Which Way the Wind Blows

One of us must know which way the wind blows, right?

So I launch Twitter on my phone, and see this:

Hey, someone followed me! I wonder who that is?

Er…

(Clicks header image…)

I don’t know quite what specifically that map is supposed to signify, though it’s immediately apparent the northern border with China has been modified to expand “Korean” territory.

Is this about land supposedly lost during the Korean war? Reclaiming part of Goguryeo territory? It’s not Hwandan-Gogi crazypants wrong, but it’s definitely off

… and maps of Korea that are off are especially beloved among ethnonationalist “netizen” trolls here.

Hmmm.

Okay, well, just in case, let’s see what he’s posted:

Gangnam Style? People are still posting about that? Seriously?

Um:

“Why in all developed nation. Why is Japan afraid of Truth???”

Yeah, this isn’t looking too good…

Oh:

“Japan is very very dark like Tomb Stone possessed with Devil”?

Okay, I admit, there’s some unintended comedy there, but still, this is gross. The guy hates Japan so much that he thinks Logan Paul did nothing wrong, and instead had “balls.”

Here’s a slightly different, and saner, interpretation.

Any guesses what this guy would be posting on Twitter if Logan Paul had pulled that same stunt somewhere in Korea? 1

And if that weren’t enough, in the tweet below—his very first tweet on this account—he goes off on how a pair of scandal-plagued “overseas Koreans”-turned B-list celebrities (Nancy Lang and Wang Jinjin) are “chinks.” He uses the Korean equivalent of that racial slur three times in a single tweet, in fact.

Yeah, this @KoreaReporter guy seems to be totally winning at life, so:

And yeah, this happens from time to time. There’s a lot of so-called “netizens” like this out there, and among their favorite activities online is finding white guy “foreigners” in Korea to troll, just like the misogynists and Trumpists and neo-Nazis online trolling the objects of their hatred. If only they’d all just rage in a Werewolf: The Apocalypse way instead they might be marginally more interesting.)

The fact such kooks are ubiquitous leads some people to characterize the whole country (or all so-called “netizens”) as being racist, which is wrong. Still, while I wish I could say it’s just a few netizens, that’s probably somewhat inaccurate too. A recent poll provides us with hard numbers (sort of), not for netizens, but for Korean society in general:

As to the purity of the single-race society, those polled showed much more open-mindedness than before. Asked whether a larger foreign presence here would harm such pureness, only 27.6 percent said “yes,” sharply down from 41 percent in 2013, while 42.2 percent replied “no,” up 10.4 percentage points.

I could be sarcastic, but instead, I’ll just summarize:

  • 1 in 4 Koreans looks at non-Koreans as a threat to Korean racial purity. (It was 1 in 3 a few years ago.)
  • 2 in 5 Koreans don’t see foreigners as a threat to Korean racial purity. (It was, similarly, about 1 in 3 a few years ago.)

One wonders what the remainder—about 30% of respondents, so, again, a little less than 1 in 3 Koreans—thinks. Surely I’m not alone in feeling a bit perturbed about how many people are “undecided” or “not sure” about a question like this.

Obviously racism exists everywhere.

But y’know what doesn’t exist everywhere, at least in 2018? Polling about perceived threats to racial purity. I hate to say it, but if that kind of question is within the pale, that indicates some serious issues needing to be addressed.

Even so, a few recent polls in Canada—including a national poll about attitudes towards racism, and another a few years ago about attitudes towards immigrants—make for interesting comparative reading, not just in terms of attitudes reported, but also in the way the apparent questions are framed.

While I could say more, I think I’ll let anyone reading this draw their own conclusions after reading the linked polls. Me, I’m making an effort to post about other things—stuff that doesn’t attract trolls like this—when I have the time to do it at all. Which isn’t often, because I’m busy, busy, busy!


  1. It’s not like there’s a shortage of suicide here. I mean, if we’re talking about “dark like Tomb Stone possessed with Devil,” then as Ana Singh pointed out back in October:

    Suicide is the fourth most common cause of death in South Korea; on average, 40 people commit suicide every day. South Korea has the highest suicide rate among the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) nations, which include countries such as Germany, the U.K., and Japan. It is the only OECD country whose suicide rates have increased since the 1990s.

    Somehow I doubt @KoreaReporter would be so receiptive to such a stunt being pulled in Korea, though.

gordsellar: Your host on this site. I'm an SF writer, homebrewer, and expat teaching at a university in South Korea. My policies for commenters on this site can be read here.
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