Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Presumptuous Racist

I got a message on Facebook from a friend who also lives and teaches here in South Korea. Like me, she’s also a black teacher. Like me, she’s been here for a few years. I’m thankful to her and a few others who gave me advice about coming here way back when. Basically, she told me about this thread on Dave’s ESL Café’s Korea forum. Now I simply rarely go to that forum, if ever. So I was actually really surprised that with her being here way more years than I have that’s she’d bother with it now. It’s good to get the basics, but beyond that it’s so overwhelmingly negative in its tone that it’s not worth it. I've described in the past as being a shit-stirrer's and whiner's moshpit. It seems to be where all the foreigners who hate Korea congregate online. Now there are so many Korea-specific blogs that you can get the same information but with a smile rather than a pessimistic frown.

The thread is titled “Best thing about Korea”. There are a range of replies; I’m sure they range from the women to the booze to the work. However, there is one that had her worked up. I’ll reveal what it said later.

When I was researching whether or not to come to Korea I specifically set out to find other black people who had lived or were still living and working in South Korea. I found that soliciting advice from white teachers left a big void when it came to what it might be like here for me as a black person. Usually, because whites are coming from societies in which they're the overwhelmingly dominant majority the issue of racism never hits them from the crap side of the equation. They're always usually looking at it from the position of privilege. However, in these same societies the black teachers that are recruited to live and work in Korea arrive with a completely different perspective regarding racism.

I’ve not met a white teacher yet who has recognized that key difference in our points of view. It's always sad and very frustrating when you have to deal with racism. I've got to admit I kind of laugh when I see whites dealing with it for the first time ever. Of course, the black and other minority teachers that I meet here do recognize the difference in perspective. A lot of white teachers will launch into how overwhelmingly racist Korean society is. I advise all minority teachers simply not to listen to white people telling them about the hard racist road ahead in Korea. Their perspective is usually totally different. It's actually quite comical. You can tell that it's traumatic for a white person for the first time ever to get shit end of the racism deal.

What I've found is that essentially white teachers really exaggerate how bad racism in Korea. At least from the black perspective it’s exaggerated because in our home countries we have to deal with it, so when we come here, for better or for worse, we're used to it. We’re used to people gawking. We’re used to people assuming negative things about us. Of course, we’re used to discrimination based on the color of our skin.

What I've found is that Koreans actually have a steeper learning curve when it comes to racism and bigotry. I'm not saying that South Korea is a refuge from racism and I'm not saying it's ideal. All I'm saying is, for me, Korea is no more racist that the US or any other white country I've been to. Also, the racism is different. Here it's mostly ignorance and a naive belief of the stereotypes white Westerners have brought with them. In the West it's usually deep seated and virulent hate. Ignorance you can fight with knowledge, experience and a more sophisticated way of looking at the world. Koreans learn quicker and now that I'm seeing more black teachers, most of whom are nice, educated and hard-working folk, I think we'll keep seeing our numbers increase.

It seems that whites don't like to hear that Koreans get past racism quicker than they do. However, sometimes the truth hurts. I find that if a Korean judges me negatively when they see I'm black the prejudice melts away fairly quickly. This is for a few reasons. Maybe it’s a combination of my citizenship, my education, and my attitude. I have seen attitudes switch in a flash as soon as they get a whiff of my education and experience. However, those people I don’t like just as I don’t like the person who hangs out with you because you’re in the “right” crowd. It’s a variant of the same thing. I believe that it’s mostly because I'm essentially a decent human being and they simply get to know me. That "color of their skin" vs. "content of their character..." issue Martin Luther King, Jr. so badly wanted for us. I know it’s that way with my Korean friends and who else really matters?

What inspired this post thinking about the audacity of someone to write this:

I don't know about you, but for me it's the minimal amount of black and spanish people.

Oh yea and the gun thing. In the US, you can get *beep* at school, here guns are almost non-existant.

The bad, lack of and strict regulations of drugs.
Oh really?

What would possess someone to say they like Korea because it has less black and Spanish people? Actually, I know the answer; the anonymity of the Internet makes otherwise cowardly people VERY brave.

Well, duh, genius it’s an Asian country. It’s going to mostly have Asian people.

To be honest, it goes both ways. I prefer Korea because there is actually a higher likelihood that my race won't keep me perpetually fighting a loosing battle with people who are so committed to believing negative stereotypes about blacks and other minorities that I’m always the exception and never the rule. You just don’t know how frustrating it was to hear from white classmates when I was young “oh, well, you’re DIFFERENT from them.” No, asshole, I’m not.

I’m black and like whites we come in range from evil to angelic and dumb to brilliant. Speaking of brilliant, what makes this reply truly brilliant is the tacked on addition of the bad being the strict regulation of drugs. I’m sorry. I was never into drugs, so I love that drug abusers get chucked out of this country faster than you can blink an eye when they're caught.

My point to ImInKoreaAintI, the idiot that wrote that reply, is touché. I'm happy to be here because, for the most part, there are less dumb ass and completely unreasonable racists I've got to deal with. I can also point and laugh at you with the Koreans who don't like you as much as you think.

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  1. Right on...I grew up in NYC and then moved to New Jersey, which, in my opinion, is so deeply racist that it doesn't even realize it...I have been walking around Korea thinking they're just so f**ing when people stare and point I just have to remind myself that its out of curiosity....keep on writing!!!!!!

  2. The pointing and staring is irritating, but white people get it too. That's what puts it in perspective to me. Now, we do get it more. I know I did when I lived out in the boondocks, but really it's ignorance. I'd get pissy about it but my hormones were all over the place at the time. I had an undiagnosed thyroid disorder at the time ;)

    Now I take it in stride. Well, most of the time I take in stride. Sometimes I point and gawk back just for fun.

  3. Inspiring and thought-provoking post, Jane. Keep it up. I just hope that more people read this post.

  4. 지선,

    Thanks for the compliment. I really hope so because the arrogance I've seen here from some people is ridiculous. It's almost bad enough that I've been tempted to avoid the white people here. Instead, I just joke about it and give them a chance ;)

  5. Jane, I've been reading your blog for a little while and had to comment on this excellent post!! Keep writing, you know what's what!!

  6. Thanks for the compliment. I don't know everything but on this topic I think I've definitely got some perspective ;)

  7. Excellent post Expat Jane check them when you check them hard. I don't know where exactly I heard the story but there was a story of a black lady walking down the streets of Seoul and some ignorant azz Korean jumped up in her face saying n@#$$$ go home and she hauled off and slapped the sh#$ out of his azz LOL and I think he got in trouble for messing with her, suffice to say he won't make that dumb azz comment again.
    HOwever I know white people loved to think they are the ish everywhere.
    Nevertheless I did hear that NPR story on how South Korean schools preferred to hire white only English speaking teachers and what really tripped me out was the parents comments. One parent said that Whites were better and that she didn't have any stereotypes about them and I am like dumb b#$% whites have a whole bunch of stereotypes about you and they act on them.
    In addition she said especially the ones from Canada as if Canadian Whites were better than American whites LOL, yeah keep doing your thing Expat Jane keep doing your thing.

  8. Yeah, you're talking about this interview: Ethnic Bias Seen in South Korea Teacher Hiring. They talked to Michael from the Metropolitician for it and he's a friend of mine, so I remember when that came out.

    Korea did and, I'm sure, still does prefer white teachers. But the fact is they're seeing the results of such short-sighted hiring. They'll hire almost anyone if they've got white skin. That comes back and bites them in the ass many times. It's also why the foreign teacher population here is straight up weird. That's not everyone for sure, but there are some "interesting" people here.

    As I said, the friend I mentioned who told me about that comment has been here over for longer than I have. I've been here for awhile too and I'm seeing more black teachers coming here all the time. I think things are changing because those of us who are here, overall, are doing our jobs well. However, I heard of a few nightmare black teachers too. Again, there are good and bad people in all races.

    However, I never said there wasn't racism in Korea. There most certainly is a bias preferring whites in hiring. Once a director for one of those seasonal English camps was falling over herself to hire me. She'd gotten my resume (you'd think being elected as an officer for the Black Law Students Association chapter of my law school would have tipped her off) but my picture was a deal breaker. She told me straight out that my race meant she wouldn't hire me. I was more angry than shocked to have that happen. But I got a job somewhere else and never looked back.

    What I'm saying is, that I've found it's ignorance. Saying white Canadian teachers are better than white American teachers is ignorant too. BTW, I'm sure she's changed her tune since they found that Christopher Neil, a Canadian, who had been working in Korea as an English teacher was wanted for molesting little boys in SE Asia; I'd point out to her that he's Canadian.

    Like I say in the essay good and bad people are part of every race. I know a country is not a race but the same goes for countries. Also, there are racists and bigots in every nation. She's not only racist; she's a moron for admitting something that stupid to a reporter.

    Again, don't misread my point. The point is 1) Koreans seem to LEARN quicker re racism because it's coming from ignorance and not necessarily hate and 2) the racists ought to realize that we're happier having to deal with less of them too.

    When I went back to school and I'd stopped working, I did intentionally avoid white English teachers. I'd socialize with others in diplomacy or business, but if I saw a group of teachers I'd go the other way. After years of dealing, I was happy to be in a new environment where I didn't have to deal with their sort of stupidity. To be honest, I still keep the vast majority of them at arm's length.

  9. It's a real trick to keep an open mind while refusing to let your dignity be stomped on - and it's a skill that is usually acquired through a lifetime of practice. I suppose that's why white males tend to be thrown completely off guard when they are suddenly the ones having to adapt to a different status quo (not necessarily higher or lower interestingly, just different).

    In any case, I totally agree with your assessment that while Korea is definitely rampant with the oldest stereotypes in the book, most of the racism stems from simple ignorance. I suppose it is because there is just far less racial diversity in Asia so most Koreans have never seen or met another non-Asian. Thusly, I assume the vast majority of Korean society’s perception of other ‘minorities’ comes from the most influential country in the world – America. And American history has shown more than its fair share of deeply personal animosity towards the ‘slave race.’ What I feel is most unfortunate is that America’s own mistakes and misconceptions are having a ripple effect on less diversified countries – but at least there are many-a bold and intelligent minorities in Korea sallying forth to correct that one blog at a time ;D It’s good to hear you’ve generally had a positive experience with Korea’s racial “learning curve.” Perhaps it’s – ironically – because there is so much less diversity there. It’s a sad fact that the many diverse countries often have the most racial problems…. Put 2 birds in a cage and they’ll get along fine but when you add more birds, one bird often ends up getting stigmatized….dunno…that was an awkward analogy but I hope I get the point across :P

  10. I think you managed just fine. For me, it's really about how I take it. If I'm feeling hostile or jumpy when stupid stuff happens to me, I get frustrated by the ignorance I see. However, I'm one person. I do what I can but if someone is set on pointing at the black girl, I just step on (or sometimes, if I'm feeling really violated by it, I point back to mock them.)

  11. Expat Jane props to you for holding it down and I wouldn't blame you for keeping them at arm's length. I just happened to look at DAVE's ESL Forum and there was a thread topic on there about black condums and it was sold in a drugstore somewhere in Seoul in which the front of the box said Underneath we are all BRACK, what the hell does that mean?!!

    Also one of the posters talked about how one of her students didn't want to do an essay on Black History Month because she didn't like black people because they were bad and they went to jail. The teacher shot back at her by saying Asians and whites go to jail and the girl agreed but then she said yeah in the USA the black people go to jail and that is why they are bad people.

    I know the young girl didn't learn that nonsense on her own but from her ignorant whitewashed brain dead parents who actually let the Western media dictate to them what black culture is and when they see someone with boldness,courage strength and intelligence they act all suprised, well what the hell did you think black people were about.

    Black people come from knowledge that's not suprising yet in still some punk azz molestor is treated like a saint until they find out his azz is evil and then they get all angry. I am like why the hell are you getting angry? One couldn't possibly be that ignorant to believe all whites were pure and innocent, come on people.

    However i am glad Koreans are hiring more black teachers. In the words of Malcolm X one must act locally and think globally. Keep up the good work Expat Jane and I wish you and all of the other black teachers there much success.

  12. Well, an inverse to that story about that misinformed little girl is one I heard last night. A friend who is a teacher here was talking about how one of her kids was going on about how he loved black people. They were reading a book about some aspect of slavery or racism and that kid reacted strongly saying "I don't think I like white people." My friend, being sane, corrected him and let him know that all whites aren't like that.

    It goes both ways. With more of us coming here, at least some Koreans are getting a broader view of blacks and black Americans.

    I just try to stay positive because I do think negativity feeds on itself and doesn't get you very far.

  13. Yeah Expat Jane that's all you can do is stay positive and check em,they wnn't know unless you tell them. I am glad the young boy read the book on slavery and racism so hopefully he will have a better understanding of the world we live in and that all people of color share the same lineage of struggle, liberation,freedom, justice and equality.

  14. re that little kid, we'll see. I certainly hope so ;)

  15. Great post. I too have been keeping white people here at arms' length because of the truly staggering amount of cluelessness and privilege they carry around, not to mention the conversation often peppered with anti-Korean racism...

    (me = mixed Korean American studying here)

  16. For a week I'm home to land of mostly sane white people...LOL (I laugh because, yes, I know racists and bigots are here too. They're just under deep cover here.)

    The conversation is peppered with anti-Korean racism and with just plain racism. I'm so glad to be home where I don't avoid the white people. I shared my trauma with a white friend of mine today and she could tell that, for a change, there was no punchline to my story. I was being 100% serious.

    Good luck with school. I found that when I was at Ewha that I enjoyed hanging out with my Korean classmates way more than foreigners. For the most part, I still do but now it's harder because we've all graduated and are really busy. :(

  17. does everyone on this blog hate white people and "keep them at arms lenght"? I'm half white and this kinds offends me. yeah, I'm used to racism, but that dosn't mean I'm going to start hating all white people becuase they make jokes or w/e about hispanics. & not all white people hates koreans, my husband is korean, I live with his family, and I'm around them almost everyday. I also have alot of black friends (growing up as half hispanic usually dosn't get you to many white friends), and I'd be horrified if they started this "koreans are just whitewashed" kinda thing. are white people just the ultimate evil to some of you? I've never said or did anything racist against a black or asian, and I'd hope that i'm not bunched in with a bunch of idiots just becuase of my skin color. yes, some whites are racist for reasons I can't imagin, but i'm not one of them and never have been.

  18. Okay, um, I think you need to tone down your defensiveness a bit and reread what I wrote.

    BTW, I'm the only person on this blog because it's my blog. The rest are comments from people who've read what I wrote and have something to add.

    My point is there are A LOT of unapologetic racists here in Korea who feel empowered to say much more than they'd ever say under the cover on Internet anonymity and in the context of a society that they view as in agreement with them.

    I don't like people, white to black, who say racist things with impunity, and if that covers you, then I'd avoid you too.

    Otherwise, you're good.

  19. I didn't try to get so offensive. just seems everywhere I look whites are basheing blacks, and blacks are bashing whites, even in a country where your both minorities. I'm planing on teaching in south korea once we move there, and I jus didn't want black americans to avoid me becuase of my skin color. most people I associate with are black, and I'm not one of those weird american teachers going over to south korea for as "sex vacation" and then bad mouthing everything koreans do to them. I know people are people everywhere, and if anything I bad mouth americans (not a specific race) more than anyone from other countries, I guess cuz of the way they've treated me, but I'm still open to people and I give everyone a chance, unless I just know they're crazy.

  20. Right but you've not worked here as a black teacher. I have. I've worked here as a black woman who has almost always been the only woman on staff (there have been some exceptions, including my current position) and I've always been the only black person on staff.

    I've had conversations and dealt with assumptions you probably won't. Year after year of dealing with it, I'm just not in the mood. I prefer my friends back home who are both white and black and many shades in between who are just, honestly, more cognizant that manners matter.

    You can give anyone you want a chance, but I wrote this piece after seeing a VERY offensive post on an ESL Forum and after dealing with people like this for 7 years.

    I've got a right to my low opinion. Where you think I've generalized to the white race is interesting. I've generalized to the population of usually, young and quite immature teachers that are imported to work here. My opinion of them isn't high and that's based on more negative experiences than positive ones.

    Just last weekend I was out with a group of pretty much all white teachers and don't you know they got on a roll generalizing about "Koreans this" and "Koreans that". It was offensive and I said as much. I pointed out that they were simply generalizing and bashing the whole culture when there are exceptions. That mess is infuriating. And I don't deal with it for a reason.

    I don't need a lecture about trying to reduce that drama and unpleasantness. If it's not PC, then it's not PC. But I'm not apologizing for steering clear of people who've proven over and over to be in need of finishing school. The same applies to blacks and Koreans with the same low level of manners, BTW. There are many that aren't bad, but that's the exception and not the rule I've found.

  21. I don't even know if my other comment replying to this one came up, but I'll just restate that i'm not lecturing you, and for the most part I was just upset of the post and comments seemed racist towards white people in genral, and being as I'm half white (but looks more hispanic), I'd hope that the black people I meet in korea if I do meet any at all would not avoid me becuase of my race, cuz I'm sure enough koreans will. you can have a low opinion on us if you want, your right, that is your choice, as it is of the whites and koreans choice to have low opinions on blacks (as I told about on my last comment that wasn't published). but whatever, I'd jus hope the people I do meet in korean all cool with me (which I'm sure at that time I'm not even gogin to be able to teach do to me not finihing college, but thats fine, cuz its more of a vacation and family visit to my korean family living there), including any and all black people.

  22. Um, okay. You're choosing to be intentionally obtuse to keep talking about what you hope when you're here.

    I've already said that I don't think all white people are asses. I said I'd had some very negative experiences with a high number of white teachers here. You're ignoring that and keep repeating the same stuff over and over.

    There is no point to have a discussion with someone who isn't listening but is merely waiting for their time to speak.

  23. whats with the attitude?! I could say the same thing about a bunch of black people living here with low education shouting out their window at me and my husband to "go back to china" and what not.
    "I've already said that I don't think all white people are asses. I said I'd had some very negative experiences with a high number of white teachers here. You're ignoring that and keep repeating the same stuff over and over."
    you saying some white people are bad is not what was offensive, or even the "whity" thing you say, or "white teachers talking about about kroeans" (from my experiance, blacks are more negative towards koreans, and I've had ALOT of experiance with that..."It seems that whites don't like to hear that Koreans get past racism quicker than they do. However, sometimes the truth hurts." I guess you would see it that way becuase all you seem to think about is race and what "wrongs" someone white did or didn't do to you, but one could also say blacks are much more racist than koreans, becuase alot of black people have a strong negative feeling towards any white person even if their family never owned slaves or never lived in america, and from what I've seen, have a strong negative feeling towards koreans).

  24. what got offensive was:
    "I've got to admit I kind of laugh when I see whites dealing with it for the first time ever."
    NO! black people call whites "crackers" and "whity" and all kinds of shit all the time, so no, its not a first time more most people.
    "It's almost bad enough that I've been tempted to avoid the white people here."
    again, "white people".
    and " keeping white people here at arms' length".
    look, I didn't say anything against you, and I'm not sure why your p***ed off about my offensiveness (if it was the other way around, I'd have all negative comments calling me a racist if I'd grouped blacks together like that and wanted to avoid them all, prefering to only hang around koreans).
    look, I didn't come on here to start fighting with you, so whatever. I came looking to see what it's like for othwer minorities like myself living in south korea. I'll end this with this being the last comment I make on your blog. & I'm sure you'll be so happy for me to shut up and go back to f***ing my korean husband.
    I'm thinking maybe I didn't come across the way I wanted it to come, but I could care less at this point.

  25. I'm not pissed off. I'm just not all that engaged with someone who keeps reading it as a personal affront when I've said pretty much in every reply to you that not all white people are intolerable asses. So then you come back with the same ol' tedious line: "Oh, but I don't want black people to avoid me and think I'm a racist." Okay, I got it. But your need doesn't negate one incident of the racist white I've encountered here. It doesn't negate the fact that Koreans run the show here and that does piss a lot of whites off because it's the first time ever that most of them aren't in the majority group.

    As to your point about blacks hurling racist terms at whites in a society where whites are, and pay attention, IN THE MAJORITY is parallel to a child being petulant and pitching a fit. White people might be offended, but most whites I know just laugh it off just as they'd laugh off a kid pitching a fit in the candy section of a store.

    It's not right. People ought not insult other people. However, it's not going to stop that white man or white woman from owning a home or getting a job. It's not going to stop them from getting accepted by a country club or accepted into a condominium. They aren't suddenly going to start to be pulled over for having too nice of a car or for being in the wrong neighborhood at the wrong time of the day.

    In fact, if some white person hurled an racist epithet my way, I don't think I'd care that much. It's only happened to me once and it was more funny than anything because the unsophistication of it was truly shocking and sad to me. I care when they're going after my social standing, limiting my access to education or jobs, and limiting my access to employment.

    However, in contrast, whites here get a taste of systemic racism for the first time when they come here. Maybe some have lived as minorities in other countries, but most I've met have not. They're not in power. They have very little leeway in terms of the police or the courts being on their side. Like blacks and other minorities have been in the past and, some argue still are to some degree in the West, they are incredibly disenfranchised.

    That's my point and that's the point you're intentionally choosing to ignore. You're so keen to take things personal, get on your soap box and hurl unsophisticated generalizations around that you're not getting it. You're the one that's got the attitude. I'm just telling you honestly that you're not getting it and that your analysis isn't very deep.

    A black person yelling "cracker" is racist, but unless that black person has some power or influence either as an individual or collectively who gives a rat's ass?

    Take care and bye, bye.

  26. moon bae,

    I didn't publish your comment because you choose to be rude and swear at me in my own comment section. You don't come to someone's blog to be rude when it's clear you've not even bothered to read the blog.

    However, here is most of what you had to say:

    "funny how you try to speak for all koreans, u can go head & do that for blacks (since u r one), but I'd say (and since I'm korean, makes it more credible) that most koreans who don't like blacks don't like blacks because of the way they act or even they don't take baths, not cuz some white persons told us to. thats my point of veiw, and from what I've heard, plenty of other asians who live here and know how blacks are think same way. ;) I hate when americans go over to asia and try to speak for us with your own american opinions and try to make us "take sides" (black or white I guess). ... don't bring that shit over to asia. oh well, w/e help u sleep better at night~ "

    First, I've never spoken for ALL Koreans. Maybe you got my blog mixed up with someone elses.

    Second, I've lived in Korea for over 8 years. Sure, a lot of your people are racist idiots. However, you show your own ignorance by saying that blacks "don't take baths". That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard.

    Maybe I can run around saying I hate nasty ass Koreans who think running cold water over their hands when they leave a public restroom is even close to clean. Let's not mention the ones who don't bother to wash their damn hands at all or the ones who cough without covering their mouths or the ones who spit not only on a public sidewalk but in a subway station or airport. There are dirty people in all cultures and this, you're too much of an idiot to recognize.

    Furthermore, I don't like how a lot of Koreans act. Your ideas of race ARE based on those from the west in some ways. From what you've written you have not the first clue of how black people act. You're so quick to come on here and insult me that you're too daf to acknowledge that there are different types of blacks. There are blacks from America, Canada, the UK, and Africa itself. We all have different cultures and different ways of acting based on those cultures. This would be similar to how Korean-Americans have some but not maybe all the behavior patterns of their brethren from Korea itself.

    I'm not speaking for all Koreans. I have a theory about how they might see race and after living here for so long, it's pretty much verified on a daily basis.

    So take yourself to a blog where cowards like you talk mess in anonymity. You know you'd never say what you said to me in person. My rule: if you won't say it to someone's face, don't say it online.

    Try it.

  27. Actually, Tae, you're an idiot. I clicked over to your profile but it's not public. Sorry. I have no interest in carrying on discussions with rude people too cowardly to stand behind their words.

    It's clear that you found this post, got all riled up but didn't take the time to look at anything else on my blog. I was one of a few K-bloggers who, for the most part, was very positive on Korean culture and Korea.

    Instead, you come onto my blog with narrow and very negative generalizations about black people. First, there are different classes of blacks. Just like there are different classes of Koreans or of whites. There are rude, uneducated and ignorant Koreans and the white trash stereotype is legend. However, I'd never say that one class of a race of people represents all of them. Yet you come swaggering onto my blog spewing hate about ignorant black people as if that applies to all of us. Sorry buddy but a crackhead who has chosen not to improve his or herself has no bearing on me. They might also be black but that's where the similarity ends. Does my heart ache to see things like that? Of course. However, that has no reflection on me as another black person, just as a soju swilling drunk adjoshi has no bearing on you (maybe) or how a backwoods redneck has no bearing on some of my white friends. You're a simpleton if you believe it does.

    What's funny is let someone generalize about Koreans. And, yes, for the sake of argument, I've done that before. Koreans will loose their ever loving minds distinguishing how those people are from the country or less educated or are somehow different.

    In terms of Korea and you not wanting multiculturalism. Whatever. It's your country, do what you want. But Korea is already failing as an international hub because of the attitude you have. Countries like Singapore come out to be much more appealing to international business and international students because it's truly a dynamic and sophisticated place. Korea can't have it both ways. Either the country will have to become more progressive or stick with its backwards 우리 나라 (uri nara or "our nation") ways. However, let me tell you if 우리 나라 wins commerce will continue to shift to other countries and, with China taking over as an export powerhouse, cars, chips and ships won't keep Korea's export market going either. The country needs to progress. People will come there. They will have experiences. They will talk about those experiences whether you like it or not. So get used to it.

    I'm not publishing your comment. I will, however, keep it just as I keep all comments that I reject in case I need to reveal what you said.

    It ends up that Ka Yun was having a bad day and wrote me weeks later apologizing. I've kept that apology to myself until now.

    I didn't bother replying to her because it's done and it's forever on the net that she chose to get defensive and be rude. You did the same thing but trying to pull me down because there are some black people that rubbed you the wrong way is STUPID. I feel sorry for people who are abusive like that and, yes, they do exist, but that's not me and you being mad at black people also has no reflection on me.

    I get on well with the Koreans that I meet here in the States. Why because I'm a decent and friendly person. That will apply to anyone regardless of their color. You just strike me as bitter and angry. I suggest maybe some prayer and therapy.

    My approach online is if I wouldn't dare say it to your face, I won't say it online.

    Maybe you ought to try it.

  28. Tae, again, you talk big but you're full of crap because you won't stand behind your insults and tough talk.

    Considering you're such a genius it's funny that you lower yourself to even speak someone like myself.

    Please. You're in idiot.

    It doesn't matter where you found my site. I know I've been linked on Asian discussion boards. I've been to them. Duh. Bloggers can trace their traffic. I didn't trace you last night, but tonight you did find me via Google and you're in Virginia using Comcast ;)

    The fact is not where you found me but that you've been on my site, have read one damn post and now you're on the warpath. If you were bright maybe you'd take the time to do your research before talking mess.

    Too bad your warpath consists of you hurling insults like a petulant child. I don't know about you but I graduated from middle school awhile ago.

    Good luck with that.

    BTW, China is not homogeneous nor do they brag about being homogeneous. It shows how much you know about China's culture and ethnic mix of people.

    You hateful dummy.

  29. Good for you, Regina! As appalling as some of these comments you've been fielding are, I love that I find myself laughing and still feeling positively about things after I read your responses to them. You seem to be very diplomatic, which is refreshing these days.

    I came across your blog when I was trying to find the original air date for SNL/Queen Latifah's Excedrin for Racial Tension Headaches spot(a product I would not only use but buy stock in if it were real BTW), and I'm so glad I took the time to read (some of) what you have to say--I intend to read more. Keep doin' what you're doin'!


  30. Anj,

    Ha! Well, yeah, I get comments for this post and I cringe a bit wondering if it's going to be someone who gets it or if it's going to be some moron of the idiot train ;)

    Glad you took the time to click around and, even more, glad you enjoyed some of what I've had to say!

    Thanks for the kind words and support.

  31. what a gem!

    thank you REGINA for this cathartic (yes, cathartic!) article! i loved it and agreed with it wholeheartedly and only regret stumbling upon it so late into the game!

    when i'm in korea, i get a lot of schadenfreude out of watching privileged whites struggling with racism directed at them! it's really hilarious because they just simply don't know what it is or know how to deal with it. i found that almost all of them think the entire Republic of Korea should change its ways to cater to their sensibilities. they're like, "hey, i'm an american or canadian white man! you must all stop what you're doing and serve me and my needs immediately or i will shit on you forever!" then they just become extremely miserable, turn petty and let all their ugliness come out for the world to see.

    when they go back to their home countries, do you think they become more aware of how damaging racism is or do you think they go out looking for koreans to beat up? i wonder...

  32. It's probably a bit of both.

    The thing is, I cut ties pretty quickly with whites who hated Korea. Those aren't really the personalities I like dealing with. My friends, no matter their hue, really like the country. When they leave, that means, they appreciate it when they're away too. I was on another forum, however, where someone had written a thread about working in Korea. I don't know for sure if the person was white but the level of "everything about Korea sucks" superiority makes me think they were.

    I'm sure it's both. However, I know of blacks who've been to Korea who come away with a fair amount of hate too.

    It really does depend on the person and how they deal with conflict and negative situations overall.

  33. yeah, it's probably a little bit of both. and it really does depend on the person and what kind of outlook they have on life.

    korea is FAAAAAR from perfect but you hit the nail on the head when you said that their racism is mostly rooted in ignorance and not pure hatred. and i lived in alabama so i know hatred when i see it no matter how much they deny it (hello, teabaggers!).

    still, there are many koreans who hate/fear black people because of what happened during the LA riot and how those awful images were burnished in their minds thanks to the way american media covered it. it's not all of media's fault, but hollywood and much of our mainstream media in the u.s. DO exacerbate the problem by the way they portray african americans and frame the debate. katrina was a perfect example: whites were looking for food to survive; blacks were looting. and because the korean media is largely inept in covering foreign news, they just regurgitate what they see on cnn, fox news, et al. yuck!

    it is VERY heartwarming though when you go to big cities like LA, NY and chicago and see so many asians and blacks (and other minorities) share, mingle, hug, kiss and joined at the hip and doing their thing out in public. i think once they get past their different colors, minorities often find that they share something in common in america - being minorities and all the different bullshit they have to deal with on a daily basis. we haven't overcome all of our problems yet by a long shot, but a huge progress has been and continues to be made as was evident by their collective, overwhelming support of obama's candidacy.

    i hope i don't sound like someone who hates white people because i'm half white and i love my mixed heritage, but watching people of color come together is just so damn gratifying!

    enough of my rambling...thanks for your wonderful post. you've gained a loyal reader!

  34. Ramble away (since I agree, it's good to read.)

    I'm not writing that much on this blog anymore. Now that I'm back in the States, it's about earning a living. I update from time to time but not at the rate I did when I was living in Seoul.

    Happy Easter to you BTW.


Hey there! Thanks for visiting my blog. It's my first blog, and I'm glad folks are still stopping by even though I'm no longer living in South Korea. Feel free to comment. If you want a personal answer, leave your email, and I won't publish the comment. Nasty comments and spam links will not be tolerated.