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Hi! My Name is Loco and I am a Racist [Kindle Edition]

Baye McNeil
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Born to Love — Taught to Loathe

In this powerful and controversial debut book, author Baye McNeil (a.k.a. Loco of the influential blog "Loco in Yokohama) vividly illustrates with unflinching introspection and candor, the birth and evolution of a racist, and in doing so makes the persuasive argument that the only way to cure this social virus is by first acknowledging and engaging one’s own racism.

Loco takes us on a scintillating journey from the streets of Brooklyn, where a child’s first playground was the frontlines of the Black Nationalist Movement of the seventies, to a period of black militancy, military service, interracial romance and corporate bigotry in the eighties and nineties. Following the traumatic events of 9/11/2001, Loco relocates to Japan where he learns that old adage -— you can’t hide from yourself -— the hard way. He finds the woman he was made to love; only she’s a member of a race he has come to loathe. In the name of this love, Loco confronts this dark stowaway with deep roots even as the world is literally falling apart around him, in the form of the Tohoku disaster of 3/11/2011.

A book that is both a memoir and an impassioned call to arms, Hi! My Name is Loco and I am a Racist tells us in no uncertain terms that while racism continues to be demonized as a dark aberration that only “evil people,” ignorant fools, or people lacking compassion and common decency are subject to, then it will remain at large – hiding in plain sight, in our schools, offices, carpools, living rooms...and sometimes even in the mirror.


Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Praise for Baye McNeil's first book: Hi! My Name is Loco and I am a Racist
"With humour, a refreshing breeziness and an impressively incisive and critical eye, Baye McNeil's  Hi! My Name is Loco and I am a Racist, manages to create the virtually impossible: an exploration of race and human intolerance for difference, that delivers honesty without the brutal, raw truth without the rancor, wrapped in engaging, page-turning, guffaw-inducing prose. In doing so, he skilfully defies the natural and somewhat knee-jerk claim that racism is never funny. Instead McNeil cleverly exposes it time and time again as clumsy, awkward and ultimately absurd."
            --Joan Morgan, author of When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost, and renowned Cultural Critic
"A really remarkable and thought-provoking memoir about a sensitive soul's most unlikely route to a life-changing epiphany about the true meaning of racial tolerance."
            --Kam Williams, Literary and Film Critic
"Baye McNeil has written a brutally honest and eminently compelling book about race, from a truly unique perspective."
           --Chris Pavone' author of The Expats
"A rollicking story about a serious scourge--racism and ignorance in Japan and the US"
          --Roland Kelts, author of Japanamerica: How Japanese Pop Culture has Invaded the US
"In spite of the seemingly incendiary title, Hi! My Name is Loco... is an excellent jumping off point for the conversations about race that all of us need to be having."
        -- Suzanne Kamata, author of Losing Kei
"Baye McNeil's Hi! My Name is Loco and I am a Racist is an important work, offering a trenchant study and comparison of racisms between two societies: The United States and Japan, giving much-needed voice and image to the discussion about worldwide permutations of racism."
        --Arudou Debito, author of Japanese Only
"Raw, riveting and radical, Baye McNeil's "Hi! My Name is Loco and I'm a Racist, is an emotionally charged and honest expose on his life in Japan and the expansive notion of Blackness. Bringing an entertaining blend of funk and fact, Loco joins the collective consciousness of truth tellers devoted to presenting discourse on the dark-side of Japan and both Japanese and Black American race consciousness usually ignored, denied or distorted."
           --Eric L. Robinson, BlackTokyo.com

About the Author

Baye McNeil (a.k.a. Loco in Yokohama) is an author, freelance writer and blogger from Brooklyn, New York. He currently lives in Yokohama, Japan, where he teaches English. He is an inspiring hedonist, if only he found anything as pleasurable as opening a vein and sharing his pleasure and pain with readers. The closest he's come to paradise otherwise is spending a wintry day in an outdoor hot springs of a snowy valley beneath the mountains of Kusatsu Japan, with a bottle of Sake and a great book- a scenario he attempts to recreate, with varying success, every winter. He spends his free time reading, writing, taking photos of life on trains and in stations of Yokohama and blogging about life as an expat in Japan. This is his first book.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1517 KB
  • Print Length: 394 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 061558778X
  • Publisher: Hunterfly Road Publishing; 1 edition (January 15, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006Y11TXG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #351,619 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The tragedy of Aiko and Baye's humor are highlights of this read but I found his perspective extremely biased and his writing style very disjointing to say the least.

I can tell Baye is a blogger because his stories are filled with digressions and when he gets emotional, his writing turns into rants and spiels about this or that. When it's not a rant it's a laundry list of this happened and then this happened I it never leads anywhere or arrives at any ground breaking conclusions. People are praising this book for Baye's "honesty" but I'm black, in Japan, and very much not conformed to local traditions and I have no idea what he is talking about or why he would get so upset about empty seats. I have a tattoo, I don't wear a suit everyday and I'm not here to be "exotic." People here have no trouble sitting next to me on the train. Being a foreigner intimidates most people because they are insecure about their ability to communicate and often they hardly can. And girls are not throwing themselves at me.

At times Baye is articulate but often he uses his "New York" slang, I guess to be revealing about how us colored folk talk to each other. For me it just doesn't work. It seems there are too many conflicts going on in Baye's head to make a clear voice to present his observations.

I know it seems like I'm being harsh and I realize this is Baye's first book but I feel like this book does more to hurt the conversation on race than helps. Too often in the book Baye paints himself the victim or the hero where I think he could have been a little more objective. There are two sides to every story and Baye's side is a little contentious to say the least. And it completely contradicts other points in the book about Baye's life in Japan.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Like a slap in the face, my eyes opened. . . January 17, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Hard hitting from the get go Loco holds nothing back. Brutally honest with his feelings and situations he tells his story the way we harshly talk to our inner selves. His journey to a self-realization is a story ALL of us can learn from. Loco shows us first the darkness that we all make for ourselves. The boundaries we grow up with. And then shows us the person we can be. Or rather we should become. And like the title of my review, "Like a slap in the face, my eyes opened. . ."
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not so much about Japan, but powerfully good anyway April 24, 2012
Format:Paperback
Though this book is written partially through the filter of Baye McNeil's experiences while living in Japan, it is really about how he was indoctrinated through his education and early life experiences in America to think like a racist. His experiences in Japan sharpened his understanding of racism both from the viewpoint of having such thoughts himself and being the recipient of racist behavior from others. He is a thoughtful person with a deep and passionate way of expressing himself and this book should be an eye opener for anyone who not only wants to know what it is like to live in Japan, but also what it can be like to grow up and live as a black man in America.

The tale of Baye's life, or at least the part he shares with us in this book, is engaging and the book is hard to put down. He doesn't let anyone off the hook for their racist behavior, including himself. Since so many people who live in Japan become apologists for racism, and indeed seem to become more racist themselves in order to validate the Japanese perspective of "gaijin" (outsiders/foreigners), it is refreshing to read Baye's take on the situation. He sees others for what they are, even when he doesn't want to, just as he sees himself for what he is, even when it may not be pretty.

Baye is a talented writer and this is an impressive first book. I only knock off one star because the book has scattered mistakes (typos/spelling) that should have been cleaned up in editing (and hopefully will be fixed in future editions). Frankly, I think his story would make a great movie and I hope he gets the exposure and success that he deserves.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shine on, Loco January 18, 2012
By Truth
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
"And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same."

What I love most about this book is that Loco doesn't position himself as some kind of expert on race relations or activist, he simply tells his story, leading by example, and the effect of his sometimes self-effacing condor is just as powerful as if he were some kind of sociologist or anthropologist with a string of letters after his name, arguably more so.

Loco wears his heart on his sleeve, so much so that I found myself crying on the train, trying to secretly wipe my tears away before anyone saw. He doesn't hold anything back.

Loco's mission is simply to make us aware -- aware of our motivations, aware of what's going on around us, aware of "the elephant in the room", as he puts it. By following his soul-searching journey I think we can all learn how to shake off apathy, face and maybe even triumph over the hidden darkness within.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Read I've had in Years January 22, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I've posted a full review here (...)

I was genuinely caught off guard by this book in so many ways. I didn't hope to laugh as much as I ended up doing, but I never expected to cry. The book blew me away on three different levels.

The first is that Loco completely succeeds at drawing you slowly into his world, talking to me about things I thought I knew about or was familiar with, but learning I was not. Showing me a whole different life experience through his own eyes.

The second thing that got me about the book was Loco's writing style. His narrative is fluorescently vivid. Some of his turns of phrase and sentences really made me actually wish I could stop and mark the page. So many quotables, and so many brilliantly and succinctly put insights. I sincerely hope that this book makes it into print for that alone.

The third thing about the book is the structure of the book - I've read his blog before and found it a bit jarring to go straight into, as indeed, I think jumping straight to the third or fourth chapter of this book would be. But the narrative is set up so well, and you are eased into it, and then led through a dance between sadness and joy, geographies and timescales, each contrasting and complementing the last before finally and gently returning the reader to the motif used in the beginning of the empty train seat, and the thought piece at the end.

I expected to read a really long blog about Japan made into a book. I got the best damn read I've had in the last 10 years by a man who has proven to me beyond any doubt that he is a uniquely talented writer, who I hope gets this into print, and writes much more.

Peace
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Meaningful debut
A little late to the party, but finally read Baye McNeil's "Hi! My Name is Loco and I am a Racist". Read more
Published 1 month ago by MICHAEL VITO
5.0 out of 5 stars most definitive book!
I've experienced a lot of emotions while reading this book. I really don't read books very often. but this one is an exception. Read more
Published 1 month ago by james jennifer
3.0 out of 5 stars Don't Let the Title Deter You
Loco is a native New Yorker that currently lives in Japan. His passion for writing is evident. This nonfiction book is a selection of stories and reflections from his childhood... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Literary Marie
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Title for a Book
What a great and interesting read. Experiences with play by play detail of events make this book a must read for any dark-skinned person planning on living in Japan. Read more
Published 2 months ago by DeRutter jones
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read overall
I bought this book, because like the author, I also live in Japan. I was looking for his stories of living in Japan, and ended up with other stuff that I wasn't really interested... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Alan T. Lefor
3.0 out of 5 stars gaijin forcefield in its pros and cons
Racism pictured in its extremes: from the amok Brooklyn "gods" to the bitterness of casual Japanese hospitality kind of racism.
Published 4 months ago by Vladimir Molodnyakov
5.0 out of 5 stars A Woven Tapestry of Words
I typically do not read non-fiction books, but I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this one. First off the cover art is brilliant as it speaks to my love of video games, comics... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Tasha
4.0 out of 5 stars Loved it brother!
This book had me hanging on to every word, it had me thinking about the similar nuances and stigmas that Asian culture overall has for foreigners, along with the different pecking... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Derrick M. Williams
5.0 out of 5 stars Provoking.
I was surprised. really surprised, I read a lot of books and often I have to stop when I get bored. I never once stop reading this book. I read this book in one sitting. Read more
Published 7 months ago by LEyla
4.0 out of 5 stars Genuine...and worth the read
Very good book - author is authentic, candid and unapologetic for his thoughts, which is exactly as should have been. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Shannon Vellone
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More About the Author

Baye McNeil (a.k.a. Loco in Yokohama) is a freelance writer, teacher, blogger and the author of two books: Hi! My Name is Loco and I am a Racist, and Loco in Yokohama. He is originally from Brooklyn, New York. He currently lives in Yokohama, Japan. He spends his free time reading, writing, taking photos of life in Yokohama and blogging about life as an expat living in Japan.

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