The Marmot's Hole

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Tag: racism (page 1 of 3)

Ladies, be careful of foreign guys offering you drinks: Dong-A Ilbo

The Dong-A Ilbo warns ladies to be careful of foreigners offering you drinks.

In May, a young man by the name of Kim got a urgent Kakao Talk from a female acquaintance of his who’d gone to a club in Yongsan. She was passing out and worried something might happen to her. He went to the club, found her passed out and surrounded by two foreigners, and rescued her. The next day, she told him that the foreigners gave her something to drink which had apparently been spiked.

She was rescued, but the Dong-A reports that there are women, defenseless against foreigners will ill-intent, who have been sexually assaulted. For instance, on Sept. 10, a 20-year-old woman was sitting at a Gangnam club with two foreign guys and a Korean guy. They gave her a drink which they’d spiked with sleeping pills. They brought her to a nearby motel, where they began filming parts of her anatomy with a cellphone. When she protested, they beat her. After a two week investigation, the cops arrested three guys for sexual assault, including a French guy and some model.

The Dong-A warns that there’s been a string of cases of foreigners sexually assaulting young women at clubs. What these assaults have in common, says the paper, is that the perps think Korean girls are easy, and they make ill use of Korean girls’ expectations about meeting an exotic stranger.

The reporter went to a Gangnam club on Oct. 8 and saw—and no, I’m not shitting you, this is what he wrote—some foreign guys constantly checking out the bodies of Korean girls or directly going up to girls, putting their arms around them and talking to them. One white American guy in his 30s apparently told the reporter that his friends say it’s easy to make a Korean girl your girlfriend, and if a foreigner sexually assaults a girl, it’s because there’s a widespread feeling that Korean girls are easy. Foreigners who might mistakenly believe they are sexually superior use the vague expectations some women might have about foreigners to satisfy their sexual desires. Some police science professor at Konkuk University told the Dong-A that women who, seeing the foreigners who appear in overseas movies, develop romantic ideas about foreigners or a curiosity in the exotic, may let their guard down easy, putting them in great danger of being sexually assaulted.


That it’s relatively difficult for cops to find foreign criminals is also a factor, says the Dong-A. One club manager told the paper that some particularly wicked foreigners who bring drugs in think that if they get caught, they can just run back to their home countries. Police say it’s hard to track down foreign sex criminals since it’s difficult to find where they live and they often use rental phones. A police official said since it’s hard to manage foreigners’ personal information, foreign criminals are sometimes ID’d only after they’ve fled back home. He said the police need a systemic management system and hire more foreign affairs guys who can handle foreign criminals.

Korea’s made progress, but racism still a problem: U.N. special rapporteur

U.N. special rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance was in Seoul and apparently didn’t like everything he saw:

Ruteere said that South Korea has made “important progress” in addressing the issue of racism and xenophobia, given its history of ethnic and cultural homogeneity.

The country, however, now confronts “emerging challenges” due to an influx of foreigners and migrant workers who are contributing to social change and a shift from a migrant-sending country to a migration destination.

“I found incidents or problems that are serious enough to merit attention (in South Korea),” Ruteere told a press conference, without elaborating.

Ruteere showed particular concern for the rights of migrant laborers and called on Seoul to ratify the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families.

He did address other aspects of racism in Korea, though, too. For instance, he notes that in the vast majority of cases, policies for multicultural families apply only to foreign women who marry Korean men, not the other way around.

Black face performances and the “This Africa” cigarette ad apparently got honorable mention, too.

He also argued against Korea’s immigration policies, which focus on assimilation, saying, “My understanding of multiculturalism is to strengthen intercultural understanding. It is not a one-way street, but a two-way street…Koreans have a lot to learn from their migrants, and the culture of their migrants. True multiculturalism means learning from both sides.”

Some might argue with the last point, but OK.

He also called on Korea to adopt a comprehensive anti-discrimination act. Now, I think I’ve expressed skepticism about such a law before, and while nobody would argue that the media shouldn’t be responsible, I’m not entirely comfortable with rhetoric like this:

“(It is also important) to ensure that the media is sensitive of the responsibility to avoid racist and xenophobic stereotypes and that these are properly addressed and perpetrators punished where appropriate.”

Emphasis mine. “Punishing perpetrators” can mean anything, of course, including some pretty outrageous things, let alone what groups like the OIC would do with that principle if they could. Being an asshole shouldn’t be a criminal offense.

Anyway, on Twitter, Benjamin Wagner reminds us:

Multicultural masterplan, pub racism, DPRK keeps it classy

The Seoul Shinmun reports that Seoul is now home to 400,000 foreigners (one out of 25 residents!), and to deal with the diversity, the city has announced a five-year “Multicultural Values Seoul Masterplan.”

The masterplan has four objectives: spreading human rights, cultural diversity, shared growth and bolstering the capabilities of foreign residents.

Anyway, some city official told the paper, “We prepared the masterplan to help foreigners from the position of our parents’ generation, who boarded planes to the United States with nothing but their bare hands for the American Dream… We will do our best to make Seoul an advanced multicultural city where we all live well together.”

Seoul might want to send a memo to local bar and club owners. According to a report in the JoongAng Daily, racism is pretty rampant in the Korean nightlife scene. To be fair, though, according to at least one bar manager, foreigners are bad and really deserve to be banned:

The fingerprint verification, the manager told the Korean reporter, is “just another way of turning foreigners away.

“It is discrimination,” admitted the manager, who said the ban came into effect after “too many incidents of rowdy foreigners who start fights and sexually harass women.”

Part of the reason the bar is cautious is because “foreigners won’t be punished by local law,” the owner said.

Speaking of rowdy foreigners, a US serviceman died recently after a street fight—with another serviceman—outside a Hongdae club:

Outside the club, which is popular among men and women serving in the U.S. military stationed here, the 20-year-old Lissone was knocked unconscious during a fight with another U.S. serviceman, according to a government source familiar with the situation.

Although Lissone was bleeding from his nose and ears, the three men brought him not to a nearby hospital but to a motel in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province, near Camp Humphreys, where they are stationed.

Lissone was then taken to Good Morning Hospital in Pyeongtaek, where he was pronounced dead.

Anyway, back to the clubs. If there are any Korean club owners reading this, here’s a tip: while banning round-eye and darkie from your clubs may be both legal and perhaps even socially acceptable in Korea, you’ll want to avoid carrying this practice over should you expand your business to the United States.

One place you can be absolutely sure is OK with keeping foreigners out of the clubs, though, is North Korea. Last week, the KCNA let fly with some truly spectacular racial invective aimed at President Obama, likening the US leader to a “wicked black monkey”:

“How Obama looks like makes me disgusted,” Kang Hyuk, a worker at the Chollima Ironworks Factory said when translated into English.

“As I watch him more closely, I realize that he looks like an African native monkey with a black face, gaunt grey eyes, cavate nostrils, plumb mouth and hairy rough ears.

“He acts just like a monkey with a red bum irrationally eating everything – not only from the floor but also from trees here and there…Africa’s national zoo will be the perfect place for Obama to live with licking bread crumbs thrown by visitors,” Kang concluded.

On a positive note, between the Koreans and the racism, at least Donald Sterling could consider moving the Clippers to Pyongyang if the NBA tries to force him to sell the team.

Racist flier at UCLA, USC

So, Uncle Marmot, what did you learn from the John and Ken Show today?

How about this?

A horribly racist and sexist flier denouncing Asian women as “cunts” and “only dating honkie white boy” has sparked outrage at UCLA and USC.

The flier, which was sent anonymously on Feb. 1 to UCLA’s Asian American Studies Center and USC’s Asian Pacific American Student Services Department, appears to condemn Asian women for dating white men, according to the Daily Bruin. The crude and grammatically poor language in the flier includes lines like “Asian cunt sluts have low self-esteem up xi ass” and “Mexican womyn don’t worship honkie white boy like Asian cunts do!”

I just want to say this would never have happened at Georgetown.

Anyway, the Daily Bruin has posted the actual flyer. Classy stuff.

I do find the way it’s being reported to be mildly interesting. Naturally, it’s being painted as an attack on Asian-Americans. Which I guess it is, in the same way that threats against white women dating black men are an attack on white people.*

* Judging from the content, I’m guessing the flyer was distributed by either a) angry Asian men or b) jackass white dudes pretending to be angry Asian men. Judging from the over-the-top language, it could very well be the latter, but what the hell do I know.

Is Racism at Epidemic Proportions in Korea?

GrooveKorea has a long and anecdote-filled article on racism in South Korea, as experienced by people of the darker persuasion:

On a subway in Seoul, Beauty Epps is approached by a middle-aged Korean woman. “Africa!” the Korean says. “No,” Epps, a young African-American woman, calmly replies. “American. Migukin.”
“No,” the Korean woman replies. “Africa.” Then, after a pause, the Korean woman says, “We domesticated you.”

The link is here.

So, I take it your Australian work holiday experience was less than satisfactory

The Korea Times dedicated a two-part series to the problems—well, alleged problems—faced by Koreans who participate in the Australia Working Holiday program (HT to Rod).

Two Koreans participating in the program were recently killed in separate incidents.

Anyway, just to give you an idea of what we’re talking about, Kang Tae-ho—who wrote a book critical of the program—complains he was subjected to racist treatment at the hands of his Aussie coworkers:

Working as a janitor in the Working Holiday Program, Kang would often find rolls of toilet paper stuck in china and scores of stickers attached to the floor that he had to clean up.

“I found out that my Australian coworkers put them there to harass me,” said Kang, who stayed in the country from July 2011 to June 2012.

That’s just mean.

Other problems cited were labor exploitation on fruit farms and the temptation for female participants to engage in prostitution due to its legal status and relatively high wages.

In the second report, the Korea Times notes that many participants find it difficult to improve their English because their inability to speak English limits their job opportunities:

But the reality is that participants can hardly land decent jobs which require a good command of English. Their choices are therefore limited to manual jobs in rural farms, menial jobs or working for Korean immigrants which rarely offers an opportunity to improve their English skills.

“I worked at a farm which only hires Koreans. Almost all the colleagues whom I talked with were Koreans so it was hard to improve my English. In fact, we spent most of time working without any conversation,” said a 28-year-old office worker who had been to Australia on a working holiday visa in 2009.

Other issues included exposure to crime due to insufficient knowledge about where they are and exploitation by, ironically enough, ethnic Korean employers.

Brendan Berne, the Charge d’affaires of the Hojustani embassy in Seoul, wasn’t especially pleased with the reports—in a letter to the KT, he says more and more Koreans are participating in the program and participants have shown a high level of satisfaction with it. He concludes:

The feedback we receive from citizens from the other 27 countries who participate in the program is also overwhelmingly positive. Your newspaper is rightly proud of Korea’s impressive achievements. I would ask at the very least that your paper adopt a more balanced approach when reporting on developments in Australia, a close friend of the Republic of Korea.

I wouldn’t blame Berne for being annoyed—some of the recent reporting in the local press has made Australia look almost like something out of a Mad Max movie. Or Detroit on a good day. That can’t make his job any easier.

And in case you were wondering, no, not many Australians come to Korea on the working holiday program. In May 2012, there were only 23 Australians in Korea on working holiday, roughly equivalent—or so I’m told—to the number of Australian bartenders per square kilometer in London. Simultaneously, there were 15,000 Koreans in Australia. In fact, there were only 1,120 people in Korea on working holiday visas, the overwhelming majority of whom from the Evil Island Nation We Dare Not Name (i.e., not Australia. Or Kiwistan). The Korea Herald did manage to find a real live Hojustani in Korea on working holiday, who explained that Korea was not as popular because of a) Australians knew little about the place, b) it didn’t have quite the tourist draw as some other countries, and c) language. I do wonder, though, if perhaps there’s more to it—in 2012, the Canadian ambassador complained that the working holiday program was biased:

Canada requested Thursday that its citizens on the working holiday program in Korea be granted the same benefits their Korean counterparts enjoy in the North American country.

“We have about 5,000 Canadians teaching English in Korea,” David Chatterson, Canadian ambassador to Korea, told The Korea Times, explaining that they were E-2 visa holders and would not be eligible to teach if they were here on the working holiday program.

According to the Canadian Embassy in Seoul, the North American country allows Koreans on working holidays to find work in a broad range of fields, including teaching, while Canadians are not allowed to teach English in Korea.

I have no idea if that alleged bias has since been fixed.

And for what it’s worth, I’ve yet to read press reports of Koreans having a rough time in Canada with the work holiday program. Weird sex cults and cultural “misunderstandings” about corporal punishment, yes, but no bitching about racism. At least none that I can remember, and I’m too lazy to do an archive search.


If you’re the sort who enjoys racial flame wars, I bring you:

– “Racism paints K-pop into corner” in the Korea Times. I found Tiger JKs contribution to the discussion interesting, because it’s not like he hasn’t had to deal with accusations of racism before (albeit directed at melanin deficient people, which I suppose makes it OK in this day and age).

– Katy Perry. Jesus. Anyway, Tao Jones has a good post on why this was wrong on several levels at the WSJ, with a shot at Samsung as an added bonus:

As part of a marketing partnership, the AMAs and Samsung Mobile tweeted this exclusive picture of Katy Perry backstage, prior to her geisha-a-go-go performance, scrawled with the line “I THINK I’M TURNING AMA” — a reference to the British band The Vapors’ 1980 song “Turning Japanese.” Do the AMAs and Samsung not realize that some people view the subject of that song as a racist metaphor for masturbation?

Pro tip: If you’re going to engage in a hate crime, be sure to get both the nationality and the war right.

A Korean man was beaten in a suburb of Seattle.

As if this weren’t bad enough, turns out he was beaten because the guy thought he was Japanese:

Alford said, “It looked to me like he was going to actually throw him into the oncoming traffic.” Alford ran out onto the street, waved his arms and said “stop, stop.” Two other bystanders joined him to stop the beating and that’s when the attacker started to protest. According to Alford, he said, “Why are you helping him? Don’t you know this man’s Japanese? Don’t you know what we did for them in Vietnam?”

Alford said it was totally crazy talk like that that really made no sense. As Packard walked away from the beating, Alford followed him and pointed him out to police who made the arrest.

The victim suffered only minor injuries. According to charging documents, Packard appeared to be either high on something or mentally ill. They took him to a hospital where he was quoted as saying, “I beat him up to keep the white people safe.”

Fortunately, the victim suffered only minor injuries. The assailant, meanwhile, faces hate crime charges.

Personally, I blame Japan.

Now, I’m no fan of hate crime sentencing, but I suppose tacking on a few years for being stupid wouldn’t bother me any.

Wait? You mean some folk might be offended by the monkey ad campaign?

UPDATE: So, a Brit firm was involved with this (HT to Pawi)?

He stressed that foreign experts were involved in the designing of the package, including graphic artist Papaboule, and designers from (Marmot’s addition: the ironically named) Korean fashion magazine Cracker Your Wardrobe.

One wonders what Papaboule’s contribution to this was, if any. I suppose it should be easy enough to find out.

ORIGINAL POST: Yes, I’m posting this a bit late, but still, it’s nice that KT&G has decided to pull its ad for its new “This Africa” cigarettes.

I suppose KT&G deserve kudos for debuting a product that uses a “African traditional method” of smoke drying the tobacco, but the accompanying ad campaign could have been better thought through:

The KT&G ads featuring a monkey dressed as a human were launched a month ago to promote the brand’s new “This Africa” cigarettes, according to the Agence France-Presse. The ads to promote cigarettes dried and roasted in “traditional” African style showed monkeys dressed as humans, tagged with the slogan “Africa is coming!”

The monkey news anchor was a classy touch, too.

Mind you, KT&G says it didn’t actually intend to be racist:

KT&G responded that the controversy was “regrettable” and that ads would be pulled this month to “dispel concerns of racism.”

“We absolutely had no intention to offend anyone and only chose monkeys because they are delightful animals that remind people of Africa,” said a spokesman for the company.

I’m guessing they really didn’t mean to offend, but like I said, I’d like to know a) who did the ad, and b) did they focus group it, and c) who sat in the focus group. I suspect if it was focus grouped, it was to groups composed entirely of Koreans. Which is fine, especially given the market and Korea’s demographics, but may on rare occasions produce results that make your company look like a bunch of knuckle-dragging racists on the BBC.

Interestingly enough, KT&G isn’t changing the artwork on the packs, which, it could be argued, is even more offensive than the ad campaign. At the WaPo, Max Fisher links this incident with Korea’s complex racial issues:

The whole incident is a reminder of how complicated racial issues can be in South Korea. Korean society has long defined itself by its race; scholars such as B.R. Myers have written about Korea’s view of its own national-racial identity as unique, something that shows up in both the North and South. Metrics of racial tolerance tend to rate the country poorly. As in much of East Asia, those attitudes seem particularly likely to manifest with regard to sub-Saharan Africans.

Immigration to the country can be difficult and is rare, relative to other countries of comparable wealth. Last year, in a story on how rising immigration from Southeast Asia was challenging racial attitudes in South Korea, the New York Times noted, “Only a decade ago, school textbooks still urged South Koreans to take pride in being of ‘one blood’ and ethnically homogeneous.” In some ways, then, this controversy – and the company’s response – are a reminder of South Korea’s sometimes difficult racial politics.

Mr. Fisher’s commenters seem to take exception.

I don’t know. I don’t think anybody will disagree that Korean attitudes about race can be a bit rough around the edges, or that Korea’s immigrant population is relatively small compared to that of the West (whether that last point reflects poorly on Korea or the West is a separate matter). That said, I do think this was more a case of PC insensitivity than intentional racism. I have a hard time believing KT&G intentionally set out to compare Africans to apes. I can fully believe, however, that at no time during the making of that ad campaign did anyone raise their hand and say “Africans+monkeys=RED FLAG! RED FLAG!”

Korean companies face anti-discrimination lawsuits in United States

Korea’s major corporations may be experiencing some, ahem, growing pains in the United States.

Two women in the United States have filed a lawsuit in a US federal court in Georgia against three companies, including a major Korean company identified only as Company A, and two executives for allegedly firing them after they got pregnant.

The women, who were sent to the big Korean company’s local factory by subcontractor, claim Company A’s Korean manager said pregnant women are a headache to the company and ordered the subcontractor to terminate their contracts. One of the women also said the Korean manager yelled at her that she was incapable of doing her work because of her pregnancy and told her that if she didn’t leave he’d call the guards.

She claims the day after the fight, she was sent to an empty warehouse with no air conditioning or drinking water and with a broken bathroom. The subcontractor said they’d back her up, but instead they fired her after she gave birth.

The two women reportedly brought the matter before the EEOC last year, but earlier this year withdrew that and filed a lawsuit.

Company A, meanwhile, said the lawsuit is nonsense. In an phone call with Yonhap, the head of the company’s US subsidiary said this was a matter with the subcontractor and had nothing to do with them. The stuff about the manager was also one-sided and untrue.

Interestingly enough, the manager in question left the company last year and was excluded as a defendant.

An industry official thinks Company A was included in the suit to increase the potential pot.

This case comes on the heals of another case in Georgia in which Hyundai Heavy Industry’s US subsidiary got sued by a former executive for racial discrimination.

The executive, who is white, claimed he and some other executives were sacked by the subsidiary president, a Korean-American, because they were a) old and b) weren’t Korean. Some 13 executives had their contracts terminated in 2009; of these, 11 were non-Koreans. They were allegedly replaced entirely by young Koreans.

The plaintiff also claimed he felt ostracized by the Koreans, who ate and played golf only among themselves.

The plaintiff lost the case, but as editorial writer Sunny Yang writes in the JoongAng Ilbo:

The head of the subsidiary made racial jokes, and Korean employees had a cliquish culture that excluded locally hired employees. If the suit were filed by a non-white American, would the company have been able to avoid the charge? Hyundai may have benefitted from the preconception held by many in America that Caucasians are traditionally the inflictors of racial discrimination.

I found the possibility that the guy may have been screwed by the racial politics of not just one, but two countries darkly amusing.

Anyway, you can read more about the case (in English) here.

Now, it should be noted here that an all-white jury found in favor of Hyundai. Hyundai argued that for business reasons it preferred employees fluent in Korean and Spanish. It also argued that due to the nature of the company, it would be difficult to conduct international business in English only. One of the lawyers who handled the case told the US edition of the JoongAng Ilbo that the jurors agreed that it wasn’t unusual that, for instance, German would be used in a German company or French in a French company. Or as the Oranckay tweeted:

The Hanguk Ilbo put it thus—the jury recognized that if we consider that Korean was a major language of communication within the company, preference for a certain race was largely unavoidable. Feel free to debate “racism as motivation vs. racism as outcomes” among yourselves.

Nevertheless, some are calling for Korean companies in the United States to use the case as an opportunity to reflect. An official with one major Korean company with a subsidiary based in Atlanta told the Hanguk Ilbo that there have been endless complaints among American employees that the Koreans associate only among themselves. After the case, Hyundai Heavy Industries asked (presumably Korean) employees not to eat kimchi in the office.

I shit you not.

An official with another major Korean company said a lot of misunderstanding occur because family-oriented American employees can’t really get with the whole poktanju thing and that Korean staff were being told to watch what they do and say so that the company doesn’t get sued.

The head of Hyundai Heavy Industry’s US subsidiary, John Lim, had apparently caused something of a stir during a 2011 ceremony to mark the move of the subsidiary’s headquarters from Chicago to Atlanta when he joked that there was a way to tell Koreans, Chinese and Japanese apart—if they look rich, they’re Chinese; if they look smart, they’re Japanese; and if they’re good-looking, they’re Korean. Apparently Georgia’s governor and other state political and business big-wigs were in the audience.

In Yonhap, an official with a major Korean company said there were many cases in the United States of thoughtless words said by executives coming back as lawsuits. He said his company asked executives to watch what they say and do, but this wasn’t working as requested due to what he called Korea’s unique workplace culture in which employees speak candidly when they grow close.

I’ll let you ponder that last line on your own.

Anyway, judging from the reports, I can’t really tell which aspect of American culture Korean companies are rudely awakening to: our dislike of racial and gender discrimination or our butt-hurt litigiousness. Maybe a little of both.

India, Jordan pretty racist; so is Korea: survey

Well, somebody had to post it.

According to the World Values Survey, India and Jordan are pretty racist, while the English-speaking world and Latin America are relatively less racist. And then there’s Korea:

South Korea, not very tolerant, is an outlier. Although the country is rich, well-educated, peaceful and ethnically homogenous – all trends that appear to coincide with racial tolerance – more than one in three South Koreans said they do not want a neighbor of a different race. This may have to do with Korea’s particular view of its own racial-national identity as unique – studied by scholars such as B.R. Myers – and with the influx of Southeast Asian neighbors and the nation’s long-held tensions with Japan.

A professor who studies ethnic conflict discusses why we shouldn’t infer too much from the survey.

So, are Koreans really that racist? Hard to say, really. I could easily see one in three Koreans saying they don’t want a neighbor of a different race; then again, I could easily see one in three Americans thinking the same thing, even if for reasons of political correctness they’d never say so, even in an anonymous survey. Even assuming the survey numbers of correct (and there may be reason to doubt that, too—HT to Kasif), would that mean the one third who responded they didn’t want a neighbor of a different race necessarily think that folk of different races are inferior? Or does it simply mean they’d prefer a neighbor with whom they share linguistic and cultural similarities?

More on the professor who called his Indonesia students ‘animals’

The Korea Herald’s John Power has more on the incident at Gyeongsang National University in which a professor is recorded calling his Indonesian students “animals.”

In addition to hearing more from the students, we also get the professor’s side of the story:

When contacted by The Korea Herald, the professor declined to apologize or express regret for his choice of words, again using “animal” to refer to the students.

He said the remark was intended to describe someone who did not keep their agreements.

The professor claimed they had wanted to extend their visas after graduation for research but then did not submit academic papers and had failed to produce receipts for a trip to Japan funded by his foundation. He said he visited the women’s accommodation after being unable to contact them for a week to get a form for their visa extension.

“(I said) they should submit the official (visa extension recommendation) sheet to our university (but) they didn’t submit the official sheet, so I went to visit them and then I told them to submit the official sheet, that’s all,” he said.

The professor, who heads the BK 21 foundation that paid part of the students’ tuition, also said the students’ papers had been largely copied from his son’s.

He added that he believed they had “planned this manipulation from the start.”

OK, so one might be tempted to discount the professor’s explanation of the term “animal.” I asked around, though, and was told that many older Koreans—and the professor in question is older—use the Korean word 짐승 (“animal” or “beast”) a lot when they’re pissed off. Unfortunate choice of words, especially considering the target, but the intent may not necessarily have been racist. Also keep in mind the professor is speaking in a language he is clearly uncomfortable in.

Anyway, let’s see how this develops.

Another Korean, another offensive coffee receipt

Or, as The Gothamist put it:

Another day, another racist receipt: A NJ woman is suing CVS, accusing a worker of changing her name to say “Ching Chong Lee” on her receipt.

Hyun Lee, who is Korean, says that she ordered photographs from CVS online and when she went to pick them up from the Egg Harbor City branch, the receipt said, “Lee, Ching Chong.” She emailed CVS, saying, “Do you think it’s funny? It’s very disturbing to me!!!!… why doesn’t he just call me Chink! It has the same derogatory meaning!!!!!”

Educators gone wild

From KoreaBang, “Korean Teacher Beats Up Student, Then Masturbates in Hallway.”

Somebody was clearly having a very, very bad day.

On a much more serious note, we have what appears to be a professor using, to put it charitably, a very poor choice of words (see the end of the video) towards a foreign student (HT to Twitterer).

The video is apparently courtesy Elvira Tanjung, an Indonesian-born researcher in lovely Jinju. Usual caveats about Youtube videos—i.e., you don’t really known what you’re watching—apply.

UPDATE: Elvira Tanjung wrote about the incident in the Korea Times:

After the professor returned to Korea, he visited my rented room. He was visibly angry and yelling at me. He threatened to cancel my degree. I was shocked but I wanted the world to know how horribly he dehumanized me, record it and upload it to YouTube.

I would like to give information to other prospective students out there, because I don’t want other people to experience the same thing we did. That video probably lasted only four minutes, but that’s what happened to me almost every day during the past two years I studied under his supervision. He never treated me with dignity at all.

Those words and treatment are unacceptable; we could sue him for insulting someone from another country. All we could do before we go back to Indonesia was to report this problem to the Indonesian embassy in Korea and send them the video. Staff from the international office at GNU talked by phone to staff at the Indonesian embassy to clarify the problem.

I’d say the university and professor in question probably owe the public an explanation.

And more from the anti-discrimination front…

In case you missed it, the Hankyoreh is still talking about the anti-discrimination bill in the National Assembly, this time noting that the bill does NOT explicitly punish verbal racial insults. Which sucks, the Hani seems to argue, claiming that immigrants are frequently insulted:

For the immigrants, verbal insults are a daily occurrence. They are discriminated against because of their different appearances and skin color. When they ask the price of products at a shop, the clerks cut them off immediately by replying, “It’s expensive.” Even parking is difficult. The manager comes up to them doubtfully and asks for the “real” owner and asks to their identity card. Mrs. Hernandez remarked bitterly, “Koreans think that we have no money to buy things and that we steal cars”.

Recently, a racist placard was posted on a street in Gimhae, South Gyeongsang Province. It read “We announce the following statement to migrant workers: if the law does not punish you, we will. Since Bangladesh has the world’s highest illiteracy rate anyway, we will not translate the statement. Those who know Korean, read the statement and spread the word to others.” This shows how racial discrimination and xenophobia are more serious issues in South Korea now that there are many more foreign residents than in the past.

Seriously though, do we need a separate law to combat public harassment? Wouldn’t that sort of thing fall under the current defamation laws? It seems to me if I start harassing somebody in public, the authorities would find a law to punish me under, regardless of whether the victim was part of a designated victim group or not.

Anyway, regardless of what you think about the legislative end of things, I think we can all agree that managers of professional sports clubs shouldn’t mock foreign fans as “monkeys”:

I regularly attended Korean basketball games, that is, until this fan was a victim of degrading and disgusting “monkey chants.” A few years back, my son and I attended a basketball game between Electric Land Elephants and Samsung Electronics at the Sports Complex in Incheon City. At the time, I was a regular fan who supported and cheered for the home team, the Electric Land Elephants; I didn’t cause any trouble, nor was I a danger to anyone.

A few days later, my son and I went to an afternoon basketball game in Incheon, but before the game had started, one of the managers of the Electric Land Elephants began to rudely mock me with monkey chants as he was making fun of me for the last game when I was a bit too passionate in support of my home team.

I was absolutely shocked and at a loss for words. After a few minutes, I composed myself and confronted this racist manager, but he wouldn’t deal with his racist behavior. Instead, like a coward, he ran and hid in his little office. Next, we made our complaints known to another more senior manager, but he simply laughed and ignored us as he thought it was an innocent joke.

Jesus, what is this, Eastern Europe? Out of curiosity, though, what does “Who would have imagined that ‘Asians’ would have become professional athletes in any sport let alone organize their own professional sport leagues?” mean?

Needless to say, the writer wants to see Korea adopt anti-discrimination laws, and judging from his history of bad experiences, it’s perhaps easy to see why. He is right in pointing out that “While racism is problem in the Western world, there are anti-discriminatory laws that can be used to fight racist behavior.” Of course, in the Western world, there are anti-discrimination laws that can be used to put Mark Steyn and Lars Hedegaard on trial, too, so be careful what you wish for.

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