Thursday, October 6, 2016


1.)          __________ are better at taiko than __________.

2.)          _____  _____ can't be as good at taiko as _____  _____.

What did you put in those blanks?  I'm betting you put something in them.

It's only natural to put something in there, one group over another, but I'd hope that everyone who reads this post quickly dismissed whatever your brain put in there.  It's only natural to put something in there, but it's what we do next that defines us.

However, I know from experience that some people will fill in those blanks and believe it, even defend it.  That one group of people will never be as good as another group.  That Japanese players are better than non-Japanese players, that women can't be as good as men, etc.  This is something I've tackled multiple times on my blog and in conversations.

Can you prefer an aesthetic?  Yes.  Is that aesthetic better?  Subjective.  Not better for everyone, not better in all cases.  I can respect someone's opinion, but that's what it ultimately is, opinion.

Another danger of this mindset can come about in how you teach.  If you intrinsically believe people A are superior to people B, and you have to teach groups of both, how can you be sure your lowered expectations of people B aren't affecting what you say and do with them?  That you're not giving subtle (or not so subtle) clues to them when you interact?  Are you in fact part of the cause for the opinion you hold?

Put yourself in their shoes.  What if you knew your teacher automatically thought less about whatever group of people they included you in?  What if you could see and hear the differences in how they treated you versus a group of people they assumed were better than you?

Finally, how does it influence how others perceive you?  As you can tell, I don't think much for this kind of biased thinking.  It sets up unnecessary barriers and hampers interactions both ways.  Stating your opinion as fact on this can get people to respect you less, consider your opinions on other things as flawed, etc. 

I would normally say here that it's ok to have this sort of opinion if you know it's just your opinion, but I actually would like people to question it if is indeed their opinion.  There's so much taiko out there, there's so many new things popping up and old things being refined all over the world.  Why not keep an open mind and hope to be pleasantly surprised?

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