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A History Of Racism In South Korea

A History Of Racism In South Korea

South Korea has a history of racism against foreigners. For example, in the early 20th century, Japanese were treated badly in South Korea. They were forced to live in ghettoes, and they weren’t allowed to speak Korean. Many Koreans believed that Japanese were inferior to them, and they thought that they shouldn’t mix with them.

During World War II, the situation became even worse. Japanese soldiers were sent to fight against the Chinese, and they killed thousands of civilians. When the war ended, the Japanese government tried to cover up the atrocities, but the truth eventually emerged. The Japanese military authorities arrested hundreds of people, and they imprisoned them without trial. Thousands more were deported to Japan. These actions caused resentment towards the Japanese among the Korean population. Many Koreans felt that the Japanese deserved punishment.

Today, South Korea is a very prosperous country, and it is highly developed. Most of the people living here are ethnic Koreans, and they are proud of their heritage. South Korea is a multiethnic society. It is home to ethnic Koreans, Japanese, Chinese, Mongolians, Tibetans, and other groups. About 80 percent of the population is ethnically Korean. Most of the rest are either descendants of immigrants from China or Japan.

Overall, Korea is doing a better job of protecting people from discrimination, especially when it comes to sexual and gender minorities. The right direction is being taken by them. However, due to the small number of ethnic minorities, neither the general public nor the government pay much attention to racial discrimination. Similarly, religious minorities. For instance, there are currently more than 100,000 Muslims in Korea, but very few Koreans are even aware of this fact. Most of them have little understanding of Muslim culture and frequently link Muslims to terrorists.

Although ignorance and a lack of understanding exist, Koreans choose to ignore them. They do not perceive it having a significant impact on Korean society because the Black community there is even smaller. They are aware that it is a global problem, but they have not yet identified it as their problem.

Only 40% of mixed-race students in elementary and middle schools, or students born abroad, are regarded as Koreans by their peers. Nearly 50% of students reported finding it challenging to maintain friendships with peers from different national backgrounds. The different skin tones of their classmates (24.2%), the worry of being shunned by other Korean students (16.8%), and the embarrassment of being friends with children of different races (15.5%) are the reasons given by Korean students.

Children in Korea also have a propensity to discriminate against Africans and those descended from Africans. According to a 2015 study by Education Research International, Korean kids react negatively to illustrations of darker-skinned characters in picture books. Children’s attitudes toward black people and their surroundings where white people predominate are seen as a reflection of their parents’ anti-blackness prejudice.

Only 5% of the population is non-Korean, indicating how homogeneous Korea is. Ironically, the challenge of preserving social cohesiveness in the face of a growing influence of globalisation strengthens ethnic identity. On a global scale, South Korea tries to advance Korean culture. Take a look at BTS and Parasite, for instance. The popularity of Korean culture outside of Korea is relatively recent, and Koreans are extremely proud of it. South Korea is proud of how successfully it has exported its culture, and the economy has expanded significantly. It is also a member of the G20. Further efforts have been made as a result of globalisation to incorporate the overseas Korean population into the Korean identity and to use them as ambassadors in the host or resident countries. The national identity of Korea is shaped by all these interconnected factors.

James Yeong
James Yeong

Once a quaint dweller of the English countryside, James is now a vibrant voice narrating his adventures in the bustling heart of South Korea. Since relocating to Seoul in 2019, James has immersed himself in the dynamic tapestry of Korean culture, from the serene temples tucked away in mountainous terrains to the neon-lit streets of modern cities.

This blog has become a haven for those seeking an outsider's yet intimate perspective on South Korea, often shedding light on hidden gems and local favourites rather than just the typical tourist hotspots. With a keen eye for detail and a writing style dripping with wit and warmth, James has managed to amass a devoted readership from all corners of the globe.

Whether you're planning a trip to the Seoul, the surrounding cities or just vicariously traveling from the comfort of your couch, Jame's tales of exploration and discovery are sure to ignite a passion for the Land of the Morning Calm.

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