Here's a book unlike any other written on the subject of racism by a self-identified racist. The author, Baye McNeil, is an African American living in Japan for the past decade. His sensational new memoir titled "Hi! My Name is Loco and I am a Racist," has caught the attention of readers worldwide, and on the strength of dazzling reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, extensive social networking, word of “mouse” and, surprisingly without any major press coverage in Japan to date, has catapulted to the top slot in travel books on both Japan and Asia on Amazon.
This book, published auspiciously on Martin Luther King's birthday, is being dubbed by readers, "one of the most honest, passionate, engaging and best written books about life in modern Japan for non-Japanese of any race," and has garnered rave reviews from readers on 5 continents. It's also #11 in Black History books and #37 in books on sociology and race relations in the U.S.
McNeil was born and raised in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, New York where some of his earliest encounters with racism were as a child of the Pan-African/Black Power Movement. As a elementary student at a Progressive Pro-Black Family School in the 1970s, between Swahili studies and Black History courses, his school's hands-on approach to "social studies" often placed him and his classmates, placards in hand, on the frontlines of protest marches, boycotts and demonstrations against everything from police brutality and shootings of unarmed black children in New York to apartheid in South Africa and corporate-sponsored civil war in Angola.
In the early '80s, while disco was on its deathbed and hip-hop was a Rug-Rat in diapers, the author was a teen member of a notorious urban cult which touted black superiority in a volatile community fraught with racial tension, and whose membership rolls held such illustrious names as Rakim, Queen Latifah, Method Man, and Big Daddy Kane.
The author then takes readers on a scintillating and informative journey through the heart and soul of America as a U.S. Army soldier, which he characterized as "a propaganda pressure cooker" yet "a brilliant way to address racial ignorance," and then back to New York for a bout with corporate bigotry as a university student in Brooklyn. It was at university that he experiences something so surprising and soul-rocking that it will racially alter the course of his life forever. At least, he thought so...then came Japan.
Prompted by his mind-altering experiences in the land of the rising sun, McNeil uses anecdotes and insights from both his youth and his years in Japan to illustrate the insidious nature of racism, and the dangers of responding to it with apathy. In what the author describes as “a universal call to arms,” he urges readers to reconsider how they view racism. He warns that “if racism continues to be demonized as a dark aberration that only "evil" people, ignorant fools, or people lacking common decency are subject to, then it will remain at large, hiding in plain sight, in our schools, offices, carpools, living rooms and sometimes even in the mirror."
"Hi! My Name is Loco and I am a Racist" is currently available in both Trade Paperback and E-book versions on Amazon.com, fr, de, uk, es, it, ca, as well as Amazon.jp, barnesandnoble.com, The Book Depository, and at many other online outlets where books are sold.© Japan Today