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Barbara Ehrenreich tweets about Marie Kondo widely condemned

42 Comments

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42 Comments
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Incredibly disappointing. The 'subtle humour' reference smells of the classic perpetrator's tactic of minimising the impactof the abuse. Very sad.

10 ( +13 / -3 )

Looks like the comments were more classist or elitist than racist. I’ve noticed this seems like a growing trend with urban, affluent, progressives.

2 ( +16 / -14 )

Looks like the comments were more classist or elitist than racist. I’ve noticed this seems like a growing trend with urban, affluent, progressives.

No, they were racist comments. Everyone has noticed it as a growing trend amongst conservatives.

-7 ( +14 / -21 )

BIG YIKES

2 ( +3 / -1 )

No, they were racist comments. Everyone has noticed it as a growing trend amongst conservatives.

Brilliant Chip!

-10 ( +6 / -16 )

I would love for her to help me declutter my drawers.

4 ( +13 / -9 )

I have no idea who these people are that made the comments about her English, but could they speak in Japanese well enough to be aired in Japan? I doubt it. And no, there was no "humor" in it at all. Is commenting on a foreigner's English speaking skills suppose to be funny? I'm not sure if I'd agree with the description of "racist" but I can see how that label could apply. There's certainly a cultural superiority mentality being claimed by those who probably don't deserve it.

8 ( +13 / -5 )

I guess Marie Kondo's English didn't spark joy.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

"whoops it was just a joke!" . typical western cowardess on display

0 ( +12 / -12 )

Kondo is nice and all, but she looks and acts robotic in a way

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

Btw many Japanese can speak fluent English and not just this is a pen, this is a pineapple..

-6 ( +7 / -13 )

“No, they were racist comments. Everyone has noticed it as a growing trend amongst conservatives.”

Okay. Now go back & re-read the article. It says she’s a “prominent liberal.”

20 ( +21 / -1 )

Okay. Now go back & re-read the article. It says she’s a “prominent liberal.”

Liberals can be racist. Not every liberal is a progressive.

-8 ( +8 / -16 )

@Seth

Is that “cowardess” as in “actress”?

Might be seen as bit sexist, these days! ; )

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Americans making still comments like this? Doesn't surprise me at all. Living here in the south for the last 30 plus years...still have old white folks telling me to speak english...before i correct their grammar...

12 ( +15 / -3 )

Ehrenreich's actual tweet was:

I confess: I hate Marie Kondo because, aesthetically speaking, I’m on the side of clutter.

As for her language: It’s OK with me that she doesn’t speak English to her huge American audience but it does suggest that America is in decline as a superpower.

It's a subtle (and lame) dig at Kondo's American produced hit show not being in English, the language of her target audience, and how that's essentially the tail wagging the dog because in the past it wouldn't have been marketable or successful unless it was in English, but it certainly isn't racist.

13 ( +15 / -2 )

Typical American liberal, fake on the inside and on outside... gotta watch their mouth though

3 ( +16 / -13 )

While yes, it could be taken as a racist/xenophobic/ethnocentric comment, I can kind of see her point of view (& I'm Japanese). People used to beg to come study in the U.S. and learn English. Now not as many Japanese people wish to go abroad to an English-speaking region. I personally don't see that change as a bad thing, but for someone who was born in the early 40's, it might seem like "decline." (*I'm not defending what she said.)

Personally, I get annoyed too by those who say Marie Kondo is "fairy-like," "spiritual," or the like. I think that's another form of subtle racism, to put certain people on a weird cultural pedestal & assign value you want to see. (If a valley-girl-like person jumped up & down and spoke in chirpy voice with excitement, would you call that "fairy-like"?) I'm sometimes told "ooh you're so much more spiritual/serene/healthy/thoughtful" etc. = I somehow seem exotic. Often, that is another form of other-ness, that would not be assigned if you truly accepted someone.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Ehrenreich's tweet can be taken any way you want them to be. This is a nothing burger based on outrage culture. To me it is just an opinion, one which contradicts her goals, and that's it.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

@ayabobaya

You’re exactly right. Many people can’t see the irony of “positive” racism. It’s like when Jerry Seinfeld said, “how can it be racist if I like their race?” The subtlety went right over the heads of so many.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

My 2 cents: thinly-veiled insecurities/jealousy expressed through wry 'humour'. In other words, just another older woman jealous of a younger, relatively successful/attractive woman.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

She's just jealous of Marie. I never even heard of this Barbara person before...I guess no publicity is bad publicity. Now I know her.

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

Just goes to show that nobody should voice an opinion about anything they aren't ready to have misinterpreted and turned back on them by those who have nothing better to do with their time.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Most Japanese don't like Kondo either. I watched the trailer but it looked corny and made me want to puke, to be honest.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

USNinJapan2:

Thanks for the full quote. Changes things when you get the full picture, doesn't it?

Barbara Ehrenreich is 77 years old. She doesn't need to demonstrate to anyone how good she is in her chosen field - which isn't helping people to de-clutter their houses.

Don't judge her on the basis of one sensationalized tweet. Read Nickel and Dimed or Smile Or Die.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

The issue for me with her comments and some others is that it was not Kondo that sought them out. When she wrote her book about what she loves, she wrote intending for it to be read by people in Japan. That was her target market. She didn’t envision it taking off worldwide. Furthermore, Netflix and others sought her out so it’s not her that necessarily has to learn English, it is for those that sought her services, outside of her target market, that should learn to communicate with her.

As for her comments being racist. Language is not a race. This would be no different than someone from someone who speaks only Swedish and finds success doing something in America, only for someone to turn around and say they that person would learn English. Is it ignorant? Yes. Is it racist? No.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Ehrenreich is a prominent liberal 

Says it all really.

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

.

Americans - esp those masquerading as 'tolerant' liberals like Ehrenreich - need to grow out of their xenophobia and learn to accept that the world is wide in ethnic and cultural diversity.

.

Ehrenreich's apology falls flat.

.

Go for it Marie Kondo - you are awesome!!!1

.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

Liberals can be racist. Not every liberal is a progressive.

Many liberals are racist. Anyone who cries white privilege is a racist.

8 ( +12 / -4 )

Liberals can be racist. Not every liberal is a progressive.

But when I read her twitter messages, she is far more like a progressive than a conservative.

I went to college in America, and in my experience, America's left-leaning thinkers are much more fixated and obsessed with race than its right-leaners are. Even though the American left carry themselves as "racially tolerant" while portraying the right as the opposite. The right seem much more focused on everyone having equal chances, but not special privileges due to race.

In any case, again, Ehrenreich is no conservative. And to imply that progressives are immune from racism is very hard to accept. No group of people is.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Ehrenreich is a prominent liberal who writes often about the working class, notably in the best-selling "Nickel and Dimed."

Does anyone know a similar book on the working class in Japan, a book on not getting by in Japan?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Not racist... just uncultured. Isn't Barbara Ehrenreich American? Well, blow me down.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Everything is racist. Soft racism, subtle racism, positive racism, unconscious racism. Bias against a religion is called racism, bias against a foreign language called racism, bias against a minority dialect or regional/class speaking pattern called racism, bias against specific nations or cultures, that's racism too now. Positive regard for anything in any of these categories, racism. When people move into the suburbs, racism, when they move into the urban core and gentrify, racism. Credit scores, those are a type of structural racism. I'm not just being facetious here, you can make decent logic chains about how why issues in all these areas should be called racist. But once you do, the word is so far broadened, that it becomes meaningless. It's just becoming a sort of generic empty insult. So why are we still using it?

Why not just say that Ehrenreich was being rude, tasteless, and mean? That actually means something.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Does anyone know a similar book on the working class in Japan, a book on not getting by in Japan?

How about San'ya Blues by Edward Fowler, about the hard lives of day labourers in Tokyo? It's about 20-25 years old, but a great book which still has relevance today. There was also A Man Without Talents by Oyama Shiro, on the same subject, but I haven't read that one.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@Zoom

I think you are confusing prejudice and racism for some of those things.

But I can agree with many things you say.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

would "learn to speak English."

Some people say to immigrants

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The irony, likely lost on those sanctimonious Trump hating virtue signallers, is that her leftist credentials are impeccable.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The obsession with Ms. Kondo might be questionable, and I think it's up to people themselves what to throw away or not, but the idea that she should speak English is ludicrous. If anything, I would hope this has taught some Americans obsessed with her a little Japanese, or at least a little about the culture as well as the woman herself. It's certainly told us a lot about Ehrenreich.

oyatoi: "The irony, likely lost on those sanctimonious Trump hating virtue signallers, is that her leftist credentials are impeccable."

You need to look up the word irony, and give "hypocrisy" a look up while you are it. No one is condoning this woman's comments, and this is a thread about how they are racist, and yet you make it in the defense of one of the most racist men in power without even seeing what is truly irony. Par for the course he spends too much time on for you guys, though.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

It's "ok" with her, but not completely acceptable to her, that KonMari is speaking her native language on a show she was hired to host by an American streaming service. Therefore, in this wingnut's mind, America is in decline because a non-native speaker is doing the job she was hired to do, in a language that I'm sure Netflix knew she would be speaking.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Why not just say that Ehrenreich was being rude, tasteless, and mean? That actually means something.

Quite so! It's just easier to call someone racist to get others to jump on the bandwagon.

Personally I get a hint of jealousy from it. Kondo found her niche in the world and is making a living doing it. I may not agree with her approach, but hell I too am jealous I didnt think of it first!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

What I hate most about this article from the AP was the absolute lack of full disclosure of facts, having read about this elsewhere.

The tweet that started this off was this:

"I will be convinced that America is not in decline only when our de-cluttering guru Marie Kondo learns to speak English." Ehrenreich tweeted at 11:05 a.m. Monday.

She then deleted that tweet and replaced it with the now posted tweet:

"I confess: I hate Marie Kondo because, aesthetically speaking, I’m on the side of clutter. As for her language: It’s OK with me that she doesn’t speak English to her huge American audience but it does suggest that America is in decline as a superpower."

Regardless of how you view the first tweet, that it was deleted, and then was replaced with the above tweet, not having all of those facts in an article is bad journalism.

I will not pretend to know what Ehrenreich was thinking when she posted her original tweet.

Here is what I do know. Anyone that is left-of-center that doesn't know who she is needs to spend some time to get educated. Honestly, she has paid her dues.

I actually think she was making a point that, if people would stop getting offended at the drop of the hat, they might actually begin to understand.

At the very least, give her the benefit of the doubt. As I think her life's work should have earned her that from those that profess to be progressives.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I get annoyed too by those who say Marie Kondo is "fairy-like," "spiritual," or the like. I think that's another form of subtle racism, to put certain people on a weird cultural pedestal & assign value you want to see.

Yes this bothers me too.

To say someone is "fairy-like" just by virtue of using Japanese (not because they are tiny, sparkly, and dressing in flower petals lol) is laughably ignorant.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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