Nordine Lafdal comments

Posted in: Musashino city in Tokyo rejects proposal for foreigners to vote in referendums See in context

Although the vast majority of cities in the US do not allow voting, there are 11 municipalities in the US that do allow non citizen residents to vote. And add New York to the list as of Dec 9th.

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Posted in: Two halves of a whole: Japan’s habitual ‘labeling’ of bicultural kids See in context

Well to be honest it’s the first time that I'm submitting a comment. It seems people are missing the point entirely. I myself am half, but i don't believe in the slightest that this gives me greater legitimacy in my beliefs on the subject, the use of our ethnicity to delegitimize or disregard other views makes us partly guilty of what the initial writer was saying.

The issue at hand is one of creating an identity for both individuals and groups. This is done in two ways: inclusion and exclusion. A group reaffirms its identity as ‘us’ by social categorization, emphasizing and praising those traits that are shared within the group, be they cultural or ethnic. A group further reaffirms their identity by excluding those which do not fit the shared groups defining factors, by emphasizing and denigrating the differences you legitimize your own groups identity. To put it simply, we are us because we share our identity, they are other because they are different. Since one of the strongest determinants for Japanese identity is having Japanese ethnicity, it can be understood why there may exist some level of discrimination in the ue of the label hafu

Someone mentioned the idea that being half-Irish doesn't have stigma so why should hafu bother us. There was a long period of time where it did have a stigma, half-Irish meant half ‘other’ thus being seen as a threat to the homogeneity of the identity of the majority. But now we live at a time where our ethnic lineage, especially in America has moved further away (for the most part) from a reason for exclusion but more for a reason of inclusion, as seeing the countless different ethnicities and groups as a unifying factor, thus strengthening the concept of ‘us’.

Coming back round to the whole issue of Japan of Japan and hafu, is it discriminatory? Yes it is? Can we avoid it? Doubtful. Is it harmful? In the context of Japan i believe it is relatively benign. It is a term that cannot find a compromise between the homogeneity of ‘us’ and the external, would you want hafus to have to deny their external identity in the attempt to be included into the ‘us’? It is in essence a term denoting exclusion to disarm a threat to the internal identity of being Japanese, not until Japan becomes more ethnically diverse will there be any possible recourse. Through realizing that there is exclusion is the step towards weakening the separation of ‘us’ and ‘other’ but until that time, disregard it or use it as you see fit, because no matter what we are called we still exist.

If you are interested in this topic i suggest you read Henri Tajfel’s Social Identity Theory.

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