7.25.2010

Seoul Searching: Dealing with White Privilege in Korea

Interrupting your regularly scheduled program to bring you this important announcement that even in Korea, I still have to deal with stupid racist privileged ass white men and their defenders ugh.

On my way home from a previously great night after my white girl friend Tabby and I were having chicken and beer and teaching my Korean friend Jaeyong important English phrases like "I ain't gotta do nothing but stay black and die", Tabby and I ran into some Portuguese girls, a British Indian boy, and a white guy from Miami, Ohio in our ISS program who were all drunk and loud.

I had never met this drunk White guy from Miami, Ohio before but I tend to avoid them all because they have the most students in the program and most of them (there are a few exceptions) are nothing but frat guys who are the epitome of privileged White men. They essentially want to get laid by Asian women and get drunk and make slightly condescending/racist comments about asians while they're in Korea. Adding alcohol just increases the chances that their privileged will be confirmed.

So we started talking about politics for some reason and you know how alcohol loosens the tongues of white people, and the drunk White guy from Ohio starts saying that Obama has done nothing except Healthcare, which I shrugged and just said that its only been a year and a half into his presidency but oh well. Then he goes on a rant about how Obama is turning the country into a socialist state and will give all the lazy poor chicagoans money and then they'll just spend it on fucking drugs (don't ask me why he focused on Chicago).

My friend Tabby knew where this was going and tried to change the conversation but I wanted to discuss this even though we all knew he was too drunk for it to get through to him, but it's slightly intriguing to see just how privileged and racist white folks can get, so I indulged him in his privileged world view. He tried to say that it was going to help all the 'lazy' people and not the hardworking people. I told him that the GI Bill was largest form of Welfare because it subsidized low mortgages to white people who couldn't have afforded them otherwise. Same with the Homestead Act of 1840s/1860s because it was practically giving away free (i.e. stolen Native American) land to people who also didn't have to work.

He was like 'psh Native Americans that was 300 years ago'. I was like those white people killed millions of Native Americans and who the hell cares if it was 300 years ago, doesn't lessen their crimes.

He then said he couldn't wait for America to go to shit and I was like "Yeah because it was so dandy before: Native American genocide, enslaving Africans, legalized segregation and lynching. But oh no socialism is going to be the final straw" I told him if Socialism was greater than all those crimes I couldn't wait for America to go to 'shit'. That shut him up.

And then the British Indian guy was trying to make the case that it was the Africans who sold their own people. I countered that that's fine and dandy, but no one was forcing some of those white people to take the slaves and then come in and colonize and rape the entire continent. Sarcastically mimicking a white slaver, I was like "ooh but the Africans are giving us these slaves, we cannot NOT take them. That would be rude. It's not like we have a choice and KNOW slavery is wrong," to highlight how fallacious that whole argument is yet how white folks still try and use it. I was surprised this Indian guy from BRITAIN-which by the way, I reminded him subjugated the entire subcontinent of his people for 200 years- still felt the need to defend this racist drunk argument.

Yet the Indian guy wouldn't give up even though the Miami Ohio guy had long ago been lost in his drunk stupor. He kept saying why are you living in the past, it was so long ago. I countered that the Holocaust was a 'long' time ago yet are we supposed to forget about it because oh it also happened in the past. He got real quiet. And then he tried to back track and say he didn't say to forget it. I was like yes you said all these things happened a long time ago, but legalized lynching and the civil rights movement was just 40 years ago and we're 'living' in the past. Everyone got quiet. I noticed that the Portuguese girls were real quiet and uncomfortable as they should be because Portugal is a whole 'nother story.

The indoctrinated Indian guy still tried to save himself and asked why was I making it about race and saying all white people. I said that if the Ohio guy can make a racist generalization about all poor (i.e. Black) Chicagoans then I could make these factual statements about 'some' white people who killed millions of Native Americans, enslaved black people, and then forced legalized degregation, rape, and lynching on them up until 40 years ago. I made my point as he got quiet. Then I wished them all a good night and hoped we could sell shithole Ohio to the highest bidder.

Being surrounded by Koreans-people of color- made me forget how much I didn't miss dealing with stupid racist American white folks. It was ironic too because Tabby and I had asked Jaeyong earlier in the evening what the Korean equivalent of Honky and Cracker was, which is apparently "Chaila" (if I heard him correctly) which is stupid White foreigner. Never thought I'd have a chance to actually experience that word in Korea.

I didn't know why but I apologized to Tabby for stupidly indulging those morons while knowing it wouldn't get through because they were drunk, but you say something stupid and racist you better back it up and I will definitely let them know. She knows how radical and racial I can get and is indulgent in it (I asked her when the revolution comes, which side she was going to chose, she correctly chose the people of color side) but you know being all militant tends to scare white people and they tend to stab you in the back and run from you first chance you get. She told me I had no need to apologize or explain myself to her or to those racists. She is one of the best friends I have made in Korea.

Sorry I just had to rant about this. My next post will be about my perspectives as a Black woman in China after visiting Beijing for 4 days.

In other news, the sky is blue and Rain is sex on legs. We now return you to your regularly scheduled program.

31 comments:

  1. At least you held your own and got them to shut the fuck up. *nods* Word.

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  2. Miami U of Ohio (o_0)

    yes I'm very familiar with them

    Ohio is chock full of racist, you know when people from Louisiana visit and think your state is racist there is a real problem

    I hope all Korean women stay away from these douche bags.

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  3. BCBGRL33 We seriously got to met one day.My vacation starts August 9th and I get paid the 17th.

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  4. @DN
    Aw I leave Sunday August 1st. We definitely need to :( Why is life unfair. I love it here in Seoul and I want to stay so bad and learn Korean. Are you an English teacher in Korea?

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  5. @AM and Moddest-Goddess
    Thank you . Ohio is a racist shithole that needs to be expelled from the Union post haste, along with Texas, Florida, and Arizona. The Korean women tend to avoid them like the plague, especially when they are drunk.

    Also Tabby glared at the Miami guy when she saw him this morning. His ass needed to be reminded of his stupidity. Thanks for the support ladies

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  6. @BCBgrl33.. yes I am. If you ever need help just ask.. I am always off on the weekend and I go to Byeongjeom everyday till Friday because I have some Korean class there I apparently signed up for without realizing. I am always done by 5 and I am always off on the weekend.

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  7. Wow, this reminds me of a convo I had years ago with a fellow classmate in ROTC. He kept going on and on about how wonderful our Founding Fathers were and I had to correct him on that as they weren't as prestigious and praise-worthy as people make them out to be (they were racist, classist and whole slew of other -isms and -ists) and they still owned slaves and treated them like cattle and property. Well, he went on to say, "Well, Thomas Jefferson didn't like the ownership of slaves. He opposed it."

    And so I schooled him, "Yes, yes, but did that stop him from owning slaves? Or beating the hell out of them when HE felt that they did wrong? Did that stop him from keeping them illiterate? Or impregnating one of his slaves and denying the children of that union?"

    Oh yeah, that shut him up REAL quick.

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  8. And what was with that shiftless, Indian House Negro?

    How disgusting and pathetic is that?

    *shudder* Talk about Abagond's "Wall of Lies"....

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  9. @AM
    Yeah that Uncle Tom was really trying to play Devil's Advocate but got crushed under my weight of Knowledge, cuz if he's going to be defending the rheprehensible he better back it the hell up. And he couldn't I've been playing this game for too long

    @DN I am free after 5 as well. I am going to Itewon tomorrow to get my hair did (much cheaper than in the states) If you ever want to meet up before then or possibly kick it with my awesome group of people of color (we go to karokee a lot or to the 'watering' hole) just let me know :D

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  10. You get an internet high-fucking-five.

    I love when you give facts and it gets silent, as people realize they came off ignorant, racist/sexist and all-around dumb. Get it, girl. I look forward to your entry about being black in China. Write on. :D

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  11. @Charmie
    Internet High Five back girl :D Even though it was infuriating to deal with White Privilege, at the same time, it was liberating because they could not repudiate the fact that everything I was saying to them was the truth and they could no longer hide behind their ignorance and bigotry :D

    I am here to please :D

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  12. I have no other idea how to get a hold of her. Plus she has to contact me to get the first 2 numbers needed to dial my part of South Korea. Plus I can always delete it later when I know she has it.

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  13. @DN
    Got it thank you I'll just text you or call you real quick to give you my number. And I added you on Skype :D Let's definitely kick it before I leave :D

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  14. Thanks for deleting them.

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  15. You're welcome, dear. Sorry to come off crazy, but I do have overprotective tendencies.

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  16. Thank you. I don't think you are crazy.

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  17. Ohhhhhh, darlin', but you should.

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  18. I must be wearing a huge sign that says: "White" folks, one wrong word and your ass is good and scalped because I've never ever had these experiences anywhere on this planet. I must have had quite the reputation in a past life. Anyway, WP here spend 95% of their time moaning, groaning and complaining about Japanese privilege. Nothing hurts/insults them more than these horrible little yellow people not recognizing their specialness. You know things are bad for them when they try to use me as an intermediary between themselves and the Japanese supervisors. It gets funnier and funnier every time it happens.

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  19. @Hateya
    You're very lucky. Yeah, WP love doing that in places where they aren't the majority, even here in Seoul. I had to shut my White friend down quick when she tried to say the stares she had been receiving was racism. She fortunately recognized and apologized, telling us that what she was experiencing was in no way what POC experience in America.

    >>Nothing hurts/insults them more than these horrible little yellow people not recognizing their specialness.
    Wasn't that basically the plot of "Lost in Translation" or "It's so hard being a Whitey in Japan"? WP are funny.

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  20. I don't think it's entirely luck, but I'm sure good fortune played a role in there somewhere. For the most part, given that there are also blacks and Native Americans who need their asses kicked, too, the subject of my heritage comes up fairly early in any conversation. With it out there, most folks in real life tend to tread the PC line very carefully.

    It also helps to not know "white" sociopaths. I only have intentional contact with two Caucasian American women here. Both speak proficient Japanese, work hard and concentrate the bulk of their energies on their families. Interestingly enough, both refused to place their children in the "international school of fuck children's minds." In other words, they're not living half-white lives. They're living as Japanese. Maybe these encounters boil down to environment. You're on a short-term program, so you're bound to link up with the losers.

    The racists in my home state mainly keep to their own territories, thus, I never encountered them. The yankee liberals never lasted long enough for us to have any sort of connection. They packed up fairly quickly. :D

    I passed on "Lost in Translation" because my neighbor said it perpetrated the ridiculous notion that a well-known gaijin hub in Tokyo is representative of Japan. She's from Kyushu and she's got issues. *chuckle*

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  21. @ Hateya

    I must be wearing a huge sign that says: "White" folks, one wrong word and your ass is good and scalped because I've never ever had these experiences anywhere on this planet

    This stmet resonates with me so much. Most of my life has been about POC. I was born and grew up in Harlem. My teachers, neighbors, friends looked like me for most of my life.

    It wasn't until I reached my late 20's that I started interacting with WP and that was @ a co-worker level. They weren't close personal friends and I was an am okay with that.

    POC have always been my closest and dearest friends. Yes, even in America, I have managed to dodge alot of the b-s/sociopathy of WP. My dearest Uncle was a member of the NOI, so my formative years were quite interesting to say the least.

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  22. Great discussion, ladies. I'm seeing the proper adjectives/nouns used. Sociopaths/sociopathy... because that's exactly what you're experiencing.

    Did any of you watch the featurettes for the American version of The Grudge, with ex-Buffy? Director Shimizu, in an interview, says something like Sarah and [that other dude who's name I can't remember], didn't like that when filming in Tokyo, streets can't be blocked off and extras aren't hired. Directors just film people unknowingly. So because all those throngs of people don't even know they're in a movie! And apparently, Sarah and Other Dude kept whining and asking Shimizu to tell the people who aren't "special" to quit bumping into them.

    Shimizu told them to can it.

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  23. My K-12 peers were generally >50% black, except for high school which was 50% Puerto Rican (Afro Latino) No one would have dared spout such nonsense. I didn't encounter privileged twits until I went to college. Apparently they grow them there.

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  24. @Lenoxave

    POC have always been my closest and dearest friends. Yes, even in America, I have managed to dodge alot of the b-s/sociopathy of WP.

    Here. Here. I have little or no use for WP. Before I left the country, I worked after undergraduate school and all of my colleagues (every single one of them) were WP. Lucky me. Massa and I were hired on the same day; thus, we were kindred because he was a yankee. Let's just say that the wench ruled the office and it didn't cost me anything because he was asexual. ;) With massa under my thumb and what my husband alleges is Aspergers Syndrome (a nice way of saying I don't give a f**k about most people), I had it good.

    At the end of the day, I find no concrete disadvantage in being black. I'm not fouling because of my Dad either. I'm definitely a person of African descent and I'm damn proud of it.

    There's a drive to restore the neighborhood schools in my hometown because the busing system is creating havoc for the little WKs. WP can't understand why black folks are dancing in the streets.

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  25. There's a drive to restore the neighborhood schools in my hometown because the busing system is creating havoc for the little WKs. WP can't understand why black folks are dancing in the streets.

    Quoi?

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  26. Although it took them decades, the "white" parents have finally realized that having to wake up their children at the crack of dawn in order to bus them across town to the designated school is having an adverse affect on them physically, emotionally and academically, too. Neighborhood schools are looking good again.

    It's a win-win scenario.

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  27. just found this relevant blog post from another Black American woman that was living in South Korea

    http://expatjane.blogspot.com/2006/08/ugly-americans-young-white-men-korea.html

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  28. @MG
    Thanks for the link. Even through all the Culture Shock with Koreans I knew it was curiosity; with White folks it's straight up ignorance and condescension and she hit the nail on the head with White MALE Privilege *goes off to read more of her blog*

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  29. @moddest-goddess,

    Thanks for the link. I like the way this woman thinks and I want to read all of her non-"white people" entries. It's unfortunate though Korea makes it nearly impossible for her to avoid them. I'm blessed that I never have to interact with any of them.

    I truly respect this lady for managing so many blogs. I can only keep one... it features my fantasy pretty boy. ;)

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  30. Haha Miami U. I'm an Ohioan and yes racism is an issue here. I attend Kent State University and my freshman year I experienced so much racism it was crazy. I'm from Cleveland (the east side which is the Black side)so it was a quite a shock when I started seeing the stuff I saw. In just my firt semester someone spray painted nigger on a building, several of my friends were the victims of drivers yelling out nigger, I went to a white frat party where it was okay for us Black females to stay but the Black males had to leave, a Black girl was denied being in a white sorority because they did not like her "ghetto" boyfriend, there was a rumor of a noose being hung, and the Pan-African department tore white professors who turned blind eyes to this sort of stuff a new one during panel dicussing this. Oh yeah, there's a message board for the student news paper that has some rather colorful anon opinions. Not everyone is bad and for the most part the biggest issue is a bunch of white students just never/rarely had to deal with POC's but I found out quick who to talk to and who not, which frats were cool and which weren't. It's sad that so many people outside of Ohio even know how things tend to be here.

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  31. Hi, I know this post was from a few years back, but I just came back from spending a few months in Seoul and wanted to agree with on everything of this discussion. Yes, the whit male privilege is STRONG there. There was one white male who tried it on the subway talking down upon American women as a whole and I had to shut him real quick. Also there were a few men who were so disrespectful to cashiers that their presence was nothing but white privilege. Honestly, I try to avoid some asap, cause my blood boils when they say and do something ignorant.

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