Illusions of the White Race 4
Nameof the class
Nameof the school (University)
‘’Illusionsof the White Race’’ 1921. By Okuma Shigenobu.
All humans are equal: That disparities in the level of civilizations cannot be a basis for discriminations among human beings. To advance this argument, Okuma uses the fact that even Shakya Muni and Christ, the founders of the World’s two largest religions with varying perspectives on several issues, both subscribed to one doctrine of human equality and brotherhood. This is especially so since the two leaders came at different times long before the rise of the whites and going by this, acquisition of civilization alone does not alter the order. Human race remains equal the world over.
Empowerment is an effective tool against discrimination: By exerting themselves, the marginalized races can gain credibility in the international platform and end unjustified discrimination against them by already civilized races. Okuma Shigenobu makes a convincing case by elaborating hoe Japan’s socioeconomic empowerment led to the eventual withdrawal of the European extraterritorial rights from Japan.
Okumadoes not see all races as equal, this is so because he openlyacknowledges that there are still races in the world who are sobackward in terms of socialization and consequently, cannot be viewedas equal to other races based on international standards. Further, inthe mix of this apparent racial stratification, Okuma believes Japanlies in between the whites and other races but more closely to thewhite race. More aptly, that Japan is ‘almost at the same footing’with the whites. This positioning of Japan as second to the whitesand above other races further affirms that Okuma Shigenobu himselfdoes not himself view all races as being equal.
Hefurther goes ahead to list the following as the parameters adhered toby Japan for their upsurge.
Strong military and naval forces.
Reformed judiciary and police.
Shipping and commerce.
Asan American leader, I would be quick to point out the followingconcerns emerging from the document.
Even if American prejudices are as deep-rooted against the Negroes as he claims, as a politician and bureaucrat, Okuma should be as good enough to note that legislation alone is not a sufficient condition but a necessary condition towards alleviating this prejudice.
Okuma should not only substantiate his claims of Negroes being lynched in America but go beyond that to demonstrate that these form of deaths, if at all they exist, are racially motivated. If not so, this assertion is only sensational at best.
America, unlike Japan, is composed of a heterogeneous population and cases of prejudice and discrimination are bound to arise and measures have been developed to check this. Any form of critism should take note of this fact.
Yesit changes my opinion of Okuma. In the document, he illustrates therather unfair mechanisms through which the class system has come tobe. That the disadvantaged in the society are oppressed by thestronger, culminating in a social status structure composed of theslaves, commons and finally, the nobles, a group that he happens topart of. He seems contradictory as he scathingly criticizes the verymechanisms that seem to have propagated him to the rank of marquiswhich he belongs.
OkumaShigenobu, ‘Illusions of the white race’, 1921.