Burakumin Sociology

1536 Words 7 Pages
Ever since humans have found characteristics with which to distinguish themselves from others, there has been discrimination. Today the characteristics that define these groups most prevalently affected by discrimination are race, religion, age, and sex. However even the minutest physical characteristics, like hair color, can give reason for this baseless prejudice. Early records in japan indicate an “untouchable” social class that occupied undesirable jobs like tending to the dead and butchery. Since the Japanese Edo Period from 1600 to 1867, there has existed a strict social hierarchy. In the lowest rung of this hierarchy are burakumin, which translates to “village people”. The offensiveness of this designation is not apparent until it is …show more content…
She refuses to share a meal with her daughter and son-in- law Iwamura because he is a burakumin, and has never touched her grandson because he shared his father’s burakumin blood (Wender 46). She also will not allow Iwamura to borrow her extra bedding, and treats his Korean guests better than she treats her son-in-law (Wender 47). When he shares the guests’ accomplishments, she seems uninterested, but is far more excited when praising the guests (Wender 50). Later, the narrator hypothesizes that Iwamura’s brother is left out by his classmates and is lonely because he too is a burakumin (Wender 58). Similarly, when Andres lived in Miami his only friends were Cuban. He moved to Virginia soon after schools were desegregated, and the white students were resentful of the minority students who had no options for playmates but each other (Arango). Sui Sin Far in “Leaves from the Mental Portfolio of an Eurasian” found herself in a similar situation as a child, when a passerby recommends that Sui’s friend not speak to her because she is mixed race. A similar situation with reversed roles occurs when Sui is an adult and an acquaintance tells her she shouldn’t walk with a “Chinaman” (Lim 133). Sui’s sister face similar discrimination in class, when her desk mate asked the teacher to switch seats (Lim …show more content…
Oskar felt this way, fearing his wife hated Jews, and attempted to take his own life during his first week in America (Brown and Ling 40). The thought of giving a lecture in English struck Oskar with an immobilizing fear, and he worried that it would be such a disgrace that he would wish for death (Brown and Ling 42). Sui and her brother prepare for conflict every time they leave home in order to combat the comments, looks, and physical abuse that they face daily (Lim 135). Iwamura feels like he is surrounded by enemies as well, and is always “poised to defend himself” (Wender 52). Nevertheless, bigotry can also strengthen its targets and the pride they have for their culture. Sui fought to defend the dignity of her heritage and despite the hostility she faces, would “rather be Chinese than anything in the world” (Lim

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