Yazima Beauty Shop

With the latest “look at me, I’m in blackface” misunderstanding” or as I like to call it “Black Ships and Blackface, How Perry Opened Japan to the West,” and yet another prominent columnist praising racial segregation under apartheid as a model for Japanese immigration policy in a leading right-wing Japanese newspaper, the Sankei Shimbun, it seems that Tokyo needs to work on damage control considering the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is closing in on Japan’s demographic disaster.

This past week reminded me of commentary presented by a reader in response to a commercial starring three men, a famous DJ and famous comedy duo. Are the men in blackface or is it good make-up? Unlike the Gosperats or Rats & Star, no shoe polish was harmed in the making of this commercial. What I find extremely distasteful is the description of the faux Black women, the implied teenage pregnancy and the husband that left the United States (his family and his business) to return to Japan.

The viewer provided the following comment. Is she the only one feeling this way?

“As a black woman, it makes me uncomfortable and frustrated to see that we are always made fun of and made out to be stereotyped so much. Cause you know there’s a bunch of idiots out there that will think, ‘oh, so all black women are like ____________’. And then when they see you are not they’re all surprised and crap.

It’s like you have to actually ‘educate’ people, because society in general and skits like this (however unintentional) seek to put people in these neat little boxes, however unattractive they may be. It gets burdensome and irritating to deal with the ignorant person who really honestly thinks that all black women are some really rank loud ghetto oversexed, baby-making broads, then when they meet a black woman, who’s not like that (and no, we are not the exceptions) go into culture shock, because it’s not what they saw ‘on the tv.’ or ‘what they heard’. You get over that hurdle and then your co-worker comes up to you and makes some rank comment and you sigh and think (here we frackin’ go again) It may not seem a big deal to non-blacks, but then again, you don’t have to be confronted with this type ignorance in the form of attitudes and comments in your everyday life (work, school, etc.). It can make you want to scream, sometimes, because it just seems soooo hard for a lot of people to grasp that black people are not just some black monolithic blob that you can attribute certain things to all of us.

We are surprise, surprise, shock and gasp INDIVIDUALS. We act different, think different, don’t all live the same way, don’t all like the same things, and no, we all don’t live in the ‘ghetto’, no, you may NOT touch my hair, please PLEASE stop calling me ’sistagirl’. Be yourself and speak the way you normally would, and NO, I don’t know ‘what black people think/feel about ________’, because I’m not all black people, I’m ONE black person so quit asking me that dumb question! (yes,I’ve been asked/confronted with this crap and I’m bloody sick of it) etc. (you may say ignore those people, but you can’t when it’s your teacher, your boss…OMG, the corporate world is FULL of these attitudes…it’s a PURE MESS. I wonder, ‘have you ever bothered to venture outside of your 4-6 blocks???? You CAN’T be that sheltered…)

It also makes me wonder what’s the deal with dressing up like black women so often? What weird thrill derives from this? From the Japanese to the Bubble Sisters in Korea to that idiot who dresses up like ‘Shirley Q Liquor’ (who I believe really wants to be a black woman and hates himself for feeling that way. He spends more time as what he THINKS is a black woman than he does in his own white skin. Al Joelson would be oh so proud) in the States? That REALLY makes me uncomfortable and frankly it puzzles me. I’ve never had the impulse to dress up as another race for some laughs or whatever. What impulse says, ‘OOH! I’M GOING TO DRESS UP LIKE A BLACK WOMAN TODAY AND _______!’ I TRULY don’t get it.

Look, I have a hard enough time in this world dealing with ignorant (and downright stupid) preconceived stereotypes about black women from ignorant people.(let’s not even talk about the stereotypes about black women that permeate U.S. tv. ARRRGHHHH! *pulls hair*) This crap right here doesn’t help. Not one bit. As a matter of fact, it just piles onto the ignorance that’s already out there.

Sorry if it seems like I’m ranting. I just get sick of stupidity and wanted to share my view on it. That’s all.”