they're cast as maids, buffoons and the like.

2). Many citizens inHispanic society are outwardly racist, as opposed toin the United Statesand Europe, where people are now taught to be politicallycorrect and morecivil. For example, here in New York, I have Hispanics screaming'negro,''morena,' 'chocolate' and other words at me to denote my race andcolor, whichI find very offensive. Imagine if you lived somewhere and everytime you walkedout in the street or somewhere, people were constantly insultingyou becauseof your skin color and race.

Because of these things, Afro Latinoshave been raised to hate themselvesand to turn away from being black, proudand accepting of themselves.
POSTED 11/10/2002
Alicia, New York, NY, United States, 24, Female, Christian, Afro-Caribbean, Straight, Mesg ID 1192002125428

Maybe some people's sense of identity transcends race and color. Maybe somepeoplehave more of a bond with their culture than the color of their skin.Maybesome people don't want to define themselves with a lot of negativehistoricalbaggage. I think your real complaint is that all black peoplearen't likeyou think they should be, and that is sad.
POSTED 11/10/2002
Asad, Miami, FL, United States, 30, Male, Mesg ID 119200215242

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