Jeon Do-Yeon, Hanil High School, Jeonju, Jeollabukdo

Racism is the belief that people of some races are inferior to others. It is a poison that causes big problems in the world, and in Korea. Racism, for example, discourages tourism, increases alien crime, and causes the school bullying of mixed-race Korean children. I think we must change our thinking to solve this problem.

Racism is a poison to Korean society because it discourages tourism. Today, many Korean people think South Asia is a very poor region and look down on South Asian people. In South Asian countries, there are a lot of rumors about Korean people, too. They say that Korean employers are irresponsible and stingy. In fact, there is some truth to these rumors. Many young South Asian temporary workers come back from Korea with little money and much disdain. They say Korea is a bad country. If Korean employers do not change their minds, this reputation will spread to more countries and our tourism industry could suffer greatly. It will bring trouble to our economy.

Racism is a poison to Korean society because it leads to an increase in alien crime. Also, the Korean government enacts racist policies. The Korean government favors visa applicants from wealthy countries. When South Asians apply for a visa, Korea grants visas to wealthier Westerners quicker than to South Asians. Sometimes, Korea even refuses to grant visas to South Asians. This discrimination results in the South Asians becoming illegal aliens. Some illegal aliens tend to become criminals, for example, robbers or sex offenders, because of their inferior position in Korean society. The police, however, can’t apprehend them easily because they are undocumented. Then, the illegal aliens are likely to commit more crimes again. It causes a vicious cycle. Because the Korean government does not fully protect South Asian immigrants, the resulting crime is our own doing.

Racism is a poison to Korean society because it brings about school bullying. Today, many South Asian women marry with older Korean men. Older men in rural areas are pushed to marry by their families to maintain the traditional family bloodline. But they can’t marry Korean women because of the serious gender imbalance. So, the rest of the single Korean men marry South Asian women who want to come to Korea easily. This arrangement benefits the women by providing economic security because they can acquire a visa easily through marriage, which allows them to work and earn money. Of course, South Asian women can’t speak Korean well and this causes serious problems. Because women are usually caregivers for their children, kids are mostly educated by their mothers. In the end, mixed-race Koreans can’t speak Korean well or write hangul. Furthermore, they often don’t achieve fluency in their mother’s language, leaving them without a native tongue. This is a problem, especially in primary school. Low language proficiency leads to deficient learning. Deficient learning can be related to school bullying. Mixed-race Koreans’ skin color and poor speaking ability cause more teasing.  How can children, including Korean children, learn to respect human rights in this situation? The school bullying of South Asians negatively affects Korean society because it normalizes racism.

Now, the world is becoming a global village.  If we insist on our old thinking, Korea may become isolated. With increasing numbers of aliens in Korea, racism just causes societal problems and low economic growth.  You must realize these examples are not extreme cases; they arise all around Korea. We simply must promote awareness. Racism is the poison that we can detoxify. We can do it!

Submitted by Liz Philipp, ETA ’13-’15