Best of the Week
of Dec. 5, 1999
Best of Week
Here are the most intriguing cross-cultural exchanges
either begun or advanced during the week of Dec. 5, 1999, as selected
by Y? These postings, as well as "Best of the Week"
entries from previous weeks, also can be found by accessing our new
database using our search form, or, in the
case of answers posted before April 24, 1999, in our
Original Archives (all questions
from the Original Archives have been entered into the new database as
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window into the insights of an individual from that group.
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Smell Like Wet Dogs
When They Come
Out Of The Rain?"
For the past few months on campus I've often seen Asian girls walking
together, dressed alike, with their arms around one another. I
haven't noticed such large numbers of girls of other races doing
this, and I'm wondering if maybe it's common among girls in Asia to
show platonic affection this way. Or is it something else? I know
there is the possibility that they could be lesbians, but something
tells me this is not the case for all of them.
S.R., Austin, TX, United States, 21, Female, Agnostic,
White/Caucasian, student, Mesg ID 128199941205
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I am curious about why so many people of Indian origin have a
distinct odor. Do they not shower or not use deodorant? Also, are
Indian people aware of this odor problem?
Jon, Windsor, Ontario, , Canada, <email@example.com>, Male,
Mesg ID 1241999115600
I have been asked this question several times. Traditional Indian
food is loaded with lots of exotic spices and flavors. Ever hear the
saying "You are what you eat?" After eating these spices, the body
tends to smell like these spices. Here's a little test: Go out for
Indian food and order a spice-filled curry dish. After you are done
eating it, you can still smell your dinner. If you are not used to
eating these spices, you could be tasting and smelling your dinner
for up to three days. So, if a cultural group eats a particular food
every day, the body will tend to smell like the foods they eat.
Jen, Santa Clara, CA, United States, 25, Female, Health Educator,
Mesg ID 128199974855
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What is Judy Garland's appeal among some gay men? Is this just
another Hollywood myth, or is there some truth to it?
A.S.B., Seattle, WA, United States, 31, Female, Straight, 4 Years of
College, Mesg ID 11131999101404
Judy Garland played a very real role in the modern Gay Right's
movement. Prior to her death in 1969, Judy Garland was beloved by the
New York City drag queen community. At that time, the local New York
gay bars were raided on a fairly regular basis by the local police
force, and it was not unusual for the raids to be humiliating and
cruel. On the evening of Judy Garland's death, a bar in Greenwich
Village, the Stonewall, was raided. The drag queens, already
devastated by the death of their idol, finally rose up and fought
back, successfully fighting off the police. They had had enough! They
could not even be left in peace to mourn Judy's passing. The
demonstrations continued over the next few evenings. Although there
had been protests and demonstrations prior to this, the Stonewall
Rebellion is now symbolically celebrated internationally as the birth
of modern Gay Rights.
Roger D., New York City, NY, United States,
<firstname.lastname@example.org>, 46, Male, Pagan, White/Caucasian, Gay,
Over 4 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 129199961537
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I have been to a few Baptist wakes in Boston. It seems as though some
Baptists place a thin cranberry-red colored netting over the open
coffin. I've seen this done three times at black Southern Baptist
services. Is this a Southern thing, a Baptist thing, a Boston thing
or a black thing? And what is the purpose? Is it religious,
ornamental, functional, symbolic or all of the above?
Carole, Boston, MA, United States, 32, Female, Agnostic, Biracial,
Straight, 4 Years of College , Middle class,Mesg ID 127199950527
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How old are most African-American children when their parents tell
them about slavery in America?
J.C., Columbia, MD, United States, Mesg ID 126199914615
I don't remember ever having my parents sit me down and explain
slavery. I probably learned about it much like kids learn about
anything else that is important to their ancestry or culture, like
the significance of holidays or even Santa Claus. Kids pick things up
from their environment that prompt them to pose questions to their
parents. Often that leads to discussions of history. The issue isn't
treated like the birds and the bees. There is no "Big Talk." The
truth comes out in bits and pieces through the years, as the child
matures and learns things in school.
K.R., Tuskegee, AL, United States, 22, African American, Female,
student, Mesg ID 128199970318
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Why do so many young adults become confrontational when asked to turn
down extremely loud music? I'm talking car stereos so loud you can't
carry on a phone conversation in the next building. Where do they get
the idea they have a 'right' to implode my eardrums?
Alma, Kempner, TX, United States, Female, Lesbian, Mesg ID
I think people respond in a confrontaional manner when they are
addressed in a confrontational manner. It seems to me that when
adults ask a young person to turn their music down, they do so with a
very hostile attitude, like 'You horrible, worthless teenager, how
dare you inflict that awful noise on me?' A better approach would be
to respect the young person's right to listen to the music they
choose, rather than insulting their music. Of course, it works the
other way, too: Someone who is playing music has to be respectful of
the people around them. When asking someone to turn their music down,
the best approach is to explain in a respectful, non-confrontational
way that you can't hear the phone, and ask them to turn it down.
Getting angry puts people on the defensive. Most people will be
respectful in return when they are treated with respect. There are
always those few people out there who don't have respect, but they
are not at all the majority, from my experience. Also, take into
account that young people will be immature sometimes. Immaturity, (or
maturity for that matter) is not an excuse to be disrespectful toward
others, but it is sometimes the reason people are disrespectful.
Denise M., Milwaukee, WI, United States, 21, Female, White/Caucasian,
2 Years of College, Mesg ID 126199950021
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Why doesn't one see interracial dating between Asian men and
African-American women? Are Asian men attracted to African-American
women? I know some African-American women are attracted to them.
C.H., St. Louis, MO, United States, 32, Female, Black/African
American, 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 1261999121932
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Women's public restrooms are usually equipped with one 'wheelchair'
stall. (I imagine men's restrooms must have one also, though I don't
think this question applies as much to men.) We've all been to events
where there is a long line for the restroom, concerts, ballgames,
etc. Typically, we use whichever stall opens up next. However, if a
woman in a wheelchair needs to use the restroom, must she wait in
line or is it assumed she is next in line for the 'wheelchair' stall?
It seems reasonable to me to me that she wouldn't mind waiting and
when she is close to the front of the line, then she is the next one
for the wheelchair stall. But do wheelchair-bound women expect to
jump to the head of the line or wait in line with everyone else? I
really don't know and don't want to offend anyone.
M.A.M., Atlanta, GA, United States, 27, Female, White/Caucasian, 4
Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 126199913426
My mother is disabled with multiple sclerosis. One of the first
problems this disease caused her was very poor bladder control. I
have since discovered that for many people with disabilities, the
need for a disabled toilet isn't just about a larger stall but about
quick access to a toilet. Many disabled people are unable to move
quickly and often need a helper, so it can be at least a few minutes
after entering the stall before they are able to relieve themselves.
So I would say if you can possibly help it, don't use the disabled
stall. Let disabled people go in front of you whenever possible.
B.B., Edinburgh, NA, United Kingdom, 25, Female, Atheist,
White/Caucasian, Straight, Phd student, Over 4 Years of College,
Middle class, Mesg ID 128199984454
Some wheelchair-bound people are not simply unable to walk, but
have other physical problems, such as weak bladder control, which
makes it imperative that they get to a stall quickly. By all means,
though, use your powers of observation and your judgment, and then
use the stall! By this I mean that in a smallish party, you will
generally spot the wheelchair, and hopefully avoid using that
particular stall. (No wheelchair, no worries!) But in a situation
where there are a lot of people (a concert, a mall), please leave the
stall free. You do not know when it will be needed. Of course, a
large percentage of disabled people can hold it as long as you can,
but think of the ones who can't. Not only that, but have you
considered how much more time it takes to maneuver oneself onto the
seat if you cannot use your legs?
Magenta, Johannesburg, South Africa, Mesg ID 128199954911
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