Saturday, January 25, 2014

Racism bad! Naughty Japan!

So, recently ANA pulled an advert because it was deemed racist. Go ahead and watch that link.

Personally I thought it was hilarious, but then I've been absorbing Japanese comedy for a few years now. Sure it picks on a stereotype, but I think Rupert Wingfield Hayes' analysis on this is pretty much on the mark*.

What annoys me more than anything is the reflex RACISM! reaction that lead to the advert getting pulled.

I'm not sure where the apparent outcry originated, but by the gods I hope it wasn't foreigners. Why? Because it does foreigners much more harm to the reputation of Westerners to complain about the advert's racism than this advert itself does.

In case you don't follow my logic here, remember what happened to all the foreigners when Fukushima underwent meltdown? About 500,000 of them smegged off, and as a result, the term "flyjin" was coined. Yes, that's even more derogatory than the advert, and twice as funny, in my opinion.

The point is, every time a kneejerk reaction like this occurs, it will make us foreigners look like complete pansies. As I commented on that article (see the link. Let's see if it passes moderation! **):

The cry for racism at every conceivable opportunity paints us increasingly as childish. Respect is earned by your actions, when one's notable actions consist primarily of such demands for respect, it to an extent undermines the other favourable attributes one might have.

Finally, A non-racism argument for you: If you had to employ someone, would you choose the one that was defensive when you accidentally laughed at a mistake on their CV, or the one who laughed with you?

In other words, if one's default position is to complain about racism in this way then it is closed minded: insofar as having a default position is closed minded. The open-minded stance is to try and understand the person stood opposite you, and work on what we have in common. You can have virtues such as justice, but equally when your sense of justice is causing you pain, is this indicative of injustice, or of a flaw in your sense of justice? Since laws change between countries, we can assume that justice (to some extent) is different between people. I'll leave that as a thought exercise for the reader ***.

Anyway, foreigners say worse things about themselves, and being big-nosed and blonde-haired actually puts you at the nice end of Japanese racism which is actually probably more fun than living in Japan as a Japanese (but I evidently have little experience in that area).

Finally, and more seriously, there are far, far worse aspects of Japanese media**** we could be picking on, like the biassed reporting of the war, or appeasement of far-right stances.

*For those too lazy to click the link (or if it dies), Mr Hayes reminds us that in Japan, blonde hair and a big nose aren't traits that are looked down upon. I would add that I'm not so sure when it comes to nose size... I never heard of a Japanese person getting a nose-job to look more Western.. But blonde hair is something commonly praised over here.

**To be honest, given the awful puntuation, I've half a mind to ask they delete it anyway, haw haw haw

*** all 2 of them, lol, though I think they are both clever enough to work out where I was going with this

****e.g. the insistence on popularising the band AKB48, even though everyone knows it causes bleeding in the ears of humans and other intelligent animals.

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