7.23.2010

Braids, red dots, blasians and aliens (#2)

Today's topic is the Japanese perception of blacks and how blacks fare here, in the general sense. For the most part, we've been introduced to this country via Hollywood movies, music videos and the mass media.

Blacks usually come here with one serious disadvantage. We don’t automatically know that if we aren't Japanese, we're automatically OUT. This discrimination leads to us employing anti-Japanese stereotypes and allowing ourselves to form questionable alliances with other foreigners. In other words, we never really get to know any Japanese people. Our Japanese language skills also appear to fossilize at a far lower level than others. It isn’t true. It just seems that way because our numbers are so few.


Those who do fossilize early can't travel unassisted, let alone deal with local officials or people who can help them with their careers.“Whites” usually come with pre-existing connections, either a job offer or friends. Blacks usually aren't that lucky and their friends here usually don't have clout unless they're in the Hip-Hop industry.

After a few bouts of discrimination, we often resort to walking around in the guise of the ANGRY BLACK PERSON. It's too bad because everyone can succeed here if they learn to play the game. Everyone has a chance to move up the Pyramid of Worth.

ANGRY BLACK PERSON mode plays right into the hands of the United States media. The media, not Hollywood, is our most dangerous enemy. Our national news is broadcast here daily with translation. Gangsta rap videos and their sickening and degrading depictions of black women at the hands of black men follow a close second. This means even if we aren't automatically labeled as prostitutes, we are often considered bubble-butt ass-shaking freaks.

This doesn't mean a blasian future is doomed. Shockingly, Hollywood is helping us the most. In as much as they screw us at home, they aren't doing that much damage abroad. The Japanese people have specific tastes in films: romantic comedies and big-budgeted films. Black people are seldom depicted on the big screen at all; hence, minimal damage. Will Smith and Denzel Washington are LOVED. Denzel's newest movie is doing great and Tyler Perry's films sell well on DVD although they are the imported versions.

Jaden Smith and the Karate Kid remake have done an astronomical job of promoting young black boys as potential winners, not destined losers. In movie forums, people are having frank discussions about race and pre-conceived notions. Not just about young black boys, but Chinese people as well.

In addition, NHK, is doing an amazing job of trying to promote black people in a positive light. They aren't just passively broadcasting ready-made documentaries. They're going out into black neighborhoods in America and learning for themselves about our lives and so far everything I've seen is POSITIVE!! Documentaries about blacks during the build up to the Soccer World Cup gave South African people a serious boost.

There is still hope for our blasian future. We just need to try a little harder.

Next up - Are Japanese homogeneous, racists or what?

15 comments:

  1. This just keeps getting better and better. I'm intrigued by NHK and its efforts to get the stories right.

    Looking forward to your next installment.

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  2. @Lenoxave

    This was not always NKH's policy. Though I can't swear to it, I firmly believe Hurricane Katrina and the callous way black people were treated prompted this change in perspective. Before that, I think Americans were just Americans. Then Katrina rolled in, thousands of people died due to racism pure and simple and suddenly our own people were labeled refugees in their own country. The gun-toting bigots across the bridge truly shocked this nation and others.

    The series that had the most positive affect on me was EXIT. NHK's staff (Japanese, not American) spent ten weeks following students at the Matti V. Rutherford Alternative School. The principal, vice-principal, the teachers, the psychologist and all the staff were black. These people inspired me during one of the lowest periods in my life. NHK allowed everyone to tell their own story. They did not extrapolate. They did not reinterpret.

    There is a small English segment on their website that covers the basics:

    http://www.nhk.or.jp/exit/index-e.html

    Please listen to the school song. Every child exiting the school left with this song in their ears and hopefully, hearts. Shaheed's rap is fantastic. Music and the Matti V. saved his life.

    I have this series on a homemade DVD. I hope to recap it one day. I wish you could read the comments. People from their teens to their 70s participated. If nothing else, Japanese people tried to think beyond their own experiences and recognize the problems we have in common.

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  3. I firmly believe Hurricane Katrina and the callous way black people were treated prompted this change in perspective. Before that, I think Americans were just Americans. Then Katrina rolled in, thousands of people died due to racism pure and...The gun-toting bigots across the bridge truly shocked this nation and others.

    I am not surprised. And with people capturing police brutality, the Teabaggers, and overall white sociopathy on YouTube, and the like, the world is going to keep on seeing America as it really is.

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  4. The NHK part is fascinating. Sort of boggles my mind that people in other countries are making honest documentaries about black Americans.

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  5. Sort of boggles my mind that people in other countries are making honest documentaries about black Americans.

    In a way, it makes perfect sense. They're actually trying to inform their nations, not preserve white privilege.

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  6. @moddest-goddess & Anhkesen

    Only Americans believe "white" Americans rule the world. Some of the best black-centered documentaries I've seen have been produced by Germans or a German/Holland combo. Like the Japanese, they function as observers of reality, not interpreters.

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  7. Given that we are such a small percentage of the population, what maybe 13%, it is just shocking that other countries are interested. But I guess for such a small population our cultural exports are prolific both the good stuff and the bad.

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  8. @ MG

    That and people abroad are sick of white Americans.

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  9. @ Ank
    ... and therefore more willing to consider our point of view

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  10. fascinating. I went to Kofu, Japan 5 years ago on an exchange because it is the sister city to my hometown of Des Moines. Being so young (14) and being confined to our amazing host family and our chaperones, the time amongst the Japanese people I felt was muted as we weren't allowed to explore around.

    However, I and the 3 other black children felt the most welcomed as we got tons of friendly smiles and greetings on the streets of Kofu and Tokyo. I actually saw a lot of Blasian children and even blasian singers on Japanese television (on Sesame Street and their equivalent of '106 & Park'). There were also many Africans who made their homes and businesses there.

    It is fascinating to learn more about Japan from an Adult Black woman's perspective. Thanks for this :D

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  11. @bcbgrl33

    That sounds like a wonderful memory! Lots of Blasian children, you say?

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  12. @AM
    Okay well more then I expected since Japan is a Homogeneous country, plus there were quite a few on the streets of Kofu. It wasn't overflowing. I have yet to see any in Korea.

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  13. @ Bcbgrl33

    More in Japan than in Korea? Fascinating.

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  14. @AM
    Yeah I really think if a Blasisan couple has children they move or stay on the military base because...well I can't gauge it right now but I would not be surprised if it is a comfort thing.

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  15. Yeah...those military bases have got to go.

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