fredag den 19. april 2013

Racism in Korea

Before you continue reading this, I just want to say that I neglected to actually write anything specific about racism in South Korea, since it has been done by so many others, both academics and media, and is still a really hot topic in contemporary politics in South Korea.

This is merely a short description from my friend who is working here in Seoul:

First day at the job was really great, the people I was going to work with were kind, I was highly regarded in terms of merits, I do actually not remember anything to complain about.
After some time I started noticing that they would never call me by my name, but only refer to me as "the foreigner", even when I was with them! Whenever new members were introduced to our department in the company they would say, "and look, we have a foreigner in our department", as if I were some kind of object of pride to the department. I also heard them brag about them being more international than the other departments in the company, but also compared to other firms. Solely due to me and some other foreigners working there.
Also, because I am white, I have been asked to join receptions and parties since it would seem more prestigious with a foreigner there. From what I have noticed it seems like at special trait to have a foreigner as a friend. Along this line, there is also the thing with me speaking Korea. When going to a shop, or in general just anywhere, just me trying to speak Korean is enough to make people go "wow! you know Korean?!". This might be true for any culture, but it seems even more so here.
All in all, it feels like a glorifying yet objectifying approach by the Koreans towards foreigners, not to say that every Korean is like this!   
(this is not word by word, but summary)

Here is a short really interesting read to anyone who are interested in this topic:
The article might be old, but sums it up really well! Searching: Racism in South Korea on google will also give you some interesting results.

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