Best of the Week
of Dec. 5, 1999

Best of Week Archives

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 well). In the Original Archives and the new database, 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.

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Question:
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.
POSTED 12/8/1999
S.R., Austin, TX, United States, 21, Female, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, student, Mesg ID 128199941205
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Question:
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?
POSTED 12/5/1999
Jon, Windsor, Ontario, , Canada, <harder2@uwindsor.ca>, Male, Mesg ID 1241999115600

Responses:
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.
POSTED 12/8/1999
Jen, Santa Clara, CA, United States, 25, Female, Health Educator, Mesg ID 128199974855
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Question:
What is Judy Garland's appeal among some gay men? Is this just another Hollywood myth, or is there some truth to it?
POSTED 11/29/99
A.S.B., Seattle, WA, United States, 31, Female, Straight, 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 11131999101404

Responses:
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.
POSTED 12/10/1999
Roger D., New York City, NY, United States, <rdapiran@erols.com>, 46, Male, Pagan, White/Caucasian, Gay, Over 4 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 129199961537
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Question:
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?
POSTED 12/8/1999
Carole, Boston, MA, United States, 32, Female, Agnostic, Biracial, Straight, 4 Years of College , Middle class,Mesg ID 127199950527
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Question:
How old are most African-American children when their parents tell them about slavery in America?
POSTED 12/7/1999
J.C., Columbia, MD, United States, Mesg ID 126199914615

Responses:
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.
POSTED 12/8/1999
K.R., Tuskegee, AL, United States, 22, African American, Female, student, Mesg ID 128199970318
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Question:
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?
POSTED 2/9/1999
Alma, Kempner, TX, United States, Female, Lesbian, Mesg ID 2999114428

Responses:
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.
POSTED 12/7/1999
Denise M., Milwaukee, WI, United States, 21, Female, White/Caucasian, 2 Years of College, Mesg ID 126199950021
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Question:
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.
POSTED 12/7/1999
C.H., St. Louis, MO, United States, 32, Female, Black/African American, 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 1261999121932
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Question:
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.
POSTED 12/7/1999
M.A.M., Atlanta, GA, United States, 27, Female, White/Caucasian, 4 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 126199913426

Responses:
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.
POSTED 12/8/1999
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?
POSTED 12/8/1999
Magenta, Johannesburg, South Africa, Mesg ID 128199954911
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