Brianna Slaughter on organizing BLM Kansai / インタビュー:BLM関西オーガナイザー、ブリアナ・スローター

By: Chiaki Hirai June 24, 20200 Comments
Brianna Slaughter, a young woman with black hair.

Editor’s Note (6/25/20): A Japanese translation of the interview has been provided by Masaki C. Matsumoto. The interview was originally conducted in English. 翻訳 マサキチトセ

Content Warning: Discussion of racism, police brutality, and online harassment


Brianna Slaughter is an Afro-Lantinx YouTuber posting videos at Morena in Japan. They have lived in Kyoto for the past 3 years, but are currently back in the U.S. during the coronavirus pandemic. Slaughter plans to return to Japan after the pandemic passes.

Slaughter is one of the organizers for @blmkansai, serving as its PR. The group held a June 7 march in Osaka, attracting 2,000 supporters according to Slaughter and other organizers. Slaughter’s promotion helped the march gain traction, especially after tennis champion Naomi Osaka quote-tweeted them prior to the event.

The following is an e-mail Q-and-A with Slaughter.

ブリアナ・スローターは Morena in Japan というチャンネルで動画を投稿しているアフロ・ラティニックス(Afro-Latinx。訳者注:アフリカ系を意味する African と、ラテン系を意味する Latina/Latino のジェンダー中立的表現 Latinx)の YouTuber だ。スローターは京都に三年間住んでいたが、現在はコロナウイルス・パンデミックのため米国に戻っている。終息後には日本に戻る予定だという。

スローターは @blmkansai (訳者注:ブラック・ライブス・マター関西)を主催するひとりで、広報を担当している。スローターや他の主催者たちによれば、6月7日に大阪で開催した行進には、2000人が集ったという。この行進にそれだけ支持が集まったのには、スローターによる宣伝効果があった。テニス・チャンピオンの大坂なおみがイベント前にスローターのツイートを引用リツイートしてからは特にだ。


AF: Starting off, what brought you to move to Japan in the first place and what is it like to live in Japan as a Black person?

まずはじめに、そもそも日本に来たきっかけは何でしたか? 日本での黒人としての生活はどんなものですか?

BS: I grew up in a low-income community where I did not see a lot of people able to live their dreams. I decided from a young age that I needed to be able to get out and see the world, so I pushed as hard as I could through my teens.

I moved to Japan at 18 years old and do not regret moving there. To be Black in Japan is easier than being Black in America; however, it has its challenges. The fetishization and sexualization of Black people in Japan is nauseating. We are used as comedic value. Blackface is still used in the media. There are lots of misconceptions and stereotypes that are damaging to the large Black community in Japan.


18歳で日本に引っ越してきましたが、引っ越して良かったと今でも思っています。アメリカで黒人として生きることよりも、日本で黒人として生きる方がマシなのです。もちろん、日本にいても色々な問題にぶつかることはあります。日本における黒人のフェティッシュ化や、黒人を性的な存在としてばかり見る目線(訳者注:原文は “sexualization of Black people”)には、吐き気を感じるほどです。私たちは笑いのネタにもされます。メディアにはブラック・フェイス(訳者注:黒人でない者が黒人を模倣して顔を黒く塗ること)も未だに出てきます。日本の黒人のコミュニティー全体に対して不利益を生み出すような誤解や偏見がたくさんあるのです。

AF: So while the experience is different, you still feel a different kind of racism in Japan. Do you then feel there are any parallels or overlaps in terms of experiences in the U.S. and Japan, such as police brutality?

つまり、違いはあれど、日本でも別のたぐいの人種差別を感じるということでしょうか。では米国と日本での経験のうち、共通しているなとか、似た方向性だなと感じるものはありますか? 例えば警察による暴力とかはどうでしょう。

BS: Police brutality is different in America because of America’s racist history of the police force (i.e slave patrols). I have been racially profiled by the police in Japan, but it is nowhere near the brutality and violence of the United States. However, racial bias does intertwine in these two countries.

アメリカの警察による暴力とは異なりますね。奴隷取締(訳者注:原文は “slave patrol” で、奴隷が逃亡したり反抗したりしないように取り締まる白人の武装した集団のこと。アメリカの警察制度の基礎である)など、アメリカには警察自体に人種差別的な歴史がありますから。日本でも人種プロファイリング(訳者注:特定の人種を狙って疑いをかけて職務質問をしたりすること)されたことはありますが、米国における残虐さや暴力とは比べ物になりません。ただ、人種的偏見については、日本とアメリカのそれは繋がっています。

AF: So I understand you were asked to help organize the #blmkansaimarch by running PR, how did you come to this role?

BLM関西 #BLMKansaiMarch に広報として主催参加してほしいと言われたそうですが、この役割を引き受けることにしたのはどういう経緯があってのことですか?

BS: Ayana Wyse contacted me about helping to organize. After I agreed, I was added to the group chat right away.


A scene from the Osaka protest. People walk in the street holding signs stating the importance of Black lives.
Photo by Samantha Milligan, Instagram @Samanthamilligan

AF: I think you mentioned you’re friends with her, is there a community of African Americans living in the Kansai region? What role does that group play for you and others coming to live in Japan?


BS: It isn’t just African Americans. It is Black people from countries all over the world. Meeting so many different people from different backgrounds who also look like me helped me transition into my new life and my adulthood. Holding events that display creativity, having parties, and having days just to hang out made me feel safe.


AF: You also mentioned you provided help on the know-how of organizing a march, have you done organizing work before?


BS: I used examples and information from what I have learned about protests in the U.S. Since it was a peaceful march, rather than learning about how to stay safe from police, I focused more on what we need from volunteers, COVID-19 exposure, writing guidelines, and social media. I would rather not discuss details as many Black protestors/organizers have gone missing.


AF: What are some of the unique challenges of organizing under COVID-19?


BS: We came up with strict guidelines and translated them into both English and Japanese. We were wary about social distancing and that was the immediate concern for many who initially heard about the march. We received authorization from the city of Osaka and the authorities and we were able to come up with a solid plan under the 5 days that we had to plan the march.


A shot of protestors standing holding an array of signs
Photo by Samantha Milligan, Instagram @Samanthamilligan

AF: While Ayana Wyse makes it clear why she was driven to “step up” to organize, what drives you, specifically?


BS: I have been well aware of my Black identity since I was a child. I always knew I would have to fight for myself in a world where not many would fight for me. If I were to be killed by the police, I would want the world to be angry and screaming my name, too.


AF: I recall seeing your initial hope was to get maybe 500 people or so to show up, but 2,000 people turned out instead. How do you feel about that level of support? Was anything particularly surprising to you about the protest?

あなたは最初500人くらいが参加してくれたらいいなと言っていましたね。実際は2000人が参加しました。これだけの支持が集まったことをどう捉えていますか? 今回の抗議活動で、あなた自身が特に驚いた部分はありますか?

BS: The turnout made me emotional to be honest. I didn’t know so many people would show up for us as allies. The march stayed peaceful throughout the entirety of the allotted time. Naomi Osaka quote-tweeted my tweet promoting the march, so that meant the world to me.

参加者の人数には正直感動しました。あんなにたくさんの人たちがアライ(訳者注:原文は “alllies” で、仲間、特に当事者ではないが一緒に社会運動に参加する人たちを指すことが多い)として参加するとは知らなかったのです。行進自体も最初から最後までずっと平和的なものでした。大坂なおみさんが私の宣伝ツイートを引用リツイートしてくれたのも、私にとって大変嬉しいことでした。

A shot from behind of protestors. The photo focuses on a sign reading "Japanese 4 Black Lives"
Photo by Samantha Milligan, Instagram @Samanthamilligan

AF: Also, speaking to your newfound Internet fame as the PR for the march, I understand you’ve been hit by harassment online, what helps you deal with that?


BS: I have been dealing with a significant amount of harassment for the past 2 years of having my YouTube channel. Many are not keen on a Black queer person having bold opinions in a foreign country. I eventually learned to ignore the most evil comments. I block so many accounts on a daily basis and constantly delete ignorant comments. I don’t need to see negativity and projection.

この二年間、YouTube チャンネルではかなりの量の嫌がらせを受けてきたんです。外国に住む黒人のクィアな人間が大胆な意見を持っているということ自体を好まない人というのが多いんです。かなり悪質なコメントについては、単に無視することができるようになりました。日々たくさんのアカウントをブロックしていますし、無知なコメントも削除しています。否定的なものや、投影的なもの(訳者注:原文は “projection” で、自分の抱える問題の存在を否定するために他者を責めることを指す心理学用語)を私が見なければいけないということはないのですから。

AF: So what’s the next step for @blmkansai?


BS: We are teaming up with other parts of Kansai such as Kyoto to band together to form a larger unofficial organization. We hope to collaborate with other prefectures in the future.


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