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Saying you like toku when you first meet someone.
This is the first I hear the word "brave" has any racial connotation.
Then you must not be paying much attention. In fact, the racial connotation of the word brave has been brought up in the media recently with the controversy about racially charged sports team names, including the Atlanta Braves, the Cleveland Indians, and the Washington Redskins. (The latter being particularly offensive, since “redskin” is an out and out slur.)
Brave as a noun is a term that originated with the homogenization of varied Native cultures, and is used in popular culture to codify and limit our perception of Native peoples. Here’s a link that shows how the image came to be, and how it’s used to belittle Native people.
Just because you don’t know something is racist doesn’t mean that it isn’t. Ignorance is no excuse. If you didn’t know that it was, instead of getting mad at us for pointing it out, turn that energy towards being more conscious of how things like this permeate and affect our world.
This blog is not strictly about racism, but we have as one of our themes the damaging effects of orientalism, which is the othering of non-western cultures in order to make them seem somehow special and so foreign that it’s impossible to understand them without becoming somehow a part of them. This is the underlying attitude behind leaving words untranslated. They are so special, somehow, that there’s no way of properly conveying their meaning in English, so we have to explain them instead of translating them.
At Onoretvn we believe that those kinds of attitudes hinder understanding of other cultures, and create an environment that encourages cultural commodification and misunderstanding. In other words, the same attitude that leaves words and phrases untranslated is what makes people assume that Japan is exactly as it appears in the Japanese media we see. It doesn’t teach people anything except how to use flawed knowledge of another culture to make people feel unwelcome.
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