Black[ness],  Japan[ese],  Queer[ness]

it began with locs…

cw: rape apologism

…so i just had lunch with someone who is essentially a random woman who chased me down at a train station last week because she admired my locs and wanted me to start locs for her. had this woman not been a black woman, had she not been an older black woman, had she not been literally beaming from ear to ear just looking at my locs, so earnest about wanting to start locs herself and having nowhere to turn– had it not been for all those things AND had we not been in Japan, i wouldn’t have given this lady the time of day. especially since she made me miss my train.

but she was and we are and so there i was, meeting this over zealous woman at a cafe for lunch because #AfroHairSolidarityInAsia✊🏾

if only the conversation had steered clear of politics, things would have been fine. i could have handled her overpowering-to-this-introvert energy levels and persevered on, enjoyed lunch to at least some extent and helped her out, but of course that didn’t happen. of course she had to bring up politics.

i hate politics.

“have you seen the presidential portraits? what did you think of them?” she asked. “you mean these?” i reply, showing her the results of a Google image search on my phone. what did i think of the portraits of Obama and Michelle? i liked them. why? but without actually asking her, i already feared i knew where the conversation was going. and i was right. she began with criticizing the ‘strangeness’ of Obama’s portrait before moving on to criticize the artist who did it. “this guy usually paints portraits of black women beheading white women and portraits like Obama’s but with sperm everywhere! i mean look at Obama’s closely and you’ll see sperm! the guy is gay and wore a coon suit to the presentation– i mean, where do they find these people??? lmao”

not like i hadn’t seen that one coming a mile away, but it was still dully noted.

we got to talking about what is that we do in our free time. i’d told her previously that i intended to park myself in a Starbucks, where i currently am, and work on stuff, as per usual. she asked for clarification about the “stuff” that i work on. i have a self-imposed policy of not bending over backwards or going out of my way to lie about shit because at this point in my life, it’s more of a pain in the ass to be closeted than to not be, so i was curt but honest with my answers.

“a website,” i said. “oh, what kind of website?” she replied.

“a blog. where i vent about shit.” i said, knowing what the next question would be.

“oh, nice. is it public? i’d love to read it.” she replied.

a sigh of resignation. “judging by our conversation thus far, it’s not something that you’d be interested in…” i say, resigned to the fact that i was about to go there with this random older black woman– and believe me, based on past experience, that her being both older and black herself are both very relevant bits of information as to what would happen to come, even if i cannot explain to someone who is not black why those things are entirely relevant.

“oh… but i’m interested in all sides of things. i search for the truth in everything and i’d be interested in reading what you have to say.” she says with a straight face while digging around in her back for her laptop, all the while i’m internally screaming. “nah. sorry, but my blog is not an educational resource.” i respond flatly.

subject change.

i ask her what’s made her come to and stay in Japan for 25 years.

my bad. shoulda known that there’d be politics involved in that too.

she told me about how she’d left America in ’92 after having worked on the Clinton campaign and ended up hurt, disillusioned and angry with herself for her involvement in what essentially turned into the Drug (re: Race) Wars of the Clinton administration and the racism that she experienced from within the campaign herself etc. she went on for a while this or that policy of the Clinton Administration and racism in America until somehow or another the conversation inevitably turned to Trump…. and how she hates the Clinton Administration, but is neutral in so far as Trump goes. how she questions how everyone accuses him of racism– going so far as to literally say “oh, sure he’s a racist. i’m a racist. you’re a racist. that lady over there *pointing* is a racist. we’re all racists– it’s how we’re all raised.”

…..and that’s when i knew for certain that continuing this line of discussion with her was a waste of my time, but of course she was just getting started.

“Clinton was a rapist. all these allegations being made against Trump? i don’t buy it. where’s the proof?”

“Weinstein and all that stuff in Hollywood? you know what? i don’t have the least bit of sympathy for any of those women. you know why? they knew what they were doing. they went back again and again. played the game and i’m to feel sorry for them?? pfft”

“what has Trump done against LGB– what is it? i can’t remember all those letters, there are so many now. I think there’s even a Z. anyway, what has Trump done to them that’s so bad?”

by this time i’ve sat up from shoveling food in my face just to avoid eye contact with her to stare silently at my plate instead. i look up at her weary, “….i’m sitting here wondering what i even want to bother saying to you……………………………….”

“if i said something to offend you, i’m sorry! *nervous laughter* but seriously, i’m asking because i want to know.” she says without much if any actual apologeticness to her voice.

“……you said that you look for the truth in everything. don’t believe the news because it paints everyone bad. instead of asking me, why don’t you look it up for yourself? google Trump and LGBT–”

“i would, but i don’t have time.”

stunned.

“i’m busy, you know? i’m not interested in what’s actually a very small group of people. i care about Trump’s business policies, the TPP, economy. i don’t have time, that’s why i’m asking you.”

silence as i now shovel blueberries and annindofu into my mouth until it’s gone and i don’t even have refuge in that anymore. eventually she got the hint and changed the subject, but not without shortly there after asking to read my blog again– hahaha stay the hell away from my blog, kthx.

at several points i was tempted to just stand up and walk away, but i didn’t. because that’s what i do. i either go off on someone, responding borderline aggressively to people saying hurtful, ignorant things, or i withdraw into myself to avoid going off on someone and borderline disassociate while screaming internally from discomfort, but i don’t walk away.

after the subject change back to actual discussion of locs and Japan, i was able to redon the mask that is my ‘everything’s okay. not uncomfortable at all!’ face and our conversation over lunch returned back to some semblance of “normal”, but the internal debate raged on. i couldn’t and didn’t stand up and walk away earlier, but could i bring myself to spend hours upon hours doing this woman’s hair for her, paid or not? can i walk away from her knowing that i in fact need the money and understand her struggle as someone with African hair in Asia– dare i turn my back on her now?

we parted ways with her thinking us on good terms, but she has since messaged me and i told her how i felt about doing her hair point blank because, as i said. i have a self-imposed policy. i told her that i need time to think about it and she has yet to reply, even though the message has been marked as “read.”


edit: ……and that’s that.

her response:

Yeah, I realized you were not pleased with me voicing my political stance. And it’s unfortunate because when I do so, I always get the same outcome, even with LBGTQ, not on the table; and that’s the same reaction you had today.
A complete shutdown instead of trying to share our viewpoints and learn from one another.
There is such a hatred for our current president, when, in fact, he is a lot better for the country.
I am not focused on black issues as you suggested, but on the issue of putting Americans first. ALL Americans, and if there were room for dialogue we may both come to understand or see things from another perspective, not just our own.
Brood on, I understand, and again, my apologies for having said something to upset you, but, guess what? That’s life. We decide to forgive and move on, but shutting others out because they don’t think like you, makes your world small, and you never broaden your perspective. There may be allies in your cause if you took the time to explain.
Which brings me to the most mind boggling statement you made…When I asked you to explain the obstacles or the plight of the LGBTQ community, you refused and told me to read something on it. But I don’t understand how reading about it helps me to understand your perspective.
You’re right I don’t know the bill number on the transgender toilet issue, but I do know that many unskilled labor jobs are not going to Americans, Black, white, or Hispanic. My focus is on America as a whole.
The divisions of black against white; LGBTQ against non LGBTQ, is a technique used to keep the nation divided, so we don’t unite and talk about the slow demise of the USA, as a world power and the slow implementation of globalization thru demographics and methodical extermination of certain groups of people.
That’s what I DO Know.
you know, the usual response when you refuse to make yourself vulnerable and engage any further with someone for your own sanity. amazing how many relationships i’ve had to sever at least in part because of this president of ours. add another to the tally.

YouTuber and Blogger, Vesper is an American expat currently living in Japan.

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