Social Stigma

“I’m surrounded by successful people in my family and it’s tough because there’s this expectation to be great. Then I come to Japan, put on a suit, and I’m trying my best, but I don’t know, the pressure to be something is a lot (especially being African American). I came here with no expectations, but I thought it would be a little different. Not that it isn’t—Japan is great, there’s a lot more opportunities than being back in the States—but I guess I’m associated with a certain type, which might put me at a disadvantage. I remember one time, I met a girl at a restaurant. She thought I was cute, I thought she was cute. When I actually approached her, she immediately assumed that I was one of those African touts who try to persuade you to come to their bars. Nothing against them. I’m sure they have families to feed, but they definitely have a stigma against them. It’s just not a good look, especially for a person of color. So to be associated with that, right off the bat, makes it hard for someone who’s trying to make it here. If she’s thinking that, what chances do I have in succeeding when other people think that?”

“These days, you don’t need to go to school. You can just have a phone and an idea and you can come up with the next big thing. I want to make a YouTube channel. I want to be creative. I want to write, do photography, even partake in the entertainment industry.”

Even though I’ve never faced any problems in Japan, you know it’s there. To ignore that, that’s just something else. You’re turning a blind eye and that’s crazy. So I know it’s going on but then it’s also hard because I’ve never experienced any specific incident like that. The cops even like me. I mean, I’ve never been stopped here before. But we’re kind of looked down upon and the guys in Roppongi probably don’t really help much with that. Japanese people just don’t tell it to your face. At least it’s so much better than back home, where it’s a real problem. We’re not only treated unfairly, but it almost feels like a crime being black in America.

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Finding diversity and inclusion. Breaking down barriers one post at a time. Stories and snapshots of foreigners making their way in Japan.

One thought on “Social Stigma

  1. So, you both thought each other were cute before even speaking, Yet as you actually started the conversation she assumed you were a tout? What did you say to her?

    You also say that you’ve never faced any kind of racism, even from the Police who’ve never stopped you, but you “know it’s there”

    This whole article could be summed up as “I’m a foreigner in Japan and people don’t pay me no mind”


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