Haruna Fujimaki Journal Entry 3

Before the lecture about American popular culture, I didn’t know about “blackface.” It means that white showmen imitated black people’s behaviour with painting their face black. Sometimes they painted their face blacker than that of coloured people. It means that they exaggerated things that they regarded as black people’s features, such as non-educated accent. White people played the “show” as they looked like more stupidly and made fun of them.

After this lecture, I wondered whether the culture made people think black was stupid, or the idea that black was stupid made the culture, like blackface minstrelsy. For now, I think both. In the beginning, white people oppress black people by power. And they thought naturally they were superior to black people. That idea shared all the white people and became the culture. Then, blackface minstrelsy appeared in the culture. The shows strengthened people’s idea that black was stupid. Because the culture strengthened this idea, the discrimination still remained after black people seemed to gain the equal rights. In America, it was common sense for white people that black people were inferior. Maybe even now, or possibly even black people regard black as inferior because this idea and culture had existed for very long time.

I think it is very different from Japanese culture. For example, in the dialogue class about race relationship, someone said Ainu people in Hokkaido prefecture is similar to black people in America. Ainu people have different culture from Japan. But Japanese people don’t make fun of them or don’t exaggerate their inferiority in public. That preposition is different. I don’t think Ainu people is inferior to Japanese and I think most of Japanese people feel the same as me.

I have another example. Japanese people once colonized Korea. When Japan was an empire, people thought Japanese were the best people in the world. Maybe at that time, Japanese people regarded Korean as inferior people. But Japan lost in the war and faced the stronger country. No longer, people think Japan is the only absolute best empire. The idea was changed by this incidence. Today, most of Japanese people don’t despise Korean or Ainu people.

However, America have never lost obviously by the other countries. I think this is one of factors that make differences between America and Japan. No one showed America that the idea that white is strongest is wrong. If they were defeated even once by coloured people, I think, their idea and culture would be changed.

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