Minorities through BLM

“You know nothing about the minority!”

It was a couple of years ago when I was pursuing my undergraduate studies, one of the classes I took was aimed at gathering international students, and unlike the homogenous and collective atmosphere in Japan—— we enjoyed the diversity there.

A yell was heard as I entered the classroom. I saw two students fighting, and one was talking about her situation: “I’m female, bisexual and Argentinian.” Then she said to the other student, “You’re male, straight and European. You know nothing about the minority!”

I did not even care to know, about who started the fight, but they sure made me question one thing—— “Hey, aren’t you two- white?”  

They have never known the fear of the slant eyes gestures, they are already privileged because they will never be a racial minority. Take a look at me, I am Asian, non-binary, and pansexual. I am the minority. You two know nothing about the minority.

The conversation they had reminded me of the unchangeable borders between them and me. Since that day, whenever I hear the word “minority”, it triggered the awkwardness and frustration that I once 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 took over the world, the Black Lives Matter movement (BLM). This movement started in the United States and is now supported worldwide. During the quarantine, BLM took over literally every news program on television and all the social networking sites. This wave of BLM also hit Japan, but it was introduced from afar as a riot-like movement, not something that was relatable to Japan.

A friend of mine said, “I don’t support BLM, because the Blacks discriminate against us. We are the minority.”

In regards to the two stories of the “minority” above, now I believe that the term itself is very exclusive in a way—— that doesn’t define the minority-ness of each.

How I felt myself as “the minority” and the friend’s anger about the minority-ness are the same. Also, people who call themselves a minority should have their own minority-ness to distinguish themselves from the majority and within minorities. In addition, there must be other factors that consist of minority-ness which cannot get visualized. BLM became an iconic and transnational movement and had people stand up for equality. But had I seen the movement two years ago, I would not have supported it. Comparing the minority-ness must be innate to us, but taking a look at other minorities, much empathy is needed, 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” minority.

About the author: Haruna (Amy) is a postgraduate student, who has taken a one-year moratorium in Japan.

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