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Thread: Why don't the Japanese differentiate more between foreigners ?

  1. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    It makes me angry to hear Japanese people assume that all Europeans are the same, or that a Asian, European, Africa or American share more in common in their "foreigness" than an East Asian shares with a Japanese.
    This here is a good point.
    Obviously this whole issue means a lot to you, Maciamo. I ask you, though, do you really think that most people should or even could think in terms of foriegners in that way? Here is one example of what I mean (perhaps not a very good one). It seems to me that if you're the average white American (USA citizen) (maybe just in the Midwest they think this?), then there's only one kind of Mexican living in the USA--the poor illegal kind. Of course that stereotype is not true, but that seems to be the stereotype. (Americans out there, do you agree? Or am I full of it?) It seems to me to be the same problem albeit on a somewhat different scale. How about your native country? How do they in the aggregate (honestly) think about different foreigners and larger ethnic groups?

  2. #27
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikawa Ossan
    It seems to me that if you're the average white American (USA citizen) (maybe just in the Midwest they think this?), then there's only one kind of Mexican living in the USA--the poor illegal kind. Of course that stereotype is not true, but that seems to be the stereotype.
    You are rasing the issue of stereotypes in general. What I was discussing was not even that the Japanese had stereotypes about each major country (and they do), but that for many things they just assimilate all foreigners as one uniform entiry (and not just those living in Japan). To take your example in the US, it would be like a Midwest American thinking that all Americans are white, Christian and speak English, and that if they ever come across an Asian or a Hispanic in their area (say, Kansas or Nebraska), they would assume that they are foreigners. More than that, they would assume that there is hardly any difference between a Chinese, a Japanese, an Thai, a Mexican and a Peruvian, as they are all foreigners. They probably all think the same way and speak a similar language called the "foreignian". That is closer to how the average Japanese think.

    It seems to me to be the same problem albeit on a somewhat different scale. How about your native country? How do they in the aggregate (honestly) think about different foreigners and larger ethnic groups?
    Being from a small country (about the size of Maine or Shikoku), which is pretty international and has 3 official languages (thus 3 different cultures), few Belgians assume that people from 2 different countries could be alike. They understand all too well that the cultural differences between citizens of a same country can be huge just based on their mother-tongue. What's more, if you drive one hour in any direction (but the coast) from almost any point in Belgium, you are in another country (the Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg or France - and Britain if you take the ferry or Eurotunnel). Consequently there are probably no Belgian (except small children) that have never been abroad (I personally don't know many people who haven't been to at least 10 countries, except among the elderly for whom it is at least 5). In these circumstances, few people would have seriously distorted views of of "foreigners" as a whole. I also don't know anybody who would assimilate Chinese and Japanese people (apparently that is common in English-speaking countries), because everyone is conscious that it would be like assimilating the French and the Germans, or the French and the Brits, and who in a sane mind would do such a thing ?

    Yet, I found that there is ignorance in Belgium. For example, few Belgians know that there are over 800 languages spoken in India, or that Balinese religion is a mixture of animism and Hinduism. That's why I started a thread about improving education in Belgium or EU countries. It's not enough that people just name any country and their capital, or know the great lines of world history; they need to know more details about society in every (major) country in today's world, and learn to update their knowledge by themselves constantly. Unfortunately many Belgians seem to be self-satisfied about their knowledge of the world too easily - contrarily to me.

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  3. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    You are rasing the issue of stereotypes in general.
    You're right. I think it's all the same.

    Yet, I found that there is ignorance in Belgium. For example, few Belgians know that there are over 800 languages spoken in India, or that Balinese religion is a mixture of animism and Hinduism. That's why I started a thread about improving education in Belgium or EU countries. It's not enough that people just name any country and their capital, or know the great lines of world history; they need to know more details about society in every (major) country in today's world, and learn to update their knowledge by themselves constantly. Unfortunately many Belgians seem to be self-satisfied about their knowledge of the world too easily - contrarily to me.
    Obviously, you have much more international experience than many. You care about other countries, and people in other countries. Am I right in this?
    But not everyone is the same.
    [DISCLAIMER]I do not pretend to speak for everyone.[END DISCLAIMER]
    In my experience from a country with an isolationist vein living in another, most people think of foreign countries as a novelty, but not anything that really affects their lives personally, except in negative ways. (For example rising gas prices, the death toll in Iraq, terrorists.) Therefore, they really don't care about other countries and peoples, and foreigners in general, except in negative ways. One does not need to look far for discrimination against immigrants in American history. But the point is, due to lack of interest, there is a lack of knowledge. To combat the lack of knowledge, you need to combat the lack of interest. Being negative will not accomplish this goal. Debito-san may help in changing things, but if we non-native-Japanese living-on-Japanese-soil all acted in the same way, I truly think that things would get worse in this country. This would be in spite of the asthetic improvements. If you think that Japanese (and other people, of course) should know more about others, I think you put the burden to do the same first. In your case, since you do know about Japan, I think you should at least put that knowledge to use. In Japanese society among Japanese themselves, what kinds of actions tend to get good responses? So long as said actions are not immoral, these are what we should emulate if we want to live in peace here. We are not the ones with power, nor should we be. We are non-citizens. I think naturalized citizens are in a different category, as they are afforded every right and privilege afforded to every other citizen by law.
    Sorry if I started to ramble!

  4. #29
    okonomiyaki=bliss duff_o_josh's Avatar
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    what i meant is that to do so in a durogitive way, you dont have to give me negative rep points because i dont agree with you, you facist.
    ooo~

  5. #30
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by duff_o_josh
    what i meant is that to do so in a durogitive way, you dont have to give me negative rep points because i dont agree with you, you facist.
    Durogitive ? Derogative ?

    Quoting you "well the categorization of people by their nationality and languge is racist however social class interest and religion is predjudice."

    In consideration of all my posts in this thread before, it could only mean that you saw my point of view as racist and prejudiced. This was a personal insult and deserved the negative reputation you got. It's not a matter or disagreeing, it's a matter of free provocation (and if you didn't bother to read the previous posts before writing something, don't be surprised if people react like that toward you).

  6. #31
    ē킪ƂԁII Suki-Yaki's Avatar
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    I get Japanese men asking me whether I'm from france or italy ,which I am very not. But then I get Japanese women asking my wether I am from the Argentine or places in Latin America... pretty wierd...
    I must say Japanese people are very racists about nationalities. ...

  7. #32
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Suki-Yaki
    I get Japanese men asking me whether I'm from france or italy ,which I am very not. But then I get Japanese women asking my wether I am from the Argentine or places in Latin America... pretty wierd...
    I must say Japanese people are very racists about nationalities. ...
    And where are you from ? From what you say I suppose to your are a Latin-type Caucasian.

  8. #33
    okonomiyaki=bliss duff_o_josh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    Durogitive ? Derogative ?

    Quoting you "well the categorization of people by their nationality and languge is racist however social class interest and religion is predjudice."

    In consideration of all my posts in this thread before, it could only mean that you saw my point of view as racist and prejudiced. This was a personal insult and deserved the negative reputation you got. It's not a matter or disagreeing, it's a matter of free provocation (and if you didn't bother to read the previous posts before writing something, don't be surprised if people react like that toward you).
    ofcourse your comment for giving me negative rep points was"do you really believe that?" so it appeared that you gave it to me because my opinion does not agree with your own.

  9. #34
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    Calm down, everyone! Please.
    Maciamo, I think you may have overreacted a bit. I suppose that duff_o_josh may have indirectly said bad things about you personally, but he didn't actually say that you are racist or prejudiced; he just said that classifying people based on certain criteria is. I might add that you indirectly questioned duff_o_josh`s intelligence by bringing up his incorrect spelling of derogative. Do you think that you deserve negative reputation for that? I'm sure I can think of at least one person who does. Lighten up a little!

    Having said that, Maciamo did have a valid point that in order to find statistical trends among populations, it is very convenient to categorize your data pool. You can categorize people according to a number of criteria, whether it be age, sex, income, nationality, religion, height, weight, political affiliation, etc. Just because you do so for statistical analysis in and of itself does not make you ageist, sexist, racist, or otherwise prejudiced. This categorization happens every time a poll is taken, for example. Think about the last time you read a newspaper article describing the latest political poll results. It WILL classify people according to certain criteria, I assure you. It's how you interpret the data that makes you racist or prejudiced.

  10. #35
    okonomiyaki=bliss duff_o_josh's Avatar
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    well said, well said

    and sorry about the spelling mistake.

  11. #36
    Banned Mike Cash's Avatar
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    Just look at the whole implied premise of "Why don't the Japanese differentiate more between foreigners?" and you will see that it can be restated as "Why don't they differentiate (read: "discriminate") more between foreigners and accord me better treatment than those foreigners whom I I consider myself to be better than?"

  12. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikecash
    Just look at the whole implied premise of "Why don't the Japanese differentiate more between foreigners?" and you will see that it can be restated as "Why don't they differentiate (read: "discriminate") more between foreigners and accord me better treatment than those foreigners whom I I consider myself to be better than?"
    Hmmm, I don't think that the question is saying that.

    I can understand that anyone would be annoyed at being perceived just as "a foreigner" and maybe constantly being mistaken for another nationality/origin than their actual one. I'm not meaning racism here, I just mean the irritation. If people make a wrong assumption it's irritating even if it isn't meant as insulting. In some countries (not all), people generally (I can't really not use generalisation here ) do differentiate between foreigners from various different countries, to more or lesser extent, and Japan it seems to be (from what I read here) to very much "lesser extent". So I think the question is simply asking "why is that?"

    "Differentiate" is not the same as "discriminate". It's been said before, I'm sure - "equal" doesn't mean "the same". People are different and it's not racist or otherwise prejudiced to say so.

  13. #38
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    But if you honestly don't think that the average Japanese person makes no differentiation among foreigners whatsoever, you're kidding yourself. gaijinn is just a useful catchall phrase that can mean different things according to the situation, just as the word "foreigners" can in English.

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