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The Great Divide

Many of us have come from ethnically rich cultures and societies and have been exposed to a broad range of opinions and influences both naturally and spiritually, and because of these experiences we are able to gain a better understanding of other people, but do we really empathize with others or do we just tolerate them?

However, many of us are drawn to the very things that we also hate like in the case of the foreigner who falls in love with Japan's largely mono-cultural, mono-racial, and mono-linguistic and religious elements, and is amazed at the level of harmony and natural balance that can be achieved by people of the same racial stock.   It's one of the things that drew me here to Japan!  

I think the concept of oneness and homogeneity is beautiful, and while others may totally disagree with me, I feel that I do speak for a silent minority.     On one hand, some Westerners here feel that they are entitled to the same rights as Japanese and should be treated as equal or even better than the native population.   On the other hand, the way  Japanese society is structured limits what a foreigner can do and constrains the foreigner from becoming to overly ambitious – that’s the hate part.  

Western minds want to seize opportunity and run with it, whereas Japanese seek a consensus first, and then make a collective decision second.   The two paradigms are wholly inconsistent with each other, so in such a case it’s a good thing that foreigners are limited to what they can do here. The mold is best in order to preserve the natural order and balance of things here in Japan.  Things are done better collectively not individually in this country; in my experience.

Multiculturalism was founded on the notion that people from a variety of different languages, backgrounds and religions could live and work together, and under a set of unifying principles such as Democracy and the notion of freedom and justice for all; one nation indivisible, e pluribus Unum, and so on and so forth.   Nonetheless, never have I seen such a divided nation such as North America, people are so full of hate and indifference to others.  

Principles only bind us together when we are truly equal, not when the super rich minority represent the working poor majority and the disenfranchised.  Subsequently, in the end, multiculturalism almost always trumps on the head of the American negro, as an example, no matter where he/she may live in the world.   Not Japan, though, thank goodness.  Here in Japan the working foreigner who has a legitimate status is far from poor.

America, since the Civil Rights era has programmed its society to believe that some how people of various origins could live equally and be treated fairly by just courts, and that somehow the guarantee of Constitutional Rights and the representation of elected officials from various racial and cultural backgrounds would make us look beyond the scope of race and indifference, and beyond the pattern of racial disparity.   Nothing could be further from the truth, especially in terms of equal distribution of wealth and opportunity and fair legal recourse for the poor ethnic growing majority.

In one instance, we have had both Negro and Latino politicians working in the highest echelons of the U.S. government, and none have made any difference nor have any of them improved the conditions of the working ethnic poor, which make up roughly about 80% of the these two racial groups. We've had negro politicians,  working in the White House since before and after emancipation, like in the case of George Ruby, and none have made any significant strides in the advancement of minority rights both institutionally and economically.   Is it him proving that he was able to work together almost exclusively alongside Whites in the New World? Was it more important than representing the people, all ethnic peoples, across ethnically racial lines?   Matt Gaines was a better example of a right thinking man for the new America.   But we do not know of him.    But, at least we have a hybrid President who thinks more with his white brain than his black brain.

Being a Gaijin in Japan, I know what's expected of me because here,  there are only two races, the Japanese and the non-Japanese - metaphorically speaking.   America used to be the same in terms of “white” and “blacks.”    Whites were the dominant class and blacks were the oppressed predominant peasant class, and then there were other minorities groups somewhere scattered in between. The difference here is that one was by design and other was by design and force.   If YOU choose to live and work in a society that’s 90% homogeneous in almost every way, and you are that minority you must conform!   Here in Japan all non-Japanese must conform, including Whites!  For them it’s more of a personal struggle because they’ve never been at the receiving end of any kind of blatant discriminatory policies both at home and abroad.

In America, you have to learn what's expected of you from the top down, and from a variety of different stereotypes.   President Obama is no exception to this either.  He wears several hats and has several faces because he has to, not necessarily because he wants to. Black elected officials are not supposed be opinionated especially if their opinions empower their minority base.  Like in the case of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder's incendiary comments about Americans being a nation of cowards and when it comes to dealing with and talking about race related issues. He was rebuked by President Obama for telling an unpleasant truth.   Had Mr. Holder been anybody other than an elected official he probably would've been branded a terrorist by the religious Right.

In North America, Bananas(Northern California term for Asian on the outside and white on the inside), Apples( native American on the outside and white on the inside), and Oreos(black outside and white inside) are expected to tow the line, as long as their attitude and thinking is in line with the white corporate culture power structure in America.   And then, having to work alongside people with whom you really have very little in common with and having to deal with their own indifferences, all while stabbing each other in the back and fighting your way up the corporate ladder just to sit next to the Man.

Sort of reminds me of my short stint with Aetna Insurance in Torrance and how that played out. It was disgusting seeing how the office ladies there were giving massages to the directors in the middle of the day and laying all over their desks like whores.   And these directors got to pick and choose according to race and other preferential treatment while us poor working class guys were busy hustling our asses and seeing this abuse of power going on. One of the directors even had his daughter working in the same company in the adjacent office next door.   Nepotism at its finest.    Truly disgusting.

The analogy about there being only two races in Japan is merely a metaphor for how Japanese view non-Japanese in terms of social status. In Japan, all foreigners, even the ones with Japanese nationality, are considered foreigner by Japanese standards.   You could even come from the upper crust of Western society, or be a vagabond from a deprived Indian or African country, you are still a foreigner and you are held in contempt no matter what you do, especially when a foreigner commits a crime against a Japanese.  The implications are wide spreading.  (“If one foreigner commits a crime , then it’s highly probably that other foreigners have been committing crimes too and therefore let’s cast aspersions on each and every foreigner’s honesty with a smile on our faces”).

Even still, the fact that the Japanese don’t class its foreigner community according to race, nationality and sex is beautiful, in reality.  Just last week a foreigner teacher was accused of molesting young Japanese girls for over a decade. His name, nationality, and race were never released to the public, just his status as ' foreigner' was.  The same can't be said in countries through out South East Asia and Europe, especially in North America, where racial profiling and race baiting are and have been the bywords of the day for centuries.

President Obama is the subject of constant race baiting almost everyday and yet he holds the highest office in the Land, not even he is exempt from the constant harassment due to his race. I suspect, though, that as Japan continues to inherit Western ideals and Western ways, this subtle racial categorization will begin to creep in, slowly, namely through mixed bred children and overly liberal Japanese politicians who fail to find quick fixes for Japan's ailing and failing population, instead they contend that by opening the flood gates for foreigners to come here and by granting long term residents the chance to vote will some how correct the population problem is merely an experiment in absurdity.

Foreigner men know that in order to ensure a smooth transition from foreigner to “long term resident foreigner” would require them to take Japanese wives, mate with them and produce offspring who in turn will grow up to be the future leaders of Japan, before they were just 'hafu'(half breed), but this label is fading quickly because of the steadily growing diversity of Japan's demographic and lack of Japanese men. I suspect that in ten to twenty years, Japan will be a very racially diverse country where every foreigner will be classed into a profile based exclusively on race and background, like in North America.

At some point, Japanese, will have to protect their racial identity through instituting race profiling, especially as more and more non-Japanese gain citizenship and take on more demanding roles in Japan's society. A racially diverse Japan is inconsistent with Japanese logic and ideology. A racially diverse Japan isn't and wouldn't be Japan in my opinion, either. If I wanted to be a part of diversity I would return back to my own country.  I didn’t come to Japan for that.

When a white kid with a white mother and a white father is born in Japan, then I’m required to call him a Japanese and gesture with a bow? A Japanese black or a Japanese/white? Are you kidding? Much like the cold blue eyed Afrikaners who tries to shake my hand and convince me that he is more African than me is truly sickening, even though it’s true, turns my stomach still.

(“you were a part of that murderous class of Europeans who killed black Africans you moron! You don’t even deserve to be called an African”).

Reminds me of when I was in Greece many years ago. This hairy beast of man with poor fair skin sneered at me with that arrogant look of condescension that a lot of Southern Europeans have, smeared across his face, and telling me he was from the continent of Africa. Like he deserved some respect. I almost spit on him.

Every year in America, State and local officials conduct a consensus on the population. Residents are asked to identify their race and background and in turn the Federal government is supposed to determine how much money each State is supposed to receive based off of this consensus, which supposedly measures population density based on a number of different factors, race is one of them. America has entertained the notion of eliminating race categories all together, but that never happened. It's not natural and it's illogical because we are not all the same and we do not all embrace the same set of ideals, morals, and principles, and so on.

It's almost like arguing whether Communism was bad, or was the human too imperfect for Communism to work. Or, is the concept of equality perfect, and that it's the human being that lacks perfection. Or even better, maybe equality and Communism would be synonymous with each other and are concepts that are centuries ahead of our Time.  One is a social concept and the other is a social structure.

The great experiments with Communism during the last century have failed and I wonder if this great experiment with equality will also fail??? To suggest that Communism failed wouldn't be entirely an accurate statement, perhaps people failed Communism much like the concept of equality will eventually fail in North America. This is partly because Communism taught us that it was illegal to be selfish and equality only sounded good on paper because it gave minorities the incentive to try to out do the dominant culture which eventually pitted all minorities against each other and not the dominant race, thus the pyramid.

Back in Japan, non-Japanese have to conform to the standards and norms established by the dominant race. The Japanese race. This again I say is a beautiful thing. “Why” you say? It’s easier and the harmony of races flow much more naturally than in any other country in the world. I guess when the time comes, maybe I can go to China or Korea and maybe Germany and assert my equal Rights over there alongside the majority !? What less Japan? No way!

The French, the Negro, the Italian, the Chinese, the Koreans, and so on, can now sit at the same table and break bread, why? Because we are one race in the Japanese eyes! And we are all bound by the same limitations and advantages both linguistically and economically. If I can’t speak French and that French can’t speak English, then we could at least speak in Japanese together, and even relate on the same level with each other and, yet we are worlds apart in ideology. Amazing! A far cry from him spitting on Africans in downtown Paris, now are equals.

Nobody is fighting and hating each other here. No bickering, no racist epithets, no nepotism, no race selection, no race baiting, no nothing of the sort. Just a smooth functioning, smooth flowing society free from racist ideology. Everyone knows what’s expected of them; the Japanese and the non-Japanese and we are all one big happy family.


  1. "we have had both Negro and Latino politicians working in the highest echelons of the U.S. government, and none have made any difference nor have any of them improved the conditions of the working ethnic poor, which make up roughly about 80% of the these two racial groups." I have one word for you: Thurgood Marshall" Look him up and you might want to re-phrase the above paragraph, and perhaps re-think your whole thesis. But I applaud your effort to try to find a place in this world. trust me I know the difficulties and I definitely empathize. but don7t go about it with false premises as your motivation. The US is great country with a unique history that i truly couldn't appreciate until recently. BTW Marshall is only one of many who fought and sacrificed sucessfully so that this generation of "hegros" can discard their efforts as "nothing".

  2. Thank you for your comment Loco,

    Thurgood Marshall was one of a kind,like Matt Gaines was. Sadly many AA politicians today have rarely sacrificed anything for the greater good or the advancement of colored initiatives.

    My premise is fairly sound. Many foreigners who come to Japan are enchanted with its largely mono-cultural and mono-ethnic elements, and love the natural balance and order of this country. Unfortunately, those of us who feel entitled to more, get less because of our status as "foreigners."

    Many foreigners come to Japan for a lot of different reasons, but one of the main reasons that intrigue us the most is this dynamic between Japanese and non-Japanese elements and the elements which infuse the Japanese culture and way of life here. Just ask the lifer gaijin what made him stay. Ask him why he isn't in a hurry to return to his own country.

    If Japan was a fully diverse nation there would be nothing to blog about and nothing to compare and nobody to blame. Just ask Freedomw what he would blog about if he couldn't cry about how poorly he's been treated like when he was kicked out of that Japanese only bar. Who would have to compare himself with had he lived in back in his neck of the woods?

  3. Don't misunderstand me. I agree that many foreigners come here to partake of the uniqueness of Japanese culture, spurred by curiosity as to how the culture has managed to retain some of its originality. And there are many blogs devoted to illustrating how the culture impacts the lives of those relegated to its outskirts. And I think you make some interesting points throughout your piece. It was the premise I took issue with. First off, your use of the word "negro" which you and I know is a term used derogatorily. Though Marshall and others were referred to as negroes in their time, to refer to them as negroes now, minus the quotes, as you well know, suggests that they were representative of a negro mentality that resulted in, as you suggested very little to nil. What ruffled my feathers was the malignment (by lack of acknowledgement)of their considerable sacrifices. I grew up revering these men and women and to hear/read such disparagment from someone who clearly prospered as a result (you state that the US, etc, are multicultural and ethnically rich societies) to speak of them with such disdain was offputting. I agree that America is an UN-perfect union. But, like Obama put it so eloquently in his discourse/speech on the state of race relations in the US, the founders had created a document (declaration of Independence) that set the groundwork for a union to be perfected over time. Not one that was perfect already. I think the election of a man of color is clear indication of the thinking of a majority of the people having shifted a bit. Whether or not this is indicative of mere tolerance or true acceptance of the equality of all is something that can and will be debated moving forward, but to cast this aside as NOTHING is offensive. And I beleive disrespectful as well to our forebearers who have made your, and my, ability to enjoy the world as FULL citizens of the potentially greatest country in the world possible.
    If this is what prompted you to go looking elsewhere, again, I understand. i too left the US at a time when I felt She had taken a turn for the worst (Bush/Cheney era) and like I said, it took recent events to remind me of the richness and the vitality of the culture(s) from which I sprang.
    Sorry for the long comment. I dig your rebelliousness, and your efforts to be a unique voice on the blogosphere. When I read your pieces and comments I can feel your energy...sometimes I think it is misplaced, as my own gets off track sometimes, but I can smell what you're me. And, it aint bad! Keep it up! (not that you need me to tell you)

  4. The reference I used on Mr. Marshall as "negro" was not intended to belittle him or his accomplishments. I could've called him "colored" or "black" or "African-American." These references could all be taken out of context, like the term "negro," which is purely an anthropological term denoting the characteristics of a racial division. How we label our own people will always be a subject of debate for years to come until African Americans come to terms with their nationality. In other words, if you are African American and you were born in North America, then you are considered just "American." In what way are you connected to the continent of Africa other then the pigment in your skin? I believe this is what I was alluding to my recent essay as it relates to race and diversity. In Japan, my passport says "American," not Black American, or African American. In Japan, when they ask me my nationality I answer "American." Nationality is what defines me and the rest of us here in Japan.

    I mentioned Matt Gaines, but to say that so many sacrificed for the improvement of the Black American is close to nil. What I mean by "improvement" is economic empowerment, not some fill-in the blank ballot where I get to vote for the next white incumbent leader so that he can justify my freedom based on the notion of equality. MLK fought so that we could be equal, but he forgot to include the economic empowerment part in his package of demands to Kennedy, instead he bankrupted the Civil Rights effort. Blacks in America just want back pay for their descendants, not government hand-outs in the form of unemployment checks and government subsidies. So, in what way have we achieved equality if economically we fair far worse than are White counter-parts, not only in America but the whole world? Poor AA in Bedford Stie[sp?], and the Yuppy on Wall Street are not equal! That's why I say equality looks better on paper.

    Fast forward to 2010, and we have the nations first truly African American President; African father, White mother, a man who does not represent the struggle for millions of Blacks who lost mostly all traces of their ancestry through the slave auctions in the South. Obama was spoon fed multiculturalism in Indonesia and Hawaii. Many AA didn't even know Hawaii existed until junior high school!


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