Wednesday, 28 May 2014


                                     BLACK                 SOCIAL              HISTORY                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Racism in South Korea stems from the common belief that Koreans are a "pure blood" that have been homogenous throughout history.[1][2][3]

Ethnic Discrimination

The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination was “concerned that the emphasis placed on the ethnic homogeneity of Korea might represent an obstacle to the promotion of understanding, tolerance and friendship among the different ethnic and national groups living on its territory.” [4]
In ethnically homogenous South Korea, mixed-race offspring are generally viewed with contempt. Biracial men were banned from serving in the South Korean military until January 2011.[5] A 2009 poll revealed that 47% of Korean children were uncertain or negative on the subject of whether they could make friends with a biracial child.[6] Ethnic prejudice is thought to be widespread throughout the Korean education system.[7][8]

Bonojit Hussein case

In July 2009, Bonojit Hussein, an Indian national who was working as a research professor at Sungkonghoe University, was called "Dirty" and "Pitch-black foreigner" by (first name withheld) Park while riding on a bus. Park also questioned Hussein's companion, a South Korean woman, whether "she was a real Korean woman" and "how it felt going out with pitch-black foreigner?" Hussein then reported Park to local police. A police officer who arrived on the scene told Hussein that "there's no racial discrimination in Korea". The policeman also said to Park, "Why did you, a good-looking man dressed in a suit, treat a man who's having a hard life here poorly?" in Hussein's presence. At the police station, while policemen talked to Park in formal Korean, Hussein was spoken to in informal Korean. Policemen questioned Hussein, "How can a man born in 1982 become a research professor? Really, what is it that you do?[9] After this story was reported on national media, National Human Rights Association gave a warning to the policeman then recommended that the policemen be educated in human rights. The case of Hussein was a landmark case as it was the first time the National Human Rights Association ordered a 'Recommendation Measure' for a racial discrimination case and led to prosecution for a racial comment for the first time as well.[10]

Bath House Case

On October 2011, Soojin Goo, a naturalized South Korean citizen formerly from Uzbekistan was denied entry to a public bath house in Busan, South Korea for being a "foreigner" despite showing her South Korean passport and resident registration card. According to the bath house, the denial was based on "Regular patrons' fear of contracting AIDS". After being denied entry, Goo sought help from local police. However, Goo was told to seek other baths houses since there are no legal basis for prosecuting ethnic discrimination in South Korean law.[11] After this story caught the national attention in South Korea, many other cases of ethnic discrimination were reported.

Xenophobia in the media

A website called Anti-English Spectrum has been widely consulted by Korean newspapers about an alleged spree of foreign crime, despite being considered a hate group by outsiders.[12] In 2008, issued a press release referring to foreigners as "poisonous mushrooms" and "viruses". In their official apology, the website stated that "our English is much better than [the critics'] Korean" and that "they must learn the Korean culture of statics".[13] In June 2012 when viewers became outraged when MBC released a documentary on Korean women's troubled relationships with foreign men [14][15][16][17] Korea times reported that anti foreigners groups are on the rise.[18]
Even international star Hwang Min-woo has faced bullying over his mixed heritage.[19]

Discrimination against North Korean defectors[edit]

Since the 1990s, over 23,500 refugees have defected from North to South Korea, fleeing severe famine and a repressive government. The ROK grants automatic citizenship to all defectors and provides resettlement assistance at Hanawon center; however, they often face extensive discrimination in South Korean society. According to Yonhap news, over 9% of defectors are unemployed, compared to 3.7% of other South Koreans, and only 20 are employed in the civil service.[20] In an interview with the Korea Times, defector Lee Min Young said: "When I wrote that I’m from the North in my resume, no companies showed interest in interviewing me at all."[21] In addition, younger defectors often face severe bullying in public middle and high schools.[22] Sonia Ryang, an anthropologist at the University of Iowa, "Some sixty-two percent of North Korean students try to hide their origins for fear of being bullied by their classmates. When asked why they did not like South Korean schools, North Korean children responded that they got teased for being shorter and smaller than South Korean children, for speaking with a northern accent, for not keeping up with recent fads, and for being unsophisticated."[23]