An Osaka court has rejected a discrimination suit against the owner of an eyeglass shop.
The case stems from an incident in Osaka Prefecture in September 2004. [Designer and U.S. National Steve] McGowan was talking with his friend while looking at a poster in front of the shop when the owner came out and asked the two to leave, according to the ruling.
The next day, McGowan and his Japanese wife appeared at the shop, and she asked the owner what had happed the day before.
The owner explained that he had asked the two to leave after he was contacted by a customer who claimed to have had trouble entering the store because there were people in front of it.
The business owner added that he had a bad impression of black people during a stay in Germany.
McGowan, who lives in Kyoto Prefecture, maintained in the suit that the owner said he hated black people and refused him entry to the shop.
The court, however, rejected the allegation.
“The plaintiff should have said that he was made to leave the shop against his will,” the judge said. “I have doubts about the plaintiff’s level of comprehension of the Japanese language. I cannot trust his accusation over the use of discriminatory remarks.”
The judge concluded that the plaintiff had merely assumed the owner made offensive remarks when he mentioned his experience in Germany.
The court’s ruling is effectively: “He’s a foreigner; he’s not fluent in Japanese; obviously he misheard; a Japanese person would not be so rude.”
And nobody seems to notice that it is racist to say you have a “bad impression of black people” based on a single experience!
We have two forms of discrimination going on here: the shopowner’s specific prejudice against black people, and the general Japanese prejudice against non-Japanese.
McGowan didn’t stand a chance.