democracy and civil rights

another question on democracy from the world values survey, 2005-2008:

“Many things may be desirable, but not all of them are essential characteristics of democracy. Please tell me for each of the following things how essential you think it is as a characteristic of democracy. Use this scale where 1 means *not at all an essential characteristic of democracy* and 10 means it definitely is *an essential characteristic of democracy*: Civil rights protect people’s liberty against oppression.

here are the percentages from each country for the people who responded 10 — that civil rights protect people’s liberty against oppression is an essential characteristic of democracy:

the germanics do pretty well here: sweden, germany and switzerland all scoring well above the average. the dutch and the norwegians are below average, though. the anglo scores are pretty abysmal, imho: the u.s. just squeaks in above average, while australia, canada and great britain (almost dropping off the table) are well below average. as are the french. the thais are in last place again. not sure what they think democracy is.

here’s a breakdown of the u.s. according to ethnicity, i.e. races + hispanics (click on image for LARGER view, should open in new tab/window):

whites = 45.6%
blacks = 42.5%
hispanics = 37.6%

the spread between whites and blacks/hispanics widens if we consider everybody who responded above 5 (i.e. 6-10):

whites = 83.4%
blacks = 73.7%
hispanics = 70.3%

previously: dēmos kratos and libyans on democracy: meh
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update 03/08 – see comment below (click on images for LARGER view):

(note: comments do not require an email. why democracy.)

weird stuff people do

yesterday, i came across … heh … an article about weird stuff that some people in bengal do, and i thought — gee i’d love to post that! but i wish i had a reason to — some sort of excuse. then, a little while later, i came across another article about weird stuff that some people in china do. (i wasn’t looking for these articles, i swear!) so i got my excuse: two stories about weird things people do makes a post, afaiac. (^_^)

warning: you may not want to read these right before a meal if you’re at all squeamish or easily grossed out. (~_^)

1) Ingesting menstrual blood: notions of health and bodily fluids in Bengal

yes, you read that right — ingesting menstrual blood. and you guys thought sleeping with your sister was gross! ewwww! well, at least they add sugar:

“A woman’s monthly flow is always viewed as potent. Yet the first flow a woman elicits is considered to be the most potent fluid of all. Tara said she was twelve years old when she got her period. She told her mother, who told her father. And her father went to their family guru, to tell him what had happened. Their guru then invited other sadhus to his ashram for the forthcoming event to ingest the fluid. ‘Great sadhus gathered together to partake in the new fluid,’ said Tara calling the fluid rup. ‘It is a very good thing. If my son had been a girl,’ she added, ‘great sadhus would come to my house, asking me to invite them. For few people manage to obtain it.’

“Tara’s father had prepared himself ahead of time. He purchased a piece of cotton cloth at the market so that she could wear it when her rup appeared. After this, he gave the cloth bearing the rup to the family guru. Upon receiving it, the guru stored the cloth away. The bloodstain dried and the cloth hardened. A month went by while waiting for the other sadhus to appear. When they finally gathered together, her guru rinsed the cloth in water. Then he cooled the fluid down, by soaking it in four different substances. These were cow’s milk, coconut juice, camphor, and palm juice. He also added white sugar, to sweeten the ingredients. Tara said, ‘the mixture of red rup and white milk yielded a syrupy substance, bearing the color pink. Milk,’ she mused, ‘is very strange. It draws the red rup out of the cloth, so that the cloth turns white again.’ She went on to tell me that when the different ingredients had merged, the coconut shell containing the fluid was passed around to those present, so that each one, including herself could have a sip.”

people, people… (*hbd chick shakes head* (^_^) )

and if that weren’t weird enough, look what some people in china do! (i checked the original story using google translate and it seems legit.):

2) Boys’ urine-soaked eggs listed as local specialty, intangible cultural heritage

“Every early spring, a foul odor fills the air of Dongyang, Zhejiang Province. Dongyang people call it ‘the smell of spring.’

“Yuck, it’s actually the smell of urine. And prepare yourself for this: Dongyang people boil eggs in boy’s urine and sell them at 1.50 yuan (23 cents) apiece. It sells like hot cakes.

“The convention of eating such eggs, called tong zi dan (童子蛋) in Chinese, literally Boy Egg, is so deeply entrenched that the city of Dongyong listed it as local intangible cultural heritage in 2008.

“Boy egg vendors go to local elementary schools to collect urine from prepubertal boys, preferrably under the age of 10, with buckets….

“Ms. Li introduced her tip of boiling eggs in boys’ urine: first, soak eggs in urine and heat them over the stove. After it boils, get all eggs out and crack their shells before putting them back. After a while, pour in new urine. Repeat it and simmer eggs for an entire day.”

you wonder how many human behaviors like these start out as dares (i dare ya! i double dare ya!) and then become tradition. (~_^)

moral of the story: humans WILL do the weirdest things.

(note: comments do not require an email. gotta luv anthropology!)