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And on the Australia front…

Korean-Australians are apparently wondering what all the fuss in the Korean media is all about:

Once my colleague in Seoul alerted me, it didn’t take much digging to find out more, and be invited along to film Korean community leaders in Sydney holding “crisis talks” to decide what to do.

That is to say, what to do about the Korean media coverage, not the attacks themselves.

Because Korean-Australians think the Korean media is making a mountain of a mole-hill: adding a racial element to what are mostly random acts of violence. They want to get an alternative message out: that, despicable though the isolated attacks have been, they’re mostly random not racial.

That Australia is safe for Koreans.

To be fair, the people being talked to have an economic interest in downplaying any problems. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t right.

If this is much ado about nothing, it begs the question—what bone does the Korean media (or at least certain quarters of it) have to pick with Australia? Or is it just an attempt to drum up readership?

(HT to reader)

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  • http://www.sperwerslog.com/ Sperwer

    If this is much ado about nothing, it begs the question—what bone does the Korean media (or at least certain quarters of it) have to pick with Australia? Or is it just an attempt to drum up readership?

    Neither; it’s a function of a deeply ingrained racialist cast of mind.

  • hoju_saram

    OK, here are some stats and data to (hopefully) clear up this nonsense:

    In Australia, the rate of assault (across all ethnicities) is 766 victims per 100,000 population (2010 figure). Or, roughly, 64 assaults per month per 100,000 people.

    There are at least 100,000 Koreans in Australia. (60,000 permanent residents, 30,000 working holiday visas and a bunch of other visa types (business, tourist etc etc).

    All things being equal, this means that we should expect there to be 64 assaults on Koreans in Australia every month.

    Currently, the Dong-a and other Korean media outlets have their undies in a twist over 5 assaults in the last month.

    That, my friends, is what I call a major over-reaction.

  • hoju_saram

    If this is much ado about nothing, it begs the question—what bone does the Korean media (or at least certain quarters of it) have to pick with Australia? Or is it just an attempt to drum up readership?

    What, newspapers being sensationalist? I know, I can’t believe it either. But there are other things at play. Australia is still associated with racism in many countries, particularly Asia, within which we’re still regarded as an unwelcome growth. The White Australia Policy (almost 50 years dead now) was real, and continues to resonate in many minds. And then there’s the matter of a minor victim complex, which I won’t mention here, lest I be accused of victimising people.

  • yuna_at_marmotshole

    I remember, one of the first debates I had on this site as a commenter was when I was saying how I or my (non-Korean) companions never felt threatened or abused by the Korean locals, usually because when they do strike up a conversation I can handle it(ajossis) right.
    Then I was met by many arguments from the men here which ranged from “just because it doesn’t happen to you doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen to “it must be because you are ugly. when the companion/wife/gf is pretty the ajossis abuse them, if they are plain the Korean men are thankful)”
    This reminds me of that time.
    Also, because we still do expect a certain invisible protection cloak which doubles as a shield against common assualt when we are not from a certain place, so I think the mere proportion of numbers fail to work so well.

  • http://profiles.google.com/dcmusicfreak DC Musicfreak

    Bad journalism, full stop.

  • Anonymous_Joe

    But it exists, Hoju. You know the foreigner crime rate vs. Korean crime rate in Korea. The point is not the rate, but that it exists at all. Much like McCarthy said about Communists, even if there is only one foreigner committing a crime in Korea, than one foreigner is too many.

  • SomeguyinKorea

    The local newspapers’ increasing dependence on tabloid journalism to catch people’s attention shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. Newspapers are having a hard time staying afloat because of the internet. Desperate times makes for desperate measures.

  • GerryBevers

    Those numbers raise a worrying question, Hoju_saram: Why are Australia’s criminals not targeting Koreans as much as other Australians? Doesn’t it suggest that Australian criminals are discriminating against Koreans by not targeting them as much as others? Koreans in Autralia should demand equal targeting by the criminals.

  • ChuckRamone

    I hope this isn’t a dumb question (I never studied statistics or anything like that). Are foreigners expected to be crime victims at the same rate as locals?