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UN panel says racial discrimination widespread in Korea

August 20th, 2007 . by Matt

The UN is trying to do the right thing, but they mix in their ideological agenda, which spoils their message.

The Korean government must recognize the multi-ethnic character of contemporary Korean society, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination urged in a statement Saturday after reviewing reports from the Korean government regarding racial discrimination in Korea.
The international organization 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.”
The committee said societal discrimination against foreigners, including migrant workers and children born from inter-ethnic unions is widespread in Korea. It is concerned that terms like “pure blood” and “mixed-blood,” and the idea of racial superiority that it might entail, continue to be used in Korean society. The committee urged the Korean government to take appropriate measures to recognize the multi-ethnic character of contemporary Korean society through such fields as teaching, education, culture and information. It remained concerned that migrant workers face severe discriminatory treatment and abuse here.
The committee welcomed the Korean government’s adoption of a National Action Plan for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and of the Act on the Treatment of Foreigners in Korea. It also welcomed the establishment of the Interpretation Support Center for Foreign Migrant Workers. The Educational Support Plan for Children from Multicultural Families was also welcomed.
Although not directly related to foreigner issues, the committee also recognized the Korean government’s efforts to combat prostitution, including the adoption of the Act on the Punishment of Procuring Prostitution and associated legal measures.

While the emphasis on “pure blood” is a little bizarre, there is no need for Korea to “recognize the multi-ethnic character of contemporary Korean society” at all. Korea can promote its culture at the expense of other cultures in Korea, if it wants to do so, while respecting the fundamental human and civil rights of people that are not ethnic Koreans in Korea. There is very little the state can do to eliminate racism because racism is fundamentally a sin of the heart. Demanding that Koreans recognize contemporary Korean society as being “multi-ethnic” in character will just make Koreans see immigrants as invaders trying to change Korean society, and will cause a backlash.

I wonder what Koreans will think of this.


25 Responses to “UN panel says racial discrimination widespread in Korea”

  1. comment number 1 by: MarkA

    I wonder what Koreans will think of this.

    They’ll see it as a mandate for apartheid, kinda like Plessy v. Ferguson in the US.

  2. comment number 2 by: shrug

    I’m going to say I disagree with the notion that “There is very little the state can do to eliminate racism because racism is fundamentally a sin of the heart. Demanding that Koreans recognize contemporary Korean society as being “multi-ethnic” in character will just make Koreans see immigrants as invaders trying to change Korean society, and will cause a backlash.”

    For one, I do not think racism is a sin of the heart as it is not intrinsic and is socially engineered and, thusly, can be socially engineered out. Also, there is not a lot a state can do to “eliminate” racism as racism is a personal perspective, but there is a lot a state can do to create a culture of mitigating the effects of personal racist beliefs. The US took a long time, but civil rights for minorities has come a long way, and while racism is definitely present in modern day America, it has definitely been toned down since the days of burning crosses on front lawns.

    Also, Koreans may backlash to severe governmental institution of anti-racist laws, but small incremental changes can be implemented to great effect. It has been only a few years since Koreans stopped officially using “살색”, after complaints from a very small African minority in Korea, but you didn’t see burning effigies about it. But, maybe I’m comparing apples and oranges here…

  3. comment number 3 by: GarlicBreath

    I predict that a post like this will generate the following responces:

    1) USA is racist too!! SLAVERY!!! Blame USA!!
    2) Why did you post about this!! HOW DARE YOU!!
    3) You must hate Korea!!Did you get dumped by Korean woman!!!
    4) GarlicBreath is worse!! (dicky & blian)
    5) Korea just learned it from Japan. BLAME JAPAN!!
    6) Minorities have it easy in Korea. LAND OF KOREANWAVE!!
    7) Its RACIST to talk about this. What is your real motive.
    8) Korea may or may not be a racist nation, but lets not focus on that, lets focus on how RUDE the poster is and the “way” he posted.

  4. comment number 4 by: egg

    I can observe some S.Korean people caring about their ethnicity, such as the former prime minister.
    But at the same time I would like to know more about this report. Is it trust worthy? I know an example like the U.N. report by Dr. Radhika Coomaraswamythat which shows UN is not always so neutral and fair when handling these issues. They sometimes pickup selective facts which suits their claim.
    I would like to hear from some posters living or who has lived in S.Korea whether the report is descriving S.Korean society accurately or not. I guess it won`t be too late to decide how I should think about it after I hear from them. (Though my first impression against the report is not so bad. They don`t seem to take the shoulders of specific persons or groups at specific conflicts, at least.)

  5. comment number 5 by: egg

    It seems Chosun Ilbo doesn`t have an objection agaist the UN report.
    Well, I hope the report will become a good start of change.

  6. comment number 6 by: kojibomb

    egg,
    i thought chosun ilbo was almost always critical of SKorea…

  7. comment number 7 by: kojibomb

    “pure blood” orgy or fetish wtv should be gone from SKorea

  8. comment number 8 by: egg

    kojibomb
    Thanks for your comment.

    i thought chosun ilbo was almost always critical of SKorea…

    hmmm… Are you suggesting that both Chosun Ilbo and the UN report are false, or too early to decide whether the report is trust worthy? If you say I should wait more before I decide, I am willing to, but won`t that contradict your latter claim? Puzzled.
    Which paper do you think is the best to know about S.Korea accurately? Can I hear your opinion?

  9. comment number 9 by: MarkA

    Korea Herald now has a similar article and it uses the hagwon industry as a prime example.

  10. comment number 10 by: Errol

    1/ Koreans are not race-supremacists.

    2/ Koreans are not ethno-supremacists.

    3/ Koreans are male-supremacists.

    e.g. 1/ Koreans are not race-supremacists. They are not even species-supremacists.

    2/ Koreans are not ethno-supremacists.

    3/ Koreans are male-supremacists.

    In December 2004, the story of the sisters, now 16 and 18, who were sexually assaulted by 41 high school boys for about a year in Milyang, South Gyeongsang, shocked Korean society.

    A police official at Ulsan Nambu police precinct asked the victims, “Did you try to entice the guys? You ruined the reputation of Milyang. The boys who would lead the city were all arrested.”

    No suspect in the case was convicted of criminal charges and only five were sent to a juvenile correctional center.

    The U.N. is confused. If a Korean man wants to discriminate against you he will do so with his utmost power regardless of whether you are European, African, Asian but not Korean, or from a different part of Korea. He will do so with the connivance of other members of Korean society from bystanders in the street, to police officers, to the judiciary. He will then claim he was drunk, blame Japan or the U.S.A. or call for mommy. He will then be a leader of the city.

    He will say and do anything to get what he wants. Racial discrimination as a reaction to Anglo-Saxon Hegemony or Japanese Occupation History is just an excuse to allow his untrammeled desires. Classic symptoms of

    Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

    (1) has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)

    (2) is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love

    (3) believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)

    (4) requires excessive admiration

    (5) has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations

    (6) is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends

    (7) lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others

    (8) is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her

    (9) shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes

  11. comment number 11 by: Errol

    The species supremacy link again.

  12. comment number 12 by: GarlicBreath

    Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

    (1) has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)

    (2) is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love

    (3) believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)

    (4) requires excessive admiration

    (5) has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations

    (6) is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends

    (7) lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others

    (8) is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her

    (9) shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes

    This is brilliant.

  13. comment number 13 by: Errol

    This is the most worrying

    (6) is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends

    A Korean male will pretend to both women and men to be a real friend then after he has achieved his jollies (be they contractual, sexual or other) it’s onto the next victim with nary a concern because

    (7) lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others

    But like Bart Simpson he didn’t do it as Japan and the USA or any convenient blameable group is really

    (8) is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her

    But just like Kim Jong-il and those who pander to him with their fawning visits to Pyongyang. Look at me Kimmy (aka Kim Jong-il) … the very Australian (호주사람) Kath and Kim, now look at me, look at me, look at me ploise

    He is avoids the confrontation with a haughty running away and a dash of chaemyeon

    (9) shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes

    Now grab your manbags tout suite.

  14. comment number 14 by: HanComplex

    Great post, Errol. That explains their behavior not only in their country but especially overseas.

    According to a white paper on human rights conditions of Korean businesses abroad, published by the Korean House for International Solidarity, hundreds of employees at a sewing shop in Indonesia launched a protest in front of the Korean Embassy in Jakarta when the Korean boss fled without paying them 3 billion rupiah (about W500 million) in salaries. At a handbag factory in Vietnam, the Korean vice president of the company brutally assaulted a door-keeper because the company’s door was not closed properly. Authorities confiscated his passport. At another factory in Vietnam, a Korean manager slapped the cheeks of female workers with a shoe for making small talk in the factory. He was deported from the country.

    http://english.chosun.com/w21data/html/news/200402/200402200009.html

  15. comment number 15 by: Ken

    Korea is brain-washing inocent children to be racist from primary school with using textbook as follows.
    http://news.khan.co.kr/kh_news/khan_art_view.html?artid=200708212359521&code=940401
    It is preferable for Japan that they become more anti-Japan and choose the US, Canada or Australia to immigrant for upcoming collapse.

  16. comment number 16 by: General Tiger

    It seems people are too hateful of Koreans to consider that sweatshops are something international. I’m against sweatshops, but making it seem like Koreans are racist for having them is a biased point of view.
    .
    Anyway, I’m personally against the UN asking Korea to“recognize the multi-ethnic character of contemporary Korean society.” Okay, so there’s 1 million foreigners in Korea, but given that most of them are workers trying to make money rather than actually living in Korea, how is anyone to consider them a part of Korea? This goes for other countries: unless there are many foreigners who will live in their new “homeland,” having to consider them a part of Korean characteristic is BS.
    .
    However, the report does make a good point on how some aspects of Korean attitudes of foreigners are on the verge of racism, which needs to be changed.

  17. comment number 17 by: GarlicBreath

    but given that most of them are workers trying to make money rather than actually living in Korea, how is anyone to consider them a part of Korea?

    What does that mean? Tigger, I am glad to see you back, after running away from me, but I can’t make sence of your conglish.
    .

  18. comment number 18 by: General Tiger

    Garlic:

    What does that mean? Tigger, I am glad to see you back, after running away from me, but I can’t make sence of your conglish.

    Most foreigners in Korea are those that doesn’t plan on being long-term residents in Korea. In other words, Korea is their place to work, not the place to live forever.

  19. comment number 19 by: GarlicBreath

    Most foreigners in Korea are those that doesn’t plan on being long-term residents in Korea. In other words, Korea is their place to work, not the place to live forever.

    That is definitly true about your kin in the USA and Japan. They dont speak the language, they dont mix with the population. According to your description they don’t belong. They are only there for money. They should not be there. Tigg, you are on to something here.
    .

  20. comment number 20 by: egg

    I have two questions.
    One.
    Should a country accept every single naturalization if a foreigner wished? Is it wrong to make some regulations? If it is not, how about asking the first priority of loayalty against the permitting country or respect against cultures and traditions?
    Two.
    After a naturalization is allowed, I think there should be no distinction including political rights. Before it, political rights should not be given, but what about welfare? Can a distinction other than political rights be allowed? If it is, where should we draw a line? What kind of rights can a short time worker have? Or what kind of distinction should a short time worker bear?
    .
    I personally think all rights except political rights should be given, including the welfare (as long as they are paying the taxes and fees), but is it too ideal?

  21. comment number 21 by: General Tiger

    Egg:
    Here’s my view:
    1. There needs to be regulations, but denying citizenship based on racial/national bases is cruel and against human rights.
    2. I agree with your comment at the end.

  22. comment number 22 by: egg

    General Tiger
    Thanks for responding. It was interesting to hear your views as usual. May I ask a bit further?
    Do you think “asking the first priority of loayalty against the permitting country or respect against cultures and traditions” to be “racial/national bases”?

  23. comment number 23 by: General Tiger

    Egg:

    Do you think “asking the first priority of loayalty against the permitting country or respect against cultures and traditions” to be “racial/national bases”?

    .
    That a pretty hard question. I would say that they should put their loyalty to their adapting country first, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they have to abadon their original culture.
    .
    That’s why I say that the UN is trying to think of Korea in terms of the US, a multinational country that has adapted different cultures in the 200 years of existence. For Korea, the majority of its foreigners have come within the last 15 years, and most of them are citizens of their originating country, not Korea.
    .
    So, trying to enoforce “multi-cultralism” is BS, although asking for tolerance of differen culture is a seperat issue.

  24. comment number 24 by: egg

    General Tiger
    Thanks for your reply.
    I wasn`t intending to say they need to abandon their original culture. Their culture will enrich our culture as long as they don`t completely deny our values and try to unite with us. There are some foreigners who try to stick only to their ways and insult our values. I wanted to say “they should try to understand our culture and traditions (they don`t need to follow our cultures and traditions themselves exactly) and at the same time we should try to learn their cultures and trditions”. If they don`t have the intention to learn our values and stick only to their values, I can`t accept them (talking about naturalization).

    So, trying to enoforce “multi-cultralism” is BS, although asking for tolerance of differen culture is a seperat issue.

    I guess we might be sharing a similar idea that fusion of cultures should be aimed and not cultures existing seperatedly. No?

    For Korea, the majority of its foreigners have come within the last 15 years, and most of them are citizens of their originating country, not Korea.

    What if they wanted to be S.Korean citizens? What will be the conditions? Will your answers be similar to mine?

  25. comment number 25 by: General Tiger

    Egg:

    Their culture will enrich our culture as long as they don`t completely deny our values and try to unite with us. There are some foreigners who try to stick only to their ways and insult our values. I wanted to say “they should try to understand our culture and traditions (they don`t need to follow our cultures and traditions themselves exactly) and at the same time we should try to learn their cultures and trditions”. If they don`t have the intention to learn our values and stick only to their values, I can`t accept them (talking about naturalization).

    Same with me.

    I guess we might be sharing a similar idea that fusion of cultures should be aimed and not cultures existing seperatedly. No?

    What I meant by the statement was that enforcing multiculturalism on a country that DOESN’T have several cultures (yet) is BS.

    What if they wanted to be S.Korean citizens? What will be the conditions? Will your answers be similar to mine?

    I think I already wrote on that.