Japan, Musings

Being a Minority

Ohayo Gozaimasu!

Being a Minority

Minority and majority. We often hear these words. When we do positive connotations arise when thinking of ‘majority’ while negative connotations arise when thinking of ‘minority’. After all, the majority has more people, more power, more influence. They’re the ones who win elections, debates, wars even. In so saying the minority is often on the losing side. They have fewer people, less power, and less influence, which often (but not always) results in a smaller chance of winning. It’s for this reason that we often see ‘minority’ as a bad thing.

Yet, minority should neither be good nor bad. It’s simply a term to express a number of something. i.e. ‘The majority of my shirts are black. Colors are in the minority.’ Are we to understand that colored shirts are bad in this case? No. That’s just silly! It’s for this reason that we shouldn’t be linking ‘minority’ with bad because when we link the two, we think all minorities are bad, but that’s not true, especially in the case of people.

It’s not true because some people spend their entire lives as a minority. This could be because of their taste in music, their race, their hobbies, their religion, their sexual orientation, their love of coffee over tea. Coffee over tea, you say? Why yes! In a group of people if 8 like coffee and 2 like tea, the people who like tea are the minority. So, are those two people bad while the other eight are good? No! Psh! That’s just silly! Yet, we treat some minorities with more importance than a liking of coffee over tea.

Racial Minority

The minority we’re most familiar with is race. We are constantly explaining populations in terms of their race and how many people of each race their are with everyone not in the majority being a minority… like it’s a bad thing. Yet, the people living in the majority have no idea what it’s like to be a minority. They don’t know what it’s like to look around and see so many people that look and act nothing like you, making you feel like an outsider.

I think it’s this reason that one of the Americans I ran into in Japan said: ‘I think everyone should have the chance to be a minority, to know what it feels like’. And while difficult to come by in many parts of America for Caucasians, it’s quite easy here in Japan. Aka, the perfect opportunity to know what it feels like to be a minority. To know what it feels like to be an outsider, a gaijin to the Japanese.

Being a gaijin

The funny thing is… I don’t feel like a minority or an outsider or whatever it is I’m supposed to feel like. I mean, yeah everyone around me has black hair, dark eyes, and slight figures while I stand out with my blonde hair, blue eyes, and full figure. Yeah, everyone speaks Japanese while I speak English. Yeah, everyone wears different clothes, walks differently, has different mannerisms, etc, but I don’t feel like an outsider. I don’t feel like this dreaded ‘minority’ that people talk so much about.

I don’t know. Maybe it’s different for me because I’m used to feeling like an outsider. I’m used to being stared at and whispered about for looking and acting a little different from this ‘majority’. Maybe I’m immune to the odd looks, the raised eyebrows, the confused squinted eyes because I’ve dealt with them for years and still deal with them at home. The difference for me, though, is that I don’t care.

Sure. I notice the Japanese people staring at me. I mean, goodness. I stand out like a black sheep in a flock of white sheep with my hair color(or a blonde sheep in a flock of black sheep :p ). It’d be kind of strange if they didn’t stare a little bit. :p But I guess I just don’t care that they’re staring, whether their stare is curious or aggressive because I’m strange and I stand out even in America. :p

My version of Minority

I think the reason I don’t mind the staring is because I kind of expect it. I act strange in America. I cosplay. I dance when my car is parked at a red light. I sing in my car with my windows rolled down. I headbang to rock music. I wear all black with chains and spikes and studs. I walk around the park with a parasol in hand. Even in America I stand out. Even in America I’m a minority. Does that make me a bad person?

Well, I don’t think so. :p But maybe you do. Maybe you don’t like me because I’m a little different. Maybe you stare at me and think I’m a crazy person, a minority, a weirdo. And you know what? That’s your prerogative. More power to you. ^.^ In the meantime, I’ll keep being me and doing what I do because at the end of the day, the people who matter to me will not care that I act a little different. Odds are, the people who matter to me and to whom I matter are probably in the minority, too. :p If that happens to be you then welcome to the minority! Now, let’s party!

Soredewa mata!

Have you ever felt like a minority? Leave a comment below and tell me about your experience.

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4 thoughts on “Being a Minority”

    1. I think a lot of it has to do with how comfortable you are with being stared at and asked for pictures and how much you crave privacy. Either way, it’s a great experience and I hope you enjoy your trip to Japan! It’s so amazing there!
      Thank you for reading and commenting! ^.^

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Interesting post. And while you definitely know what it feels like to be a minority I think (from my personal experience) that being a racial minority in America is a bit different and slightly more difficult. I don’t know this for sure but I think that Japanese people and their culture is a bit more respectful and mature than in America lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yes! That is quite true. The Japanese have a very different mindset when it comes to strangers, especially unique-looking strangers, as opposed to Americans. I can’t fully say what it must feel like to be a minority here in America.

      Liked by 1 person

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