All posts tagged: racism

South Korea and Racism. Again.

Sam Okyere talks about racism in South Korea Just because you don’t know it’s called “being racist” doesn’t mean you’re not being one A couple of years back, I wrote about racism in Korea. Recently, Ghanaian-born South Korean TV star Sam Okyere’s JTBC interview has got South Koreans thinking about the issue of racism once again. Okyere’s experiences of racism, optimistic outlook, and integration in South Korean society echo those voiced earlier by Stanley Hawi in 2015. Racism exists in South Korea. There’s no denying this (There is racism in every society, no matter how”educated” or less “educated” their general population may be on the issue). It manifests itself in different ways: Here in South Korea, white women are labelled whores, because they are sexually liberated, so I, also a man, deserve to have a go at them. Korean women who date white men are seen as sluts, because they remind me of the government-sponsored whores we leased to the GIs. South Asian women are seen as subhuman, because we bought you, and thus you are a living doll, to …

My first racist ‘attack’ in Europe and what I learned from it

Image source: Daum Blog Caption: Choose the wrong option. (the artist is mocking the idea of racism by using a multiple-choice question format popular in Korean education) Last Friday, I was leaving a supermarket when a group of young, white, mostly male, Dutch people ran up to me, took a photo of me, then ran away laughing. I froze, ran into MediaMarkt, the electronics store next door, which I was headed to originally, and stayed there for a good fifteen minutes before I went outside, looked around and made sure they were gone, got on my bike and pedaled back home. I asked myself if what had happened had really just happened. Yes. I saw the flash. I heard them laugh. I was sure. Back home, I sat down and wrote an angry and descriptive post along the lines of: “To the white, male, Dutch youth who just took a picture of me in front of the supermarket on this street, go fuck yourselves, go get cancer, go crash into a train. Same to the people who have …

Where’s All This Racism Coming From?

At university, a then-friend of mine once said “No, Koreans are one blood, one people. Immigrants and mixed-blood children are not and they’ll never be Korean“. I said: “But, what if these immigrants live here for decades? And mixed-blood children are born here and raised here?“.  After a while, he repeated: “Yes, but we are one people, they’re not our people” The worst part is, I cannot label him as an outlier of public opinion. Koreans generally do treat foreigners very differently from fellow Koreans. But why? And is it really racism, or ignorance? Or something else? In a society where the indigenous people look more or less the same, physical difference marks outsiders out in a strikingly visual way. The first caricatures of Westerners drawn by the Koreans and the Japanese show similarities: “Their eyes were blue like demons, and they had a lot of white hair, making them look even more beastly” is what I remember from a history lecture back in university. Most Koreans don’t see foreigners on a daily basis. Except for a few …

Why I Need To Get an “English-Native-Speaker” Looking Face

Here it is brothers and sisters, for all of us who are a little bit lost, the grey-zoners. For all of us who are drifting on the fringes of our native country and [insert country here], where our hearts really belong. This post is sort of dedicated to my friend Cecile. Every time I spark up a conversation in English with an English-native-speaking person, I get the following response: – Wow, you speak English really well. When and/or where did you learn it? By now I  know how to deal with the situation neutrally and usually provide the following, diplomatic response: – It’s a long story (If I don’t really want to talk to you anymore) – It’s a really long story, how much time have you got? (If you sound like you’re genuinely interested to know why) – I’m 1/4 Irish, 2/4 Korean, and 1/4 Alaskan (If I’m feeling particularly sarcastic) To be honest, what I really want to say is this: – [insert silent, mental sigh here] It’s because it’s possible for me …