It’s been a long time since I’ve posted. Sorry about that. I’m not giving up on this blog or Exploring Japan. It’ll continue. But right now, I’d like to share my review of Baye McNeil’s book Hi! My Name is Loco and I am a Racist. Enjoy!
Originally posted on I Read Encyclopedias for Fun:
Hi! My Name is Loco and I am a Racist is part memoir, part social commentary written by fellow Japan resident Baye McNeil. He talks about his experiences ranging from his childhood in New York, his time in the Army, and teaching English in Japan. But throughout this book, there is one common theme: racism.
He starts the book off with something most foreigners in Japan experience, the empty seat on a train. It’s quite obvious that the reason is that he’s a black man in the homogeneous Japanese culture. He returns to the empty seat several times throughout the book, sometimes as an enemy, sometimes as a friend. He talks about his experience with racism not only in Japan, but also growing up and living in pre-911 New York. But it’s not all about racism against him, it’s more about how he and everyone else in the world has some degree of racism within them. Everyone judges others in some way based on their race. I understand what he’s talking about, although his experiences are far more difficult than I’ve experienced.
It all sounds very serious, but Baye uses a lot of humour in his writing. There are several conversations with a Japanese person throughout the book, many times humourous, but also perplexing. It shows how many people in Japan have such little experience with cultures outside Japan, they don’t understand a foreigner’s point of view.