For those who think that the Anti-English Spectrum fanatics are bad, well, I agree. I personally think they’re a significant part of the reason why Korean society, which used to be pretty positive towards Westerners on a one-on-one level, has gotten increasingly hostile with every passing year I’ve spent here. (And yes, I’ll stand by that statement, in terms of my subjective experience, though I’ll also admit some of that has to do with my neighborhood and personal disenchantment.) I’d also say it’s part of the reason a video like this one (yes, it’s the MBC “Shocking Truth About Relationships With Foreigners” video, which is gone from Youtube, but still up on Facebook) could be aired on mainstream Korean TV, and the producer could feel uninclined to apologize for it when he got called on it.
But I’ve also consistently argued that when Westerners start comparing Korea to America in 1950, the reason they choose that place and time is simply a failure of knowledge and of historical memory. Likewise, I’d now argue, for how expats seem to enjoy comparing the institutionalization of racism into legislation with Nazi racial policies. There are, I’d say, much better comparisons to be made, if you do a little research… especially, I’ll add, for those of us from Canada or the USA. (I’ve run across references to similar crap in Australian history, too, but I leave it to any Aussie who feels like contributing to fill in that blank, at least for now.)
You see I’ve been researching anti-Asian sentiments in North American history for a story I’ve been drafting, set just after the Klondike gold rush up in the Yukon, concerning in part Chinese immigration to Canada… and what I’ve run across is not all that surprising, but it is also not very pretty. Continue reading