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In response to a “Concerned Foreigner”/Discrimination at Restaurant

Date Posted: 2001-06-01

In response to a “Concerned Foreigner”/Discrimination at Restaurant, Good Morning to the REAL WORLD. In your letter you asked for any ideas as far as what you should do. Well concerned, I happen to have some ideas for you. But first I have to ask, for someone who has been on “The Rock” for over eight years, where have you been? When living on the rock, you can’t possibly go day to day without witnessing a little discrimination to somebody somewhere. And I say this because there are many foreigners like you and me who experience this kind of prejudice on a regular basis. Speaking on my behalf, this is just a small price to pay for living in a place where you have extremely low violence, crime, drugs, and guns. You see, I’ve been here for over 12 years myself, and I too am married to a local national (not accidentally I should add). And I am sure that you know that there are other foreigners who have been here 2,3,and 4 times as long as we both have, and they are still here. I am pretty sure that they are still here because they have come to realize what I am about to share with you.

Some ideas that I want to share with you are, (1) Come to an understanding and realize that you are a FOREIGNER and what that really means. We are outsiders in a place and to a people full of pride and history. Who have endured invasions of many kinds. And we foreigners must have some compassion for their reservations. Remember not all Okinawans feel this way. I have to constantly remind myself of that DAILY. (2) We all know that in recent history how foreigners have taken advantage of our host’s hospitality without any regrets or remorse. You would almost have to expect a little hostility from some of them. I too have pain in my heart due to the unfair treatment I’ve endured over the years. I have never done anything to anyone to warrant any discrimination to me or my family. (3) If it bothers you that you WERE not & ARE not wanted in certain public establishment, then maybe you should consider not wanting to go to those public establishments. And the last suggestion/idea (4), try and understand that one business establishment is not the only group of people who feels that way. It’s a whole network of local nationals bursting with Okinawan pride who don’t see their prejudice as prejudice. But simply as True Okinawan Pride.

I think that in their eyes, we don’t even have the right to be on the same soil with them, let alone breaking bread and sharing drink with them in an Okinawan restaurant, built solely to serve and cater to Okinawans. I personally feel as though we have continued to invade in on our generous hosts, their way of life, and their peace of mind. And I think that it’s only fair that some of them have the right to choose who they wish to share their space, and keep company with. With the island being so small, they really are limited as far as where THEY can get away from it all. Remember, as foreigners we are simply visitors. Some of us are long term and some of us are short term…………...ACCEPT IT!

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