links i find vital

where it all started for me! (btw it starts off with like a min of music)
a seoul radio station interview about bssk
a bunch of interviews with black expats in soko
find family on facebook: Brothas&Sistas of South Korea

Monday, September 25, 2006

stupid all white esl forum.

brown hands white savior by Aurelio José Barrera
so im on the esl forums everyday, reading, learning, and all. everyone i have pm'ed in the forums tell me to stay away from korea. they go on about they, white people, can barely stand the descrimination themselves; how they get stared at, refused service at some buisness, how children and old people gawk at them... oh brother. "stay away from korea" "go to japan where people are more accepting." "im white and i can barely handle it some days, i'd never come here if i was black!" *puh* fools. i didnt become black two min ago. i deal with the boohoot every day. maybe i cant say, b/c im not there, but it seems to me that the only difference between here and korea is that koreans will be more upfront about their prejudices. the only black person ive met in the forums thus far is a sister who wrote to me, "It's no different than being home. You find things you like about it and you find things you absolutely can't stand about it too." i believe her. being black has never stopped me from doing anything. it's made some things harder, for sure, but stopped me... *tsk* get outta here with that.
march 2007, i'll be in korea


Anonymous said...

I've been reading through your blog and here is my own advice: Stay away from the Korean forums on the internet. They are biased, prejudiced, and unfair to Korea and Korean people. I read the forums for six months before coming here and was prepared for the worst but people have been extremely nice and accepting of me.

I have not personally encountered the rampant sexism I'd heard about and every man I've met here has been polite, respectful and kind to me so far. I have many good friends in Korea who seem to really like me and go out of their way to help me whenever I have a problem and I had a Korean boyfriend for a year who was very loving and generous to me as well. I have a black friend who was working for CDI and just went home this week. I met him last Saturday to say goodbye and he said that he'd had a great experience in Korea in definitely wanted to come back to visit again. I think he and I had good experiences because of out attitudes. We both studied Korean and made a real effort to adapt to the country and get to know people.

A lot of white men from middle class backgrounds come here and encounter a few racist people and then act like they've never seen discrimination or injustice in their entire lives (maybe they haven't) but I've lived in several countries and that stuff is everywhere from Europe to the Americas to Africa to Asia. It's here in Korea, but it's not nearly as bad as people make it sound. And people do NOT stare that much in Seoul compared to some other cities I've lived in abroad where the foreigners actually complained much less. I think that the good salaries and high demand for teachers attacts a lot of people who come here for the wrong reasons and aren't really that tolerant, open-minded, or emotionally adjusted.

I just wanted to let you know that I love Korea, I love my job, and I encourage you to come on over and see for yourself what you think. Also, you can make a lot of Korean friends by joining a language club for Koreans who want to practice English (eg. the Seoul English club).

Good luck.

i_teach_esl said...

what a wonderful message. my jaw dropped when i read this. thank you, anonymous. that day on the forums was really hard for me, i'd been posting for about a month and was learning a lot about esl and was getting really excited about the job hunt, i was really feeling like a part of the (albeit online) community. but then this junk happened and it was like a slap in the face, and i felt hurt and isolated and alone and then ANGRY and FULL OF FIRE and FULL OF RAGE... just for a lil while. i posted this blog and felt clear headed again b/c it made me remember who i was dealing with: priviledged people who have little sense of the world outside of their own circle. and for just a nanosecond, i wondered if i was overreacting with my anger. thank you, anonymous, for letting me know that i wasnt.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if you've already noticed this (Podcast #25 – Being Black in Korea), but you might find it useful as well:

i_teach_esl said...

I FINALLY listened to that podcast, and man, SPOT ON discussion. it's weird to read this post now, months later. i was so angry. now im just like, "whatever" b/c im sure things are going to be fine. thank you again, anonymous'es for the comments and support!