Asians have become the target of subsequent racial discrimination in western societies. However, contrary to the notion that Asians may share that sympathetic feeling towards their African counterparts, the blacks in some Orient nations are still being belittled and discriminated.
Disclaimer: The sharing below is drafted by an anonymous African American individual who suffered from intense racism in South Korea. The Cosmopolite Guru does not hold the ownership of, take responsibility for or monetize from the content below.
I didn’t speak very good Korean, but I had a pretty awesome friend with me who was what the Japanese refer to as ‘Haifu’, part Japanese, part Korean. He was a pretty interesting guy. We had just gotten out of Incheon Airport when we saw a taxi. My friend hailed it and the guy drove up to us. My buddy tells him where we are going and I think that everything is fine, right up until I try to get in the taxi with him. The taxi driver *refuses* to let me in his car, which sparks an argument that ultimately makes my friend red faced and quite upset. He steps out of the taxi the driver speeds off. I ask him what happened, and he shrugs and says that this guy is an asshole and we’ll just have to get another cab.
We’ve just walked into a beer bar around Yeoui-dong and sit down after a long day of walking around and my friend says that he’ll grab us a brew that we can only get at the bar. Well, he’s not gone for two seconds before I see a group of guys start talking with him. He’s looking at them and mumbling something in Korean, but his face is beginning to get red the way that it does when he’s angry. He comes back with the beers and I ask him whats wrong, which he shrugs off and says that there’s nothing wrong. We stay for one beer before we skip out on his insistence.
We go to this nightclub, and they won’t let me in.
We talk to these girls, but they’re not giving me the time of day (which would have been fine if they had just ignored me, but they pointed and laughed, which was not cool).
We tried to get dinner but my food came out 45 minutes later than everyone else’s food.
People won’t sit next to me on the trains or busses.
people won’t look at me or will ignore me when taking orders.
I can’t take a taxi very easily.
And thinking back, I should have guessed it, but I didn’t then mainly because I didn’t speak the language. But my honest and true friend did. He tried to shield me from it for as long as he could. I finally pulled him aside and asked what was going on, because while we were in Japan he has spoken so highly of his father’s birthplace, but we’d been having a terrible time since the moment we got off the plane and we’d only been in this place for a week.
He apologized profusely, though he really shouldn’t have, because he had been amazing. He tried to explain to me that over here, it wasn’t viewed so much as racism because it was so normalized. White was right, and black was disgusting. Savage. Less. He was honestly disgusted by how terribly I had been treated since we landed, and he had honestly never realized that this was how things were here. And yet, here it was. Here I was. I thought that I was prepared to handle this; after all, I had experienced my fair share of racism in the US and Japan, but when he told me the reason that I felt like shit the entire time I was there, it all clicked and I realized for perhaps the first time in my life what true and honest racism was. In the US, racism was discouraged, looked down on, ostracizing. In Japan, it was there, but more than likely it was a greater issue because you were a gaijin. Whites were treated better, but we were really all in the same boat for not being Japanese. But South Korea was different. I was less, or at least treated that way. I have never felt more alone than I had for the next week that I was there. I was supposed to stay for six months, but I couldn’t even stay for two weeks. It was too much for me. Three years later and it still hurts to think about it.