Friday, January 15, 2010

Won't Miss #109 - prejudice paranoia

Some of the most valuable learning experiences that I've had in Japan haven't necessarily been happy ones, and one of them is what it feels like to be a minority that is discriminated against. I can't say that I know what it feels like to be black, Hispanic, etc. in the U.S., but at least I can say that I can empathize with being regarded as inferior or suspicious at a glance, or singled out for inspection or harassment for no reason other than my skin, eye and hair color. While this experience has been valuable because now I have a sense of what it feels like to be a minority, there is a constant battle with "prejudice paranoia". That is, you have to ask yourself when you are being treated badly if it is discrimination because you're a foreigner or if it's simply that anyone (including a Japanese person) would be receiving such bad treatment.

Having to wonder if it is my sensitivity to prejudice or actual prejudice at work is something that I won't miss.