The anti-racist dialogue engendered by recent events is making me aware of dynamics here, specifically re attitudes toward Japanese and possibly other East Asian cultures that share qualities of passivity, respect for others and more subtle modes of self expression
Recalling disturbing dynamics through my adolescence in the UK where curiosity and dialogue were suppressed, resulting in perpetuation of ignorance.
Naturally as a teenager I was concerned about not standing out, especially in conjunction with my Japanese heritage which emphasises humility. I dissolved to vanishing point as the implicit narrative in the subculture of my overwhelmingly white private school was that my Japaneseness did not matter. No one was interested. I literally cannot recall a single time someone directly asked me a question about Japan or being Japanese in my six years at school.
While yes i do wish to be treated as British, in so far as i have the social capacity to behave in alignment with British expectations, I also wish there had been *any* recognition or curiosity at all regarding my other half as I was growing up.
Any curiosity raised in the classroom was glossed over and avoided by teachers, as I presume they feared I would be offended, and they didn't have the means to facilitate a mature dialogue. But any spark of curiosity, even if it appeared "racist" (usually comments about my looking "different") really excited me because at least i was being recognised. A platform was being created for dialogue, even if it might have involved some discomfort and conflict. I felt excited when someone's curiosity spilled over the threshold of politeness but that voice was never given a space to explore or develop.
And so nor was I, stunting my understanding of my own culture and by extension stunting the validity I attributed to my existence.
This is what happens in a society so overly concerned about offending. Politeness comes at the expense of any kind of understanding of the "other", the unknown. We are afraid of the unknown so we build barriers between us and them, maintaining an illusion of safety and civility, when inside we are all raging to be heard.
The barriers have broken now. The tides of change have washed them away. We are interconnected beyond fathoming, our every word and action reverberating ad infinitum, in our current *shared* reality. We can no longer pretend that what happens to "them" does not affect "us". We are them, they are us.
It is not enough to simply coexist. We must interact, engage, discuss.
This will involve clashes and disagreements. We won't always understand instantly. We will feel repulsed or confused or saddened by "their" perspectives or ways of doing things.
And this is where the magic can happen, if we can listen, if we seek to *truly* understand and see through the layers of suffering and conditioning, the divine essence of each being, in both our selves and the other. Then we wish for them what we wish for ourselves, the ultimate teaching and way of being, a sacred Union.
But before we reach that state we will need to get messy. Interaction is not always pleasant. The process of understanding another always comes with discomfort. Our own paradigms and notions of right and wrong are challenged to their cores. But we need this, we need to learn to communicate. We are in our infancy as human beings finally starting to relate in a meaningful way.
Ignorance is no longer an option.
Unlearn and be teachable.
Listen listen listen.