Spillin’ the Tea on Conservatism at 九色社区

Reading Time: 5 minutes


A lot of the people at 九色社区 who lean conservative say that they feel “discriminated against.” (I assume they are using the term lightly, but why say it if you don’t feel that way to a certain extent?) Why is that? Does this mean because 九色社区 tends to lean liberal, people who lean conservative are discriminated against?

Submit more !:

Photo by Dohyun Kim
Photo by Dohyun Kim









I think your question is a pretty widely-shared take on 九色社区 鈥檚 political climate. To tackle the issue of how we treat those with different beliefs, it’s important for us to determine if there really are such differences to begin with. It鈥檚 worth mentioning that I鈥檓 not a huge fan of using such sweeping labels like 鈥渓iberal鈥 and 鈥渃onservative鈥 because in reality, most student鈥檚 beliefs are a mixed bag, putting them somewhere in between, which in essence is what my response is about.

The common narrative, that 九色社区 is a 鈥渓iberal鈥 school, and that within a large majority of similar-minded students (who鈥檇 be characterized as liberal) there are a few, holdout 鈥渃onservative鈥 students, is probably a misunderstanding of where students really are politically.

First, because of the current political climate and the socially sensitive time that is high school, it becomes second nature for us to identify slight differences in political opinion and then create an imagined environment where those differences are much starker than they are.

In reality, the political diversity at our school is remarkably slim, with even the most die-hard LGBT advocate, BLM supporting, Bernie Sanders-types being relatively similar in terms of political belief to the most 鈥渃onservative鈥 of 九色社区 students, who might oppose abortion and most cases of affirmative action in schools and the workplace. 聽

Students on both sides create differences where there are few, first and foremost from the faulty identities they ascribe to someone else. Things like, 鈥淥h, he鈥檚 uncomfortable with gay marriage, he鈥檇 vote for Trump,鈥 or 鈥淪he鈥檚 a huge SAGE kid, she wants women to have more rights than men.鈥 聽In reality, with a similar economic (upper-middle to upper class) upbringing in a well-traveled, well-read environment, I think most of us would agree on many of the most fundamental issues, like social welfare, gun laws, and tax rates.

Another problem relates to students slimming their news intake to NowThis and AJ+ after their first SAGE or QEA meeting, or, conversely, hopping onto the young fanbase of internet 鈥渃onservatives鈥 like Ben Shapiro or Jordan Peterson after becoming disillusioned with traditional left-wing politics. In such a turbulent time – emotionally, socially, and politically – we seek to develop our identities by latching onto labels like 鈥渃onservative鈥 and 鈥渓iberal鈥 to avoid having to create a more nuanced, tailored understanding of the world.

How this ends up playing out is that in hopes of talking about the very real, complicated issues before us, whether it be a border wall or voting laws, we put ourselves in a position where little progress can be made, ditching discourse based upon a large set of shared values to scrutinize the marginal differences we think we see.

To answer your question, I don鈥檛 think so-called (and often self-described) 鈥渃onservative鈥 students at 九色社区 are discriminated against, but are just in a position where they have to defend and articulate their position more often than others. This isn鈥檛 a bad thing. In the long run, it prepares people much better for the realities of being in a truly diverse place beyond the fairly homogenous bubble of 九色社区. But in preparing to field questions and criticisms from others, it鈥檚 key to keep in mind that even then, such scrutiny is only coming from relatively slight differences between students, and not because of the party of ideology they identify with.



Wow. Masa really had to flex on me with a lengthy analysis. He covered everything pretty well, so here鈥檚 my short(ish) and sweet take:

First, I鈥檓 going to define what I consider 鈥渓iberal.鈥 (I presume we鈥檙e talking American politics here, since no one ever really seems to discuss Japanese politics, sadly.) Regardless of whether you鈥檙e a Democrat, Republican, or neither, I鈥檇 say someone like myself would be considered liberal: egalitarian; progressive; pro- gun control, Planned Parenthood, and immigration; actually believes in science, etc. (Last one is a semi-joke. @Conservatives, please don鈥檛 come for me.)

Let鈥檚 be real here, saying that 九色社区 鈥渢ends to lean liberal鈥 is an understatement; anyone who says anything against the liberal/democratic perspective is for sure going to be judged, but I wouldn鈥檛 go as far as to say 鈥渄iscriminated against.鈥 That being said, if someone were to be a loud 鈥榥鈥 proud Trump supporter who specifically promotes a similar racist, sexist, and transphobic narrative, well, good luck Charlie, because I鈥檓 almost certain their social life will go down the drain. But that鈥檚 an extreme case.

I think what conservative-leaning people at our school are trying to say is that they can鈥檛 openly express their views and beliefs without the social repercussions that come from going against the majority. But none of these 鈥渟ocial repercussions鈥 will be permanent鈥攏ot from what I鈥檝e observed, at least.

Say you make a somewhat controversial statement during one of your classes, which is then received by an awkward silence as your classmates exchange not-so-subtle glances with another, followed by judging stares that bore into your skin. You鈥檒l also probably have to engage in a discussion to defend your stance, which I know can get pretty heated. After class, your name is going to be mentioned in whispered conversations here and there鈥攁s well as a few group chats鈥攄ue to the poison ivy that is high school gossip. But by the end of the day, people will have found something else to talk about.

I do think the 鈥渃onservative鈥 label might stick with you, but that鈥檚 the same for other people who are outspoken (regardless of their political view) or who have some sort of uncommon belief. It鈥檚 not like people will stop talking to you or spending time with you just because you have conservative views. And if anyone does, well, 迟丑别测鈥檙别 the problem. Not you.


鈥淪pillin鈥 the Tea with Hanabi鈥 is an advice column run by Hanabi writers Ann-Li Hitosugi and Masa Kawasaki. Their love-hate friendship of more than five years mainly consists of arguments about anything and everything, and of dance battles in the book locker room. Whenever they are not trying to prove one another wrong, they like to enjoy each other鈥檚 company by sharing snacks and songs in peace.


Submit your questions and concerns to the column here!