Silence is Betrayal by Johnny Silvercloud / Shutterstock

THE TIME IS NOW – Speaking Out on Racism (Podcast 707)

I didn't speak out on racism once 36 years ago, and I have regretted it every day of my life. This time I'm adding my voice in support.

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Martin Bailey
Martin Bailey is a nature and wildlife photographer and educator based in Tokyo. He's a pioneering Podcaster and blogger, and an X-Rite Coloratti member.
18 Comments
  • Eamon Francis Adams
    Posted at 21:11h, 08 June Reply

    Thanks! Great message… that is a strong video clip: ‘Come up with a better way!” That’s the challenge, a better way… sad that it takes death to waken most of us up to that fact. Your sharing about your friend and the party was a good reminder that the things we do, day in day out, affect the world around us, the choices we make. I liked your story about sitting on the train… me too, as a long-term resident of Korea, has had that experience so often – and I too say to myself that that is nothing compared to the deep-seated and violent racism shown towards others. But on the bright side, here in Korea, I think, things are changing gradually when it comes to young people – there is hope. Let’s nurture the hope! Thanks again and keep up the good work.

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 14:23h, 09 June Reply

      Thank you Eamon! I’m sure you totally get it living in Korea. I’ve only visited once some 25 years ago, but I found it very similar to Japan in those respects. The younger generations are also getting more flexible here too, but it really depends on the individual. Again though, these are the experiences of a white guy. People with more pigment have a harder time, unfortunately.

  • Ed Rosack
    Posted at 21:27h, 08 June Reply

    Well said, sir. I hope you’re able to reach Epee.

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 14:25h, 09 June Reply

      Thanks Ed! Me too! Although I can’t undo what I did, I would like to let her know that I realize afterwards that I was wrong to have let such a despicable act slip and stay myself.

  • Jean Daubas
    Posted at 22:03h, 08 June Reply

    Martin, thanks for your words and thoughts. We all still have a long way to go and many fights to win to just come back to basi human equity in life anywhere on our tiny planet.
    We artists have an essential role to play in building this future society and photography is both our weapon and our tool. Let’s use it for the best.
    Cheers from a French fine-art photographer,
    Peace & Light,
    jean

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 14:31h, 09 June Reply

      Thank you Jean! For sure, I realize that this is a global struggle, and we all have a way to go, but I really hope that this is the turning point.
      All the best!
      Martin.

  • Tim L
    Posted at 09:51h, 12 June Reply

    This is a well-written post, Martin, with a poignant story about Epee. I hope you’re able to locate her and apologize for your part in what happened. I applaud your call for each of us to do what we can—not only to avoid being racist but to be proactively anti-racist as wish you would have done all those years ago. That said, I don’t think your experience, one with an innocent victim and clearly culpable perpetrator (your friend) is a useful analogy for what is currently going on in the US. It is not Nazis and Jews. It is Israelis and Palestinians, with both sides blaming the other and refusing to acknowledge their own role in creating the current climate. In both cases, one side has a huge advantage in terms of wealth and power, yet there is blame to go around.

    I believe that in order to address what is an intractable problem, both sides have to be willing to have an honest conversation. Right now—at least in the US—I’m not sure this is even possible. Today, I viewed a conversation between two celebrities who both happen to be from my alma mater, Matthew Mcconaughey (white actor) and Emmanuel Acho (black American football player). As I’ve seen more than once, Acho places the blame for racism on slavery in the US. I have no doubt there is truth to this. But there isn’t just one cause of racism. Acho goes on to say this:

    [As a white man] “You have to acknowledge that you’ll see a black man and for whatever reason, you will view them more of a threat than you will a white man. Probably because society told you to.”

    What Mcconaughey didn’t say (and, in the current climate, couldn’t say), is that, statistically, a black man actually is more of a threat. If it is true—and I’ve yet to see anyone claim that it isn’t—that 6% of the US population, black males, account for 44% of violent crime, then there is little hope that any amount of multi-million dollar donations, policy reforms, or shiny corporate campaigns will change the patrolman’s attitudes toward black males until that changes.

    None of this is to deny that black Americans have many legitimate grievances that deserve to be addressed. The relationship between black males and police departments is just one facet of a hugely complex challenge. I wish it were as simple as a black kid and a white kid hugging it out.

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 14:47h, 15 June Reply

      Hi Tim,

      Thanks for the thoughtful and, as usual, well-written comment.

      While I know you are right, I think it has to be brought into consideration that the reason for those statistics is the racism and inequality that we’re talking about. If you hold a person down, and withhold opportunities from them, then something has to give. It may take decades to work this out, but if we can truly start to treat everybody equally, then these statistics will improve. And, if we were to assume that there is only a certain amount of wealth to go around, we’d probably see these statistics swing the other way a little as well.

      Regards,
      Martin.

  • B James
    Posted at 07:00h, 21 June Reply

    I think that you need to keep these opinions private. In the US, BLM and Antifia are hate organizations and have been responsible for almost a billion dollars in theft and property damage, over 650 police officers injured and 6 killed. Otherwise, I love your podcasts.
    Regards

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 16:11h, 24 June Reply

      Like I said in the post B James, I support only peaceful protests. The rest of my post is purely about equality and fairness.

  • Ron Lawrence
    Posted at 01:38h, 28 June Reply

    If 6% of the population is responsible for so much crime in 2020 why wasn’t the case in the prior 100 years? This phenomenon has nothing to do with being held down. It has everything with a political party telling them they are victims. If I were told for the last 40 years that I was a victim of racism, I might be willing to riot.
    All races have been held as slaves. My ancestors are 90% Scot. My ancestors were sold as slaves by your ancestors in 1745 at the stocks in Boston and Philadelphia. Most people have no clue about this. Should I have a gudge? Only if I believe the sins of the fathers fall to the sons.
    Trying to explain what is going on in the US as having to to with slavery and racism is just wrong

    • Tim L
      Posted at 03:31h, 28 June Reply

      It can be true that a “victim mentality” is holding the black community back and that racism is real and something that they have to deal with on a daily basis. The two are not mutually exclusive. It can be true that a black person can be the victim of undeserved racism through no fault of their own and that the black community is a big part of their own problem to the extent that it disrespects laws and law enforcement, devalues education, and celebrates violence. Failure to acknowledge both realities leads to conclusions like “all cops are racist” or “racism isn’t real”. There is no simple truth that one side sees and the other side doesn’t.

      Incidentally, blacks of one tribe were delivered into slavery by other blacks of another tribe in an experience analogous to that of your ancestors. You don’t see grudges there either. In both cases, it is harder to hold grudges when you can’t distinguish the oppressed from the oppressor, when you have more in common experientially and culturally, and when you believe that you share a similar lot in life.

      • Martin Bailey
        Posted at 07:19h, 28 June Reply

        Hi Tim,

        I don’t necessarily think it’s a “victim mentality”, more just human nature. If you deprive anyone of anything, a certain proportion of us, regardless of color, will ultimately retaliate in some way. I’m actually surprised that the majority of black people have stayed mainly peaceful under the circumstances for the last few centuries. It doesn’t stop there though, of course. Asian’s are discriminated against, anyone that is different or in a minority, at some point, faces discrimination. I think that the human race has to get better at accepting differences on the whole. Homophobia is another example. Just because I’m not gay doesn’t mean that I have to discriminate against someone that is. Why can’t we just accept that people are different, and treat them with respect?

        Of course, there are times when people behave in ways that lead to them losing the respect of others, but again, that happens in all people and should be treated on an individual basis. If an individual commits a crime, they should go to jail. But too many black people are being killed in the arrest process and too many of them for such a petty reason. Using a counterfeit bill, sleeping in a car under the influence, rather than driving it and really breaking the law. These aren’t reasons to kill someone during the arrest. Sure, they tried to escape. So would I if there was a damned good chance that I could get killed in the process.

        I am not belittling the overall good job that the police do. In general, I respect the police and think that cutting their budget, the latest fad, is rediculous. That won’t help at all, and the idea that we don’t need the police at all is ridiculous. But we do need them to be fair, and learn how to make better decisions when making arrests. I know it’s a tough job, and I know that things happen that make them over-react or over-sensitive, but enough is enough. Let’s level the playing field, and stop treating others any less than we would like to be treated ourselves, simply because they are different, for whatever reason.

        Regards,
        Martin.

  • Sigmon Whitener
    Posted at 10:18h, 29 June Reply

    Martin,
    It’s going to get better. It really is–someday.
    What you experienced in moving to Japan is the same as what my wife experienced in moving to LA in 1961 just 15 years after WWII.
    You may have already read this, but if not, I thought you might enjoy:
    https://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2018/10/17/our-lives/empty-seat-crowded-japanese-train-10-years-gaijin-seat-still-grates/

    Best,
    Sigmon

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 11:12h, 29 June Reply

      Hi Sigmon,

      I so hope you’re right.

      That’s a great post. I’m aware of Loco. I haven’t finished it, but I’ve read a good portion of his book. Very well written and incredibly funny. He sums it up very well in his 10 years on post too. And with him being black, he gets to share the train with the empty seat more than my white-ass. I still get it enough to notice, and it narcs me too.

      Right now though everyone is trying to keep one free seat between each other for social distancing. It’s hilarious watching paranoid Japanese people playing musical chairs when the less paranoid traveler boards the train and sits next to them. And when someone (maybe 1 in a 100) people has the nerve to get on the train without a mask it’s an absolute circus! 🙂

      Thanks for sharing the post Sigmon. Stay well.

      Regards,
      Martin.

  • Sigmon Whitener
    Posted at 11:07h, 29 June Reply

    Have you tried this to find your friend?
    https://schoolmates.co.uk/school/the-long-eaton-school/17974

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 11:14h, 29 June Reply

      Cool! I’ll give it a try. I actually don’t remember if she went to my school or my sisters, which was different. I think my sisters, so Long Eaton School is correct. Thanks Sigmon!

  • Daisei Iketani
    Posted at 00:02h, 20 December Reply

    Thank you for this post. I was touched and could relate on many levels.

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