Best of the Week
of Nov. 22, 1998


Here are the most intriguing cross-cultural exchanges either begun or advanced during the week of Nov. 22, 1998, as selected by Y? These postings, as well as "Best of the Week" entries from previous weeks, also can be found in their respective archives, which we invite you to browse. There, you will find questions that have received answers, as well as questions still awaiting responses. We encourage you 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 our guidelines pages for asking and answering questions.

THE QUESTION:
SE43: I've always been curious about how sex feels to a blind or deaf person. Are there any different issues they face?
POSTED AUG. 31, 1998
T. Sullivan, St. John's, Canada

ANSWER 1:
Being deaf myself and married for 30 years to a hearing person, I need only signal my partner with a touch and guide him to what I desire to have done. The same thing goes for him. If you are really in touch with your lover (hearing, deaf or blind), I think this is the same for all who are in touch with the one they love. And yes, sometimes the person doing most of the "action" may have to look up and see or recognize what it is their partner needs. Don't we all? At least I think so.

When we are fortunate enough to have an understanding person in our lives who will take the time to give us the ultimate pleasure, and we them, it doesn't matter what, if any, disabilities we have. This happens when you take the time to "know" the one you love, not only by body language, but by speech or simply touch.
POSTED NOV. 27, 1998
Lindsay, female, deaf, San Antonio, TX
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THE QUESTION:
R537: I want to know what people think of the current situation in which a white teacher in New York was highly criticized for teaching with a book called Nappy Hair, written by a black author and designed to celebrate differences. The teacher was using the book in order to take the culture of her black students into account.
POSTED NOV. 27, 1998
John K., 25 <
the-macs@geocities.com>, Cranford, NJ

ANSWER 1:
I read about this event and also wondered what was the cause of all the ruckus. We all know that nappy hair is viewed as a derogatory term by many people. Perhaps the parents took umbrage at a white female using a book with this title. Unfortunately the black experience in America teaches us that it is best to err on the side of caution when dealing with white people. If our collective experience in America has taught us anything, it is that we should approach all white people and their actions with caution. Those parents couldn't in good conscience assume that the white teacher's actions were either well-meaning or benign.
POSTED NOV. 28, 1998
Wanda, Boston, MA

FURTHER NOTICE:
According to the account I read, the book in question was written by a black female author. The article also stated that earlier in the school year the teacher had provided a reading list for students to give to their parents. Finally, the article stated that the school and teacher were shouted down by the angry parents at the meeting, which had been called to discuss the issue and book. In short, given the "facts" as stated in the article I read, I see an instance of black parents screaming "racism" right away and then practicing intolerance (refusing to listen). If the article I read was inaccurate, someone please provide accurate details. Until some evidence of racism and intolerance by the teacher is produced, I feel sympathy for the teacher, not the parents.
POSTED NOV. 28, 1998
Phaedrus, 40, Caucasian, Boston , MA

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THE QUESTION:
GD51: I have recently heard people at work use the term "jiggy" in various contexts. For instance, "Today I feel a little jiggy," "That guy is really jiggy" or such and such a movie "was jiggy," etc. Where did this term come from and is it cool to use, or is it offensive? One guy told me it started on Seinfeld. Another claimed to have heard it on The Simpsons. I am definitely out of the loop of this one.
POSTED NOV. 27, 1998
Fjohns, Napa, CA

ANSWER 1:
Jiggy means you look nice. It means that you have on nice, rather expensive clothing. There's another meaning for that word also: It's a dance originated by that clown Will Smith.
POSTED NOV. 28, 1998
A. Bailey, Bridgeport, CT

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THE QUESTION:
GE57: My wife and I are having communication problems in our marriage and have considered a trial separation. Has anyone had any success using this technique? What are some of the dangers involved?
POSTED JULY 21, 1998
D. Bednar, 27 <
dbednar@kc.swbtcc.com>, Kansas City, MO

ANSWER 1:
I believe one of the dangers of a trial separation is that you may lose the resolve to work on the problems you have. You may be so relieved to be away from the daily burden of living with someone in a relationship that isn't working that you don't focus on expending the effort to make sure you try everything you can think of before calling it quits. It's much easier (in a relative way - divorce is the pits) to walk away knowing you have tried every way you can than to have doubts later.
POSTED NOV. 27, 1998
Been there, Knoxville, TN
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THE QUESTION:
R376: Why are Asian male/white female couples much rarer than Asian female/white male couples? And why does one hardly ever see an Asian male/black female couple?
POSTED JULY 17, 1998
Julie B., 25, white <
bouzoun@mri.jhu.edu>, Baltimore, MD

ANSWER 1:
I think it's a matter of exposure, personal conceptions and background. Asian males seem to have a "stick-to-your-own" mentality, while Asian women have more of a "go get him" mentality (this is not to speak for all Asians, just the ones I've been in contact with). This idea is borne from my contact with other Asian males and females, particularly with those born and/or raised in the United States (like me). Asian women get approached because of the stereotypical "exotic" nature of "Oriental women" that men find so attractive (not the only reason, of course, but it's an attention-getter). Asian men, however, aren't approached by non-Asian women as much because of the stereotype that they are analytical and quiet. Boisterousness (read: self-confidence) is not usually a characteristic attributed to Asian men, unless they happen to be around other Asians, usually of the same culture (Japanese to Japanese, Korean to Korean, Vietnamese to Vietnamese, etc.)

I have to confess that sometimes I find myself wondering what it would be like to date a Japanese woman. But since I don't know any in the area, I don't even think about it. Beyond my girlfriend (who is white) and myself, I have never seen any other Asian male/white female couple. Ironically, my manager is a Chinese woman who is married to a white man.
POSTED JULY 27, 1998
Japanese male dating white female, Detroit, MI

FURTHER NOTICE:
In my experience, Asian male/white female relationships are not as rare as they appear. In Chicago, especially at large city socials like Taste of Chicago, I see such couples among a crowd. However, you're right that AM/WF couples are less common than white male/Asian female couples. I think one of the main reasons are that WM/AF couples have been "accepted" in the media and in real life for a very long time, as far back as when white male colonials visited China and Japan and married the locals there. But images of Asian males in sexual relationships with white females still bring up associations of "little Japanese businessmen" doting upon tall, blonde "party-girls;" the fear of white females being "taken" by non-white men is an age-old and continuing taboo (black slaves raping white women, etc.). Other reasons concern the myth that Asian men have small penises, which in part, insults white women, because it questions their motives for being with certain men and avoiding others. There are other more sociological reasons that concern the negative labels attached to the Asian male sexual identity in the United States and general social roles of men and women (e.g. tall, strong, bold men with rock-hard abs are considered desirable in America, but Asian males are accused of lacking such qualities).
POSTED JULY 28, 1998
David L., 25, Asian-male <
dlin@orion.it.luc.edu>, Chicago, IL

FURTHER NOTICE 2:
In Canada (Toronto), Asian male/white female relationships aren't rare. They're probably as common as white male/Asian female relationships. I think this is a phenonmenon you find only in the United States.
POSTED AUG. 12, 1998
Mark D., 31, white male, Markham, Ontario, Canada

FURTHER NOTICE 3:
Many people I have known who are half Asian and half white have Asian dads and white moms. But then again, people of Asian descent make up a sizable percentage of the population in Hawaii, and inter-ethnic marriage is quite common here.
POSTED SEPT. 9, 1998
R. Saito, 19, Japanese American, Kailua, HI

FURTHER NOTICE 4:
There are certainly many different reasons Asian girls marry foreign or white men more than Asian men marry foreign or white women, but from my perspective of living in Taiwan and being married to an Asian girl, the biggest reason seems to be the attraction of what Western culture can give them in their lives compared to their own culture. Men have a tremendous dominate influence in Asian cultures. Here in Taiwan, in 99 percent of the divorce cases the man gets custody of the children. When parents die, the property traditionally is given to the men of the family, and women once married have to pretty much obey the mother-in-law and have a tremendous pressure to produce a male offspring. Most Asian women have to follow the traditional role, so marrying a Westerner is an attractive alternative. Many educated women here enter the monastary to become nuns as an alternative to following tradition. As for why you don't see as many black men married to Asian women, it is partly because it is usually white businessmen who travel, so Asian women don't have as much opportunity to meet black men. But there are more black men married to Asian women than you may imagine.
POSTED NOV. 27, 1998
Dave, male, Taipei, Taiwan
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THE QUESTION:
R267: I live in Trinidad, where the majority of people are either from black or East Indian backgrounds. I learned in school that India refers to a country and not a race, such as black, white, Asian, etc. So to what race do East Indians belong?
POSTED MAY 14, 1998
Jan T., <
mauree@trinidad.net>, Trinidad

ANSWER 1:
Before I came to the United States, I thought "Asian" referred to a person from "Asia." As far as I know, the usage of the word "Asian" to refer to a race ( i.e. people from East Asian countries) is peculiar to the United States (and maybe by extension English-speaking Carribbeans). I don't really see an overwhelming need to fit everybody in the world into neat little racial packages. This too I find a peculiarly American trait. (Witness the lumping of all Latin/South American peoples under the race "Hispanic"). The only purpose that serves is to fit peoples in a sort of unofficial hierarchy of worthiness, with whites of course being at the top and the rest of the groups jostling for position underneath.
POSTED NOV. 24, 1998
C.A., (Asian) Indian <
p2k4@hotmail.com>, MI
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THE QUESTION:
RE113: I love my family, friends and neighbors. I live joyfully, honestly and peacefully. I am not a Christian. Do Protestant Christians believe I am going to hell? Does my choice of faith damn me regardless of my decency?
POSTED NOV. 23, 1998
M.P.B. <
CISMPB@aol.com>, Medford, NJ

ANSWER 1:
I'm sorry, but according to the Bible, the only way you can reach heaven it believing in Jesus, and that he died for our sins. John 3:16: "And he so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever beleiveth in him shall not parish, but have everlasting life." You can either be on Jesus' side or the devil's; there is no middle ground. As good as you may be, it is imperative you believe in Jesus.
POSTED NOV. 27, 1998
Ler1

FURTHER NOTICE:
It depends on whom you ask. The standard answer is that you must have Jesus as your Savior to go to heaven; that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life, and no one comes to the Father but by him. In my experience, I have come to understand this differently. Jesus commands us to love God, and to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. The Bible also says that love is from God, and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He that does not love does not know God. I have come to understand that the Way is following the example of Christ - to love and respect others, to do good with no expectation of return, to live honestly, to help those in need and to treat others with respect and compassion. Many people echo this in near-death experiences. So, to summarize, I believe there are those who know God better than his followers, and aren't even aware of it. It sounds to me like you have already found your place on heaven by creating it on earth.
POSTED NOV. 27, 1998
Craig, Christian (raised Lutheran), 35 <
cmorris@loft.org>, Minneapolis, MN

FURTHER NOTICE 2:
Loving your family, friends and neighbors and living joyfully, honestly and peacefully does not damn anyone to Hell. Although God wants you to do those things, none of them will get you into Heaven. People go to Heaven for one reason and people go to Hell for one reason. Those who go to Heaven are those who have accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Those who go to Hell are those who have rejected Christ. It's as simple as that. This is what I mean by accepting Christ: Realizing you are a sinner (Romans 3:23) and that because of your sin you are going to die one day (Romans 6:23); and knowing that Christ paid your sin debt when He died on the cross in your place (Romans 5:8). Once you know and understand that, confess to God that you are a sinner and that you believe that Christ died for you, ask Him to forgive your sins and save you (Romans 10: 9-10). That is the only way to heaven. John 14:6 states, "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." Believe, receive and ask God to lead you to a good church where you can learn and grow spiritually.
POSTED NOV. 27, 1998
Heaven-bound believer, Newport News, VA

FURTHER NOTICE 3:
Decency isn't the criterion of going to heaven or hell. Romans 3:23 says "For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." Every human being deserves separation from God eternally. In other words, we all deserve to go to hell. Romans 6:23 says that it is God's gift to us to give us heaven. "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Titus 3:5 "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us..." It only matters what the Bible says, not what believers or non-believers may say. The Bible teaches that if we accept God's gift, admitting that we don't deserve heaven, and agree that only Christ's death will get us to heaven, that heaven is assured to him/her who claims it. I may have won the lottery, but unless I make my claim, I don't collect.
POSTED NOV. 27, 1998
Ronald V., Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

FURTHER NOTICE 4:
As a Christian, it is not for me to judge whether I think someone is going to Heaven or not. My faith tells me that my route to Heaven is through acceptance of Jesus Christ. For me, it would be the ultimate (and possibly damning) arrogance to say "I'm such a good person that I don't need a savior to die for my sins." For others of different religious faiths or no religious faith at all, that may not be the case. The Lord works in mysterious ways. Having confidence in our understanding of the word of God as expressed in the Bible, Christians feel an obligation to make that truth available to others, but this evamgelizing should not be interpreted as a condemnation of other belief systems.
POSTED NOV. 27, 1998
Mark, Protestant, 31, Alexandria, VA

FURTHER NOTICE 5:
I am a Catholic/Episcopalian, and my answer to your question is "No." You are not necessarily damned if your faith differs from your neighbor's. If this were so, then only one of the 200 or so denominations of Christianity would have to be correct and all other believers in Christ (as well as the non-believers) would be damned. I know some Christians do believe this way - that their particular interpretations are the only way, but do not think they represent all of Christianity. I believe all of us are on a journey to God and we are just taking different roads. To sum it up in a paraphrase of something I read somewhere: The Israelites are the "chosen" people of God, but God is God for all of humanity and no one is excluded from him.
POSTED NOV. 27, 1998
Stephen S., 31, Catholic/Episcopalian, San Antonio , TX

FURTHER NOTICE 6:
I was raised Roman Catholic. I don't know that my opinions are shared with other members of my faith, but I think that no matter what type of "higher being" you believe in, as long as you are a good person, yes, you will go to Heaven. Why would you be forced into eternal damnation just because you don't go to this church or that church? As long as you live your life as a good person, you will be rewarded in the afterlife.
POSTED NOV. 27, 1998
Jen, 28, white female, Madison Heights, MI

FURTHER NOTICE 7:
There is no umbrella church organization for Protestants that dictates or controls beliefs or doctrine. There are dozens of major Protestant denominations, and probably hundreds of minor Protestant denominations. If you polled these churches, you would get a very wide spectrum of responses to many questions of theology and morality. In some denominations, there is even great variety from one region to another, or one pastor to another.
POSTED NOV. 27, 1998
B. Hale, United Methodist <
halehart@aol.com>, Hartford, CT

FURTHER NOTICE 8:
The basis for the Christian religion is basically the Bible and mainly the New Testament. The New Testament says over and over again that you do not go to heaven by your "works." It says that you get to heaven by accepting Jesus as your savior. Once you do this your sins are forgiven. It doesn't mean you can then go out and do whatever you want because you are "saved," because if you wanted to do that then you haven't really accepted Christ as your savior. It also says in the Bible that to God "your best works are nothing but filthy rags" if you haven't accepted Christ. The bottom line is that your sins have to be paid for somehow (you're still a sinner even when you are "good") and Christ is that way. He died for you so you could go to heaven. You only have to accept and believe this and then try to live your life the best you can. The Bible is very clear that if you do not believe in Christ you will go to hell, no matter how good a person you think you are.
POSTED NOV. 27, 1998
Rowan, 29, white, Baptist, Warren, MI

FURTHER NOTICE 9:
You are saved by the grace of a God, who is bigger and more merciful than any of us could ever imagine or express with language.
POSTED NOV. 27, 1998
Jeff, Christian <
JBermel@aol.com>, San Antonio, TX

FURTHER NOTICE 10:
Why do you feel the need to seek approval from another religion? Just do what makes you feel good!
POSTED NOV. 27, 1998
Nancy, Jewish <
lanancy@aol.com>, Los Angeles, Ca

FURTHER NOTICE 11:
The Christian religion says yes, if you do not accept Jesus as the savior and as your salvation, your soul is in peril. Christianity, as well as most orgainzed religions, is based on faith and choosing to believe. Non-believers as a result are damned to Hell. This is what I have always been taught, anyway.
POSTED NOV. 27, 1998
David, Presbyterian, 29 <
dash@netside.com>, Columbia, SC

FURTHER NOTICE 12:
To some people, yes. But to others, they believe that all roads eventually lead to the same destination. And, to answer your question with another question: If I got a bunch of people to say/believe that we turn into ants when we die, does that mean it's going to happen?
POSTED NOV. 27, 1998
Chris, Dallas, TX

FURTHER NOTICE 13:
No one can tell you whether you are going to Hell or not. That is not for us (Prostestant Christians) to judge. However, Christians firmly believe that nothing good that we have done will get us to Heaven and nothing bad that we have done will get us to Hell. It is a fact of whether people personally accept Jesus Christ as Lord of their life or not.
POSTED NOV. 27, 1998
Adrian, 30, Christian <
aroyce@powerup.com.au>, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
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THE QUESTION:
G54: Why do Americans appear unaware that they are the most hated people on the planet?

POSTED NOV. 23, 1998
Andreina, 31, Canadian <
andreinaa@usa.net>, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

ANSWER 1:
The most hated people on the planet? Wow. All of us, or just some of us, and if just some of us, which of us? Is it because we use a disproportionate amount of the world's resources or because we're ignorant of other cultures, or what? It's ironic that such a multicultural society should be the most hated on earth. Are you talking about real Americans (and by the way, residents of Mexico, Central America and South America also consider themselves "Americanos") or TV Americans? Could you please elaborate?
POSTED NOV. 25, 1998
Carolyn, 38 <
Noahlin@aol.com>, Lawrence, KS

FURTHER NOTICE:
Andreina, a friend and I had a conversation like this about me. She said that I and her husband were alike in that we didn't care whether people like us or not. I replied that I did care but would not let their opinion matter so much that I couldn't function without their approval. If someone liked me, that was fantastic. If they didn't, then I could live with that knowledge. If what you say is true, and Americans are the most disliked people on the planet and don't know it, then I applaud our attitude. You can neither please nor cater to every point of view on the planet. What you see as ignorance may be indifference: We may not care what other people think of us. I see jingoism as bad, but I will never see national pride, self-confidence and self-sufficiency as negatives. Instead of writing a question which implicitly insults your southern neighbors, why not tell us all the things that make Canada wonderful? And there are many, many positives about your country.
POSTED NOV. 25, 1998
Diane, Durham , NC

FURTHER NOTICE 2:
Believe it or not, Americans are not the most hated people on earth. I had thought that we were also, but no longer. This summer I went to India for a homestay in the Himalayas. Besides meeting Indians of every religion and ethnic background, I met many, many travellers from all over the world. Only one group had virulently nasty things to say about Americans, and that was the Germans I had met. All the other nationalities seemed to have a fair and mostly accurate assessment of Americans. Coincidentally, most of them had not so flattering things to say about Germans. Perhaps more telling was the fact that other nationalities were sensitive to the difference between the American people and its government. In Asia, where my parents live, it's either the Chinese or Japanese who are the most hated (depending on which side of the South China Sea you're on.)
POSTED NOV. 25, 1998
Amy, 29, white female <
amydel@netgate.net>, Milpitas, CA

FURTHER NOTICE 3:
I see two possible answers. The first is that the United States tends to be pretty insular, and there are many people who honestly don't know or don't care much about the rest of the world. Second, if you are a member of a group that annoys the heck out of many others, what can you do about it? For myself, I carry myself with pride, try to treat others with courtesy and generally do the best I can. If someone wants to hate me for being American, well, that's their privilege.
POSTED NOV. 25, 1998
Catherine <
tylik@eskimo.com>, Woodinville, WA

FURTHER NOTICE 4:
Perhaps because they really aren't the most hated people in the world. Is there some worldwide poll or basis in fact for your statement? Or are you just letting your own distaste for Americans hang out there for all to see?
POSTED NOV. 25, 1998
Andrew, 34, American <
ziptron@start.com.au>, Huntington, NY

FURTHER NOTICE 5:
I believe Americans who have traveled outside the United States would have a much better understanding of how non-Americans feel than those who stay in the United States and only know this country's perpective on the world. However, I don't think Americans are as hated as the questioner would believe. It is more a case of hating "Americana" and its omnipresence. I have traveled extensively and was surprised in many cases by the warm reception I received from the locals.
POSTED NOV. 25, 1998
Allison, 27, New York, NY

FURTHER NOTICE 6:
What proof do you have that Americans are so hated? A big part of this so-called hatred is jelousy.
POSTED NOV. 25, 1998
S.B. <
www.robby123@.com>, Tamarac, Fl

FURTHER NOTICE 7:
I didn't know that we were the most-hated country or citizens in the world, and am not aware of what would make you say that. I have friends who have been warmly greeted by people in Europe, Australia, Asia, South America, Canada and Mexico. I have had friends asked by Germans if they could buy the jeans they were wearing, or British people ask with interest what music was big here. I have met friends in college from China, El Salvador, Venezuela and Japan, and none of them said anything about how much they hated people from the States. Can you explain the question?
POSTED NOV. 25, 1998
Craig <
cmorris@loft.org>, Minneapolis, MN

FURTHER NOTICE 8:
At first glance I was insulted by this question, first thinking to myself, Who hates Americans besides the Middle East countries? After pondering the matter for a few moments, I thought of the old saying, "Imitation is the best form of flattery," and thought about how most of the world in some form or fashion imitates or aspires to be like Americans. Be it our freedoms, or fashion or capitalism, or form of government, I can only assume if we are hated by "most" of the planet it would be from envy moreso than from founded reasons. We have it all here, and most either don't have any of what we have or only have one or two pieces of what we enjoy. True, we are a spoiled, rich nation that enjoys the benefits of all the "other" parts of the world, but I will not apologize for any of that. Besides, we deserve it. We have maintained ourselves through all sorts of world wars and conflicts and remained the last super power, which in itself bears a huge responsibility. You will find most Americans are tired of being the world's police department, putting our sons and daughters in harm's way for the well-being of another nation, which may hate us also, but through it all we have maintained as the world's most influential and wealthy nation in history. In the same way most people despise those with too much money and power, other nations envy us and want what we have, and that envy sometimes brings with it hatred. Be thankful we are who we are, and remember your liberty rests in the hands of the most hated people on the planet.
POSTED NOV. 25, 1998
Cwhitt, 27, white male <
cwhitt@gte.net>, Dallas, Tx

FURTHER NOTICE 9:
The main reason I believe Americans are oblivious to the hatred toward them is that Americans are oblivious to almost anything that isn't American. The goings-on of the world are just another compartmentalized news fragment, like politics and sports. The average American doesn't give a hoot about what goes on in the next state. They are self-centered, grazing cows with no ability to look beyond their frame of reference. I think their measuring system and their lack of appreciation of the World Cup illustrates the point. As an artist, I, of course, don't share the perspective of my compatriots, and it is very likely that one day I will leave this Land of Misguided Opportunity. Consider yourself lucky.
POSTED NOV. 25, 1998
W.F., 29, dark male artist, American <
wfelix@netscape.net>, Orlando, FL

FURTHER NOTICE 10:
Probably because we don't care. We are the dominant country in the world. We help other countries with food, money and military support when we know we will never be reimbursed or even thanked. We do this because it's the right thing, not because it makes us the most popular. The only people who don't receive bad reviews are those who never do anything.
POSTED NOV. 25, 1998
Katy, 38, white female, Newport Beach, CA

FURTHER NOTICE 11:
First, I don't think that's completely true. Despite inevitable differences, the United States and its people have strong ties with peoples around the world. We are mostly a nation of immigrants, after all. But as for negative perception of the United States around the world, if we seem unaware, I would say it's because we just don't care. The way I see it, pretty much every country out there is advancing its own self-interest 95+ percent of the time, only when we do it, we are perceived as being a bully. Half the world feels we owe them something because we're so rich, the other half blames us for their own problems, ranging from weather to political instability. It's just the price you pay for being the big boy on the block. But you know the next time there's a crisis the world will again look to the United States for leadership in solving it.
POSTED NOV. 25, 1998
Mark, U.S. citizen, 31, Alexandria, VA

FURTHER NOTICE 12:
As an American, I have long been aware that we are probably the most hated nation on earth. Of course, this does not make me feel comfortable! It makes sense, because we are the most powerful, richest nation. I love my country, but I understand why we are hated because we have made major mistakes. However, I do suspect that we are also the most loved nation on earth, too. Ironic, isn't it?
POSTED NOV. 25, 1998
Jan, 42, Corvallis, OR

FURTHER NOTICE 13:
Quite honestly, I have much better things to do in life than worry about whether people hate me for where I was born, or for what color I was born, what gender, etc. Oh, I'll discuss the subject, and debate over it, but at the end of the day, I cannot let it stop me from achieving my goals. So I would say I am well aware of the hatred other citizens of the world hold toward Americans, but that is their problem, not mine. Maybe they should look toward fixing their own state of affairs, rather than hate us for what we have accomplished.
POSTED NOV. 25, 1998
John K., 25 <
the-macs@geocities.com>, Cranford, NJ

FURTHER NOTICE 14:
I am surprised this question was posted. It assumes a lot, it sounds very venemous and it can be construed as provoking. In response, though, I have to say that yes, I as an American am aware that our society is hated by many other societies. But, as far as being the most hated on the planet, I do not think this is true. If it were, we would not have as much immigration as we do. People want to come here to live, and as far as I know there are no massive numbers of people dying to get into Iraq, Iran or any other nation that "hates" America. Perhaps you should be asking why these other societies hate Americans so much. After all, I am not an American citizen by choice. I was born that way. Yes, I could change my citizenship status, but the last I heard it was a bad thing to hate someone for the way they were born.
POSTED NOV. 25, 1998
Stephen S., 31, third-generation American, San Antonio, TX

FURTHER NOTICE 15:
Because Americans know that America is the greatest country on the planet and they feel sorry for people who don't also know that. In case you didn't catch the sarcasm in that, it's there. I think many Americans seem unaware that many don't like them because they don't know anything outside of America. Whereas other countries, especially in Europe, get TV shows and such from other countries, the United States only gets American shows and news. Americans as a whole also like to be liked. They might seem unaware because they refuse to accept that people don't like Americans. There are many other reasons for this. From my experiences internationally, though they are limited, I have found that it is only a small number of people who openly dislike Americans.
POSTED NOV. 25, 1998
Alec C., 16, American <
alec_catani@hotmail.com>, WI

FURTHER NOTICE 16:
I don't believe Americans are the most hated people on the planet. Yes, there may be many who hate Americans, but that would be the case with any group of people who have had such an incredible influence on world events, the arts, fashion and so much more. If Americans are as hated as you say, then why is it that so many millions of young people visit this country every year? Why is it that American fashion, music and movies are so popular and often imitated all over the world? Perhaps it's just you and the people around you who feel this way.
POSTED NOV. 25, 1998
A.B. <
AbieDee@aol.com>, New York, NY

FURTHER NOTICE 17:
If we are truly unaware that we are hated, then that is the answer to your question: We didn't know. Are we really that hated by everyone, or just really intensely by a loud minority of countries? Being unaware myself, I'm curious as to whether other counties hate Americans or the American government. When I say I don't like Saddam Hussein, that doesn't mean I hate all Iraqis.
POSTED NOV. 25, 1998
B., 23, white male, Kokomo, IN

FURTHER NOTICE 18:
Once a society has established righteousness in place of fairness, it doesn't matter what the others (world community) think. A prominent belief; "If God is for us, who can be against us?" - is how some nations justify their actions. As did Hitler with his versions of ethnic-cleansing. America's ethnic-cleansing is evident in the denial of full equality to homosexuals. Do Americans justify to the world the unnatural, survival of the greediest as the fittest? Do its competitive markets adhere to the golden rule? I think most wealthy Americans would have a problem with "what is right" being "what is fair to all." The middle paths of fairness, compromise and peace have been lost to the impaired judgment of black-and-white thinking. Choosing either heaven or hell (god vs devil), ignoring the gray areas in between; where we all live in the present. A world leader should also show concern/respect for all the world's life forms and resources instead of the live-for-today glut, and military muscle flexing. "We the people" comprises six major races, two genders and two or more sexual preferences. However, the representatives/courts are predominately white males, over 40, heterosexual, upper-class, Christian sect. Is this an accurate reflection of America? To me it reflects the problems of a society unwilling to participate in the game of fairness.
POSTED NOV. 25, 1998
Rocky, Los Angeles, CA

FURTHER NOTICE 19:
Andreina, please respond to this and clarify your question. I am just a working-class stiff, trying to make a living and have a decent life, and provide for those who depend on me. I'm not clear about the motivation for your question, but I read some anger in to it. Personally, and I don't think I'm alone here, I don't have time to worry about whether you or anybody else hates me 'cause I'm too busy just trying to get through life. I suspect that's what most others you are refering to are trying to do also. If it is you who hates all Americans, why don't you post a statement explaining why and how you got this angry at 260 million people in only 31years? If you are speaking for the rest of the world, then I would ask, how did you form your opinion? If all of the "haters" in this world would direct their energy toward something positive and constructive (even a little bit) imagine how much better our lives could be. When I hear the statement "I hate that so-and-so," my first reaction is, Why are you wasting your time hating them? They don't care! Come on Andreina, give us a little more info and let's talk about it. I'll be waiting.
POSTED NOV. 25, 1998
Blake, 42, Midwesterner <
bl2300@aol.com>, Cleveland, OH

FURTHER NOTICE 20:
My guess would be the propaganda (I doubt you'll get an American response, it obviously takes more than being told they are hated to believe it). Americans are probably the most thoroughly propagandized people in the world, and their government doesn't even need to do it. It's in their TV, movies and news reports. The overwhelming message is "Americans are the Good Guys." Hey, people all over the world enjoy that same propaganda, though they usually recognize the shallow picture it presents. Also, immigrants are people who go to a country they'd rather live in than the one they left. Immigrants are the foreigners Americans are most familiar with, so they get the idea that all foreigners would rather live in America.
POSTED NOV. 25, 1998
Darrell, 21, straight white male, Canadian

FURTHER NOTICE 21:
Wow, that one really slipped through, huh? Where is the moderator? From my understanding, Y? Forum is a place where all sorts of questions may be asked ,as long as they are not asked from a position of hatred. This question is not, in my opinion, being asked "to increase understanding."
POSTED NOV. 25, 1998
Iteki, 22, Irish, dyke <
iteki@chickmail.com>, Stockholm, Sweden

FURTHER NOTICE 22:
Well, those who would lump all members of an incredibly diverse nation together and hate them all - how do you fight that? It's hard to muster much enthusiasm about reaching out to the rest of the world when such a damning condemnation is already hanging over our collective heads. However, I think part of the problem comes from some patriotic arrogance that permeates American culture. There is a lot of emphasis on being the "best" in the world on a variety of measures. That assessment may not always be accurate, but it is something often taught from a young age, and it often goes unchallenged. Perhaps it stems from being a country that fought for independence early, and that is made up of many immigrants (even outcasts) from other countries. There is a lot of "American pride" that may make it easy for many Americans to ignore or dismiss the ill feelings of citizens of other nations. Finally, I think the U.S. role in world affairs has been one-sided. We don't know what it is like to be a bystander in geopolitical affairs. Some may see the United States as a meddling bully, but many people here see the United States as shouldering a big burden and responsibility for the rest of the world. Some Americans look at our huge defense and foreign aid budget and expect gratitude instead of resentment. Again, that might not be fair, but I think it is how many people see it.
POSTED NOV. 25, 1998
Karen, 30, American, MI

FURTHER NOTICE 23:
In my opinion, people tend to bash what they don't understand or have. I am a bit put out with the constant hammering the United States receives. Correct me if I'm wrong, but as a world leader, the United States makes difficult decisions that tend to ruffle feathers, but as a leader you cannot make everyone happy. The waters of the world are muddied, and many times a stance needs to be taken, for example in the Iraq situation. Next time there is a global need, pay attention to who is called on hardest to help out. Interesting how hate changes to need in times of crisis. Granted, the United States has plenty of social ills, but it's still a great place to live - just like Canada.
POSTED NOV. 25, 1998
Mike, 31, single, MI

FURTHER NOTICE 24:
First, I hope what you say is not true. I hope Americans are not "the most hated people on the planet." However, assuming for a moment that your contention is true, what good would come of our approaching every encounter with non-Americans out of an assumption that they hate us? For my part, I would feel angry that they have decided they hate me without ever giving me the opportunity to prove myself unhateful. Anger is never a good basis for developing friendship. I would also feel resentful and defensive of myself and my country. Resentment and defensiveness are fairly natural reactions to being attacked. They are not, however, useful in attempts to get to know and understand others. Finally, I would tend to be as dismissive of the non-Americans as they are of me. If someone is not interested in getting to know me and makes that very plain, my tendency is to avoid futile attempts to change his/her mind. Thus, my being constantly "aware" that I am one of "the most hated people on the planet" would only be detrimental to any relationship I might develop with a non-American. A better, more useful, approach seems to be to assume that people differ in their attitudes to Americans just as they differ in their attitudes to people of any other nation. If I do my best to be respectful to the non-Americans I encounter, I hope they will likewise do their best to be respectful to me. If I make mistakes and am unintentionally disrespectful, I would hope that the people I encounter would make allowances for those mistakes and help me, politely, to correct them. No one is perfect, and encountering a culture that differs from one's own is more likely than not to result in misunderstandings. If we assume that every misunderstanding is the result of disregard or disrespect instead of simple ignorance or well-intentioned mistakes, we prime the pump for future conflict. Even if I find myself disagreeing with a non-American's ideas, as long as those ideas are not physically harmful to me and mine, I assume we can agree to disagree. Finally, I am curious as to why non-Americans are free to take pride in their countries and cultures while in Americans the same attitude is considered the height of rudeness.
POSTED NOV. 25, 1998
J.D., American <
j-lemke@ti.com>, Plano, TX

FURTHER NOTICE 25:
Wow. Most hated in the world. Your assertion is so broad. Can you be more specific? Do all the people of all the other countries hate all American people? Or do their governments hate the U.S. government? Do you as a Canadian hate me because I'm American? If so, why?
POSTED NOV. 25, 1998
Natalie, 34, 8th+ Generation American <
nataliepw@aol.com>, Rochester, MI

FURTHER NOTICE 26:
America is taking over almost every society in the world - not by force but through cultural means. So does this mean the hatred for the United States is out of jelousy? I would say that some of it is, but not all of it. I feel the hatred comes from two main sources: Many people have mentioned the widescale imitation of America throughout the world. There are a huge number of people who love anything American (USA). I meet such people all the time in Europe and elsewhere. I feel the hatred of America in my society is sometimes the fault of these people, not the actual American people themselves. They are turning our societies into an American imitation culture. We all have the same Disney movies, Holywood movies, terrible American TV shows, clothing, ice cream flavors, etc. Everything is taken over by Americanized produce. Of course, we wouldn't buy them if they weren't good, and I don't mean that I don't enjoy a good American movie, but the problem is we are losing our own brands and lifestyles. A lot of people who may come across as American-hating (because they can't express themselves properly) are just rejecting this way of life. Secondly, U.S. Americans have a lot of pride in their country and rightly so, as there is a lot to be proud of. However, the problem is that people from other cultures aren't interested in how wonderful someone else is. And because of the high imports of television and films, we have to swallow a large amount of self-praise from Americans. Self-praise is not widely acceptable here in Britain/Europe. In Britain, our once-successful empire also made the English arrogant and hence unpopular, for all the same reasons that make the Americans unpopular today. I actually wonder if the same thing once happened to the Romans.
POSTED NOV. 27, 1998
E.B., Leicester, U.K.

FURTHER NOTICE 27:
As an American who has lived and worked in Europe and the Middle East for the last 22 years, I disagree. My experience has been the reverse. While I have encountered some induviduals who disliked Americans because they were Americans, most I have worked with and encountered have been friendly. They may disagree strongly with American politics or policy, but that dislike does not extend to individuals.
POSTED NOV. 27, 1998
Keith, 40, white male <
keith_gordon@yahoo.com>, Heppenheim, Germany

FURTHER NOTICE 28:
To W.F., the dark male artist, what are you trying to say here? That all Americans except for artists are ignorant, egotistical bastards? Your statement in itself doesn't reflect too kindly upon dark male artists if that is who you are trying to represent. Your stereotype of all Americans is embarrassing and brings you down to the level of the ignorant Americans you are attempting to bash. Yes, there are Americans who don't care about anything else other than what goes on in their lives or their country, but not all fit this label. The self-centered Americans you refer to in your statement derive this attitude from close mindedness - the same thing you clearly suffer from.
POSTED NOV. 27, 1998
M.D., 24, dark female artist, San Jose, CA

FURTHER NOTICE 29:
I believe that to totally dismiss this question as preposterous might be a bit naive. While America is, in many ways, a wonderfully diverse and vibrant nation with much good to offer, we have an incredibly heinous dark side. While some nations, and some individuals, may see us and appreciate our good qualities, never forget there are millions who have suffered at the hands of those who claimed to be acting on behalf of America. Consider this list of events in which America shares at least partial complicity: The transatlantic slave trade, which was fueled largely by a growing America's need for cheap labor, and which was partially responsible for the cultural and economic destruction of much of West Africa; America's military and political forays into Haiti, Mexico and South and Central America (especially in the Woodrow Wilson era), which were in part responsible for the continuing instability of nations in these regions; and our very dubious political involvement and subsequent military intervention in both Cuba and Vietnam in the 1960s. While many nations and individuals have ample reason to want to emulate America, or even emigrate here, an honest look at our often brutally inept foreign policy provides a very understandable impetus for any ill will that may be directed toward us by our foreign neighbors.
POSTED NOV. 27, 1998
Sam, 30, male, brown American <
SamAlex67@aol.com>, Chicago, Ill.

FURTHER NOTICE 30:
I think the Y? Forum editor made a huge mistake in posting this question. It drips with venom, probably more than any question could, short of questioning the Holocaust. Some of the respondents have let themselves get trapped into the cycle of hatred by responding with equally hateful or jingoistic answers vainly boastful of U.S. "superiority." I always thought the French (and French Canadians) had the dubious honor you claim for the United States, except in Asia, where Japan has it. It's important to remember that a government is not the same as a nation, though many Americans make this hateful and ignorant mistake when it comes to Middle Eastern and Asian governments and peoples. It is not Americans, but U.S. government meddling and corporate abuses that are resented, rightfully.
POSTED NOV. 27, 1998
A.C.C., San Antonio, TX

FURTHER NOTICE 31:
The original questioner responds:
I asked the question in that way for two reasons: First, to see to whom and what Americans would assume the question was being aimed (government, individuals, tourists, etc.) and second, to see how many people would answer the question that was actually asked. OK, third, to be provocative.

The fact that most of the answers actually responded to the question, "Why do people hate Americans?" or at best "Do people hate Americans?" is very telling. Being as we (Canada) are right beside you, and yet not you, we have a distinct vantage point of being able to watch your version of the news from time to time, and contrast it with our own. We also get a far broader selection of foreign coverage. We have the ability to see what is selectively removed from yours. We can also see what escapes your borders in the line of "cultural output," and what you allow to be presented to the world as "average Americans." We, here, do get to meet people who (fortunately) do not seem to belong on episodes of Jerry Springer. But then we meet these other, peculiar people abroad carrying knapsacks with huge Canadian flags, and yet with accents not found anywhere A Mari usque ad Mare. Oh, and when you ask them what province they're from, they invariably answer "Toronto." (Hint: Toronto is a city, not a province.) So, we know that on some level, you recognize this.

And as for the idea that it is purely jealousy inspiring this distaste, you erroneously think the rest of the world views you as their saviors; notice the difference between events that inspire international cooperation in giving help, and those events in which your government unsolicitedly "helps"maintain the status quo of poverty and illiteracy. The day after Remembrance Day, your government is threatening to bomb people, an irony that seemed to be lost on all of you.

So, the question again was of what benefit is this obliviousness, and is it deliberate, or are you really kept in the dark?
POSTED NOV. 27, 1998
Andreina <
andreinaa@usa.net>, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

FURTHER NOTICE 32:
I am fully aware we are the most hated population on the planet, but I find it little more than amusing. People hate us so much, yet they keep immigrating here. People hate us so much, but other countries come running to us the minute they need help (militarily or financially). People hate us so much, yet no matter where you travel you see elements of American culture mimicked in every society. The rest of the world loves and needs us more than they ever want to admit. We're not oblivious to the world attitude toward us, but as the strongest, wealthiest, most free country in the world, we have no reason to care.
POSTED NOV. 27, 1998
D.M.M., 24, white, female <
donikam@hotmail.com>, Charleston, SC

FURTHER NOTICE 33:
Some of the responses above have been along the lines of "Because Americans know that America is the greatest country on the planet and they feel sorry for people who don't also know that" and "A lot of their hatred is jealousy." I think not! I think they hate Americans because Americans make incredibly self-centered, ignorant statements like these. I think it makes perfect sense for non-Americans to hate Americans; I'm American and I don't care for Americans all that much. If you, like most of the world's citizens, lived in a country or culture that was being subsumed by American politics, culture and values, you would feel threatened and angry.
POSTED NOV. 27, 1998
Wendy, 24 <
wiebke@juno.com>, Atlanta, GA

FURTHER NOTICE 34:
I have traveled most of my life, and I have found that Americans overseas are made fun of, kidded, joked about and taken advantage of. In other words, they are treated just as foreigners anywhere are treated - no worse, and maybe a little bit better. Yes, there is resentment that accrues to American nationality, but this is a natural function of American wealth and power, and the resentment manifests itself in two ways: Aspiration, whereby the aspirant seeks to become American, or denigration, whereby the denigrator curses all that America represents. But even these cases (Libya, Iran, Syria, Cuba, etc.) aspire to American levels of income and personal consumption, not to mention technical expertise and efficiency. Their attitude is not: You go your way and we'll go ours; it is rather "Yo! How do we get back on your Most Favored Nations list?" As much as it may discombobulate the "America is Always Wrong" crowd, American culture, technology and industrial products are in constant demand throughout the world. When people want to be like us, and want to learn our dominant technologies (e.g. Microsoft and IBM), and want to watch our films (which, after all, reflect us) and listen to our music (and when you speak of pop or rock or jazz or blues or country, there is no place but the United States) it becomes hard to reconcile the notion that we're so "hated" with these above-mentioned facts. Only a handful of ideologically backward countries - none of which would ever allow a forum like this one - consider America an evil, imperialist entity. Well, to hell with them.
POSTED NOV. 28, 1998
Gregg S., American, Jewish, 43 <
gregg1@alumni.ksgt.harvard.edu>, Boston, MA
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THE QUESTION:
R342: Of all the different European ethnic groups, why do the Irish tend to marry so late in life? I have never seen a married Irish couple in their twenties. Even JFK and his son married late.
POSTED JUNE 16, 1998
David Y., European-American <
LttlGTO@aol.com>, Oakland, CA

ANSWER 1:
I am 20 and my husband is 23. We both have a great deal of Irish in us. Also, my cousin, who is in his twenties, just returned from Ireland with his fiance, who is also in her twenties.
POSTED JULY 27, 1998
C. Blackwell <
gypsy@kreative.net>, Alexandria, VA

FURTHER NOTICE:
This phenomenon goes back to one of the most dramatic shifts in family patterns in history. Prior to the time of the Potato Famine, the Irish peasantry had a pattern of marrying young and having very large families. In the (relative) peace enforced by the British in the 18th and early 19th centuries, the population of Ireland doubled and redoubled. The potato produces more calories per acre than any other food, which allowed a large population to develop, although it became more and more dependent on the annual potato crop. When the crops failed in the mid-1840s, there was great suffering and loss of life. Apparently, the immense suffering of this period caused the Irish peasants to change their marriage patterns. Most women would not marry a man until he had a farm or some other independent source of livelihood. In many cases, this was not until the son inherited the family farm in his 40s, and he would then often marry a woman in her 30s. The net effect was a much slower rate of population increase than prior to the Famine. These cultural patterns often continue long after the need for them has vanished.
POSTED NOV. 23, 1998
T. Douglas, 52, white male, Jacksonville, FL
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THE QUESTION:
A19: Do people become more resistant to learning how to operate things like VCRs and stereos as they get older? I'm looking for a scientific answer, if possible.
POSTED JUNE 26, 1998
John, 42, Chicago, IL

ANSWER 1:
Older people continue with their disdain or attraction to technology rather than transform at a set age. I feel like a pioneer in a most exciting technological time. My husband is the same. Those our age we know who eschew computers, VCRs, etc. had similar feelings toward electric typewriters, tape recorders, CDs, etc. My generation did not grow up with rampant technology, so only those naturally curious about such things expend the effort to master them (many times on their own). Don't be too hard on them. Imagine, if you will, having all those objects that you tackled in stages as you grew up thrust suddenly into your life instead.
POSTED NOV. 27, 1998
Beth, 60, white female, Orlando, FL
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THE QUESTION:
O37: To people who have been hospitalized: How did the nursing staff meet your psychosocial, cultural and spiritual needs?
POSTED NOV. 23, 1998
Julie K. <
Eiluj11659@aol.com>, Sandusky, OH
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THE QUESTION:
SO98: To straight people: If one of your favorite movie stars came out as gay, would that affect you, and if so, how?
POSTED NOV. 21, 1998
Lance B., male, San Mateo , CA

ANSWER 1:
I'm straight, and it would not affect my opinion of an actor if I found out he or she was gay. I've never felt threatened by gay people. They have and will always exist. Gay people deserve love and respect as all people do.
POSTED NOV. 23, 1998
Jan, 42, Corvallis, OR

FURTHER NOTICE:
I had a terrific crush on an actor once before I found out he was gay (and not just gay but an extremely vocal gay activist.) It ruined a few of my private fantasies, but I still enjoy his acting, and find him extremely attractive. I think there's a certain stereotype of actors, so that people aren't terribly surprised or shocked when a male actor is revealed to be gay, or a female actor to be promiscuous.
POSTED NOV. 23, 1998
Colette <
inkwolf@earthlink.net>, Seymour, WI

FURTHER NOTICE 2:
No, not at all, it doesn't affect their talents. A great actor is a great actor, and I don't care what he or she does in private. It makes no difference to me.
POSTED NOV. 23, 1998
Sue, 43, married with kids <
Shustring4@aol.com>, Fox Island, WA

FURTHER NOTICE 3:
When I first read this question my immediate answer was of course it would not affect me. But after thinking about it for a little while I came to realize it would have an impact on me. It would not make me like the actor/actress any less. However, if I identified with the actor/actress in some way, it might bother me. I consciously know this is just my homophobia at work, but it still would bother me.
POSTED NOV. 23, 1998
Nicole, 22 <
nicole_1976@hotmail.com>, N.J.

FURTHER NOTICE 4:
If my favorite actor, singer or model announced he/she was homosexual, they would deserve even more credit for their performances, because they would have convinced me that their character was "really in love" with the leading lady/man. Elton John's music is still romantic, and Rock Hudson is still sexy. These people had a talent for entertaining us with moods they created, and that is why we love to watch and listen to them. Ask yourself: Why would it be different if a straight man convincingly played a gay character than if a gay man convincingly played a straight character? (Tom Selleck asked the same question after starring in Coming Out.) Remember that it is the acting that has made me a fan, not his sexual preferences.
POSTED NOV. 23, 1998
Karin, 28 <
karin1212@hotmail.com>, San Diego, CA
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