Book review for Week 2

The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House / Audre Lorde

I am ashamed to say that I have never considered feminist issues separating by race, class, age and sexuality. I have considered problems of race, class, age and sexuality individually. When I consider feminist issues, however, I always considered only between men and women. I wanted to say it is because I have lived in Japan most of my life, but it is obviously an excuse. In fact, I have lived in Canada, South Korea, and U.S. (Seattle) for one year each. I indeed have traveled in many other countries. Even if I had never been to a foreign country, since there are plentiful number of foreign tourists, international students and migrants in Japan, and I can see the world through the Internet and TV, and even more, there are also lesbians in Japan, I should have been aware of the difference between women by race, class, age and sexuality.

Although it might sound like an excuse why I have not considered feminist issues with those aspects, my home country, Japan is a typical patriarchal country although it has changed a lot to more feministic compared to 50 years ago. My part-time job in Japan, for instance, was a waitress at business parties, business meetings, wedding parties, and different kinds of parties. I have served for many companies and organizations, at least more than 200. Most companies consisted of more than half of male employees, and not a few companies consisted of 95~100% of male employees. Especially when it comes to a party or meeting for executives or CEOs, almost all of them were consisted of all men. Thus, I believe that Japan is behind the U.S. in terms of feminist issues. Japan is still where it is before considering feminist issues with race, age, class and sexuality. As Audre Lorde, the author points out, as long as the society is patriarchal, it is difficult to make a change for feminist issues. Japan should hurry to destroy its current patriarchy and go to the next step.

I believe that ignorance is a sin because it is irresponsible, and it even can lead to problems such as unintentional racism. I cannot blame people who are too young, have no chance to get education, no resource to get information of the world, and even no freedom. If, however, you are old enough to read this article, have been educated, have enough resource to know other people, and freedom, you should be aware of and learn the world actively not passively. As Lorde states “The absence of any consideration of lesbian consciousness or the consciousness of Third World women leaves a serious gap” (1), if most people do not consider sexual or wealth disparity, the problem will never be solved. Thus, I believe that everyone who corresponds to the condition which I wrote above is responsible to any problems in the world. Even if you cannot do something to solve the problem directly, just being conscious might help because public opinion has power to make a change.

Questions

If it includes age, what about body size such as fat women and skinny women, short women and tall women, and what about appearance?

Even if it is true that black women are most marginalized among women in the world, will it not make even more negative image or idea of black women if scholars and analysists exclusively focus on and emphasize black women’s discrimination?

Intersectionality, Brittney Cooper

“any analysis that does not take intersectionality into account cannot sufficiently address the particular manner in which Black women are subordinated” (2).

” Structural intersectionality referred to a convergence of “race, gender, and class domination” wherein social interventions designed to ameliorate the results of only racism, or sexism, or poverty would be insufficient to address the needs of a woman of color marginalized by the interaction of all three systems of power (2).

“at the same time that intersectionality transcends an exclusive focus on identity or mere categorization, the lived experiences of racially marginalized women and girls are shaped by a range of social and institutional practices that produce and sustain social categories and infuse them with social meanings”(4)

“we should remain clear that the goal of intersectionality is not to provide an epistemological mechanism to bring communities from behind the veil into full legibility. It is rather to rend the veil and make sure that no arguments are articulated to support its reconstruction” (6) => no more veil

“we must recognize the manner in which postintersectional moves are deeply tethered to investments in a faulty post-racial idea” (13)

Each person is responsible to think actively about social problems. When you see, listen to, or read someone’s idea, you should keep it in mind to doubt once before you believe it. Even if it seems a good idea, it might be a trick or trap.

Live actively. Don’t be passive.

Questions

Only white and black women? How about yellow? Even between same Asian women, there is wealth disparity. Also, US born Asian and East, South, and South East Asian are all different. As a Japanese woman, I might have only one handicap, sex, in Japan but possibly I have two handicaps, sex and race, in US. However, as I mentioned before, if sex barrier is higher in Japan than in US, and if race barrier for Asian in US is not so severe, one handicap of sex in Japan and two handicaps of sex and race in US might not make a big difference.

Retaining Benefits, Avoiding Responsibility by P a u l K i v e l

Denial = ignorance

I am a racist. I want to deny this of course, but if I deny, it means I am a racist too because I am ignoring the fact to protect myself.

Many people including me want to believe that they are not racists. They, however, could be racists unintentionally. For example, when I visited a Japanese restaurant in Seattle, I wanted to know which menu is delicious from Japanese people’s view. So I asked a waitress if there are any Japanese employees. The waitress answered that she was. However, embarrassingly, I asked her again if there is “real” Japanese employee just because she was half Japanese, her appearance was more Western than Asian, I assumed she has never lived in Japan so that she does not know authentic Japanese taste. She did not say anything to me at that moment, but a while later I heard she was actually upset about me through a friend who was her co-worker. I was shocked because until my friend told me so, I had no idea I was being a racist. This is my huge shame and regret. Since then, I have been more careful what to say about nationality and race. I might have, however, still been being a racist sometimes by saying something inconsiderate.

I assume if all unintentional racists become aware of being racist, the problem could be solved or at least there could be a huge change in racism.

Admitting being a racist is not enough to solve the problem, but it is the first step to solve problems of racism.

Blame leads to blame.

The author insists “Our strongest tools are a critical analysis of who has power and an understanding of the patterns and consequences of present actions and policies” (8). Yet how to use that “strongest tools” is the issue. If we keep accusing ignorant racists, would they be willing to admit their fault and apologize sincerely, and further more change themselves? I doubt it. It is hard for many of us to admit our own fault or being wrong. Even if they apologize after being accused, their apology might not be sincere because they will think that they were forced to apologize. And they will not change. Some of them will not do same thing again, but if the reason why they do not do is because they do not want to be accused again, it is not the solution for ignorant racist problems, it is even worse because their mind is still racist, which they do not know and is not likely to change. Thus, I believe that to make people understand difference in the world, able to respect and accept difference is indispensable. To do so, befriend diverse people is essential. I used to have negative image for Chinese people. After I became friends with many Chinese people, however, my misunderstandings largely decreased. I might be still misunderstanding a lot of facts, but I try to know and understand as many different people as possible. Just living in the same country, same city is not enough to understand. We should befriend people from different background. Hate can lead to wars, but friendship can lead to world peace.

Octavia’s Blood
Revolution Shuffle / Bao Phi

This story is too scary because it is totally realistic even though it is a fiction about a zombie world. What is realistic and scary is that discrimination and persecution of colored people or minority by the government and majority of race seems absolutely possible when a catastrophe such as a serious epidemic happens in the country. Indeed, it DID happen in the past. Witch-hunting in Europe, persecution of Korean people in Japan after Great Kanto earthquake in 1923, The Holocaust, and Japanese American exclusion and internment during WW2 are good examples of this fact.

Questions

Are zombies evil?

The story says “seventy percent of the American population eventually turned zombie” (10), which means zombies are originally American citizens. Is just being a zombie good enough reason to be killed even though they used to be humans, even though they did not want to be zombies?

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