Systematic racism vs. systematic sexism – What is the difference in various places in the world?

I recently watched a YouTube video in which a number of black people were interviewed about the reasons why they moved to Asian countries, including Japan. The point of the video was to convey the message that all of the interviewees responded that the main reason they moved to Asian countries and continued to stay where they moved to was the fact that they could be “free.” I interpreted this as freedom on various levels, including emotional freedom from internalized racism, legal freedom from police brutality etc., as well as social freedom from racial prejudice in general. In sum, I believe it is freedom from systematic racism.

When I realized that, I remembered the familiar feeling I used to have inside of me. Wasn’t that the reason why I moved to the U.S. from Japan? Yes, that was right. Just like the people in the video, I didn’t feel completely free to be myself in Japan. It was interesting as I am considered a “minority” in the U.S. ,like other racial minorities. However, I am happier here in the U.S. than in Japan.

Then, I realized there was a profound issue underneath. In each society, it is almost like some groups of people have to become a scapegoat so that other groups of people can go up the ladder relatively easily. That is white people in the U.S. and men in many Asian countries. No wonder black people feel safer in Asian countries, but I, as an Asian woman, feel safer here in the U.S.

It is not that there is no racism in Asia, but sexism is more prevalent or intense than racism over there. At the same time, sexism certainly exists in the U.S. too. Still, my point is that you will notice more microaggression if you belong to a certain minority group, depending on where you are. That group is different in each country because of its history or culture.

In terms of the difference in sexism, I noticed that it is easier to speak up about it here in the U.S. if you experience sexual abuse or sexual harassment. Of course, each incident is different, but this is my personal opinion, and I am talking about the general phenomena in society. It may be hard to believe, especially for people in western society, but the victims of sexual abuse or sexual harassment are still the ones to be blamed in the Japanese (or many Asian) society. I am not only talking about the difficulties in proving the legality of the incident, but it is more about the criticisms you get from the general public. Therefore, as you can imagine, it is quite difficult for the victims to speak up against the perpetrators in such societies because there is more “loss” than “gain” to do so. Simply put, if you are a victim over there, you most likely cannot win. In the worst-case scenario, you will be destroyed if you speak up.

Today’s post might have been a bit personal rather than neutral, but I wanted to raise this issue as I feel strongly about it. Unfortunately, writing about systematic sexism or even racism in Japan can still be controversial, which is why I write about these issues here in English. I believe the world is changing, and many societies are trying to change for the better, but there is still a long way to go. However, one thing will never change: I am not going to stop speaking up about these issues as a racial and sexual minority in society.