15 February 2006

Progress in South Korean Race Relations

Until this year, Korea prohibited people of mixed race, like my children (who are half-Korean and half-white), from enrolling in their military. Now, largely a result of Hines Ward, a mixed race Korean-American becoming MVP for the Steelers in the U.S. Superbowl, the Korean military has finally decided that maybe this policy was a bad idea, and have ended the ban, although mixed race Koreans are still not subject to the draft in South Korea. I'm no football fan, but I'm offering Mr. Ward a big thank you for the progress his example has made possible.

Racial equality is not perfect in the United States, but it is far worse in Korea, where mixed race children receive all sorts of abuse (some legally sanctioned, like the recently repealed ban on participation in the military), and in other places in Asia, like Japan, where Koreans are a more or less permanent underclass, prohibited from attaining citizenship in most cases, even if they were born in Japan.

Incidentally, people of Korean descent, such as adopted Korean Toby Dawson who brought home a ski mogul medal for the USA, and members of the Korean skating teams, have performed notably in the Olympics.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think that your blog is very benficial. I have many friends who are originally born in Korea and come to my University to study. Some of these students have become my best friends. So a couple of my friends have invited me to visit them some time in Korea. I am African-American, and I'll admit that I am alittle worried about the race relations there...how I will be treated and so forth. I really don't know what to expect and this has a major weighing on my decision to go. Anyway, thanks so much for your blog and do take care. I really hope that South Korea continues to make positive changes in this direction. My good friend is an American who is biracial [African-American and Korean]..she's told me a lot of things about this issue. Like I said, it's difficult, but I certainly hope that the train keeps rolling.

Take care,
Stephanie, North Carolina