Rascism and the State of Affairs for ESL Teachers in Korea

Over the past few months, I’ve received a handful of requests to make a video and blog about racism in Korea. I’ve resisted to post on this topic, since I really don’t have a good handle on the situation, because I don’t see it coming from the Koreans I interact with. However, today in one of the blogs I follow, The Korean tackles that question head-on. I think he took a look at the issue and did a fair job at looking at both sides of the racism card.

I will add one thing to the topic: while in Korea, I find the most racist people here are not Koreans, but rather  foreigners who have come here to teach English or serve in the US military. Most often, they look down on those here and think of Koreans as a lesser people.

It’s something that I really dislike, since I’ll see one foreigner complain about how they (foreigners) are treated and then in the next breath say something negative and racist about Korea or the Korean people. One of the things that Jo and I worried about when coming here was how she would be treated. A Korean friend of the family kept on saying, “Don’t go to Korea. They hate other Asians.”

When Jo got here, we found out just the opposite: She is warmly welcomed by everyone in this country and the only racism she finds comes from white foreigners. I (and The Korean) think the attitude stems from not knowing what it is like to be a minority in a new land. That being said, I’m really thrown for a loop when I see someone from the west (who would be classified as an ethnic minority) make racist comments. I would  think they would know better.

I really hope that in the years to come, the world does become a smaller place and these outdated notions of superiority will go the way of the Do-Do.