June 2, 2012

Xenophobia, Ignorance, and Racism - The Tentacles of Sexism

The word culture is defined as the integrated pattern of human behavior that includes thought, speech, action, and artifacts and depends upon the human capacity for learning and transmitting knowledge to succeeding generations by the Merriam Webster Medical Dictionary.

I chose the above definition because a disease exists and we ought look for the cure. The main symptoms are obvious: Racism, Xenophobia, and Ignorance. However, I don’t wish to simply eliminate the symptoms. I want to play doctor and diagnose the root cause. What will follow is not an effort to condemn the society we live in on this peninsula. The goal is to use the only medicine which can successfully arbitrate cultural misunderstanding: words.

The catalyst for my words is a video segment recently aired by MBC which depicts foreign men as predators and Korean women as victims. Unfortunately, the video is pure conjecture. It draws its inferences almost entirely from presumptive evidence. The bias of the creators is evident and the video’s message is easily dismissed by any rational human being. However, the overt racism displayed is merely a symptom of a larger disease.


I am a citizen of the United States of America. The history of my country is the history of its immigrants. Every incoming wave of new race or culture inherently evokes racism. This, unfortunately, is part of our human condition. I am well aware of the difficulties mixing cultures can cause. The main difference is that the USA welcomes new cultures. The ensuing conflict which arises from immigration enhances our social IQ. We aim to become a pot in which all of the world’s races, creeds, and colors can mix. Korea is no such place.

Sentiment toward foreigners here is summed up in the Korean word 외국인 (foreigner). This word implies we cannot integrate. We are mere visitors. We have no permanency. I must inform the naïve natives here that many of us are permanent. We have married your daughters, sons, brothers, and sisters. We have made a few babies as well. It is for those children that the problem of Korean integration must be addressed.

Many natives believe that foreigners are a large source of crime in Korea. The truth is foreigners have a lower rate of criminal offense than the natives. According to the Wall Street Journal, “In 2010 police around the country charged 1.8 million South Koreans with crimes (3.8% of the overall population of 48 million). By contrast, 33,586 non-Koreans were charged with crimes (2.7% of the country’s foreign population of 1.26 million).” The Chinese immigrants had the highest rate of crime and the Canadians the lowest. Here we learn two things; a percentage of all humans do wrong and that in Korea foreigners actually commit fewer crimes.

Another myth which permeates Korea is that HIV is a common gift from a foreigner. The fact is every teacher here has been tested for AIDS in order to secure their visa. The U.S. military tests all soldiers for STD’s prior to deployment. How does HIV propagate here in Korea? I beg Koreans to consider prostitution as more probable than the foreigner.

The video aired on MBC also portrays Korean women as helpless victims. If the notion that women are the weaker sex is indeed part of the culture here we just may have learned the disease itself. Sexism in my estimation is the root of the current social woe. Note that the video focuses on foreign men victimizing the local, helpless women. Has a Malaysian bride of a Korean man ever stolen his money and left for home? Has a Chinese woman ever tried to have sex with a Korean man? I hear no outcry in this country about the men marrying the Vietnamese. The overwhelming feeling transmitted by the MBC segment is that Korean women are merely a commodity which the native men don’t want to lose control over. Korea’s wish to become globally successful will require an equality of the sexes. A continued state of patriarchal favoritism will only hold Korea back.

 “Sexism is the foundation of which all tyranny is built. Every social form of hierarchy and abuse is modeled on male over female domination.” - Andrea Dworkin



Kstylick said...

Very unfortunate thing. Anyways, maybe we could follow each other on Bloglovin and/or GFC?

Please leave me a comment on my blog and I will follow you!


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