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Racism and Stuff in Korea, AKA Puck You Weigukin

The other day, as I cycled around the city getting my last errands done, I passed a group of middle school boys. (Or maybe high school freshmen, I’m not sure.) Two of them were on bikes and one on foot. When I passed, on my bicycle, the pedestrian among them happened to look up and saw me, and I heard him say, “와, 외국인이다! FUCK!” (Oooh, it’s a foreigner! FUCK!)

A few months ago I might just have kept cycling on, but lately I’ve gotten to the point where the little venomous bits of racism get to me enough that I can’t let them go when I encounter them. So I turned, and hollered at this boy, “야! 멍청이! 이리와!” (Hey moron! Come over here!”) The kid was terrified, and ran away. I turned my bike and cycled away for a few moments, and then thought to myself, “How would Koreans like it if, every time a foreigner sees them, we foreigners yelled, “Look, a Korean! 아이, 시발!” (Oh, fuck!)

So I turned and bore down on the kids on my bike. The boy saw me, or maybe he heard me yelling, “평신아! 아이, 시발, 이리와!” (“Hey retard! Get the fuck over here!”) I didn’t actually think he would come, but his friends, thinking that they’d done nothing wrong, didn’t flee while their friend took off like a shot.

So I talked to his friends, explaining (with a lot of 4-letter words in Korean, and only one ENglish word—”bullshit”—that foreigners are not only people, but that we don’t like hearing total strangers swear at us. I explained that the boy not only sounds like a moron when he does it, but that he makes Korea look like a stupid and backwards country. “A fucking frog in a well,” is a transliteration of the Korean expression I used, meaning “a smallminded person”. I explained to his friends that what he did was not only not funny, it was insulting, displayed his own lack of intelligence, and that this friends laughter shows their own stupidity. And I told them that they should tell him this because the next foreigner he screams “Fuck!” at might not be so nonviolent as me. If nothing else, the kid needs to know—whether out of politeness, or at the very least out of fear—that acting that way is a bad idea.

I found a recent rant by another Korean blogger on racism in Korea. Sure, this is not something so hard to do, but I did enjoy reading his rant and it is the kind of thing that runs through my mind when I see media reactions to “International Couples”: anyway, you may wish to give Jeff in Korea’s rant on the racist handling of a major non-story a read. A sample:

Korean girl attracted to a white guy? Scandalous!!! A younger white guy? Shocking!!!!

Thanks for printing one of the biggest non-stories every, you putzes.

Welcome to globalization you closed-minded, frog in a well, elitist, racist, xenophobic, jealous jackasses. Go sit your mouth-breathing body down on your worthless asses and listen to “Ebony and Ivory” over and over again until you are sufficiently deprogrammed to see people are people.

Other than racist, arrogant human garbage, who gives a flying rat’s ass what color or age someone’s boyfriend or girlfriend is??? Get over it Korea. As your daughters find out that there is a world of opportunity out there for them where they are not subjugated to men and forced to live as second-class citizens, there will be more and more of them fleeing into the arms of white dudes, black dudes, brown, dudes, other yellow dudes, and anyone else that shows them genuine interest, love, respect, and proper motivation to provide a decent job that allows them to spend time with their families.

There is, of course, something I’d like to say to balance this out. Lime’s involved in one of the Daum cafes that discusses International Relationships. She said predominantly it’s American-Korean couples, though there are a few other configurations. (Including, surprisingly, more French-Korean than Canadian-Korean couples.) In any case, she said she has trouble posting there without making it seem like bragging. This is not to say I’m a great guy, because honestly I think I’m just pretty normal. But it seems like a lot of the foreign men who are in relationships with women in that group are varying degrees of weird, in a somewhat negative way. It’s sad, some of the things she’s mentioned.

By the way, that discussion group had to be moderated and have a strict subscription-only setting because of two problems: (1) racists coming and spweing hate and insults at everyone in the group, and (2) young single people trying to find a foreigner to date, despite repeated warnings that this was a discussion group for people already in cross-cultural relationships.

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