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Hines Ward and the hardships of mixed-race Koreans

As you might imagine, Super Bowl MVP Hines Ward has become the object of the Korean media’s affection and a source of national pride–his name managed to become the No. 1 search word on at least one Korean Internet portal site. I don’t find this particularly odd, and at any rate, Ward’s story is truly inspirational. I know the Nomad and Cathartidae have commented on the media’s coverage of Mr. Ward, and Jodi sparked a pretty good discussion on Ward and what actually makes a Korean. Yes, there’s a lot of nationalist chest-thumping, but that doesn’t mean the media is totally oblivious to certain social realities. Point in case would be today’s edition of the JoongAng Ilbo (Korean), which ran a front page story this morning that analyzed the “Hines Ward Craze” and engaged in some rather sincere self-reflection over the hardships faced by mixed-race individuals in Korean society. It said:

There are also voices of reflection using the opportunity to call for the correction of mistaken perceptions of mixed-race individuals. It’s said that Ward experienced the hardship of ostracism from even Korean-American society because he was mixed-race. One netizen pointed out, “If Ward had continued to live in Korea, he would have been teased as a twigi (a Korean term of derision for mixed-race people) and would have been unable to properly attend school… We must end our society’s exclusionary ethnic nationalism that views mixed-race people through colored glasses.” There are even calls for us to learn the cultural inclusiveness of American society that made Ward’s success possible.

The secretary general of HiFamily.net, which is conducting a campaign to promote the rights of mixed-race Koreans, told the JoongAng he hoped the “Hines Ward Craze” would eventually lead to greater interest in the problems faced by mixed-race Koreans.

Meanwhile, Yonhap News (Korean) ran a lengthy piece today on how the media frenzy around Hines Ward’s story should focus attention on the realities faced by mixed-race Koreans. There are some 35,000 mixed-race individuals in Korea; 5,000 “Amerasians” born of Korean mothers and American military fathers, and 30,000 “Kosians” born of a Korean parent and a parent from another Asian nation. Historically, they can be divided into three “generations;” a first generation composed of GI-fathered Amerasians, a second generation that arose in the 1990s as more and more South and Southeast Asian men came to Korea in search of the “Korean Dream,” and a third generation born since 2000 of a rapidly increasing number of marriages between rural Korean fathers and Southeast Asian women.

According to the report, despite globalization and the appearance of mixed-race stars on TV (like Daniel Henny and Dennis Oh), attitudes concerning mixed-race Koreans are changing slowly in a society that puts primacy on ethnic purity. They are still treated much as “strangers” in many segments of society, with “first-generation” Amerasians born of African-American fathers suffering from particular hardship.

Mixed-race Koreans find it difficult to adjust to school, and hence find their educational opportunities limited. When they try to find jobs, they rank alongside the handicapped as the people companies would like to hire least. And there are differences even within the mixed-race community, with Koasians born of Korean fathers relatively better off thanks to things like better educational opportunities, while those born of foreign fathers like U.S. soldiers or migrant workers often experience more difficult economic circumstances.

Yonhap warned that with interest in Ward focusing more on his individual success story rather than on the problems faced by ordinary mixed-race Koreans unfairly treated in the society, such mixed-race people might feel yet again deprived. Lee Ji-yeong of the Pearl Buck Foundation told Yonhap:

“The problems faced by mixed-race Koreans won’t go away just because a couple of mixed-race entertainers grow popular or because people like Hines Ward gather attention… First the government must set proper policies, and then all people must take time to work together.”

A professor at SungKongHoe University warned that while interest in mixed-race stars was better than no interest at all, there was the danger that the minority of success stories might lead some to transfer responsibility for the failures from society onto the individuals.

About the author: Just the administrator of this humble blog.

  • snow

    As a white father of two mixed children (korean/canadian) I find this subject to be quite fascinating. Very interesting stuff from Jodi, too. Is it still difficult for mixed children to fit into a regular school here? I’ve been alright with the idea that they can go to a school here, but my wife is fairly insistent on taking them out of here when they reach elementary school age. Anyone with experience in this area, can you share your thoughts and opinions?

  • iheartblueballs

    The simple fact is, if Hines Ward couldn’t catch footballs and run, and he came back to the “motherland” for a visit with his Korean mother, he would be treated just like every other mixed Korean/black:

    Like a piece of shit, unworthy of a fair shake from people who refuse to see past his “dirty” heritage and would rather have their precious, pure, Korean daughters commit suicide than mix with the unclean.

    Sure, Koreans will use Ward to fuel their master-race fantasies from afar. But ask them if they’d want him to be part of their families or a father to their grandchildren, and all that chest-thumping would turn to uncomfortable silence.

    Maybe the Pearl Buck Foundation can set up a special screening of “Address Unknown” for Ward while he’s in Korea.

  • http://kurios1978.blogspot.com VinceTan

    I don’t know if it’s so much of Koreans feeling that they are the master race, or if it’s more of ignorance? Working out here in the South of Jeolla, it occured to me that not many people have had even the slightest contact with a foreigner.

    Instead of reaching out to find out more about the foreigner, many (as I have found), just choose to shy away and rather live with the stereotypes passed down to them through media and word of mouth…

    Was asking my Korean girlfriend about the different standards of treatment to some of these kids of mixed parentage. The answer was simply “No such problem”. There simply is no awareness, or even the urge to find out the real situation!

    I personally don’t think the things will go on and get all cheery-happy anytime soon. But news of some (though small) sprouting of awareness and realisation of how shitty children of mixed-parentage have it, is certainly welcome in my books.

  • hob999nob

    The simple fact is, if Hines Ward couldn?? catch footballs and run, and he came back to the ??otherland??for a visit with his Korean mother, he would be treated just like every other mixed Korean/black:

    Like a piece of shit, unworthy of a fair shake from people who refuse to see past his ??irty??heritage and would rather have their precious, pure, Korean daughters commit suicide than mix with the unclean.

    Sure, Koreans will use Ward to fuel their master-race fantasies from afar. But ask them if they?? want him to be part of their families or a father to their grandchildren, and all that chest-thumping would turn to uncomfortable silence.

    Maybe the Pearl Buck Foundation can set up a special screening of ??ddress Unknown??for Ward while he?? in Korea.
    ============================================
    iheartblueballs is completely right on the money. Even with but an inkling of Korean blood, those who make it big are instantly feted as “?????” Those who don’t are just (according to a racist Korean acquaintance of mine) “??? ??? ??”
    Koreans pat themselves on the back for being so international about accepting those of mixed heritage yet they export thousands of orphans to Western nations every year. When these kids, many of which are of mixed heritage, come of age they’ll receive one of the two types of treatment received above.
    I happen to know quite a few foreigners who are married to Korean women in Seoul, and the way their wives are treated makes me retch. One of my friend’s wives was called a “fucking slut” by the security guard in her apartment for an entire year. I don’t why she never sued that racist sack of shit.
    I will be marrying a Korean woman myself pretty soon, but am thinking about raising my children as “just Americans” because I don’t want them to be disappointed with Korea should they ever come back.

  • iheartblueballs

    Snow, listen to your wife. In all my years in Korea, I didn’t know a single mixed couple who kept their children in a public school for more than a few months. Many were idealistic (or ignorant) like yourself and tried, but the constant ridicule and wangtta treatment (from both kids AND teachers) had them running to international schools or back to their home countries in no time.

    The reason your wife is hesitant to put your kids through the Korean school system is because she went through it, and knows what kind of hell your kids would be in for. Trust her and don’t use your kids as guinea pigs for your own lofty ideals.

  • http://www.koreasojourner.blog-city.com/ usinkorea

    What is the name of that female, older rock singer?
    I don’t know a whole lot about her, but what I do makes be believe she is someone who should be championed by the Korean media as a mixed race Korean. She is a true Korean. She was raised in the nation and culture. She was also an orphan. She also has one hell of a singing voice. And what I know about her comes from the bits and pieces I’ve caught over the years of her doing charity work for orphanages. I’ve seen enough of those over the years that it seems like she is doing it from the heart and not some brief flirt with the idea or some publicity stunt. I also saw where she was part of the concert to promote NK Human Rights the week of the conference.

    That is someone for Korea to admire.

  • Schlapsta

    Here’s our story. I hope it provides some wisdom to others in a similiar situation.

    We’ve just moved back to Australia after several years in Korea with our two young Korean/Aussie kids. We exposed our kids to all that is positive about being there and have extracted them before the negative begins. My son aged 5 speaks Korean fluently. Unfortunately, he was being called Dung-kae in the bathhouse. He thought it was funny as all heck and became his new favourite word. Although for much longer my wife was tired of the ‘nice’ comments about how cute [different] they looked. It’s easy to see that when the voyers are kids in a school yard, the comments will have a very different tone.

    Regarding non-Korean school options. Who wants to pay $10-15k US per kid per year for an international school? Not me.

    In the end, I’m extremely pleased with the outcome of our stay in Korea. Our eldest kid speaks Korean at home and with all our Korean friends in Australia. They’ve both developed close bonds with their Korean cousins, aunts/uncles and grandparents.

    We will consider living there again once the kids have developed their own identity in a positive cultural environment. They are treated just as Korean here as their ‘regular’ Korean playmates. I suspect they will feel similiarly awkward upon returning to Korea as regular Korean- American kids do.

    The Koreans I know seem ignorant at worst, not maliciously racist. They simply fail to recognise the damage their ignorance can cause. My hat goes off to all the organisations in Korea which support children of mixed race. I too can’t see Korea getting any better soon and feel very fortunate that my kids have better alternatives.

  • http://kushibo.blogspot.com kushibo

    Regarding non-Korean school options. Who wants to pay $10-15k US per kid per year for an international school? Not me.

    It should not be this way. If mixed-race kids or non-Korean kids cannot feel secure in the public school system, then the public school system should be doing something about this. After all, the parents of these kids are also tax-paying residents.

    Yeah, some will say they don’t care, but I think the problem is a lack of awareness of the problem. Those who realize that less-than-100% Korean kids can easily get ostracized or abused believe that sending those kids to international schools is an option. What they don’t realize is the incredible expense or the fact that some of the schools don’t allow in just any applicant with foreign citizenship.

    I and a few people I have talked to have long thought that it would be good for lower-income international residents (i.e., those not earning what would be six-digit salaries back in the US, or the equivalent in other countries) to pool their resources and make a “charter school” of sorts. Hiring a few credentialed professional teachers and getting space would not be that hard to accomplish. Certainly there are already a lot of parents “home schooling” their kids here simply because they can’t afford international school tuition.

    I’m not married and I have no kids, but were I to return to Korea after my PhD studies are over, I would certainly want to get involved in setting something like this up.

  • http://kushibo.blogspot.com kushibo
  • http://koreanamerican431.blogspot.com/ baduk

    Please excuse my countrymen. Korea may be technologically advanced but culturally it is stuck at 1920s’ America. Koreans, kids and grownups alike, relish the experience of putting down other people with different background, skin colors or with disability. Call it racism if you will. This attitude is definitely a part of Korean lifestyle.

    Harsh environment gives rise to harsh men – men who like to show off their fitness to the world of survival. Koreans have been living under harsh circumstances before and ever since Korean War. They do not have room in their minds for minor issues like fair treatment of foreigners.

    What is necessary is a national emergency of some sort and change of attitude ensuing from the event. America has gone through such experience in 1960s. And, the lesson is still continuing and expanding even to this day.

    Korea needs a historical lesson of this kind. It should have learned the lesson during Korean War, with the help it got from other nations, but has forgotten the lesson since then. NorKs and Commies in the South insist that Korea should continue to live as hermits. Commies, after all, are just backward isolationists who insist on terminating contacts with all foreigners.

    I believe the Chinese and the Japanese share this trait of extreme isolationism. Koreans even look at these Asian brothers to be “foreigners”, who are not to be mixed with.
    A very bad attitude to have in this time of “global economy”.

    Korea needs to change and change fast in this arena. Yet, the change of national attitude will only come when there is strong impetus to change. I do not see it happening soon.

  • slim

    Get ready for more food for reflection: My morning Washington Post (Feb 8) tells me that Amerie, “an Army brat of Korean and African heritage who finished high school in Alaska” is up for two Grammys tonight.

    Maybe Korea can become a hub of miscegenation, with a special role for the evil Dr Hwang in creating interesting mixes.

  • cm

    baduk, 1920′s America hanged blacks, it was against law for visible minorities to marry whites. 1920′s America, it was normal to call blacks ‘niggers’, ‘negroes’, and it was normal to call Chinese as ‘chinaman’. 1920′s America was all white all through and through and it was very dangerous for racially different people who were often killed on a whim of the mob. It was only the 1960′s – only 40 years ago that the racial minority were even allowed to vote. It wasn’t long ago now. Now we see the holier than thou attitude from the same crowd whose parents and grandparents who acted far worse than any worst Korean that they could imagine. 1920′s America? Give me a break baduk.

  • dogbertt

    Now we see the holier than thou attitude from the same crowd whose parents and grandparents who acted far worse than any worst Korean that they could imagine.

    What is the basis of Koreans feelings that they are superior to whites? I would really like to know.

    If it is just “pure blood”, should I accept that a pureblood greyhound with a long and impeccable pedigree is my superior? Of course not.

  • http://www.koreasojourner.blog-city.com/ usinkorea

    Yes, Cm, I am more holy than Koreans today when it comes to race issues.

  • slim

    We might view South Korea in a less harsh light if we consider the infanticide or forced abortion that would be the fate of mixed race child in North Korea.

  • http://bluejives.typepad.com/burp bluejives

    We might view South Korea in a less harsh light if we consider the infanticide or forced abortion that would be the fate of mixed race child in North Korea.

    I don’t know dude. Last time I checked, Robert Jenkins’s two grown daughters seemed to be alive and well.

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  • http://bluejives.typepad.com/burp bluejives

    Baduk:Please excuse my countrymen. Korea may be technologically advanced but culturally it is stuck at 1920s??America. Koreans, kids and grownups alike, relish the experience of putting down other people with different background, skin colors or with disability. Call it racism if you will. This attitude is definitely a part of Korean lifestyle….

    No need to apologize, Baduk, for our fellow countrymen’s behavior. Because if you are gonna apologize for the mistreatment of mixed-race offspring in Korea, or in an abstract generalization sense, the mistreatment of anyone who just happens to be “different”, then you would need to apologize for the whole of humanity. I don’t know of any nation where minorities aren’t treated badly in some way, and that includes the good ole US of A, the land of freedom, equality, and all that jazz. Cultural chauvinism, bigotry, and prejudice are an inevitable part of human nature and Koreans are no exceptions.

    I’d like to submit my own Jaemi-Kyopo’s POV. I can relate to the plight of mixed race children in Korea because when I was growing in the US, I had to endure my share of *chink* ridicule from schoolmate, apathy/non-understanding of teachers, etc. I’m sure you know how it is without me going into all the gory details.

    My parents understood what was happening. They taught me that because I looked Asian, I would never be fully accepted as 100% American, no matter how well I spoke English or how long I’ve lived here. When push came to shove, I had to throw down my things and fight, sometimes literally, for dignity and respect, instead of just taking it for granted. I had to work several times harder than an average American in order to achieve parity or get ahead. My parents’s advice was cold, realistic, and practical.

    Contrast this to the whiny, belly-aching, moan-fest of expats that’s already going on. It is my general impression that expats, especially the white ones, make very poor minorities. There is something about the whites’s sense of entitlement that leads them to believe that they are automatically privileged to rights, even when they are in another country, instead of having to fight and struggle for rights like all other kinds of minorities have had to do. My parents never played the race card. They didnt talk about setting up “special” schools, or pulling their kids out and sheltering them in a more “friendly” environment. They said to me: son, you will stay in that hostile environment that you are in and you will learn to survive, goddamit.

  • slim

    “I don?? know dude. Last time I checked, Robert Jenkins?? two grown daughters seemed to be alive and well.”

    They were (relatively) cossetted foreigners, whose American and Japanese parents didn’t commit the sin of mixing Korean blood.

  • seungyup

    What’s even more ridiculous is that Kyopos are criticized harshly too. Though not as bad as mixed races, Kyopos are still treated as outsiders by many Koreans. I hear a lot of bad stories from my friends who went to Korea during vacations. Personally, I never experienced much hardships when I lived in Korea from Kindergarten to 2nd grade. All the neighborhood kids knew me as the ‘American Kid’ which made me pretty popular, plus I used to attend Seoul International School.

    Koreans need to pull their head out of their ass and start becoming more tolerant. They claim to be world-class and part of the global community but that’s just flies out the damn window if they become ignorant bastards. All that claim of the “pure Korean blood” is an understatement. Besides the migrations from China and Mongolia, the established Korean Kingdoms were still conquered and occupied by Chinese, Mongol Hordes and Japanese.

  • pawikirogi

    ‘in sun yi is an orphan…’

    i don’t believe in sun yi is an orphan; i beleive she’s one of those children whose father just up and left. funny how none of you speak about the issue of western fathers not taking care of the children they make.

    ‘now we see the hollier than thou attitude from the same crowd whose parents and grandparents committed some of the worst racial atrocities…’

    got that right but the expat doesn’t want to think about that since it’s inconvenient. the fact of the matter is, when it comes to racial hatred and the like, white folk take the cake. they just don’t like to admit that; it gets in the way of their whining about the ‘atrocities’ of korean racism.

    ‘there is something about whites’ sense of entitlement…’

    i’ve always said that the expat thinks he’s special simply because he’s white. i’m glad others can see this.

    ‘koreans don’t see mxed race children as korean…’

    perhaps they don’t see them as korean since they’re not korean. is a half white child white? the australien who posted above speaks as if his children are korean, isn’t he doing the same thing koreans do in that he doesn’t see his chlidren as white just as koreans do not see a mixed race child as korean?

    and the 64,000 dollar question:

    how many of you expats see halle berry as a white chick?
    that’s what i thought.

  • slim

    Nulji has such a gift for debate degradation that he would have to be invented if he didn’t exist, if only to prove that things can ALWAYS go further downhill.

  • http://bluejives.typepad.com/burp bluejives

    They were (relatively) cossetted foreigners, whose American and Japanese parents didn?? commit the sin of mixing Korean blood.

    OK, but you see, the utter lack of empirical substantiation to your proctologically originated assertion leaves lots of nagging doubt. Tell you what, why don’t you offer yourself to the cause of further researching this thought experiment, emigrate to North Korea, find a nice North Korean lady, impregnate her and have a child, and let us know how it goes. Good luck and godspeed.

  • judge judy

    all talk of korea being “world class” and “part of the global community” can be boiled down to one thing at this point: korea buys lots of raw resources, builds things with them and sells them globally. that’s the end of their global involvement. there is no global mindset nor experience with foreign culture in a real sense. don’t expect to get gold from lead.

  • iheartblueballs

    I don?? know if it?? so much of Koreans feeling that they are the master race, or if it?? more of ignorance?

    The Koreans I know seem ignorant at worst, not maliciously racist.

    I hate to be the one to point out the obvious, but all racism is rooted in ignorance. Modern day Korea is not a sub-Saharan African village getting its first look at a white man. To the contrary, it bills itself as the Hub of Asia, the IT Capital of the World, and a leading host city for international events like the Olympics and the World Cup, among other boasts of globalization.

    The Korean mindset is fully aware of the outside world and the myriad of inferior ethnicities inherent within. It’s not as if Korean parents are telling their sons and daughters to only marry Koreans because they “lack enough information” about other ethnicities to make an informed decision. And continually rationalizing and apologizing for that mindset with claims of ignorance doesn’t help anyone, least of all Koreans.

  • http://bluejives.typepad.com/burp bluejives

    …To the contrary, it bills itself as the Hub of Asia, the IT Capital of the World, and a leading host city for international events like the Olympics and the World Cup, among other boasts of globalization.

    1. What do economic terms have to do with identity politics?

    2. Which is better or worse?

    Billing oneself as the “Hub of Asia”, “IT capital”, etc. and failing at “multicultural sensitivity”

    OR

    Billing oneself as “The Beacon of Freedom”, “Land of Equality and Home of the Brave”, etc. and failing at “multicultural sensitivity”?

    The last thing you want is an artificial culture of Political Correctness to enter into the Korean consciousness. I’d rather deal with a blatent bigot who is unapologetic and unafraid to speak his mind than a stealth racist who hides under a facade of well-versed fake PCness.

    You gotta laugh when an average expat in Korea bills himself a Crusader of Equality. Where the hell were you guys back home?

    Finally, I’d like to share some nuggets of wisdom that I’ve heard from many white people whenever minorities start whining and playing the race card:

    1. “Just lighten up and deal with it”
    2. “Well if you dont like it here then go back to your own country”

    Hope that helps.

  • Schlapsta

    “I hate to be the one to point out the obvious, but all racism is rooted in ignorance.”

    You follow this with valid points. However, it?? a fallacy to say that all ignorance is racism.

    My in-laws feared a couple of things, out of ignorance.
    1. They heard that divorce rates among western societies are very high and their daughter may be abandoned on a foreign shore, beyond their help. This was the case with Ward’s mother.

    2. Foreigners can’t speak Korean, so how can they get to know me or my family and hence build a strong/trusting relationship?

    3. They also didn’t know that, she has better rights and opportunity to education and employment in Australia than in Korea. I assume, Hines?? mother didn’t return to Korea after she gained custody of her son, not just because of the better opportunities for her him, but for her too. However, I know very little about the US.

    These points of ignorance lead them to fear the worst when their daughter brings home Johnny English to meet the Faukers. And before all the flamers jump out, this case is isolated to our unique circumstance. It would no doubt be different if I were of pure Pakistani blood, instead of just 12.5%.

    My experience to date leads me to feel it?? less an issue of blood than one of language and culture. But that’s a whole ‘nutha can of worms.

  • cm

    If Hines Ward couldn’t catch a football, what would he be doing today? An executive at a multi national conglomerate? Yeah right. How much better off would he be if he was still living in Korea? At least in Korea, he wouldn’t get addicted to crack, get shot, nor get arrested by police and his head pounded into a window just for being a black. Yes Korea has its problems. But it never pretended that it wants, nor claims it’s a beacon of multicultralism. That’s the biggest difference.

    I think a lot of people in this board need to get off the high horse that they ride on. Many visible minorities would disagree that you have achieved racial equality and end to prejudice. Ironically it was colonialism and western greed that improved the lives of non whites. For instance, it was American greed that brought in the slaves from Africa. Subsequently it was the African Americans and their struggles which improved the situation for the immigrants who followed them. It was people like Dr.Martin Luther King who were the heroes, not some white guy from Minnesota who used to flip burgers at home, and who is now teaching English at a hagwon earning 2 million won a month. I mean if you want to see what it would have looked like if western countries didn’t end up prosperous by exploiting colonialism, just look at Eastern Europe. Suddenly it doesn’t look so racially progressive does it? I mean the white guys didn’t just one day sat up and said “holy shit what we’re doing is racism, we have to stop and change”. Something must have happened to forced them to change for the better. If Whites think so terribly of Koreans as racist assholes, then they can do something about it. They could do the same things the minorities did in America – protest and fight for what is right. But I doubt this will ever happen for these reasons:

    1) Most foreigners are transitory, most have no interest in putting down roots in Korea. The first problems they encounter (which they never ecountered before at home), they can’t take it and just leave to go back home. Pampered and spoilt, not being used to be a racial minority, they’re good at whining but can’t protest to the right group because they can’t speak the local language nor have the interest to communicate with the locals. Just flaming them ad nauseam, or preaching to the same choir is the easiest copout. Now that the shoe is on the other foot, they can’t handle it.

    2) They like the discrimination that favors them. Positive discrimination that gives them preferential treatment because of their race. They like it and don’t want to see that dissappear. Have you ever seen a white guy complain about why they got that job in the first place (because he’s white and speaks own language that he was born with)? Nope.

    And dogbert, you’re the one to talk. You’re the same dude who were defending racial riots in Australia. This question is right back at you. What makes you think whites are superior to everyone else?

  • cm

    “better opportunities for her him”??

    WTF? As soon as she arrvied, she had her kid taken away from her because the court said she couldn’t speak the language and that she wasn’t going to hold a job. If that’s not racism, what is? She worked her ass off washing dishes and cleaning bathrooms. Oh great opportunity that Korea didn’t have. Wow I’m impressed. In other words she didn’t whine, cry and give up saying the world is cruel then go home in a huff and a puff. Instead she pulled herself up by her own bootstraps. American society didn’t give her nothing, she created her own opportunity. Like I said, if Ward didn’t catch a football for a living, there’s a chance that he could have ended up being on crack, or be just one of one million African Americans in prison.

  • http://rjkoehler.com Robert

    pawikirogi: how many of you expats see halle berry as a white chick?

    Not me. Rather, I see her as a damn fine woman. Usually No. 2 on my list after Monica Bellucci. Just something about Italian chicks. Probably has to do with being raised on Long Island.

    Sorry for that completely irrelevant aside. I’ll let you get back to your conversation.

    Bluejives–It is interesting to note that the stories linked above (and the JoongAng did another front page piece on the subject this morning, which I’ll probably translate and link later) focused on the stories of mixed-race Koreans rather than those of expat children, many of whom do live rather privledged existences (i.e., opportunities and the money to go to foreign school, etc.). The mixed-race entertainers that have recently grown famous are, by and large, cases in point–U.S. citizens (with tenuous commands of Korean at best) with white fathers. The point being, I wouldn’t want to lump expat kids into this discussion, since the circumstances they face is quite different from those faced by, say, abandoned GI kids or the children of guestworkers.

  • cm

    Bingo

    That is correct Robert. The so called racism in Korea in reality more resembles discrimination based on economic class. It has little to do with Koreans supposedly believing they are the master race, as claimed by many here.

  • Schlapsta

    “As soon as she arrvied, she had her kid taken away from her because the court said she couldn?? speak the language and that she wasn?? going to hold a job.”

    You seem to be selectively picking arguements rather than picking the point.

    1. I don’t see the racism in the court’s decision. It’s an economic reality. Then when she proved otherwise, she was able to keep him. No doubt, there are many other issues in his story, but racist courts?, I think not.

    2. My (very non-white) Korean wife is the one who wanted to get out of the country. It is she who felt the racism.

    You floggers are quick to make personal attacks based on limited facts.

    3. Has anyone got the stats on the number of Koreans leaving there motherland as compared to Westerners gaining Korean citizenship? It is not just us ‘whitey wimps’ bugging out of the ROK.

  • http://rjkoehler.com Robert

    cm–I wouldn’t necessarily go that far, either. Race is a major factor–most Korean discussion of this subject I’ve read readily admits to such. I.e., you can be born poor and still have a fighting chance of making a living, but if you’re born poor and of mixed-race, you can forget about it. Granted, it has little to do with Koreans believing that they are a “master race,” but rather because the society has traditionally placed high value on ethnic purity. Obviously, if you’re socio-economically privledged, you can beat the system, especially if you’re transitory, in which case you’re not really part of the system. Not permanently, anyway.

    I don’t mean to slag on Korean society for this issue. Obviously, it’s not alone in dealing with race, and moreover, it’s relatively new at it. And moreover, there’s growing awareness of the problem–there was a commercial campaign last year, and Hines Ward seems to be sparking a lot of media self-reflection.

  • dogbertt

    And dogbert, you??e the one to talk. You??e the same dude who were defending racial riots in Australia.

    I believe you’re confusing me with someone else. However, I think white Australians had a right to be upset when out of the goodness of their hearts they offer a place to live to refugee Arabs who then repay that kindness by targetting underage white women for rape and murder.

    This question is right back at you. What makes you think whites are superior to everyone else?

    Mastered manned flight…check
    Conquered space…check
    Mapped the oceans…check
    Internal combustion engine…check
    Harnessed electricity…check
    Radio and telegraphic communication…check

    And so on.

    What gives Koreans the right to look down on such achievement, which indeed has shaped the world Koreans themselves live in?

    And for anyone who thinks only white expats “whine”, feel free to visit http:\\www.thefighting44s.com where Asian-Americans, including bluejives, hold a daily hate-fest.

  • http://rjkoehler.com Robert

    I guess at this point it, it would be rude of me to ask that the discussion move back on topic. I don’t need another racial flame war.

  • itend

    How many of the people posting on the atrocities of Korean Racism are English teachers with no proper teaching degrees? On one hand, people think that racism is bad cos they are being called names but on the other hand they seem to forget that the same racism has given them jobs. You might wanna talk to Black and Brown guys who are more qualified to teach, but never stand a chance of getting a job in Korea, about racism here.

    To be frank, Korea might be one of the most racist?? country out there but to say other countries don?? suffer from it, is ignorance. In Korea, you are probably looked down upon if you are not pure Korean but atleast you are not spat on or given the finger. Every single person is prejudiced. So I believe every country has its problem with racism in its own way. In Seoul, a white person might have more advantages that a brown. In Middle East, a brown guy may get more than a black person. In South Africa, a black person might get more than a White.

    Dogbertt,

    ?? think white Australians had a right to be upset when out of the goodness of their hearts they offer a place to live to refugee Arabs who then repay that kindness by targetting underage white women for rape and murder.??n
    So whites were really kind to aborigines when they snatched their land? How do you define nationality? What if a 1st gen Arab Australian targets white women? C??on, Australia is worse for colored people than any other place in the world.

    Mastered manned flight??ASA has more Indian and Chinese ethnicity engineers than they have ??hite??engineers.
    Mapped the oceans??ow are Spanish and Portuguese ??hite?? Or are they white just cos they are Europeans.

    There are great inventions, advancements in every field done by great people and not just ??hites??and to make it look like that ??hites??are a superior race reaps of Racism.

  • slim

    “OK, but you see, the utter lack of empirical substantiation to your proctologically originated assertion leaves lots of nagging doubt.”

    I’m sorry if you are being nagged by doubt, but you could have simply admitted that the rarified and bizarre case of defector “talento” Charles Jenkins and his kidnapped wife was about as relevant as Nulji “proctologically originating” his Halle Berry analogy — and then you could have removed that nagging doubt by looking looking into refugee testimony about the fate of North Korean talbukja women who have the misfortune of being returned to North Korea from China pregnant.

    If you are indeed a “news junkie”, you need a more dependable dealer.

  • hardyandtiny

    Just wanted to point out that the American Revolution was the beginning of the end of slavery in what is now the USA.

  • http://rjkoehler.com Robert

    I think the North Koreans are quite open about what they think about sullying the bloodlines.

  • http://www.occidentalism.org shakuhachi

    C??on, Australia is worse for colored people than any other place in the world.

    If Australia is so bad for ‘colored people’, then why do non-whites keep trying to come here, even illegally? It is funny how people can call Australia the worst while waiting in line for a visa.

  • dogbertt

    I’m not saying that whites are better than Koreans. I’m asking why Koreans, to a man, believe that they are better than other races. So far, it all seems to come down to “pure blood”, which, as I point out, is great in a greyhound, but still does not make it my superior.

  • dogbertt

    How many of the people posting on the atrocities of Korean Racism are English teachers with no proper teaching degrees? On one hand, people think that racism is bad cos they are being called names but on the other hand they seem to forget that the same racism has given them jobs.

    BTW, I know it does not fit into the kyopo Weltanschauung, but I for one am not only not an Engrishi teacher, I am dependent upon Koreans for my daily bread, so no, Korean racism has not given me a job.

  • dogbertt

    That should read “not dependent”.

  • Schlapsta

    Korean people are being confronted by their own ignorance. On the one hand they want to feel proud of Hines, while also harbouring anti-black and anti- mixed race sentiment.

    Like the US, Australia has a poor racial track record, including the infamous white Australia policy which lasted until the 1970′s. In fact, most of the human rights and equal opportunity legislation was enacted after 1975. I’m no law buff, but ..

    Racial Discrim. Act 1975
    Sexual Discrim. Act 1984
    Disability Discrim. Act 1992
    Human Rights and Equal Opp. Act 1986
    [sourced from the Weekend Australian]

    All nations/societies are somewhere on a continuum of enlightenment. Some even slip back a notch.

    It takes public demonstration to influence the law. This should decrease overt racism, but it takes a lot longer for society to stamp out the covert discrimination. Ethnic Asian and Arab people in Australia certainly do suffer overt and covert racism. Anyone remember Pauline Hanson and the One Nation party? Classic.

    What is it going to take to improve the lot for these kids?
    - improved rights for labor workers; visas, social services..leads to job security for the fathers
    - legalise prostitution; decrease loan sharking, so mothers of mixed children can get off the game, if they wish

  • itend

    I am not saying Englsih teachers are bad or its a bad job or anything like that. I am saying that for lots of English teachers,their only qualiication is that they are white. That is a sort of rasicm. I work in Korea but it doesnt mean that I am dependent on Koreans for my daily food. My company is just as dependent on my work.

    Immigration has nothing to do with a countrys level of racism. People have other things to worry about like survival, food and rasicm is pretty bottom down the list for any person. So number of people standing in a line for a Visa doesnt depend on Racism levels.

    BTW Aus belonged to aborgines before England decided to setup a penal colony on its shore. Aus like any other country belongs to its citizens, irrespective of whether that person is white ,black or 1st generation brown kid.

  • http://www.occidentalism.org shakuhachi

    Immigration has nothing to do with a countrys level of racism. People have other things to worry about like survival, food and rasicm is pretty bottom down the list for any person. So number of people standing in a line for a Visa doesnt depend on Racism levels.

    Nothing to do with it, huh? So how many Jews were lining up to go to Germany in the 1930′s?

  • cm

    Taking shakuhachi’s argument then:

    If Korea is such a hell on earth, why is it that there are so many that want to come so badly? The number is exponentially growing every year, and if Korea one day finally has an immigration policy, I’d probably would have to say that the lineup outside the Korean consulate in the Phillipines will be much longer. If Korea is the only racist country on earth, and people are deathly afraid of Korean racism, why would there be anybody who wants to enter Korea? Shouldn’t they stay away?

  • itend

    well did u see japaneese lining up to go to US in the 1940s?

    Jew is not a race,its a religion.

  • http://www.occidentalism.org shakuhachi

    Taking shakuhachi?? argument then:

    If Korea is such a hell on earth, why is it that there are so many that want to come so badly? The number is exponentially growing every year, and if Korea one day finally has an immigration policy, I?? probably would have to say that the lineup outside the Korean consulate in the Phillipines will be much longer. If Korea is the only racist country on earth, and people are deathly afraid of Korean racism, why would there be anybody who wants to enter Korea? Shouldn?? they stay away?

    Actually, that is not my argument since I am not bothered too much by Korean ‘racism’, which is more like hyper-ethnocentrism more than anything.

    If people are coming to Korea then it is probably because the benefits far outwiegh the disadvantages. itend said that Australia is the worst country on earth for racism towards non-whites, and I disagreed by pointing out that people were disproving him by voting with their feet. I did not bring up any comparisons to Korea, so I dont know why you are making them in relation to my argument.

  • wills

    I am an Australian from SE Asian background (first generation migrant) and I can think of many worse countries for minority to live in, and honestly Korea is high on that list. This is especially true for mixed race people, mixed race children in Australia are generally accepted as ‘one of us’ by both sides. I have nothing against the Koreans, in fact I really like the country and I would love to visit it again for holiday, but I think Koreans still have an awful lot to work on in this issue.

    Sure there are racist rednecks here (just like in any countries), but they are in the minority and most whites I know condemn the racist riots in Sydney. I don’t buy Dogbert’s defence of them, a handful of Arabs rapists and a few thugs on the beach does not mean the whole community deserve to be targeted. The actions of those morons in Sydney are unjustifiable in civilised world.

  • hardyandtiny

    I thought Ward hadn’t been back to Korea since he was a baby, but it seems he was here in 1998?

    “Since he was young, he always got along well with the other Korean and Vietnamese kids. It seems like he does have some pride in his Korean blood. But we’ve also been hurt as Koreans. When Hines was in high school, there was an inter-school friendship match for the Korean students. Since he was good at baseball, a school invited him to play. But after the game, when the kids went out to eat, the person who put together the event only took the Korean kids, leaving Hines behind (Ward is of mixed parentage, his father an African-American). After that I told Hines to never hang out with Korean kids. Yet when we went to Korea in ’98, even Korean people who looked educated spat when we walked by. Koreans judge others based on their appearance and their age. Those kinds of Koreans think that they are so special?? (his mother)

  • Tokkebis Advocate

    dogbertt,

    The way in which you ascribe all of the last century’s major innovations to white people requires a bit more thought. None of these advances would not have been possible without solid grounding in mathematics, astronomy, and navigation provided by the Chinese and Arabs provided for the many centuries prior.

    bluejives,

    It does seem that white expats, because they experience so little (or no) discrimination in their home countries, are like fish out of water when they land on foreign shores. I’ve been denied housing in Korea because I’m a foreigner, but I’ve also been subjected to things so much worse for the 23 years that I lived in the U.S. that I usually quickly forget unpleasant things like this when they happen to me in Korea. In contrast, one of my white expat friends had a major reaction to being ignored by Koreans even when he spoke in passable Korean because they “couldn’t deal with his foreign accent.” That experience shocked him so much he didn’t say a word for three days. I sympathized with him but also inwardly felt, “Dude, you ain’t experienced shit. This is just the tip of the iceberg, homeboy.” It wasn’t as if he had gotten the shit knocked out of him, been subjected to racial slurs on every occasion, or roughed up by the police for no reason–things most minorities are quite familiar with in America.

    usinkorea,

    Forgot the old Korean singer, dude. Tell Robert Harley and Lee what’s-his-face (the old foreigner who keeps changing his name) to stand up and say something about Korea’s double standard towards those of mixed heritage.

  • http://kushibo.blogspot.com kushibo

    Conquered space??heck

    My Asian relatives and friends at NASA since the days of Apollo and the Space Shuttle and their Black colleagues would probably say, “Whoa, wait a minute.”

  • http://kushibo.blogspot.com kushibo

    This is a really stupid discussion.

    Robert the Marmot has pointed out Korean-Koreans who are using Hines Ward as a way to educate the public on the plight of non-famous mixed-race Koreans and a bunch of people are talking about how Koreans are just using Hines Ward “to fuel their master-race fantasies from afar.” Did you even bother reading what Robert the Marmot wrote?

    One other thing: it’s always really ridiculous for members of the majority in Country A to tell people in the majority of Country B how much worse minorities in Country B have it than minorities in Country A (or how much better minorities in Country A have it than minorities in Country B).

    Very few ethnic Koreans have any clue what it’s like to be living in Korea as a mixed-race or completely non-Korean person; similarly, very few White Americans (or Canadians, Australians, etc.) have any idea what it’s like to be non-White in the U.S. (or some other home countries).

    Since so many seem to have missed it, I’m going to highlight something from the Marmot’s post above:

    There are also voices of reflection using the opportunity to call for the correction of mistaken perceptions of mixed-race individuals. It?? said that Ward experienced the hardship of ostracism from even Korean-American society because he was mixed-race. One netizen pointed out, ??f Ward had continued to live in Korea, he would have been teased as a twigi (a Korean term of derision for mixed-race people) and would have been unable to properly attend school??We must end our society?? exclusionary ethnic nationalism that views mixed-race people through colored glasses.??There are even calls for us to learn the cultural inclusiveness of American society that made Ward?? success possible.

    That was on the front page of the Korean-language edition of the Joongang Ilbo.

  • iheartblueballs

    (Third time’s a charm. I’ll take 2 minutes in the box as punishment.)

    Look what comes out of the woodwork when faced with the contradiction of Hines Ward. Strawmen, misdirection, fingerpointing at the West, and tales of racism to tug at the heart strings. Before I get to those, here is the central issue with Ward and the fascination of the Korean media and people with his success (in a magnificent run-on sentence):

    It is not only ridiculous, but patently offensive and hypocritical to see articles in the Korean media raving about Ward and his Koreanness, while quoting Kims on the street saying how proud they are of Ward and his accomplishments, when the very simple and undeniable fact is that the overwhelming majority of Korean people are absolutely ASHAMED of mixed-ethnicity people of Ward?? heritage. Under normal circumstances without having known about his success, the average Korean turns down their nose at mixed Koreans like Ward, subjecting he and others like him to ridicule, abuse, and prejudice at every turn. To now hold him up as an exemplary Korean while regularly and openly denigrating thousands of others exactly like him without the football resume is ??for lack of a better term ??fucking horseshit.

    If any of you defenders of the faith would like to deal with that contradiction, open up, because I haven?? seen a single post dealing with THAT contradiction yet.

    Now for the other strawmen and misdirection.

    If Korea is such a hell on earth.

    No one claimed Korea is a hell on earth, not once. It is possible to point out the hypocrisy and racism of Korea without resorting to that extreme. Strawman exposed.

    If Korea is the only racist country on earth, and people are deathly afraid of Korean racism, why would there be anybody who wants to enter Korea?

    Show me one person that claimed that Korea is the only racist country on earth. After you fail at that, show me one person that claimed that they are deathly afraid of Korean racism. After you fail there, strike two more strawmen off your list.

    Racism exists in every country on earth, and pointing out racism in Korea is not a de facto argument that zero racism exists in the West. Simple minds follow that logic because they don?? want to face the real argument. That real argument is in the degree, the penetration, the level to which it is socially acceptable, and the amount of effort that is put into eliminating racism. Pointing to racism in the US or in the West is not an answer, it is an avoidance technique for a guilty conscience. On all 4 counts, Korea lags far behind the average Western country. The degree is higher, the penetration is deeper, it is far more socially acceptable, and there is very little effort put into eliminating/decreasing it.

    I?? rather deal with a blatent bigot who is unapologetic and unafraid to speak his mind than a stealth racist who hides under a facade of well-versed fake PCness.

    And I would rather have a culture that attempts to deal with racism, even if there are failures and some well-versed fake PCness, because there are also many successes and improvements resulting from the effort which will make it a more tolerant society in the long run??than I would like an entire culture of blatant bigots who are unapologetic, unafraid, and absolutely unmotivated and unwilling to attempt to change their bigotry for the sole reason that being prejudiced and racist is seen as completely normal and there is little or no effort put into change.

    1. ??ust lighten up and deal with it??r

    2. ??ell if you dont like it here then go back to your own country??/I>

    Or you could sue, because there are laws and protections put in place to deal with the problem. You know, one of those side-effects of that ??ell-versed fake Pcness??that you were so ready to criticize, but which do not exist in Korea. Once again, degree.

    Hope that helps.

    After that I told Hines to never hang out with Korean kids. Yet when we went to Korea in ??8, even Korean people who looked educated spat when we walked by. Koreans judge others based on their appearance and their age. Those kinds of Koreans think that they are so special??

    It sounds like Ward?? mother knows the prejudices of Koreans all too well, and she will very likely get a kick out of watching the same ignorant douchebags who spat at the presence of her son a few years back, now fawn over him because he?? become a checkmark in the column of international Korean athletic superiority.

    Yes Ms. Ward, they may have looked educated, but unfortunately they were educated to be unapologetic, unafraid bigots.

    Just as bluejives wants it.

  • michael

    iheartblueballs, you’re a real spoilsport :)

    Ward’s success has had the knock-on effect of making mixed-race children a media topic and bringing some introspection, like in this Chosun cartoon.
    It’s a start, but as iheartblueballs was saying, the next step is to institute laws and protections so that Ward’s example doesn’t go for naught.

  • dogbertt

    The way in which you ascribe all of the last century?? major innovations to white people requires a bit more thought. None of these advances would not have been possible without solid grounding in mathematics, astronomy, and navigation provided by the Chinese and Arabs provided for the many centuries prior.

    Even if I were to accept that, funny we were the ones able to revolutionize the world with them, but fine.

    No one has yet answered my question, which is: “What is the basis for Koreans’ belief in their race’s/ethnic group’s/nation’s supremacy?”

  • dogbertt

    My Asian relatives and friends at NASA since the days of Apollo and the Space Shuttle and their Black colleagues would probably say, ??hoa, wait a minute.”

    Kushibo, you really do like to portray yourself as the Zelig of our age, don’t you?

    OK, answer me this: on the one hand, we have posters claiming that the U.S. pre-1964 was a horribly racist place, where minorities couldn’t get a fair shake. How then could there have been any significant number of Asians and blacks doing essential work on the Apollo program?

    Or let’s take Sputnik? How many non-white scientists worked on that?

    Spin, spin, spin, spin…

  • judge judy

    I?? asking why Koreans, to a man, believe that they are better than other races. So far, it all seems to come down to ??ure blood?? which, as I point out, is great in a greyhound, but still does not make it my superior.

    -doggbert

    it doesn’t make it superior as it is a different species…

    however, you do point to something interesting albeit controversial. we could be dealing with a vicious cycle within a race of peoples.

    purebred animals are known to have both physical and mental disorders on account of overbreeding. anyone who’s ever spent time around thoroughbreds or dalmations will have first hand experience of this.

    if we were to look at the limited gene pool within the korean race there is what may be similar (obviously, a geneticist could speak to similarities and differences between the korean gene pool and other limited gene pools). perhaps there is then a causation (as the correlation is already implied) between the homogeneity of the race and the belief in superiority (or insecurity). the cycle is thus a genetic cause for fear of breeding with other races which reinforces the genetic basis ad nauseum. structure->function->structure->function…

  • http://kushibo.blogspot.com kushibo

    Kushibo, you really do like to portray yourself as the Zelig of our age, don?? you?

    What? I’ve had non-WASPy family in the United States for a long time. What of it?

    OK, answer me this: on the one hand, we have posters claiming that the U.S. pre-1964 was a horribly racist place, where minorities couldn?? get a fair shake.

    Hey, I didn’t make that claim. I would never have suggested no minority member could ever get a fair shake. Obviously there were exceptions, though those exceptions don’t mean a majority of minority members had everything coming up roses.

    How then could there have been any significant number of Asians and blacks doing essential work on the Apollo program?

    I don’t know. But I do know some, and I know a lot more who worked on the Space Shuttle and GPS, etc.

    And they would certainly take exception to this American success being labeled a White accomplishment.

  • judge judy

    ah, but korean women don’t really seem to care too much about mixed children unless it upsets men (from the husband on down to the spittin’ shopkeeper). would that be attributable to confucianism, a genetic predispostion only in men or something else?

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    Kusibo says:

    This is a really stupid discussion.

    Robert the Marmot has pointed out Korean-Koreans who are using Hines Ward as a way to educate the public on the plight of non-famous mixed-race Koreans and a bunch of people are talking about how Koreans are just using Hines Ward ??o fuel their master-race fantasies from afar.??Did you even bother reading what Robert the Marmot wrote?

    Attay boy, Korea; way to go!

  • http://kushibo.blogspot.com kushibo

    It?? a start, but as iheartblueballs was saying, the next step is to institute laws and protections so that Ward?? example doesn?? go for naught.

    Yeah, let’s do that, just like in the West. I’m sure everyone on this blog would absolutely agree with that.

    Just what kind of laws are you suggesting?

  • dogbertt

    OK, Kushibo, I’ll just swallow your claims whole. Now, can you answer my question?

  • iheartblueballs

    Robert the Marmot has pointed out Korean-Koreans who are using Hines Ward as a way to educate the public on the plight of non-famous mixed-race Koreans and a bunch of people are talking about how Koreans are just using Hines Ward ??o fuel their master-race fantasies from afar.??Did you even bother reading what Robert the Marmot wrote?

    I applaud those few who are trying to educate the public, and at the same time I’m not nearly naive enough to believe that it will have any real impact. The prejudices are deeply ingrained and more importantly, socially acceptable. For every cartoon like the one Michael linked to, I could show you a hundred showing blacks with bones through their noses. The reality is that the Korean view of blacks (both African and African-American) is shameful and pathetic. Anyone with any experience in Korea can’t deny that fact and keep a straight face. If it makes you uncomfortable that I point out the contradiction and hypocrisy of societal prejudice on one hand and claims of pride when it’s convenient and feeds the Korean superiority complex on the other, tough. Hines Ward proves it.

    As for the master-race fantasy comment that you and several other people have questioned, I stand by it. It doesn’t mean that Koreans are the next Nazis bent on world domination. But it does mean that the national obsession with world number ones is most dominant when it comes to athletics. And that obsession includes media highlighting and public adoration of any successful athlete throughout the world who has even a speck of Korean blood.

    Front-paging Hines Ward or Michelle Wie is the Korean equivalent of giving the nation continuous updates and assurances that regardless of where they may live, those athlete are dominating because they are Korean.

    I’ve traveled a lot, and I have never seen a country so obsessed with the successes, rankings, and medal counts of its people on a global scale. Name the arena and the obsession is there.

    When you factor in the cultural obsession with purity of blood, the acceptance of racism in general in the society and media, and the general opposition to mixed-race marriages, the conclusion that most Koreans believe themselves to be a superior (i.e. master) race to all others…and lap up media stories confirming it to them with trophies and awards and medals…isn’t a difficult one to draw.

    Celebrating Hines Ward is just another confirmation and reassurance for Koreans who believe their blood makes them inherently superior. Just like celebrating Michelle Wie. Or Sandra Oh. Or Sarah Chang. Or Joseph Hahn. Or Harry Kim. Or Chang Rae Lee. Or Jeanette Lee. Or John Yoo. Or Rick Yune. Or Soon Yi Previn. Sorry, that last one slipped.

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    Under Korean law, because his father was not Korean, and hence (as I once heard a professor at Seoul National explain in justification of the law!) his blood isn’t “pure”, Ward could not have been registered as a “Korean” – not just a K. citizen – if his mother had chosen to do so.

    Makes the current celebration of his Koreaness by the Sudeten Germans Koreans more than a little distasteful

    This was the case as of a few years ago. I have no idea whether the law has been changed, perhaps in connection with the recent modification of the hoju system.

    I’m sure Ward will be polite when he’s here, but I’ll be very surprised (as well as disappointed) if he gives the local racists any joy.

  • snow

    “Yet when we went to Korea in ??8, even Korean people who looked educated spat when we walked by.”

    Ouch. Welcome to Korea, Mr. Hines. I expect you will get a much better reception this time, now that you’re famous.

  • iheartblueballs

    Very few ethnic Koreans have any clue what it?? like to be living in Korea as a mixed-race or completely non-Korean person; similarly, very few White Americans (or Canadians, Australians, etc.) have any idea what it?? like to be non-White in the U.S. (or some other home countries).

    Absolutely false comparison. The first part is correct, that very few ethnic Koreans have a clue, and the second is simply your attempt to make the two cultures guilty of the same degree of racial ignorance and intolerance when in fact there is a huge gap in awareness of minorities between the average Korean and the average Westerner.

    The fact is that the integration of large numbers of ethnic groups into Western countries has resulted in very LARGE numbers of white Americans (or Canadians or Australians) having a good idea of what it’s like to be a non-white in their respective countries. They have an idea because minorities have become their neighbors, friends, co-workers, schoolmates, teammates and relatives. They are integrated into Western cultures and societies, and those minorities have made their experiences (both the good and bad) known to whites everywhere.

    To equate the level of Korean awareness of minorities (where their country is 98% homogenous) to the Western level (where the level of non-whites in America will soon be 50%), makes you look not only absolutely foolish, but unbelievably ignorant of the realities of each.

    The reason that race relations in Western countries have continuously improved over the last 100 years is precisely because of the growing integration and the increasing awareness among whites that it brings. Western countries still have plenty of room for improvement, but your equation is laughable, as if the average Korean has as much interaction on a daily basis with minorities as the average Westerner. Come on man, really, your kneejerk apologista routine better have more ammo than that.

  • http://rjkoehler.com Robert

    I applaud those few who are trying to educate the public, and at the same time I?? not nearly naive enough to believe that it will have any real impact.

    Whether it will have any real impact has yet to be seen, but to be fair, it’s more than a few–I’m reading similar pieces in several major papers.

  • Hugh

    Robert said: “it has little to do with Koreans believing that they are a ??aster race,??but rather because the society has traditionally placed high value on ethnic purity”

    Isn’t ethnic purity and the master race concept pretty much one and the same? When you use the word “pure” to describe yourself, aren’t you implying that others are ‘impure’ and therefore less than or inferior to you? And if HE is inferior, than I must be…. superior!

    Lets look at another group of people some of you might know who are very obsessed with racial purity: neo-Nazi’s. Keeping pure white bloodlines is a big ranting point for them. Would you say, Robert, that they just place a ‘high value on ethnic purity’ as a justification for them? I’m sorry if it sounds like I’m baiting you, I’m not, but I don’t think you thought that sentence over enough.

  • judge judy

    i think the sentiment was “pure race” working towards “master race.”

  • http://kushibo.blogspot.com kushibo

    Absolutely false comparison.

    Good, because it’s not a comparison. Forget the whole part about Korea: does a typical White person in the United States really know what it’s like to be Black, Asian, Hispanic, or Native in the United States?

  • Tokkebis Advocate

    It?? a start, but as iheartblueballs was saying, the next step is to institute laws and protections so that Ward?? example doesn?? go for naught.

    I don’t about laws, but a commission does exist. Now some of us just have to make use of it:

    You can make a complaint to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on cases as follows
    - In case human rights under the provisions of Article 10 through 22 are violated by state agencies, local governments, detention or correctional facilities while such entities perform their duties.
    - In case there exists a discriminatory act of any violation of the right of equality by a juristic person, organization or private individual. That is, without any reasonable grounds, in case a person is unlawfully discriminated by gender, religion, disability, age, social status, regional, national or ethnic origin, physical condition such as physical features, marital status, pregnancy or delivery, family status, race, skin color, thought or political opinion, criminal record of which effective term of the punishment has expired, sexual orientation, or medical history.
    ??How to make a complaint
    - By phone: Dial 1331 (Seoul and Kyong-gi region) or 02-1331 (Other regions)
    - By mail / visiting: Address: Human Rights Counseling Center, National Human Rights Commission, 7th Floor Geumsegi Bldg, 16 Euljiro 1-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, Korea, 100-842
    - By fax: 82-2-2125-9829
    - By e-mail:hoso@humanrights.go.kr

    OK, answer me this: on the one hand, we have posters claiming that the U.S. pre-1964 was a horribly racist place, where minorities couldn?? get a fair shake.
    –Hey, I didn?? make that claim. I would never have suggested no minority member could ever get a fair shake. Obviously there were exceptions, though those exceptions don?? mean a majority of minority members had everything coming up roses.
    How then could there have been any significant number of Asians and blacks doing essential work on the Apollo program?
    –I don?? know. But I do know some, and I know a lot more who worked on the Space Shuttle and GPS, etc.
    And they would certainly take exception to this American success being labeled a White accomplishment.

    The U.S. pre-1964 was a horribly racist place. That’s when my father immigrated to the U.S., graduated from two Ivy league universities in engineering, and was lucky to get one job after submitting over 100 resumes. His memories of that period include white people telling the “Chinaman” to “kowtow,” being refused service at the local barbershop, and his bosses trying steal his intellectual property rights because they thought they could pull one over the “foreigner.” Although he was fired from his first job for dubious reasons, another company’s research center quickly recruited him because they could not deny the high quality of his research. My father worked for this second company for 30 years and ended up accumulating 17 patents. HE would take great exception to your claim that the white man did it all alone.

    My sister-in-law’s father immigrated to the U.S. around the same time, did the same thing as my father did except in chemistry, but could not get a job for the life of him. Then he completely WASPisized his name so that employers would at least read his resume submissions. Whaddayouknow, he was offered a job after doing so, and after having been given a chance to prove his worth, has continued working until now.

    So, yes, the situation back then was mega-tough, but people like my father who just would not give up stuck it out until the bitter end and succeeded.

    You want some Asian-American names key to innovation? Who started the whole AIDS vaccine thing? David Ho, Time’s Man of the Year in 97′. No Asian- or African-Americans on the Apollo program or the past or present NASA? Find some employee records man, or hell, I’ll do it myself just to prove you wrong. You don’t have to dig very deep to see that there’s a huge amount of non-white power out there feeding the engine.

  • judge judy

    the whole apollo program question is a bit dubious. there were a lot of people from varying countries working on that. our family was involved at the time-russians passing ourselves off as poles due to the red scare. guess we were the “real” caucasians having come from the Caucuses.

    i used to be involved with the folks down at ames research lab, and there is certainly no shortage of asians working on current NASA programs. however, chinese form the backbone of current researchers as the majority of koreans opt to return to korea. this is just a general observation-i don’t know the statistics on how many chinese v. korean Ph.Ds stay in the US.

  • cm

    Now that someone has quoted Ward’s mother about racism from Koreans, does anybody have her quote about her and her son’s encounters of racism from the Americans? I won’t hold my breath. I thought that Ward’s recalling of his school days when he was teased, isolated, and bullied because he had a chinese mother was interesting. This was true when he looks more black than Korean. I wonder how much worst it would have been if looked more Asian than black. It’s up to Korea to deal with racism and it’s up to Korea to plan laws about racism, in their own ways and in their own terms and time, just as the West was given that opportunity to do it themselves. Talking about Ward, where’s his father? How come nobody looks at the irresponsibility of American husbands with Asian wives who abandon their kids? Not just in Korea, there are 70,000 in Philippines alone. What about Vietnam and just about everywhere Americans were involved in Asia. Isn’t it racist for American men to use Asian women as toilet papers to have their own ways, then forget about it when the consequences are produced?

  • slim

    ouch! Iheartblueballs –

    That was a true Fisking, true to the spirit of the original founding Fisker!

    I had been concerned that the term “Fisking” was being devalued in the Korean blogosphere, where some bloggers and commentators think they’re Fisking when they’re merely nitpicking or quibbling.

  • http://rjkoehler.com Robert

    Is it racist for American men to have their way with Asian women and leave when the “consequences” are produced? Of course.

    But then again, with all that ugly racism in the U.S., they should probably count themselves fortunate they were left where they were.

  • madne0

    itend: “How are Spanish and Portuguese ??hite?? Or are they white just cos they are Europeans.”

    OK, i just had to comment on this one, because it’s just too ignorant to pass on. Believe it or not, being from the Iberian peninsula != being “Hispanic”, at least as they classify them on the US. Just do a google image search for “spanish people” or “portuguese people”. Egads, they even have blonds! With blue eyes! Oh, the humanity!

  • hardyandtiny

    dogbert, to your question; I think because it’s easy, it requires little work.

  • http://bluejives.typepad.com/burp bluejives

    When all is said and done, the question still remains….which is
    When are Korea’s first race riots gonna happen? Is there a Malcolm eXpat in the works? A Million Expat March? The White Panthers? Who is gonna introduce all those dastardly Ku Klux Koreans to concepts of Civil Rights and Equality? When is Korea gonna have White Affirmative Action? (oh, wait they have that already…its called English Teaching)

    Equality doesnt just happen by itself, you know.

  • http://bluejives.typepad.com/burp bluejives

    dogbarf said:Mastered manned flight??heck
    Conquered space??heck
    Mapped the oceans??heck
    Internal combustion engine??heck
    Harnessed electricity??heck
    Radio and telegraphic communication??heck

    And so on.

    What gives Koreans the right to look down on such achievement, which indeed has shaped the world Koreans themselves live in?

    No one has yet answered my question, which is: ??hat is the basis for Koreans??belief in their race??/ethnic group??/nation?? supremacy???/blockquote>

    I dunno. That we invented Kimchi?

    No, you’re absolutely right. Whites are more superior, hands down. This kinda reminds of a convo I had with a White Nationalist chick once where she too cited a laundry list of proud White achievements, but she included “The Invention of Electricity” and “Indoor Plumbing” as well. Just thought I’d mention it so that you can add those to your list too. Yes, you guys invented Electricity just as you guys also probably invented the Fire as well. And indoor plumbing…yes, whenever I take a dump I am reminded and grateful for this fine achievement that a backward-ass Korean like me can enjoy.

    Even the space aliens think White people are superior. Isnt that why White folks are always being abducted? I’ve never heard of Blacks, Hispanics, or Koreans being abducted by UFO aliens. It’s always White folks. Yeah, if I were an alien and needed some specimens to study I’d pick the best ones too. That makes me jealous. Missing out on flying in space ships and getting anal probes, man, can one of you put in a word and persuade those aliens to have a more Equal Opportunity Abduction Policy??

  • judge judy

    it’ll be interesting to see how hyo jung kim is taken in korea as she’s a US citizen on the speed skating team for the US.

  • iheartblueballs

    Absolutely false comparison.

    Good, because it?? not a comparison. Forget the whole part about Korea: does a typical White person in the United States really know what it?? like to be Black, Asian, Hispanic, or Native in the United States?

    Nice attempt at backpedalling. Not a comparison huh? So when you said “Very few ethnic Koreans have any clue what it?? like to be living in Korea as a mixed-race or completely non-Korean person; similarly, very few White Americans (or Canadians, Australians, etc.) have any idea what it?? like to be non-White in the U.S. (or some other home countries).”

    SIMILARLY doesn’t imply a comparison kushibo? Really? You’re not making any attempt to compare and equate the experiences of Koreans and Whites by using SIMILARLY in between your description of each? You’re either lying or don’t know what the word means. Which is it, full of shit or dumb as a box of hammers?

    As to your question, no, the typical white person doesn’t really know what it’s like to be a minority. The only way to really know is to actually be a minority. The typical white does however, have an idea of what minorities go through and can empathize with the challenges and difficulties faced by them. Some moreso than others. Some none at all.

    The majority however, have been raised with loads of different ethnicities around them in every phase of life, and they see living with, working with, playing with, dating and marrying minorities as completely normal and healthy.

    And that experience, my backpedalling friend, is in no way, shape, or form, SIMILAR to the average Korean experience as you so foolishly implied and then told me to “forget about.”

  • http://www.koreasojourner.blog-city.com/ usinkorea

    Bluejives,

    I forget. Did you ever tell us how much time you have spent in South Korean society? I don’t think you ever answered that question over at Lost Nomads, and I’d still like to know how much experience you’ve had over there?

  • http://bluejives.typepad.com/burp bluejives

    Bluejives,

    I forget. Did you ever tell us how much time you have spent in South Korean society? I don?? think you ever answered that question over at Lost Nomads, and I?? still like to know how much experience you??e had over there?

    No, I never answered that question. So here it is: I spent a year in Miryang, Kyungsangnam-do province back in 95. I worked at the Miryang Girl’s Middle School as an English teacher. I lived with a Korean English co-teacher’s family.

  • judge judy

    kushibo,

    your argument is pretty dead-ended in terms of comparing the average white american’s experience as a minority and the average korean’s. i don’t think the individual experience can be disconnected from the culture. in the US we deal with various races all the time. they are our friends, families and competitors. my parents and grandparents and even myself grew up with varying racial conflict between the commie russians, the stupid poles, knieving jews, german farmers and italians (for which there were many slurs). we competed in our own neighborhoods and have had these experiences-oftentimes at the receiving end. but at the end of the day, we learned to work together for the most part. our families were friends and by the time we got to my generation there was minimal racial fighting and we saw ourselves as americans in a very real sense. that was the east coast. these days, if you spend any time living in one of the larger urban centers in the US you will be in competition with all kinds of races. anyone who’s spent time on the west coast in the last ten years has been involved with asians on an almost daily basis. however, there is an empathy as IHBB said. most families have been on the receiving end of it somewhere in the last 200 years and we have friends, coworkers and acquaintences whom we see receive it.

    on the other hand, koreans have not had much of that save the japanese colonialization. again, we can’t map that experience to the american experience either. bluejives has experienced racism in the US and still seems deeply bitter about it. that does happen in the US to this day, unfortunately. yet having spent so much time in the US and Korea i have to say that the anti-foreigner sentiment in korea is more pervasive than in modern day america.

    if you’ve ever done business in korea, you’ll soon realize that you can offer a product or service that’s cheaper and of better quality than its korean counterpart, but the korean buyer will strongly favor buying from a korean. fair enough. nationalism isn’t inherently bad in and of itself. in my view though, that’s the old world. the world i live in is a globally efficient world raising standards of living and forgetting the nationalism bunk except when it come to sports or such.

    these days there is deep pressure and heavy expectations for korea to be at the forefront of globalization because there is now the capital to do that. but we cannot confuse money and power. korea is very nationalistic and racist. it is very rich in a real sense, but in many ways it lacks true power internationally because it can’t get past its own myopic view of the racial strata.

    i look forward to the day it can deal effectively with these challenges. perhaps it just mean waiting for the dinosaurs to die, cross-cultural education or opening up korea to more minorities (which must happen anyway to build the tax base for the bankrupt pension system). i hope that it happens not only because i think that is the right road, but because the other road, where capital and racism increase, can be the darkest road taken.

  • http://www.koreasojourner.blog-city.com/ usinkorea

    Thank you.

  • http://rjkoehler.com Robert

    When all is said and done, the question still remains??which is
    When are Korea?? first race riots gonna happen? Is there a Malcolm eXpat in the works? A Million Expat March? The White Panthers? Who is gonna introduce all those dastardly Ku Klux Koreans to concepts of Civil Rights and Equality? When is Korea gonna have White Affirmative Action? (oh, wait they have that already??ts called English Teaching)

    I know you were being cute, but since you asked, the answer is, perhaps pretty soon. It won’t be the white expats on the streets, of course, but rather the Kosians and, potentially much more explosively, Korea’s migrant worker community, many of whom are illegal and Muslim. I tend to be optimistic, so I think Korea will probably work out both issues with relatively little violence and or social conflict, and public awareness of the issues has increased dramatically over the last several years. But those issues are being taken very seriously–one major newspaper, for example, warned that the Muslim riots in France could easily be duplicated here, especially if the government tried to enforce a mass deportation. Other media reports noted–and this could prove quite interesting culturally–that Kosians may account for higher and higher percentages of the student bodies of rural schools, especially if current social trends hold.

  • michael

    To answer Kushibo’s question way up there, Korean society would have to determine what laws and remedies are needed to tackle racism in the country–obviously education is the priority, then maybe some kind of affirmative action, counseling, policies to address minority poverty, etc.

    Also Kushibo, it wasn’t addressed to me, but growing up in the U.S., even as a spoiled white guy, I did have some empathy for my non-caucasian friends, girlfriends, and coworkers, and even some understanding, although that might be a factor of living most of my life in an urban environment.

    iheartblueballs was spot-on again with the Korean penchant for rankings and comparisons on the world stage–reminds me of Kim Jongil’s platform shoes, always trying to look larger than life. It’s not racial pride, it’s insecurity when the media has to latch onto the accomplishments of a Michelle Wie or Hines Ward.

  • http://bluejives.typepad.com/burp bluejives

    iheartblueballs was spot-on again with the Korean penchant for rankings and comparisons on the world stage??eminds me of Kim Jongil?? platform shoes, always trying to look larger than life. It?? not racial pride, it?? insecurity when the media has to latch onto the accomplishments of a Michelle Wie or Hines Ward.

    Yes, I agree too. You guys don’t know this, and its been a well-kept secret over the years ever since former President Park Chung Hee started Saemaul Undong and the Five-Year Plans, within the confines of the KCIA, which is the predecessor of today’s NIS, there began an undisclosed agency within the agency, which still exists today. It’s called the Department of Homeland Insecurity. The Park Administration thought that South Korea, with its turbulent history, former colonization, war, division, and just general overall “shrimp-among-whales” status, needed to modernize rapidly and foster national strength. The Dept of Homeland Insecurity’s role is to push all the right buttons of insecurity embedded in the national psyche through the use of well-placed metrics within the context of a hyperbolic, nationalistic media coverage. The purpose of these metrics was to compare ROK’s relative status in comparision with the rest of the world, in everything from GDP rankings to how miserable people are in daily life (the Misery Index), in order to gauge progress and also to spur people to work harder, sacrifice individual fulfillment on behalf of the nation’s development, in spite of how miserable they are. As you can see, it continues today, which means the ROK is still not yet a Fully Developed Nation, whatever that means. I repeat, the ROK is not a Fully Developed Nation. Superficially, it may appear so, but psychologically and in terms of other “soft” categories, such as Ethics, not quite.

    Please understand. When the ROK has achieved Fully Developed Status, and perhaps even someday Superpower status or even Hyperpower status, the Koreans will get bored of such meaningless and ultimately senseless exercises of rankings and comparisions and move on to bigger and far nobler things….like….like…poking our unwanted noses in practically everyone’s business and affairs around the world.

  • michael

    LOL Bluejives, did you know that Korean workers are generally happier than ones in the U.S. according to Forbes?
    http://www.forbes.com/business/global/2005/0523/024tab1.html

    I really think the country needs to chill and be proud of its real accomplishments, but there’s no rest until Japan and Great Satan are crushed under Dangun’s bootheel ;)

  • http://bluejives.typepad.com/burp bluejives

    I know you were being cute, but since you asked, the answer is, perhaps pretty soon. It won?? be the white expats on the streets, of course, but rather the Kosians and, potentially much more explosively, Korea?? migrant worker community, many of whom are illegal and Muslim. I tend to be optimistic, so I think Korea will probably work out both issues with relatively little violence and or social conflict, and public awareness of the issues has increased dramatically over the last several years. But those issues are being taken very seriously??ne major newspaper, for example, warned that the Muslim riots in France could easily be duplicated here, especially if the government tried to enforce a mass deportation. Other media reports noted??nd this could prove quite interesting culturally??hat Kosians may account for higher and higher percentages of the student bodies of rural schools, especially if current social trends hold.

    It is encouraging in a way.

    However I do think there can be a role for the expat to play as well. There is a hazy, vague kernel of an idea that has been floating around in my head for quite some time which I haven’t fully articulated yet, which I’m about to attempt now.

    For example, the English language versions of the major Korean newspapers generally suck, in terms of comprehensiveness (when compared to the Korean editions), elements of style, and often just plain grammar and spelling. Then there are the usual oft repeated complaints about the lack of media fairness and nationalistic taint. The expat can bring his Western borne sense of journalistic integrity, objectivity, as well as superior English skills to vastly improve the English language coverage of the major dailies. Many Korean websites dont even have a English version.

    In terms of racial issues, many native Korean editors and journalists arent even aware of what can seem potentially offensive. Again, here, the expat with his finely tuned awareness of Political Correctness can serve to consult and express to Korean staff as to why, for instance, publishing an editorial cartoon showing an African with a bone stuck in his nose, is ill-advised.

    I think there are certainly many niche roles that expats can fulfill to remedy some of the oft repeated complaints I hear constantly about some of the chronic problems of the Korean media, at least. It’s certainly not as dramatic as inciting riots, demonstrating in the streets, or being a Malcolm eXpat, but I think if enough expats fulfilled such roles to the point where has a critical mass, I believe it can make a big impact. It certainly is a step up from laboring amongst snot-nosed kids in a hagwon.

    The media is just one example where there can be such niche roles to be fulfilled if the expat markets himself and can convey the value of such a thing to unsuspecting Koreans. Am I being naive here?

  • http://kushibo.blogspot.com kushibo

    Absolutely false comparison.

    Good, because it?? not a comparison. Forget the whole part about Korea: does a typical White person in the United States really know what it?? like to be Black, Asian, Hispanic, or Native in the United States?

    Nice attempt at backpedalling.

    No, it’s not backpedalling. You have taken a single word referring to one thing (whose reference, granted, may not have been 100% clear) out of its context and applied it to something else entirely. In doing so, you illustrated my point.

    Not a comparison huh? So when you said ??i>Very few ethnic Koreans have any clue what it?? like to be living in Korea as a mixed-race or completely non-Korean person; similarly, very few White Americans (or Canadians, Australians, etc.) have any idea what it?? like to be non-White in the U.S. (or some other home countries).??/i>

    SIMILARLY doesn?? imply a comparison kushibo? Really?

    I wrote “similarly” (as in “in a similar way”) to emphasize the nearly identical structure of the two sides of the concept. I was not saying one side is better, the same, or worse than the other because, as was the point in the first place, it is usually futility for majorities from either side to make a point of how well minorities in the majority’s country experience life.

    Ergo, no comparison that American Whites in Korea have it better, worse, or about the same as minorities in the United States, and no comparison that American Whites understand the plights of minorities in the United States better, worse, or about the same as Koreans do non-Koreans in Korea.

    You??e not making any attempt to compare and equate the experiences of Koreans and Whites by using SIMILARLY in between your description of each?

    No. I was not doing that at all. In fact, I was stating that the vast majority of the ethnic majority in either country is ill-equipped to talk about how good or bad it actually is for minorities in their own country.

    By that very definition, I could not be making a comparison. Nevertheless, it appears you inferred that it was apologism for poor treatment of non-Koreans in Korea.

    You??e either lying or don?? know what the word means. Which is it, full of shit or dumb as a box of hammers?

    I choose (c): you entirely missed the point.

    As to your question, no, the typical white person doesn?? really know what it?? like to be a minority.

    Thank you. That was the point (well, half of the point, but you already agreed with the other half) of my original sentence.

    The only way to really know is to actually be a minority.

    Again, thank you. This was also my point. Now one can go further and wonder how wide the gap is between the typical perception by a typical White (or a Korean) and the actual reality of an American minority (or a non-Korean in Korea), but I fear that, too, would be futile.

    The typical white does however, have an idea of what minorities go through

    Knowing that they have difficulties is a very different thing from going through life experiencing those difficulties.

    and can empathize with the challenges and difficulties faced by them.

    To empathize is to feel or experience identification with and understanding of another’s situation, feelings, and motives. Unless a person has gone through similar situations, he or she cannot empathize, but rather sympathizes. There is no empathy if they have not gone through experiences which allow them to identify (even if they think they empathize).

    The majority however, have been raised with loads of different ethnicities around them in every phase of life,

    That depends entirely on where in America you are. And being around minorities, especially when their numbers are increasing, can make some people feel under siege rather than as part of a great multi-cultural pattern (hence White Flight).

    and they see living with, working with, playing with, dating and marrying minorities as completely normal and healthy.

    That is NOT the same as experiencing being stared at if you’re an Asian in the Midwest (with the exception of, maybe, Minnesota), worrying about being caught “driving while Black” (or Mexican), being the single minority on the block and being regarded as “the Chinese guy in the neighborhood” rather than Mr. so-and-so or Ms. so-and-so, having to push extra hard to be accepted by your girl/boyfriend’s White parents, etc., etc. Knowing that these things happen is worlds different from going through life unable to escape these things.

    Even knowing that these things exists does not qualify one to say, as a majority, that the minority in his/her country have it good or bad. The majority would not know the full range of experiences–fears, benefits, constant annoyances, obstacles, hurtles, etc.–that different minority members routinely go through, not to the point that the majority can say that, “well in our country minorities have it better than in your country,” except perhaps in cases where minorities are experiencing extreme behavior.

    The majority in Country A can make a case that minorities in Country B run a high risk of being treated violently, while the majority in Country B says that minorities in Country A are subject to widespread institutional discrimination.

    In turn, the majority of Country A says that minorities in Country B not long ago used to experience massive institutional discrimination and that subtle forms of discrimination still linger. The majority of Country B points out that minorities in Country A are in fact sometimes the victims of violence, too.

    In neither case does the majority of Country A or B really know how life is experienced for the minority in their own country, yet they attack the other country as being worse for minorities. This is the futility of such a discussion.

    And that experience, my backpedalling friend, is in no way, shape, or form, SIMILAR to the average Korean experience

    What a typical Korean might believe about non-Koreans in Korea is in many ways very different from what a typical US White might believe about non-Whites in America. It was never my point to say they were the similar; it was never my point to compare them.

    as you so foolishly implied and then told me to ??orget about.??

    What you foolishly inferred because you assumed I was writing apologistically about the situation in Korea.

  • michael

    You make some very good points, Bluejives, and there are a few non-Koreans attempting to raise the bar in English-language media here, although our influence is limited. Also, we don’t want to whitewash (pun maybe not intended…) the editorial viewpoint simply because we don’t share the same outlook, so it gets complicated.

    Like I said earlier, the Ward story is prompting some introspection by the media, like this in the otherwise horrible Korea Times:
    http://times.hankooki.com/lpage/nation/200602/kt2006020917515310510.htm

    As in any country the “foreigner” population sets an example for better or worse, but for me at least there’s no mission to “enlighten” Koreans, because the majority can think for themselves, and the rest, it’s their problem.

  • http://kushibo.blogspot.com kushibo

    Judge Judy wrote:
    your argument is pretty dead-ended in terms of comparing the average white american?? experience as a minority and the average korean??.

    iheartblueballs insistence notwithstanding, I was not making a comparison between the American’s experience as a minority (in Korea, I assume you mean) and the average Korean’s experience (as a minority in America, I assume you mean).

    That said, I agree with pretty much everything else you wrote about the United States. Nevertheless, that wouldn’t make a White person truly know, say, the annoyance and occasional fear of being caught for driving while Black (or Mexican).

    Anyway, there is a problem, I entirely agree, with a lack of awareness on the part of many, many, many Koreans about how non-Koreans or mixed Koreans are treated in Korea. Absolutely, without a doubt.

    But when news comes of some Koreans bringing this awareness to other Koreans–as was the point of this Marmot post!–it is almost inevitably met with cries of how Koreans DON’T DO the very thing that is being done. Attempts are made to dismiss it or pick it apart to prove its meaningless. Witness the thread on a majority of Koreans saying they would approve their children marrying a non-Korean, or the on the PSAs (public service announcements) calling for average Koreans to treat mixed Koreans as they would any other Korean, or the one about “international marriages” being around 10% of all marriages.

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    After saying:

    The media is just one example where there can be such niche roles to be fulfilled if the expat markets himself and can convey the value of such a thing to unsuspecting Koreans.

    Bluejives asks:

    Am I being naive here?

    Funny. As I was reading the comment, my initial reaction was that you were proceeding in the typically cynical fashion of 99.9% of Korean employers of foreigners in Korea. But based on your closing query, I guess I’ll have to conclude that maybe you are indeed naive. Korea has worked out a relentlessly effective system for doing just what you describe – marginalizing foreigners in niche positions without authority, responsibility or autonomy in order to better control them and to monopolize the profits to be made from any economic activity – (in many cases in businesses (not just language insitutes) to which the Koreans contribute absolutely nothing other than their eligibility under discriminatory Korean laws to own the enterprise in which all the value added comes from the foreign employees). Things are beginning to change now, but slowly and with enormous difficulty in the teeth of all the established businesses created by exploiting this system in the past. An example in point is the newspaper and media businesses, which are basically closed to foreigners, but in which the quality of English language offerings would improve immeasurably if foreigners were simply allowed to have a go at it on their own instead of being limited to cigar store whiteman and bartelby the scrivener positions.

  • http://bluejives.typepad.com/burp bluejives

    I see. So in summary…

    Expat: Korea is nationalistic! Korea is biased! Korea is *this, that, etcetera*

    Me: So what are you doing about it besides complaining?

    Expat: Nothing.

    Thanks for clearing that up.

  • Brendon Carr

    The suggestion that English-speaking expats “improve the standard” of the local English-language media is a good one. Too bad the Foreign Investment Promotion Act makes it unlawful for a foreign individual or enterprise (or foreign-invested Korean enterprise) to own a majority of shares in a newspaper business. Publishing — even foreign-language newspapers — must remain in the hands of Koreans. Still, this would not be a problem, if the ownership of the existing Korean-owned English-language media had the will to allow their publications to be managed by the readership — i.e. to have foreign editors and writers making editorial decisions and deciding what’s important to the readership. I’ll leave it to the imagination (check the bylines) or to the explanations of those with experience whether or not that’s possible.

  • http://asiapages.typepad.com/ jodi

    michael–

    that korea times article kind of raised my eyebrows…not that it is giving the wrong message but that it almost seems to exactly mirror what i wrote and what was being discussed on my site WAAAAYYYYY before any of this became an issue in the mainstream english press here in korea. i mean, it’s very, very similar…

    as to bluejives’ suggestion that expats can contribute more to the korean english media here? whose to say we aren’t already via blogs like robert’s and others? i presume such sites contribute a lot but never/rarely are given credit by the authors who get their stories of such blogs.

    not that it matters, but i could have sworn the Korea Times story was inspired by what started on my site. just way too many similarities…

  • http://asiapages.typepad.com/ jodi

    let me add it’s not that so much of what i wrote that was repeated but what was being discussed on my site by other people…it’s like the same ideas are being rehashed in print only other people’s names are attributed to those very ideas…i wonder what took the media so long to latch onto this? i credit the korean blogsphere for tackling this issue much earlier!

    bluejives, i think expats in a way are contributing via blogs like this. maybe credit just isn’t being given…

  • http://rjkoehler.com Robert

    not that it matters, but i could have sworn the Korea Times story was inspired by what started on my site. just way too many similarities??/blockquote>
    For what it’s worth, I’d like to think this AP piece started here (at least in English). Probably not (I assume the people at AP read the Hanky, too), but it would be nice to say it did.

  • michael

    “Bartleby” is one of my favorite books…”I prefer not.”

    Basically Sperwer is right–as a cigar store whiteman (ouch) with years more experience than the management, I can attest to how little influence we have.

    The audience for English-language media in the country is minimal, but for Arirang and Yonhap the inability to properly convey stories in English to an overseas audience is definitely a missed opportunity.

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  • judge judy

    sperwer’s correct. foreigners are basically blocked through ineligibility. as brendan points out in newspaper publishing, it’s a complete lockout.

    as the upcoming FTA is put on fast-track status, and all on board see the extreme importance of this getting sewn up before the end of W’s term, there will certainly be pressure put on opening up korean markets. the magnitude of the FTA will allow the US to negotiate quite a bit.

    there are already over 3000 american companies operating in korea, but it would sure be nice not to have so many useless partnerships with koreans who merely “show up”, or don’t. i don’t know what pressure may be put on newspapers. as i recall, foreign ownership restrictions on newspapers is due to national security protection laws.

  • judge judy

    I see. So in summary??n
    Expat: Korea is nationalistic! Korea is biased! Korea is *this, that, etcetera*

    Me: So what are you doing about it besides complaining?

    Expat: Nothing.

    Thanks for clearing that up.

    -bluejives

  • judge judy

    idiot.

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    BJ:

    I was giving you too much credit. You really are just a blue-bottle mindlessly buzzing around in a haze of pure-blood induced stupidity. I won’t even bother to take a swat at you in the future since you’re not even refreshingly annoying, just distracting.

  • http://rjkoehler.com Robert

    Could we please keep it civil down here. Thanks.

  • dogbertt

    What gives Koreans the right to look down on such achievement, which indeed has shaped the world Koreans themselves live in?

    No one has yet answered my question, which is: ??hat is the basis for Koreans??belief in their race??/ethnic group??/nation?? supremacy???r

    I dunno. That we invented Kimchi?

    No, you??e absolutely right. Whites are more superior, hands down.

    I’m not saying we crackers (ring a bell, bluejives?) are superior to you glorious sons of a garlic-eating she-bear, I’m just asking why it is you and evidently a fair number of Asian-Americans have such superiority complexes vis-a-vis white people, who, yes, did harness electricity among other things, such as building societies many wish to live as part of.

    I have on occasion tried to envision the look of childish wonder that must have been on King Kojong’s face when he first glimpsed an electric light.

  • dogbertt

    Isn?? ethnic purity and the master race concept pretty much one and the same? When you use the word ??ure??to describe yourself, aren?? you implying that others are ??mpure??and therefore less than or inferior to you? And if HE is inferior, than I must be?? superior!

    Lets look at another group of people some of you might know who are very obsessed with racial purity: neo-Nazi??. Keeping pure white bloodlines is a big ranting point for them. Would you say, Robert, that they just place a ??igh value on ethnic purity??as a justification for them? I?? sorry if it sounds like I?? baiting you, I?? not, but I don?? think you thought that sentence over enough.

    I agree completely. It’s quite a double standard when Koreans can get away with crowing about maintaining their “purity”, “homogeneity”, and “culture”, yet a white person who would speak in a similar manner would be instantly branded the Second Coming of Adolf and be whacked over the head with the “Diversity is Our Strength” hammer.

    Another thing I wonder about Korean “purity” is the fact that when you look at any of the numerous websites, such as rootsinfo.co.kr, you find frank admission that many of the people bearing surnames now acknowledged as Korean actually stem from non-ethnic Korean Chinese stock. How “pure” is that?

  • kpmsprtd

    Wow! Might I suggest that already several posters here seem to be making rapid progress in reforming journalism, not just in Korea, but worldwide. The writing, the logic, the argument; it’s incredible. I find nothing like it in mainstream American media, and precious little like it in the media of other major English-speaking countries.

    I’m a fairly recent reader of The Marmot’s Hole (still like the old name), but the way my two remaining brain cells are stirred into frenzied activity by what I read here is nothing short of remarkable. As a group, you are seriously good, and you might not even be aware of it. Perhaps the old model of journalism has already been replaced in situations such as this (examining treatment of minorities in various countries).

    Note: I bow to you iheartblueballs, master of rhetoric and clear writing that you are. (But as an old guy, I can’t stop laughing when I think about your username.)

    Over and out,
    kpmsprtd

  • michael

    “I have on occasion tried to envision the look of childish wonder that must have been on King Kojong’s face when he first glimpsed an electric light.”

    It probably would have been a carbon filament light patented in 1881 by Lewis Howard Latimer, an African-American inventor.

  • iheartblueballs

    Take a gander at the cartoon at the bottom of this post (linked also in trackback above for parkatcircle.com), and then get back to me about how serious and introspective the reflection by the Korean media is.

    http://parkatcircle.com/?p=62

    Two words: Deeply ingrained.

    One more word: Oblivious.

  • judge judy

    OMFG…that cartoon is just wrong.

  • thorin

    I always wondered what the MBC in MBC ESPN stood for. Mixed Blood Channel! Who knew? All Steelers all the time next season baby!

  • Mi Hwa

    It’s ironic that some prominent native Koreans, such as Dr. Hwang and Kim Jong Il, have brought shame on Korea, whereas a mixed-race Korean, Hines Ward, brought glory. This contrast shows that Koreans should not be valued based on their ethnic purity.

    There will be more mixed-race Koreans in the future, and Korean society will have to get used to diversity. Diversity can be an asset for a global-minded Korea. Racial purity belongs in the past, for many countries.

    The expats may whine about Korea, but they are helping to bridge cultures between Korea and the world.

  • http://www.koreasojourner.blog-city.com/ usinkorea

    Race riots…..I don’t know, you would probably have to talk to people in the Chinese-Korean community about that. The Koreans are so good at scrubbing their press of things that don’t fit what they want to think about themselves or others to see.

    I know they had some race riots along with USFK whites and blacks in the 70s (believe it was the 70s and not 80s or 60s) where gangs of Koreans + Whites were up against gangs of blacks.

    I bet we could call the slaughter of catholics in the 19th century a race riot, no?

    Hey, here is an idea —– maybe Korea doesn’t have race riots because it is by far such the dominate race. If the Chinese-Koreans (do they still go to their own schools these days?) were 30% of the population and demanding equal treatment, we might see a race riot or two?

  • Mizar5

    “The expats may whine about Korea, but they are helping to bridge cultures between Korea and the world. ”

    True, but to be accurate, its not the expats who are whining about Korea -its the Korean dispora who are whining about the expats. Not me, though – that was a nudge to Bluejives and his ilk who never seem to tire of blaming others for their own sense of racial inferiority and getting defensive over legitimate criticism.

    Personally, I find this entire discussion rather dimwitted. People of one race lecturing people of another race why their form of racism is more ofensive than their own brand of racism. We’re better than you, you’re worse than us. How childish.

    Frankly, at the end of the day, a spade is still a spade, no mater how you try to excuse it.

  • Mizar5

    Oh, and one more thing. Forget the race shit and join the human race.

  • http://21cseonbi.blogspot.com sewing

    usinkorea:

    “I know they had some race riots along with USFK whites and blacks in the 70s (believe it was the 70s and not 80s or 60s) where gangs of Koreans Whites were up against gangs of blacks.”

    Can you give more details? True enough, I’d never heard of this. (I don’t know if that proves your point, but then, I’ve never actually lived long-term in Korea, even as an expat.) And it was actual gangs of Koreans and caucasians versus African Americans? …And that it all happened during the dark days of the Yushin constitution (if it happened in, say, the mid 70s) is just all too weird…. Not unbelievable, but just weird.

  • http://21cseonbi.blogspot.com sewing

    And I have to echo Mizar5:

    “Personally, I find this entire discussion rather dimwitted. People of one race lecturing people of another race why their form of racism is more ofensive than their own brand of racism. We??e better than you, you??e worse than us. How childish.”

    Racism—and ethnocentrism—exist. They exist in Korea, and they exist outside of Korea. They exist between all manner of different groups, in many different permutations and combinations, to differing degrees of intensity or subtlety. They are often complicated by economic or other issues. It’s certainly not a simple topic to discuss, and what had the potential to start out as a constructive thread by the Marmot has turned into anything but. There have been some constructive comments from all sides, but I think Mizar5 hit the nail on the head with the above paragraph.

  • pawikirogi

    ‘i’m not bothered by korean racism.’ shakuhachi/matt/occidentalism.org

    excuse me? korean racism kicked your ass. that’s why you got an entire website designed to denigrate koreans. do you really think you’re fooling anyone? lol.

    ‘let’s forget about race and just join ther human race!’ mizar jackson

    yes, let’s. but the problem for you is that you don’t seem to know what your race is. i see you’ve cut down on all the ‘we koreans’ crap. you’re just another shakuhachi. indeed, even the marmot doesn’t believe you’re a ‘korean’.

    ‘nulji $%#^%&$%#@!’ slim

    i thought you said you ignored my posts, slim. of course, i’m old enough to know that was a lie.

  • changguang

    Let’s see how this goes. Koreans seize on the fact that Hines Ward (who by all accounts is not just a great athlete, but a great guy) has a Korean mother. Seeing as how Koreans treat mixed-race people very badly, this is hypocritical. Hey, some of the media recognize this and write interesting articles exploring this hypocrisy. Seems like a good start to dealing with the racism and hypocrisy. I say, “Kudos to the Korean press — this is a topic that’s going to make a lot of your readers uncomfortable as introspection into your darker parts always is.” I wish Korean society good luck on this issue. Seeing as how much they’ve changed just in my lifetime, I would not be surprised if significant progress was not made very quickly.

    So, let me ask you all the Americans something. How long did it take African Americans to advance from slavery to true legal equality? Roughly 100 years. Please keep that in mind before you jump on your high horse. As an American, I can tell you that we instinctively like to jump on that horse. It also seems to be a trait that immigrants and their children pick up very quickly. I do it all the time. It really annoys the rest of the world. So we end up with the rest of the world not listening because of how we say things rather than addressing what we say. This discussion has had a lot of that.

    A little about my background: My mother was born to a “fallen” yangban family in Chollabukdo. My father was born to Oklahoma farmers who lost everything ironically, after the Dust Bowl. I grew up mostly in small towns in Texas. I’ll tell you what — racism, blatant and subtle, was the frame in which my life occurred. Luckily, I was smart and could build a certain subversive self-esteem by running circles around everybody in the classroom. Then there were sports — football and basketball being great equalizers. No one can call you inferior right after you’ve knocked them on their ass or blocked their shot. Still, as an adolescent I was filled with anger and rage. For an extended period, it defined my identity.

    Perhaps Korea would have been worse (however, whenever I visited, I did attend school without too many problems.) Having extended family who were willing to bully others into treating me not too unfairly was probably the deciding factor. Nonetheless, my experience, as verified by others of similar circumstances, is that American society does not exactly “embrace” mixed-race people. In fact, my experience is that of all races, whites are most likely to make racist attacks. I could write forever on why, but I think it can be summed up by the following: It is not rational for someone to give up a position of inherited dominance peacefully. It may be the moral thing to do, but most of the time, people choose their own advantage over morality.

  • http://bluejives.typepad.com/burp bluejives

    as to bluejives??suggestion that expats can contribute more to the korean english media here? whose to say we aren?? already via blogs like robert?? and others? i presume such sites contribute a lot but never/rarely are given credit by the authors who get their stories of such blogs.

    bluejives, i think expats in a way are contributing via blogs like this. maybe credit just isn?? being given??/blockquote>

    Perhaps. But from what I can tell, the Korea Expat Blogs largely seem like exercises in preaching to the choir. Exactly how far can that go?

    I must say that Marmot’s blog seems pretty even-handed. I can see he tries to air both sides of an issue, which is supposed to be standard journalism fare, but a high calling for a personal blog. I think he also works as a staff in one of the K-news, if I’m not mistaken. That’s what I meant by my suggestion, and not ownership of the newspaper companies as others brought up. Did the Blacks get to own the NFL before they started playing on the field? Hell no and they still dont. That’s a highly presumptuous attitude, not to mention a cop-out, a bunch of lame excuses, and disingenuous to my argument.

    Furthermore, the majority of the current events blogs are heavy on personal opinion. They operate under their own peculiar kind of politico-ideological-national-centrism, which I privately refer to as *white-noise*. The blogs are as about as “fair and balanced” as FOX NEWS (their own slogan) and neither is the group polarization dynamic of ensuing commentary from blog readership.

    No, I dont consider a personal blog to be an effective counterweight to mainstream channels. One brand of jingoism replaced another kind does not cancel each other out and somehow produce journalistic fairness or objectivity based upon facts.

    If conscientious folks really cared about fairness or whatever, I would expect at least a respectable consideration of my suggestion, for whatever it’s worth. Because you dont get something for nothing. Racial equality, fairness, or what have you is NOT an automatic privilege that gets bestowed upon you, especially when you are a minority in a nation that lacks a history of thinking along those terms. But instead I find a bunch of spastic choirboys who resort to irrelevant, ad hominem attacks, simply because they are at a loss for a coherent, well-thought out response. Which only confirms what I’ve suspected all along, that all this is just emotional masturbation whine-fest by folks with huge chips on their shoulders who engage in Korea-bashing for sport.

  • cm

    Changguang, as a mixed race person myself, I have to concur with your shrewd observations.

    The reason why race has never been a focus in Korea is that Korea has been 98% Korean. But as inter-racial marriages along with multi-cultralism increase every year, it would be impossible for Korea not to start addressing the question of race. If they did ignore it, it would be suicidal. That’s how America ended up having affirmative actions. America couldn’t just ignore tens of millions of decendents of slaves who are sick of lynchings. If they had ignored it, they would have faced a racial civil war.

    I give it a 90% threshold level for Korea. Once Korea reaches 90% Korean and 10% other/mixed ethnics, that’s when Korea becomes PC, just like in western countries. Just like in the west, racism won’t go away but everyone will say nice things about how racism sucks in front of the public, but in private, they turn around 180 degrees (based on my own experience). That’s when Koreans start jumping on the high horse, bashing those terrible racist Vietnamese (or whatever) for not being enlightened and comparing it to the utopia that Korea is.

  • iheartblueballs

    Personally, I find this entire discussion rather dimwitted. People of one race lecturing people of another race why their form of racism is more ofensive than their own brand of racism. We??e better than you, you??e worse than us. How childish.

    What is childish, is to buy into the theory that there are no degrees of racism, or no difference in the levels of social acceptance of that racism, or no difference in how widespread that racism is between two different cultures, or that both cultures are equivalent in what kinds of legal measures and protections they have set up to combat racism.

    What is childish, is to proclaim that because racism exists in Korea, and racism exists in America, they are therefore equal.

    By that same standard, you may as well say that Muslim extremists are no different than Christian extremist, even though one’s idea of extreme is suicide bombings, honor killings and beheadings, while the other’s idea of extreme is telling homosexuals they’re going to hell and claiming hurricane Katrina was sent to punish decadence in New Orleans.

    Both are extremists, so who cares about the degree? It’s stupid for people of one religion to lecture people of another religion about how their brand of religious extremism is more offensive than their brand of religious extremism, right Mizar5? 3000 dead on 9/11 is just as offensive as Pat Robertson making idiotic comments, so who are we to brand one more offensive than the other?

    I’m sure white South Africans had a field day using that logic to justify apartheid. “Who are you Americans and Europeans to call our brand of institutional and legalized racism more offensive than your brand of racism? It’s all the same so there’s no need to discuss it!”

    I could go on and on with other examples of how ridiculous your “an ounce equals a pound equals a ton so let’s treat it all the same” argument is, but I think it’s pretty obvious to anyone with half a brain.

  • http://bluejives.typepad.com/burp bluejives

    Oh, and one more thing. Forget the race shit and join the human race.

    Wow, that’s brilliant, Mizar. Did you come up with that all by yourself?

    One wishes that reciting hackneyed phrases is all that it takes, eh, Mizzy? :)

  • http://bluejives.typepad.com/burp bluejives

    doggie bag said:
    I?? not saying we crackers (ring a bell, bluejives?) are superior to you glorious sons of a garlic-eating she-bear, I?? just asking why it is you and evidently a fair number of Asian-Americans have such superiority complexes vis-a-vis white people, who, yes, did harness electricity among other things, such as building societies many wish to live as part of.

    I have on occasion tried to envision the look of childish wonder that must have been on King Kojong?? face when he first glimpsed an electric light.

    Trust me, I would never call you a cracker. Because if I did that it’ll probably just remind you of your own glorious, nostalgic past when your predecessors used to CRACK their whips upon the backs of….

    Crack-head? Maybe. Ass-crack? Certainly. But not cracker; you’d actually revel in it.

    BTW, Kojong was an impotent moron. The Queen Min, on the other hand, was something else.

  • http://bluejives.typepad.com/burp bluejives

    I?? just asking why it is you and evidently a fair number of Asian-Americans have such superiority complexes vis-a-vis white people, who, yes, did harness electricity among other things, such as building societies many wish to live as part of.

    Superiority complex? Nah, it’s more like an eye-rolling, fed-up complex.

    It’s one thing to actually have a mixed race person, Chinese-Korean, Kosian, or even Hines Ward himself come and speak about inequality in Korea. But a White expat? Give me a break! Since when did you guys start caring so damn much about that? Back home, you’d be telling the minorities the same thing I’m telling you, which is: stop whining, deal with it, lighten up, take responsibility, or pack up

  • Mizar5

    Yes Bluejives, I came up with that all by myself. Nobody else can do it for you.

    People continue to repeat the old saw that racism stems from ignorance. It actually stems from lack of self respect. Perhaps your thinly disguised hatred of white people is self hatred. Maybe your complex about victimization at the hands of white people everywhere is insecurity. Maybe when you get over feeling sorry for yourself for not fitting in, you’ll get over your racial inferiority complex. It worked for me.

  • Brendon Carr

    I must say that Marmot?? blog seems pretty even-handed. I can see he tries to air both sides of an issue, which is supposed to be standard journalism fare, but a high calling for a personal blog. I think he also works as a staff in one of the K-news, if I?? not mistaken. That?? what I meant by my suggestion, and not ownership of the newspaper companies as others brought up. Did the Blacks get to own the NFL before they started playing on the field? Hell no and they still dont. That?? a highly presumptuous attitude, not to mention a cop-out, a bunch of lame excuses, and disingenuous to my argument.

    Working as staff on Korean English-language newspapers… what a idea! I wonder why nobody has ever thought of that before in the history of those papers. The fact is, Mr. Bluejives, the Korean ownership and management of English-language media has historically placed a higher value on autarky — on subordination and isolation of suggestions put forward by irritating foreign staff hired by the very same Korean ownership and management — than on quality of the product. There are a staggering number of qualified English-speaking professionals who have tried and failed to join Korean-owned English-language media to carry out the improvement requested by ownership. Yet the papers still suck. So what’s the problem? Whiners?

  • Mizar5

    “I could go on and on with other examples of how ridiculous your ??n ounce equals a pound equals a ton so let?? treat it all the same??argument is, but I think it?? pretty obvious to anyone with half a brain.”

    No need, because that’s not what I said at all. No need to project that interpretation. I’m with you on the fact that Korea remains extremely primitive in comparison to the US in the sphere of acceptance of diversity.

  • Mizar5

    “It?? one thing to actually have a mixed race person, Chinese-Korean, Kosian, or even Hines Ward himself come and speak about inequality in Korea. But a White expat? Give me a break! Since when did you guys start caring so damn much about that? Back home, you?? be telling the minorities the same thing I?? telling you, which is: stop whining, deal with it, lighten up, take responsibility, or pack up.”

    Experience shows that’s not what they say at all. Back home they are in fact sponsoring and promoting courses on diversity, prosecuting cases where minorities are discriminated against and generally doing their part to raise awareness.

    When did they start caring so much? It started back in the 1960s when the Freedom Riders demonstrated alongside blacks in the South. Since that time racial equality has been a keenly cherished American value.

    White expats are in fact among the best people to speak about the inequality in Korea. Adoption agency workers are being quoted in the Korean press as we speak about the impossibility of placing mixed race Koreans in Korean homes for adoption. White expats are also likely to be the most sympathetic and sensitive to these issues having actually experienced bigotry firsthand. Many will be returning with Asian wives and biracial children. When they decry racism in Korea, you can be sure this comes with a great deal of self-examination rather than any suggestion hypocracy given the deeply-held respect for human diversity, and general sense of social responsibility that is so embedded in American thinking. You can’t judge them by Korean standards and begin to gain an understanding the extent of American commitment to equality.

  • cm

    I’ve never read such misery and anger as I’ve read Mizar5. Some Korean must have made fun of his race and called him names. How else can you explain his misery on every single topic about Korea? I hope I never have to meet anyone like that in real life. Jeesh.. What a grump!

  • michael

    Ain’t it the truth Mr. Carr. That’s been exactly my experience–the management of media companies here are working at cross-purposes, hiring foreigners to improve their properties, then fighting them every step of the way. Throw in the usual paranoia toward foreigners and you get the mediocre product that is English-language media here.

    There really isn’t much need for three English-language papers in Korea if none can do a decent job–the Chosun online in English is far superior, and free. Throw in a weekly or monthly guide for tourists in English, and the rest can go away without being missed.

  • Mizar5

    cm: “I??e never read such misery and anger as I??e read Mizar5. Some Korean must have made fun of his race and called him names. How else can you explain his misery on every single topic about Korea? I hope I never have to meet anyone like that in real life. Jeesh.. What a grump!”

    There are numerous ways to explain your perception of me as miserable, and they all fall squarely upon your own interpretation. Most likely, you yourself feel miserable about my social criticisms and project that misery onto me. Actually, I enjoy observation and analysis too much to endulge in feelings of misery though, so you’re projecting. Overall, I’m a happy, well-adjusted person.

    Perhaps you do hope not to meet someone like me in real life but I’m sure you’d in fact feel priviledged to meet me in real life becasue most people seem to find me warm, sincere, humorous and engaging.

    Yes, people have made fun of my race and called me names but I have no issue with it, since I learned long ago, that people like these are merely responding to a stereotype in their own heads and not to me personally. The point is I simply harbor no inferiority/superiority complex or ill feelings about anyone over race or nationality. I genuinely like people, period.

    But I offer something more – insightful criticisms on cultural issues. I apologize if this hurts you. If you can’t take it in the good nature with which it is intended, then at least see it as a litmus test of your own misery index.

  • Mizar5

    Cm, having read your posts herein, I do have a great deal of sympathy for you and in no way meant you to misinterpret my response as suggesting you are “miserable” – I simply meant to gently corect your prejudgments of me based on a misreading of my succint and witty responses on an internet forum! I’m personally aware that biracial people have issues to deal with. So don’t get me wrong. Nothing I’ve written has any intention of demeaning. i’m tryig to uplift. Keep fighting the good fight!

  • dogbertt

    Sorry bluejives, I’d forgotten that Korea had no slavery and Koreans didn’t own slaves through the 20th century.

  • http://www.koreasojourner.blog-city.com/ usinkorea

    Sewing,

    You can probably google something about it. I got it from memory of New York Times and Washington Post archives searches for crimes related to GIs.

    It was either late 60s or early 70s and in the Paju area, as I remember it. It was around the same time as big race riots in the US. But, Korean locals got caught up in what the articles seem to say were carry overs from American society.

    My real point was that Korean society is so dominated by Koreans, because there have been few ethnic minorities of any high percentage, and those have been sealed off, it is no big wonder they have not had race riots.

    A thinker like bluejives wants us to believe because Korean society hasn’t seen the same kind of riots as we have in the more diverse American society, South Korea has less racism.

  • komtengi

    seems that his mum has given the Korean media and community in general a fair serve. saying that they only want to know him when he’s famous and shes sick of them talking about him all over the media here… was on ytn news today

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  • gyopo696

    I would like to give an overview of the history of Korea starting from about the end of the 19th century. The Meiji Restoration gave Japan the ability to expand its empire to the continent. The Chosun Yi Royal family at this point was in a decline and the Chosun government’s administration of law and order was full of corruption and backwards in the eyes of the western powers. By defeating China and Russia in their respective conflicts Japan removed the most difficult obstacles to their goal of controlling the peninsula that would be their gateway to the continent. Americans believing that the people of Chosun could not rule themselves secretly signed the Taft-Katsura Agreement in which the Americans recognized Japan’s control of Chosun and the Japanese recognized America’s control of the Philippines. The Japanese originally made Chosun a protectorate but then annexed it into the empire. After which the Japanese attempted to assimilate the people of Chosun by banning the use of spoken and written Korean, forcing the adoption of Japanese names and forcing the practice of Shintoism. The rest of the world powers did not give any reaction to Japan’s annexation of Chosun. The assimilation programs continued until the allied forces of the Soviets and Americans partitioned and took control of the northern and southern halves of the peninsula. Afterwards both allies set up puppet regimes which they planned to control but a conflict between the regimes arose and then an armistice was signed to end the fighting. In the southern half of the peninsula repressive regimes supported by the Americans spurred economic growth with the chaebol system of family owned conglomerates leading the way. With this history in mind, which includes Chinese, Russian, American and Soviet tactics to gain influence and control of the peninsula without regard to the lives of the people of the peninsula and the Japanese attempt to completely eliminate and replace the culture of the peninsula, fear and exclusion of non-Koreans in present day Korea is still comprehensible.

  • dogbertt

    Excuses, excuses.

  • http://heng_buk.livejournal.com verve

    “Now that someone has quoted Ward’s mother about racism from Koreans, does anybody have her quote about her and her son’s encounters of racism from the Americans? I won’t hold my breath. I thought that Ward’s recalling of his school days when he was teased, isolated, and bullied because he had a chinese mother was interesting. This was true when he looks more black than Korean. I wonder how much worst it would have been if looked more Asian than black. It’s up to Korea to deal with racism and it’s up to Korea to plan laws about racism, in their own ways and in their own terms and time, just as the West was given that opportunity to do it themselves. Talking about Ward, where’s his father? How come nobody looks at the irresponsibility of American husbands with Asian wives who abandon their kids? Not just in Korea, there are 70,000 in Philippines alone. What about Vietnam and just about everywhere Americans were involved in Asia. Isn’t it racist for American men to use Asian women as toilet papers to have their own ways, then forget about it when the consequences are produced”
    - CM

    Yes, it’s now about 80,000 in Philippines and counting… The sad part is these womens are usually from the countryside with no educational background and has very little chance of survival to live comfortably even in their own country. These women have a lot of reason why they end up being in that situation and the no.1 on the list is “for better life” which they thought they could have if they marry a foreigner but ends up worst.

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