Monthly Archives: February 2014

Critical Race Theory paper criticism

Eido tweeted about this paper, Racist Racism: Complicating Whiteness Through the Privilege & Discrimination of Westerners in Japan. I’ve had a read, although I had to give up about halfway through, and some of the social science content is way over my head.

The first thing that struck me was that she footnotes a certain Hawaiiian almost as much as he does himself. The next thing I noticed in the footnotes was that there are a lot of blogs quoted, many of dubious quality, like the charming Tokyo Scum Report.

Now, getting to the meat of the document, we get stuff like this (Page 5):

Even those who naturalize and forsake their original nationalities and names fare no better: Public establishments refuse access to those who look foreign, including naturalized citizens, local governments have been known to oppose giving them suffrage.

That text reads very much as if the them (my italics) refers to naturalised citizens, but the footnotes points towards Debito.org, where the title is “Resolution against NJ Suffrage”. The paragraph carries on:

For example, the highest court has ruled that public employers are permitted to refuse awarding senior posts to minorities (even those native-born), because they do not have the right to hold positions of authority over “real” natives.

Utterly wrong. The paragraph has established she is talking about naturalised citizens, but that court case was regarding Zainichi.

Later on Page 24, she talks about the Tottori ordinance on foreigner human rights, and says:

Notably, the measure has been removed from Tottori Prefecture’s legislative record.

Utterly wrong again. She takes Mr Arudou at face value when he failed to search Google.

I nearly threw my PC out the window when I got to Page 16, where there is a three-page “quote” that read like the first chapter of In Appropriate. Looking at the footnote for it, I read:

This narrative is based on personal experiences, internet postings, information disseminated by human rights activists in Japan, and the author’s interviews with numerous gaijin conducted in the summer of 2012. Experience-based narrative (personal, others’, and even fictional) often contributes significantly to CRT analysis.

So, any old bollocks cobbled up from random internet quotes and anecdotes is material for proving whatever it is she is trying to prove?

I present the Anti-Japologist

Japan Times posts more “news” where the writer does a reverse Japologism – both in content and quality (ie low), it must be said – on a magazine that asked a bunch of foreigners to write something nice about Japan.

“Japanese women are free to be full-time housewives.” “Free” to be, or pressured to be? It depends on how you look at it.

You could say the same thing about Western women being “free” to have a career, when quite often, it seems to me, much of their salary ends up paying for daycare.

Anyway, this got me thinking. I remember a few years ago there was a rumour going around about how the paper was in Soka Gakkai hands, but now it is quite firmly in the strident left-wing camp, or at least its hard left writers get free rein to vent. However, who does that viewpoint serve? I remember the statistic that half their readers are Japanese learning English, who I suspect aren’t too impressed by the editorial team, and a good percentage of the remainder must be tourists getting a free newspaper from their hotel, leaving just a small fraction who are of the same opinion that Japan Is A Nazi Gulag. However, much of that camp has already decamped to foreign climes, so perhaps it is losing significant circulation? Can anyone get hold of the ABC sales figures?

And on a tangent, why isn’t there a JT For Men?