I would like to comment on Shawna Ueyama’s Dec. 22 Zeit Gist article, “Too innocent for prejudice?” I have lived in the United States for more than a decade — in various cities because of my husband’s job — and have found that no matter where we go, my 8-year-old boy and I are discriminated against to some degree.
Ueyama’s article is not fair to Japanese people and their children. I believe that people in the U.S. are much more racist or prejudiced because of wrong information and images about non-Caucasian people from media, government and parents. Discrimination exists even in the process of applying for preschool here. Often religious differences cause discrimination.
Japanese people are much more accepting of others once they get to know them. They may show hesitancy or shyness with outsiders at first, but they won’t hold stereotyped prejudices against them. In general, society and people in Japan are much more friendly and helpful to foreigners.
I wish some writers for The Japan Times would stop complaining, stop criticizing Japan and its people, and instead learn to take action intelligently to improve relationships with the people around them. Sometimes you need to take a look at your own reaction when you feel you’re being discriminated against rather than attack with anger.
Most people are open to good people and would like to be friends with them. But it takes time to develop a friendship. Offer something to help others instead of trying to force them to include you as a friend immediately. Most of all, please stop generalizing Japanese people as racist just because you weren’t included in something at a particular time. If you really don’t like the people where you live, you are not forced to be there forever. It all comes down to how you handle the situation wherever you go. Good luck!
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