Is Gaijin Just a Word or a Racial Slur?

A piece written by Eddie Landsberg for Japan Today hits home for not only the word gaijin, but any other racial word or slur. In a short form, the article is about how a Caucasian moved to Japan and his experiences in not only being called a gaijin, but how he was treated in both positive and negative scenarios.

From my perspective, this seems to happen anymore, to any person of different skin color. Having lived in the South for over a decade, I can say that the term “Yankee” applies in both good and bad form. In almost every geographical area, there are words for “outsiders” that are meant in a negative meaning or just in its literal sense.

Personally? I have never really viewed the word gaijin as something bad, just as Mexicans use the word gringo. It’s how you take it on the receiving end, as well as how you perceive the words when you combat racism. In my personal opinion, those that get all worked up by the racism definitions are usually the ones that indirectly drive racism to continue. And for me, there are just better things to do in life than to worry about a silly word. That’s just me though… what about you?

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About Ben

Ben Hwang is involved in a number of online publications and also writes at his personal blog, LUX.ET.UMBRA. When he's not in the middle of starting companies and dreaming up new ventures, he is heavily involved in local community efforts. Currently resides in North Carolina.
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