If I Step on your Toes…?

If I step on your toes but didn’t do it intentionally or much worst found it funny, does that mean that you’re not or shouldn’t feel the hurt I inflicted?


Black Face. The age-old issue of people dressing up as black people for whatever god damn reasons they can come up with. Its funny, it’s for Halloween so relax, it’s our culture, its whatever. It doesn’t matter the reasons that people want to come up with for perpetuating or accepting this demeaning practice. Nothing justifies blackface, no matter where in the world it’s being done, from Hollywood to Holland to Japan or China. The mockery of black people’s bodies, cultures and overall existence is just not ok, and we should not have to be telling people this over and over and over again.

In Jamaica, we have a saying, “frog say, what is joke to you is death to me.” This saying perfectly sums up the situation that black people constantly face with other races insistence on donning black face every chance they get. You find it funny, but this representation of black people has done what can be said to be irreversible damage to the perception of black people by others and how many black people see themselves.

Blackface was started in Hollywood and widely promoted across the United States and many other countries and,  contrary to what the defenders of this cruel practice want to think, no one was doing black people any favours dressing up with ridiculously shine black polish and exaggerated pink overdrawn lips and excessively large butts.  Blackface wasn’t started to create positive representations for black people, it was done out of pure hate and racism and want intent on mocking and further dehumanizing a group of people who fought hard to be granted by men the very rights given to everyone else at birth, by our creator.

In a recent post from Asian Boss titled “What do the Chinese think about black people (blackface)” it is seen where though many of the respondents know that blackface is rooted in negativity and emerged from a place of hate, they still see it as ok for them to do it because it’s just for fun. Even when told that its offensive to black people they still insist on saying their intent wasn’t bad and its just for laughs so black people shouldn’t be upset. If that wasn’t enough to get one riled up, scan the comments and you see people from all walks of life, even some black people, making excused and going as far as saying by us saying blackface is unacceptable in any manifestation we are playing the race card.

How are we playing the race card when there is so much history of blackface and the damage it has caused in the past and in the present? How is it playing the race card when you never see black people dressing up as other races to make fun of them and treat them as some cartoon caricature, over exaggerating their features and acting dumb? Everyone has something to say about black racism and usually that something is that it doesn’t exist and it died with the old folks. Everyone is quick to tell black people that it’s not a race issue its a class issue, not realizing that for black people race and class are one in the same. No matter how much a black person earns or where they live, that doesn’t stop them from being wrongfully arrested and killed, that doesn’t stop them from being followed around in stores or denied service and especially in Asia it doesn’t stop people from not sitting beside them on the train or from not telling their screaming children that it is ridiculous to be afraid of a person’s color.

Black people know racism because we have been on the receiving end of it from the day we are born till the day we die. Just like a lawyer doesn’t walk into a conference for medical doctors and act like they’re an authority on medical issues, it is the same way that it’s wrong for others to try to make excuses for why black people shouldn’t react how they do to acts of racism because they cant speak to the nuances of anti-black racism. I go back to my initial question, if step on your toes unintentionally and or laugh about it, does that make it hurt you any less or at all? No, you still feel the pain of my actions whether I deliberately did it or not.

I am currently living in Japan and its true that anti black racism is very suble here and some people may not even want to call it racism but when youre looking up jobs to apply for and you see white only, or only requests for people from what is conceptualised as white only countries, or parents asking for their kids to be taken from the class with the black teacher and be put in the class with the white teacher, or when kids are acting a fool and crying when they see black people and the parents response is not to teach them that this person is just human with a different skin color, instead they cuddle and sheild said kids from the big bad black person. These are stories or things black people have to deal with every day and much worst being spat on or having their black or biracial kids face bullying when they go to school and have to hear stories about how a radish is black and dirty because it didn’t shower properly. All of this is just damn ridiculous and quite frankly there is no excuse for any of it.

It’s funny how people come up with the excuse that Asian countries are homogenous and so we have to be patient and tolerant with people’s offences because they are based on ignorance. But, on the flip side, black nations are always so open and accepting of others who don’t look like them and who they don’t see in their everyday existence. Yes, Asia is homogenous but so is 90% of the places that black people live. We too only see non-black people on tv or read about them in stories.  Sure, black children may stare and even touch the hair and skin of a foreigner, but that’s normal curiosity expressed by children. Correct me if I am wrong but I have never experienced, seen or read of any instances where black people have treated none black people in any manner that makes them feel less than human, not black children and especially not black adults. So why then is it normal for us to see and treat others as humans but we have to deal with this kind of nonsense the world over?

When a black person says blackface is offensive, listen to them. Don’t counter with any nonsense excuses about why it could be something other than the offence it is. Better yet, stop dressing up as black people if you do and when you see it being done by others, use the opportunity to educate them and help to get rid of this nasty practice once and for all.  We cant build bridges if the aggressors constantly refuse to acknowledge that there is a need to build a bridge in the first place. And for God sakes, stop making the excuse that it’s difficult to find a black person to do something because black people are everywhere and though referred to as a minority in America, worldwide we are still one of the largest populations.

See the video in the link below

Asian Boss

What are your thoughts on the perpetuation of blackface and on people’s insistence of finding reasons why black people should forget all the damage that it has caused and just laugh at this despicable depiction and disrespect to us and our cultures?



How soon after you meet someone should you get naked ?

How soon after meeting someone should one get naked in front of them? Well, isn’t that the age-old question. I don’t actually have an answer but in my opinion, the standard appropriate time to do so would be at least when you have spent enough time with the person in your clothes, such that you can trust that you know the person enough. Who knows how much time that is? Surely I don’t.

Nakedness is basically an uncomfortable position for the global majority because of the pressures that are put on us, both men and women, to look a certain way the moment we hit puberty. So many things become unattractive at that stage of life along with the world wind of other things to consider at this point. As a result of this newfound sense of awareness, many of us come up with ingenious ways of hiding the things that we hate about our bodies, even from the sister or brother that you’ve been sharing a room with to this point. Imagine how crafty one has to be to hide their body in such circumstances but we manage.

I have issues with my body, but I wouldn’t exactly call them struggles since when I compare my issues with those of other people, it’s pretty minor. I simply just don’t want to be fat and though I am quite insensitive sometimes to the plight of people who eat themselves to oblivion or those who won’t eat for whatever reason, I also have made pointed effort to appreciate these struggles. To understand that we take a lot out on our bodies, our fears, our hopes, our dreams, our love, and hatred. It’s all manifested in the different bodies that we see covered in various layers or not covered at all. These layers all bodies tell stories about the journeys of those bodies and of those who carry them around.

When I found out I was successful in gaining a spot on the Japanese Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program, I began researching about the city that I was placed in. What I found out was that going to the onsen or public bath was an age-old Japanese tradition but the difference with this style of hot water bathing and what I am used to in Jamaica, is that there is just an open concept and men bathe together with other men and women bathe together with other women. So in essence, all your flaws are open to being seen and speculated about by many people. Forget privacy. Even though I was scared by the thought of choosing to give up my privacy, I was also intrigued by this idea and it became one of the things I looked forward to doing once I got to Japan.

Having experienced the onsen in Japan, it allows one to have a greater appreciation of the human body, especially that of the female. Our bodies are quite diverse and go through a myriad of changes throughout our lifetime, all of which can be observed from a single day visit to a  Japanese onsen. You’ll see grandmothers, mothers, teenager daughters, little girls and babies all bathing together. I must admit, I don’t speak or understand Japanese so I can’t speak on whether or not my body has been judged by anyone in the manner that I have judged my own body over the years, but I must say that after fighting my fears and dipping in the onsen tradition, I have grown to love myself even more.

There is just something uplifting about seeing women being confident in their bodies and not hiding away in fear or shame.

I still don’t know what’s the appropriate time to get naked in front of people you have just met but for me, the record was one day at an onsen, with my co-workers. It was a little awkward, but enjoyable and helped with bonding us even though we already shared the unique experience of being a JET.

If you are ever in Japan, please visit and onsen, it might change your life.




Weekly Photo Challenge: Faces-Sand Art

Summer 2015, Japanese sand castle competition at Chirihama Beach Hakui city, Ishikawa, Japan. The Japanese are very talented builders and even with something as temporary as sand castles, they go all out in their craft.  This may have been inspired by the fifth animal in the Chinese zodiac–The Dragon. Look at that face. The Dragon represents confidence and intelligence. Do you have the Face of a dragon?




Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls

“Don’t go chasing waterfalls, please stick to the rivers and the lakes that you’re used to” are words that I grew up listening to, thanks to the group TLC. I really thought that I understood these words because I learned from it to appreciate the little that  I have but I still thought and still do think that waterfalls are worth chasing.

Now I have a new appreciation for the rivers and the lakes that I was used to. Having been living in Japan for the past 10 months, the word world wind is an understatement to describe the journey that I have undertaken. I have literally and figuratively given up all the rivers and  lakes that I am used to, to venture out into the great big world on my own.

Though I have pretty much been on my own all my life being home in the place that I know has always given me a level of comfort. I have never had many friends and I am not very close with my family but knowing that they were there, just a few hours drive away, though I have never actively thought about it, was a comfort. I remember few years ago having experienced one of the worst things in my life, I called my mother, crying, I didn’t even have to tell her what was wrong, I just asked her to come. And by the next morning she was there with me, still not knowing what was wrong but just being there simply because I needed someone.

I have always lived a lonely and independent life and I have written about this in past posts. My tag line thoughts of the socially retarded is testament to this. I have a hard time making friends because I don’t trust that anyone will stick around so I don’t even bother with the feelings and sentimentality. I am cordial to most and I am quite kind but I  have always been burned when I try to venture into the friendship zone with people. But regardless, I have always had that one or two persons who I can call on when I am most in need, but in the general sense I have lived a lonely life. And this was the very reason I decided to take the plunge and venture out in the world and travel half way around the world.

I was confident in the fact that my lonely life would be perfect preparation for such travels. I wouldn’t have to experience separation anxiety or any of the crazy emotions people experience when they have to say goodbye to their home. I lived alone and I’m not too attached to the material so this would be as easy as baking a cake (from a box). I insisted that I wouldn’t even entertain the idea of starting a new relationship because I just didn’t want the baggage of someone else’s feelings when I was on my adventure.  I just wanted to look forward to all the wonders that were possible once I got to Japan. And if I wanted to stay for five years, I would because I wouldn’t have anyone to consider but myself. This might sound selfish but I was actually thinking of the other person, I didn’t want to put anyone through a long distance relationship and also I didn’t want to put myself through the stress that comes with not being present in a relationship.

But life has a way of giving you what you want and also what you don’t want  need. Just six months before my departure, I got a work reassignment. At this new work location, i ended up meeting this genuine soul who at the time I didn’t know, would literally be my backbone leading up to my departure and to my survival in Japan.

Japan is unlike anywhere else that I have ever been or any experiences I have had before. Reading and watching videos about life in japan can in no way prepare you for living here. Your overall experience is dependent on several variables, most of which are absolutely out of your control. The plain truth is, Japanese customs, traditions and norms having nothing in common with anywhere else in the world and if you don’t speak Japanese, its like being thrown into an ocean with a block around your neck. How do you survive this?

And that’s how I have felt since being in Japan. I have had some fun times, but mostly I feel like I am drowning. I literally just feel out of place. And now I have learned to appreciate what I had before I came here. I have found a new love for my home, Jamaica with all it flaws. This experience has taught me truly the meaning of there’s no place like home. I have a new appreciation for the people that I have had around me for the years. even though we were not apart of each others day to day lives but knowing that they were there was a great comfort that I wasn’t aware of before coming here. I guess not speaking (face to face) to a single person in weeks does that to you.

I am thankful that even though I didn’t want a relationship before I left for Japan, I got one anyways. This beautiful soul has been there for me more than I can remember anyone else ever being. He has been there through all the tears, all the anger, all the regret, all the doubts and all the happy times. He has reminded me of my strength and helped me to appreciate the areas where things are getting better.

I have learned that life isn’t meant for anyone to be alone. So, go and chase those waterfalls, but don’t forget about your rivers and lakes.