The World Outside the USA

Almost insufferable magazine Monocle has an interview in the current issue with a Japanese journalist, Aga Igarishi. I found the following answer fascinating in that it reminds us just how much the US is hung up on race.

Monocle: Does the fact that a black man might become the next president of the US interest your readers? [Igarishi is Washington correspondent in Japan’s top selling newspaper].

Igarishi: Yes, but I’m not sure how many Japanese people are aware of the significance of the fact that he’s going to an African-American president. Most people don’t know why it was so hard for an African-American to be elected.

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4 comments

  1. conortje

    Not just the US though – on the completely opposite side I am annually baffled by the Music of Black Origin award. How music and skin colour can EVER be connected is beyond me.

  2. eguinan

    It’s positive discrimination, isn’t it? To be fair, the MOBOs are a counterbalance to the other awards such as the Brits, which are alarmingly Caucasian – how else can you explain how Annie Lennox (much as I like her) could win so many gongs. There had to be something to reward and encourage either the edgy stuff that was coming from left-of-stream or else the commercial successes of your Jamelias and suchlike.

    The MOBOs are interesting though. White artists often get nominated and awarded prizes, but I can’t recall if black artists working in areas outside of soul/r&b/dance get a nod. I’m thinking Tasmin Archer or Bloc Party, artists very much within a ‘rock’ (whatever that is) milieu.

  3. tina

    I agree on positive discrimination – it’s good and often needed.

    Agree with Conor that it’s not just the US, it’s the whole Western World. I don’t think there are many (if any?) European leaders who aren’t white and hence I think it is quite significant for the whole world that an African-American might become the next president of the US. Can you imagine a black(or asian, latin etc) man/woman ever becoming a president or PM of Ireland? I don’t think so, though it would be a good thing to happen, IMO.

  4. eguinan

    It would be pretty cool, and you know I think it could happen in Ireland faster than it might happen elsewhere. I pass a primary school every day when I walk to work and I’ve watched the kids over the years transformed from the homogeneous white to the more multi-coloured bunch they are today and it gladdens me to see how at ease these kids are with each other. Multi-ethnic groups of awkward boys hiding in the trees smoking cigs and thumping each other and ogling girls. Race is going to be much less of thing for this generation, which is rather a cheery thing!

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