Monday, December 08, 2008

Discrimination validated

by some fellow who wrote an article for the Japan Times last week. I read it and considered replying, but I honestly did not know where to begin. It was like reading Fujiwacko Masahiko's book of two years ago. One has to wonder if he is actually as silly as he seems.

Our explainer basically justified bigotry by claiming it was all made fine and wonderful by his view of "group accountability." Apparently, he thought that it was just dandy that public bath operators in Hokkaido could ban anyone who did not "look Japanese" as this was just a way of making a whole group (those who did not look Japanese) accountable for the actions of a smaller part of that group (Russian sailors).

Naturally the problem is also somehow related to the US because the US is/has been racist and this fact magnifies the feelings of injustice to Westerners. So, I guess we gotta assume that the non-western, non-Japanese who reside in Japan (as well as many Japanese) don't see a problem with it. Anyway, we can't hold it against Japan for discriminating based on "group" because 'merika and the west in general is racist whilst Japan's racial and other discrimination isn't racist.

In Japan, you see, group discrimination---bigotry---is evenhanded. If you ain't a "pure" Japanese, that's sufficient. Since the bath claimed that the reason that no non-Japanese looking person could enter was because some Russian sailors caused problems somewhere, and since Russian sailors are not Japanese then they could---at least until a Japanese court said they couldn't---discriminate against all who are not.

(This brings up the problem of which group must be held accountable for the actions of the mass-murdering Japanese in Akihabara last summer, or the guy who a few weeks ago stabbed 3 people, killing two, because he was supposedly angry that the government had killed his doggy when he was a child. All Japanese? All men? All Japanese men? All young pet owners?)

Our writer then equates the discrimination with the rules for female-only train cars during peak hours and finally makes the utterly bizarre, absurd claim that since this group accountability is a major reason that Japan is safe (prove that) if Japan abandons it, then Japan will become like the mythical US or other countries---unsafe, full of selfish criminals where one cannot walk the streets without being a crime victim. Japan will, in effect, become a foreign country.
"Japan will become one more nation in which the individual is to be feared. That is an outrageously high price to pay for the occasional racial, national, generational or gender-driven slight."
I am not the first to write this, but if that is the case, then the US can become a safer country by openly (or secretly) and intentionally discriminating against groups of people whom those with power may assume (or simply claim) may be troublemakers. We should repeal the Civil Rights laws and go back 150 years to become "safe" again.

The case the apologist-for-bigotry-and-discrimination wrote about was the Otaro onsen case brought by naturalized Japanese citizen, Arudo Debito. Debito has posted the original article and a short response on his blog along with other responses.

The author of the article is putting the finishing touches on a book that is bound to become a classic on what the world can learn from Japan. Although topic sounds like a rehash of the 1980s books of this genre, there are things which folks elsewhere could learn from Japan. Whether or not those things could be adopted is another question. Let's hope, however, that excusing racism, bigotry, and other discrimination based on group membership is not one of them.

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