Thanks to Christine and JC for the comments and props. I am undeserving. And also thanks to tiggerj. You are right about the global phenomenon. I, too, like to think that hope will spring eternal, really. But I was raised during a time when ‘tolerance’ was a rare commodity, and ‘hope’ was reserved for only the select few.
I have been subjected to a variety of forms of discrimination, and as a result have repressed a silent storm beneath the surface. That is, until my professor–the genius Ian Levy–told me: “Gee, your full of anger, aren’t you.”
Uh, I guess….
Well it took someone like him to identify it, someone who knows Japan, about being Japanese, about being the subject of discrimination. Maybe someday I’ll write–articulate–the experiences I have had, as I did with him. It may prove to be a kind of catharsis.
In any event, I think we should refrain from using the word tolerance. What does it mean, really? According to my Webster’s: 1. to allow the existence, presence, practice, or act of without prohibition or hinderance. 2. to endure without repgnance. 3. to experience, undergo, or sustain, as pain or hardship.
Although I realize that the use of this word is meant to promote understanding between people of different groups, the word seems pessimistic. Am I to be allowed to exist without prohibition? Does that suggest that I originally should have been prohibited? Should I be endured without repugnance? Doesn’t that mean I am repugnant and others should endure me? Am I a pain? Am I a hardship to others?
Prof. Levy was right, I am an angry sort.
But I think you get my drift.
Hmmm… I should end on a lighter note. It’s been raining continuously all spring and now summer. Here’s a drizzle poem by the poet-priest Jakuren 寂連(12th cen.).
I step across
Even horses don’t travel
during early summer rains
The poem suggests a traveller wandering in parts unfamiliar, a place where a small creek whose existence no one knows or remembers. We modern travellers, too, sometimes find ourselves in unfamiliar areas, alone… but not necessarily lonely, as we can use the time to reflect on our continuing journey.
Oh well, I guess it wasn’t that light….