“You know nothing about the minority!"
It was a couple of years ago when I was doing my bachelor's. That class I took was aimed at gathering international students, and unlike the collective and homogenous atmosphere in Japan—— we enjoyed the diversity there.
A yell was heard as I was entering the classroom. I saw two students were fighting, and one was talking about her situation; “I’m female, bisexual and Argentinian.” She then said to another student, “You’re male, straight and European. You know nothing about the minority!”
I didn’t even care about who started the fight, but they sure made me question one thing—— “Hey, aren’t you two... white?” They never knew the fear of the slant eyes gesture, they will never know the fear of being a racial minority. Take a look at me, I’m Asian, non-binary, and pansexual, I am the minority. They knew nothing about being the minority. The talk had reminded me of the unchangeable borders between them and myself. Since that day, whenever I hear the word “minority”, it triggered the awkwardness and frustration that once I felt.
Now in 2020, the world is still in the middle of chaos caused by COVID-19, besides the pandemic itself, there is another issue that taken over the world: the Black Lives Matter movement. This movement started in the United States and is now supported worldwide. During the quarantine, BLM took over literally every news program on TV and all the SNSs. This wave of BLM did come to Japan but was viewed almost riot-like, something from far away, not something relatable. “I don’t support BLM,” said a friend of mine,“because the Blacks discriminate against us. We are the minority.”
In regards to the two stories of “minority” above, now I believe that the term itself is very inclusive in a way—— that doesn’t define the individuals. How I felt myself as being the minority and the friend’s anger about minority-ness are the same. BLM became an iconic and transnational movement, where people stood up for equality, but two years ago I would have looked at it differently. Comparing the minority-ness must be innate to us, but we must take a look at other minorities with an empathetic lens, especially in this chaotic world where we cannot reach out to each other for real.
A note to my younger self: You are a minority, but you are not the only minority.
About the author:
Haruna (Amy) is a postgraduate student, who has taken a one-year moratorium in Japan.