July 09, 2021 at 10:54AM

We, as newbies in “privilege”, have to understand that “privilege” and “handicap/disadvantage” are not the same. I am NOT minimizing the hard work of people with difficulty. However, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t privileged. Also, privilege isn’t simple math. It doesn’t offset “have” and “don’t have”. Therefore, even in extremely difficult conditions, one can be privileged simultaneously – and depending on the topic, acknowledgement becomes important.

“Privilege” now may be about the color of skin for some. I can only talk about Sashiko – and therefore, Privilege here is merely about the “start-line” (which hugely is impacted by color, anyway, but a bit off the topic). We, with people with privilege, tend to define other’s values, often without any harmful intention. I used to say, “Sashiko is stitching for poor Japanese in poverty”. I stop saying that. It was a big mistake in translation. It has to be “Sashiko is stitching in harsh conditions with limited resources”. It can be rude to define that they were “poor” based on our privileged values.

Now, many “privileged” people are romanticizing Sashiko. I am happy that Sashiko is popular. However, when they deny learning, Sashiko may become something different – filtered, repainted, appropriated, all messages here in this account. All I am doing here is to share stories that non-Japanese can reach to. We need to stop defining others with ignoring their stories. Due to privilege, we end up suppressing them even if we are nice. I am NOT negative or angry. I am just sharing. If you think it is negative, it is because of your filter.

*In Japanese, there are many ways to describe “poor”. Some words actually means good souls (Difference in 貧しい&清貧&貧困). Therefore, I think it is a mistake in translation. I still describe Sashiko as “stitching in poverty” in Japanese, but not in English anymore. I do not define Japanese who stitch as “Poor people”.


#Sashiko #JapaneseSashiko


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