“90% of All Unsolved Murders in Kyeonggi Province Were Committed By…”

… is the beginning of sentence you know was written by a moron. It’s part of the sole comment on this article, about a Bangladeshi man who apparently killed a Korean woman half his age, which concludes with the police still trying to figure out why he did it.

The comment is a priceless example of Korean netizen commentary. After claiming that Koreans need to start putting electronic bracelets on Southeast Asians in Korea–despite the fact that crime rates are much higher across the board among Koreans than non-Koreans here (this morning’s news had a litany of horrors, such as a drunk gangster who stripped to his waist tried to kill someone on the subway, and a nut who killed someone on the cross-country express train because the victim “looked like his brother”)–and that “if these guys think they’re going to get caught, they just kill people,” this tool actually claims that 90% of all unsolved murders in Kyeonggi Province over the last five to six years were committed by Southeast Asians.

90% of the unsolved murder cases, note.

And this, friends, is why I think that critical thinking is so important. Not because it’d prevent nutters from saying racist crap online, of course, but because nutters are free to post all kinds of idiotic, illogical crap online.  And this is the sort of thing you do actually hear people repeating. Stopping them and saying, “Wait, if the murders are unsolved, then how can you know that 90% of those murders were committed by Southeast Asians again?

(와, 초능력자야! He must be a freaking telepath! No? Oh, it’s just another racist idiot.)

And this is why I think it’s so important for educators to work hard to fit critical thinking into education at some point. I heard a professor recently attribute the lack of many students’ ability to make a coherent argument to “the failure of the Korean [public, secondary-level] education system” and, almost in the same breath, to back away from actually doing anything at the undegraduate to address that supposed failure. The universities blame the schools, the schools blame the universities (or parents), and the students are left hanging.

It is possible to do better… but it takes effort, and it takes people who are vested in something other than the safety of their positions. As with all universities, in Korea the people calling the shots and the same ones who exert systemic resistance to change, experimentation, and everything else necessary for improvement. The thing is: when you want to make something better, you need to try new things. With new things, sometimes you get chickens, and sometimes you get feathers. But Admin doesn’t like feathers. They demand chickens, and if you deliver feathers occasionally, they ding you for it.

And who is dinging Administration for being made out of feathers? Nobody, actually. C’est ça, c’est la problème.

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