(Sources – left: GR X Hermark; right)
Over at a recent post on Noona Blog: Seoul, an excellent blog written by a Swedish woman in a relationship with a Korean man, currently there’s several interesting comments about the sources of racism often directed against Korean female – Caucasian male (KF-CM) couples in Korea.
Many of which were written by Jake of Asian Male Revolutions, who has the admirable and very necessary goal of challenging the racist and emasculating images of Asian men in the US media through that website.
But in the process of – in my view – very much contriving to paint racism against KF-CM couples in Korea in those terms, as well as global racial power relations, I found he made many extremely sexist assumptions about Korean women, which I’d like to challenge. As technical issues prevent me from doing so at Noona Blog directly however,* then – assuming that you’ve already read his comments – I’ll post my original response here instead:
it’s difficult not to sound offensive when critiquing someone’s opinions so harshly. But still, however legitimate your concerns about representations of Asian men in the US media are, it’s incredibly naive of you to assume that that these would exist in the same form and degree in the Korean media, or indeed at all.
Argue that they still have a role in expressions of racism against KF-CM couples in Korea nevertheless though, and you end up simply sounding like an apologist.
Much more seriously however, in so doing you also rely heavily on some extremely patronizing and sexist assumptions about Korean women, let alone racist ones against Caucasian men. Let me explain.
I’ll start with your acknowledgment that “there’s no denying that simple male jealousy plays a role in the bellyaching white men…encounter as one part of an interracial couple in Korea.” Naturally I fully agree, and while I consider it a little harsh to dismiss treating that “as simple jealousy from a bunch of Korean/Asian losers” as a “pretty foolish assumption” – after all, you get jerks like that the world over – I also agree that it is wise “to consider the historical and political implications and undertones of various types and permutations of interracial dating” to understand that bellyaching more fully (source, bellyaching pun above).
But what is that historical and political context you identify?
The Western media has a much longer reach than Korean media; in fact all Asian media is to an extent influenced strongly by Euro-centric beauty standards. This has been well-documented by all the plastic surgery, and by the glorification of media figures (singers, actresses) who are selected first and foremost for their vaguely euro-Asian looks (as opposed to supposedly ‘ugly’ Korean features) and then groomed by a team of trainers and managers to become media superstars like Girls Generation, Son Dam-Bi, and all the ‘flavors du jour’ pop-tarts you see on Korean TV shows.
And again I largely agree, having written many posts saying pretty much the same thing myself. But crucially not the “The Western media has a much longer reach than Korean media” part; and as we’ll see in a moment, I feel you have an extremely inflated view of the Western media’s power in Korea.
So given the fact that an embedded system of euro/white-worship permeates South Korean pop-culture, white males have more elbow room to work with in the global dating scene. Many come to the shores of Korea and Asia and have relatively little trouble finding willing women who having seen and internalized images of white beauty standards, would like nothing more than to experience the thrill of dating the mythic “white boy”. And white men who come to Korea are only too happy to take advantage of this fact.
Okaaay…I’ll deal with your warped view of the interracial dating scene in Korea in a moment too (source above: Gusts of Popular Feeling). But first, let’s focus on your views of Korean women which it relies on, which you expand upon in your next comment:
Asian female/white male relationships cannot happen unless both parties are willing to participate in it.
This can only mean one thing – that Korean women, having internalized media messages glorifying white men, are also actively seeking them out to satisfy their own ‘white fetish’. Therefore, we cannot simply categorize white men as “predators” for Asian flesh: instead, a significant number of Asian women are willing collaborators.
Interesting choices of terms you’re using, especially that last. Continuing:
Or at the very least, they are passively open to it – that is, they might not go out of their way to seek white men, but if one does hit on them they are psychologically “primed” to be much more open to their sexual and romantic advances, as opposed to a black or even Korean man.
This is just more evidence of the pervasive white worship in Korean society, and it illustrates just how thoroughly and totally many Korean women internalize this message.
You’ve seen them in the bars and clubs and lounges of Seoul. To them, white boys on their arm are the ultimate accessory to their personal crusade to be the “coolest” chick on the block.
They’re commodifying race – and according to their rather twisted logic, being seen with a white guy the equivalent of having the latest handbag or shoes.
They ought to stop and think about the implications of their choices. To them it’s a confirmation of their own belief that “being with a white man = COOL + URBANE + COSMOPOLITAN + TRENDY”… but it’s actually an expression of a colonial mindset – they are psychologically and mentally colonized, dominated, and enslaved.
They’re not setting the tone on what is cool – they’re doing the exact opposite: setting the tone on what is sick, twisted, and unwholesome.
Disclaimer: I am in no way claiming that ALL Korean women with white men are like this. But there is also no denying that a significant number of these women do exist. So please take my comments for what they are, and don’t take them out of context. Thanks.
Hey, no-one is denying that there are some Korean women who seek a White boyfriend for much the same reasons they would a Gucci handbag (or various types of Korean men either for that matter). But a “significant” number of Korean women with White men are like this you say? What percentage of them do you mean by that term roughly? 10? 25? And do you actually have any evidence whatsoever that they represent anything but the tiniest fraction of all KF-CM relationships?
Also, I’m rather confused: what percentage don’t want a White boyfriend as an accessory, but like you say just want to experience the thrill of dating one instead (which apparently is bad, even though we’re all attracted to the exotic)? What percentage are simply psychologically “primed” to spread their legs more readily for a White man “as opposed to a Black or even Korean” one? And finally, presuming you even allow for the possibility, what percentage of Korean women would you say aren’t passive, unthinking dupes of media messages of White male supremacy and are thus able to have genuine loving relationships with White men?
More to the point, have you asked so much as a single Korean woman of what she thinks of your characterization of them above?
I have asked one myself actually, my wife, and I’d wager that her reaction to you on the right is pretty representative. But I’ve asked many many more about interracial dating (including many who only speak Korean), and I think you’d be rather surprised at the far greater numbers of Korean women who have little interest, even a positive distaste at the possibility of dating White men.
Moreover, while global racial patterns of hegemony and privilege certainly ensure that more White guys end up in South Korea than, say, Indian guys, and that stereotypes of both exist that encourage and discourage Korean women to form relationships with them respectively, it doesn’t automatically follow that Korean women assessing them as potential partners don’t do so by pretty much the same criteria that they do for any men, including Koreans.
Most South Asian men in Korea, for instance, are laborers, which obviously puts them at a big disadvantage to middle-class White teachers. Also, as one Korean female friend put it to me, while White guys tending to be taller has a great deal to do with their attraction to some Korean women (albeit a disparity that is rapidly disappearing), that still isn’t enough to overcome the anticipated language and/or cultural difficulties for most others. And another acknowledged that while White men in Korean tended to have more money (and freedom) than Korean guys in their early-20s, with the ESL industry in Korea being the joke that is, then, financially-speaking, in fact Koreans make much better partners by their late-20s and early-30s.
In short, while the specific mixture of the fish in the sea may well be determined by forces beyond their control, women are very much the arbiters of which ones they reel in so to speak.
To be fair, you do somewhat acknowledge this in your next comment, and which I admit I misinterpreted in the first draft of this post. But still, it is interesting how you force that into a narrative of Korean female submissiveness and White men’s sexual colonialism nevertheless. You say of the relationship between one commenter’s German father and Korean mother’s relationship, for instance:
…until Korean male/German female relationships become just as commonplace as what’s already out there (that is, WM/AF relationships), you can’t exactly hold that up as a ’shining example’ of “colorblindness”. It’s not — it’s more of an expression of racialized power structures and a neo-colonial history.
No, actually it can be colorblind, and both relationships and the people behind them are more then mere expressions of vast, impersonal forces. But if you’d like a more specific critique of your twisting facts to suit your narrative however:
(Source: Baby Black)
It’s the German man’s knowledge when he goes abroad that his country is wealthier and more powerful, compounded with the Korean woman’s knowledge that her’s is less wealthy (particularly back in those days), that makes the Western-male/Asian female (WM-AF) relationship so numerous.
And since women generally look to marry “up” while men look to marry “down” (socially and economically), you can see why the inequality between the white and Asian races makes the WM-AF relationship so easy to forge.
Put simply, I call bullshit on women marrying up and men marrying down: in virtually every society, both historically and today, the vast majority of men and women marry someone within the same socioeconomic group as themselves. Earning much more money than women however, then men are certainly freer to marry down, but that doesn’t at all mean that they aim to do so, or that they don’t aim to marry up any less than women.
But this critique pales in comparison to your reaction to the commenter after that, who wonders where the inconvenient reality of increasing number of Korean male – Caucasian female pairings like her own fits into your diatribe?
If you take some time to analyze our message instead of reacting emotionally, you’ll see just how out of line your thinking is, and how little time and effort you put into trying to understand something that is admittedly *highly, highly* complex. It’s a difficult concept for anyone to wrap his or her head around, so I guess I can’t blame you for taking the lazy way out with convenient and disjointed logic.
But then I said I’d talk about the Western media’s influence in Korea, and so I’ll do so now by contrasting the different impacts you feel it has on Korean men and women (my emphasis):
But the rub for Korean men (in general) is that men in places like Madison Avenue in New York City and Hollywood who control the images that go up on billboards and on TV and movie-screens are white – and they invariably make those images in their own image: White, Male, and BLOWN WAY OUT OF PROPORTION. In short: welcome to the world of Hollywood and the White Male Action Hero.
Keep in mind that while this is happening, Asian males are either completely excluded or used as a foil to make the white male look better in comparison. So Asian males in America or Korean males living in Korea internalize this subliminal message in the media and think that they can’t possibly step up to a blonde girl (or whatever white chick). They live their entire lives being psychologically castrated, in sharp contrast to a white male from where ever, who is emboldened or even arrogantly empowered by the jumbo-sized images made in his likeness, in the embrace of gorgeous white, black, latin, and of course Asian women in movie theatres all over the world.
(Source: Somang Cosmetics, 2003)
Hey, again I completely agree about the representations of Korean and Asian men in the US media. But I’m curious as to how you think this affects Korean males in Korea exactly, and what’s more upon whom you – very tellingly – imply that there is an equal effect as on Asian males in America. Pray, have you actually watched or read any Korean television, movies, magazines, or websites recently? It’s not like they’re lacking for strong, macho images of Korean men getting the Korean girl; or indeed, frequently getting the White girl these days, creating hypersexual stereotypes of them in the process.
Moreover, for a domestic media supposedly at the mercy of the global/Western media and its emasculating imagery of Korean men, it’s just bizarre how nevertheless it still has the ability to effectively censor all expressions of women’s sexual interest in foreign players during the 2002 World Cup; to not allow a single positive representation of KF-CM relationships in advertisements until July this year; to give a free voice to groups that, under the belief that Western men are all diseased sexual predators, will literally stalk them with the aim of catching them doing illegal tutoring, thereby getting them deported; producing “documentaries” that show that Korean women will invariably get raped if they date White men; and so on.
Am I also “emotionally reacting” in pointing that out?
And simultaneously (being human and all) many white women are conditioned to shoot for white men as the “gold standard”, since all the glorified images of ‘male sex appeal’ feature only white males. Some even view Asian males with contempt or pity, and this of course spills over when white chicks go abroad – though to be fair, I’ve noticed this racist bias more in North American white females than European ones. So it is any wonder we see a “global sexual marketplace” that is DOMINATED by white males (figuratively) ‘raping’ and exploiting these loopholes to their sexual advantage?
Given the above dynamics of a GLOBAL system of media brainwashing that favors white males, is it any wonder that some people in Korea or elsewhere might secretly (or openly, in some cases) resent a white male for doing what he does? It’s not unreasonable, or completely out of the realm of possibility.
Ah. So while Korean women are mere passive dupes of the Western media, in contrast Korean men are savvy, knowledgeable consumers of it, and for whom calling a Korean woman walking down the street with Caucasian male a whore, say, is hence a justified response to their symbolic castrations and emasculation therein? As is the way the Korean media treats Western men?
(See Gusts of Popular Feeling for an explanation of the above video)
To put it mildly, that sounds rather apologist to me. But then considering what you write about White guys in Korea, then what would I know, right?
But here’s the funny thing: to him, he’s just ‘innocently’ going about his personal life – but of course he also doesn’t see (well, probably chooses not to see, that is, ignore) that the entire System is built for HIS personal advantage. It’s custom-built for his white male needs – and that is very racist, no doubt.
And on that note, I’ll put this response to rest. Regular readers may well wonder why I devoted so much time to it: after all, its flaws speak for themselves. But then I’m only human, and I reacted partially because it reminded me of how a commentator on this blog also conflated the 2 issues in an earlier post for instance, and whom I simply gave up reasoning with. Much more though, because it was annoying to spend 60 minutes on a comment only to have it disappear (see below), and finally especially because I was angered by comments on a similar post on Noona Blog not only gushing with enthusiasm for Jake’s comments but also implying that he had “a fact-based academic writing style”, when if anything it’s marked by their complete absence.
Combine that with being a White man married to a Korean woman blogging about gender issues in Korea too, who as a result has had trolls insulting the both of us incessantly for 3 years, or even being sent 3000 word emails patiently explaining that the vast majority of White men in Korea (but always excluding myself of course) have yellow fever, and that I’m just being emotional in not acknowledging that…then hopefully you can see why I get very tired and angry at hearing that sort of thing sometimes!^^
Update: See I’m No Picasso and Roboseyo for two excellent posts written in response to this one.
Update 2: And now Gusts of Popular Feeling too.
*Actually, my original intention was just to leave a comment at Noona Blog, but as soon as I hit “submit reply” then it disappeared into the ether. As the same thing happened on a different post last week however (my first there), then wisely I’d saved it first. Of course, it’s annoying that I can’t seem to comment at all there then, but normally I’d just chalk that up to the idiosyncrasies of the individual website. Yet then the same thing happened on Seoul Beats yesterday too (thanks for the link guys!), which I have successfully commented on before. Do any technically-minded readers have any possible explanations? A plugin issue perhaps, or something to do with the most recent version of WordPress? (Switching from Firefox to I.E. didn’t help) Thanks in advance!
92 thoughts on “Real & Presumed Causes of Racism Against Interracial Couples in Korea”
Great response and I think it’s always good to decompose such comments, not only to feel better yourself, but also to use for future reference. Some people blindly believe in Gods, ideologies and of course conspiracy theories, so it’s no wonder, that ideas stick to people, become part of them. The quote from Inception is very telling:
“What’s the most resilient parasite? An Idea.”
And some frustrated people will always see their local girls dating foreigners as “whores” and the foreign men as “sexual predators”. Why? Because they’re infected with this idea and won’t find the cure. These are people who will also have all kinds of other issues. I would not want to be around these. They’re negative about everything that they feel insecure about, they create their own universe, where things are black and white, but they can’t understand that most things are full of colors and nuances.
I’m dating a Taiwanese girl and I guess disapproval from some local men comes with the territory of dating someone outside of your race. We won’t ever change it, we need to get used to “them”. And they need to get used to “us”, cuz we ain’t gonna stop loving, just because others hate us for that. I just believe in love and when I love my partner, I see her as a person, not the race she is. I once told her, when she asked, why people look at her a lot, when we walk together. I said, “most of these people are curious and while you see the person you love, they see a Taiwanese girl with a White guy, something they don’t see every day. But you see me every day, for you it’s normal.”
It’s a little strange to link religion and ideologies with conspiracy theories. Also what’s your point? People should not blindly believe in them and explore their beliefs or people who do that are stupid? It came across as the latter for me… but maybe that’s me reading too much into it. After all you would be a proponent of a quite dogmatic ideology then as well.
Is an idea really a parasite? It sounds like a very silly movie indeed.
Oh sorry. That’s just me nitpicking the first paragraph. I kind of agree with the rest of your text. It just feels strange that you have such an introduction.
Marvin, Inception is one of the best movies of all times and that quote is simple, yet brilliant. You should see the movie.
In regards to my first paragraph, I’m a skeptic by nature. I don’t believe in ideologies or any religion, I question everything, especially ideas. And I didn’t call anyone stupid, you inserted that word. My introduction is related to the simplistic notion of the commentator, that international or Western media glorifies White men and has such huge influence on the Korean women’s perception, that we can virtually get every girl we want. This is the idea pretty common in the Far East among a certain group of men, who do not approve of Caucasian male/East Asian female relationships. It’s more than just idea for some people, it’s a belief, which they don’t question, but follow blindly and spread with passion. But the reality is complex, as the author thoroughly explained, because to so many of us, who have East Asian girlfriends and love them for the person they are, none of this applies. I wonder, if you have even read the post.
No idea what’s your beef with me and why you make up stuff and put words in my mouth, but you can be sure that this is my last (and only) reply to you. Ever.
My beef is not with you. It’s with your post and the thoughts contained.
I think people following something blindly and then linking it to you saying they’re stupid might be wrong, but it’s not entirely unreasonable. People follow ‘something’ blindly are doing it without thinking / people who are stupid do things without thinking. And it certainly isn’t ‘making up stuff’ your post lacks in clarity and it allows people to interpret it in ways you don’t want it to be interpreted. Is the link the interpreters fault or the authors fault?
Also the fact that you link the conspiracy theory with ideologies and religion is another to believe the label “stupid” is not entirely incorrect.
Also you say “I’m a skeptic by nature. I don’t believe in ideologies or any religion, I question everything, especially ideas.”
Not believing in something is not questioning something. I therefore doubt you questioned more than you were comfortable with. And researched the counterarguments. A true skeptic might say: “Al though I have not concluded anything, at this very moment in time I don’t believe in ideologies nor in any religion. But I can change my perspective when new information comes to light”
And the quote from Inception “What’s the most resilient parasite? An Idea.”
And idea is just that. An idea. Nothing more nothing less. Is it resilient, yes. It just is.
Is it a parasite… most certainly not. It doesn’t make any sense. A parasite feeds on a host and then leaves it dry. You could say it’s symbiotic, but even that doesn’t make any sense. An idea doesn’t get stronger or weaker….. it just is. More people can “follow” it or believe it to be true, [ But then what is true? If it doesn’t comply with reality it’s wrong. ] but that doesn’t change it’s nature.
Or is it an analogy for some Ideas stopping people from thinking for themselves? The so called blind I think you’re talking about? But do ideas stop people from thinking or do people stop thinking? I can write more about it, but my main point is this.
“An idea just is. It’s unchangeable and inactive.”
Anything that is done in the name of an “idea” is a human construct.
—– that’s why I think it’s stupid.
Pretty common in the Far East? How common? And don’t you think this applies the world over?
And I didn’t even say that part of your post was wrong… I said my beef was with the introduction. And the way you introduce blind people. And then the quote from inception. Maybe I should just counter with “I wonder, if you have even read the post.”. Even though my text is considerably smaller.
And I hope you can include me in the ‘us’ you talk about.
I’m a little tired and I have other things to do. But I hope I’m at least a little bit coherent and managed to make a small point. Concisely put as it is. Anyway writing more won’t change much I think so I’ll just leave it at this.
Whether you reply or not is your own choice. I think criticism harsh or not, wrong or not is always worth replying to.
I could also reason that if you think I’m wrong and don’t correct me this is a neglect of your duty as a proponent of enlightenment. In which case it’s better not to listen to you anyway, because you’re not very much a supporter of reason. On the other hand if you think I’m right then there is of course no reason for you to reply.
People like Jake will never know the truth because they’ll never be a part of a KF-CM couple. I feel a little better knowing that people who think like Jake are just a (loud) vocal minority.
Wow, Africans are just completely excluded from this discussion as if we don’t have interracial relationships. In my boarding school in Nigeria there were at least two dozen children that were half Nigerian half Korean, half Nigerian half Filipino, half Nigerian half German, half Nigerian half British, half Nigerian half Indian, and so on.
Also, I think that the general East Asian response (and I say East Asian because I’ve observed this with Japanese, Chinese, and Korean pairings with Nigerians) is generally much much harsher to interracial couples when the foreign half is Nigerian (well by extension black) whether it’s a Korean woman with a Nigerian man or a Nigerian woman with a Korean man.
I forgot to mention that I’m Nigerian and I am currently in a relationship with a Japanese man. Our relationship has faced tensions from the surrounding Japanese that he interacts with and subject to some serious scrutiny. Also my attempts to befriend any of the Japanese women that we live with have fallen flat so many times that I’ve just given up
Well, Jake’s comments at Noona Blog: Seoul are overwhelmingly about Korean female – Caucasian male couples in Korea, and I’m pretty explicit about them being my focus in the introduction too. So sorry, but I really don’t understand your surprise at Africans not getting mentioned, let alone why you would take offense at that (as you seem to).
I think it’s important to note that global racial hierarchies are at play to some extent by taking black/Korean interracial couples into consideration – while as you noted, interracial couples are looked down upon many times in Korea, I would imagine that those with a black partner get it much worse.
Actually, I did note that global racial hierarchies have a large role in the demographic and financial make-up of foreigners that come to Korea, and acknowledged the role that stereotypes have in both leading to and reinforcing those hierarchies and the way Koreans act towards different groups of foreigners in Korea.
Also, I never said for a moment that Africans “don’t have interracial relationships”, or that I think Koreans with a Black partner (or Southeast Asian, or South Asian etc etc.) aren’t treated far far worse than those with a White partner are. And frankly, I’m amazed that you and Sugabelly raise these issues at all, as if my writing a post about, say, the Zainichi in Japan, implies that I don’t think or somehow don’t know that Japanese-Nigerian or Japanese-Brazilians there face far more discrimination.
Please do forgive me if that’s reading too much into your comment though: am on my 4th night of some simply terrible insomnia, and which kept me off work yesterday!
I’m sorry. I simply wanted to point out I understand where Sugarbelly is coming from.
I know you said “Still, I do fully acknowledge the role of stereotypes, and that global racial patterns of hegemony and privilege ensure that more White guys end up in South Korea than, say, Indian guys.” but I suppose I didn’t notice where you said how racial hierarchies do play a role in how interracial couples are viewed differently. (How race plays a role in how one acts toward somebody individually is not the same to how one views interracial couples) But I’m sorry I didn’t catch the part. However later on it does seem like you treat all interracial couples in Korea the same even though you do center on kf-cm couples.
When you said “What percentage are simply psychologically “primed” to spread their legs more readily for a White man “as opposed to a Black or even Korean” one?” it would have been nice to acknowledge that yes, white men probably do have a better chance at dating in Korea than black men, but not better than Korean men as you prove throughout the post. When you note “Also, I’m rather confused: what percentage don’t want a White boyfriend as an accessory, but like you say just want to experience the thrill of dating one instead (which apparently is bad, even though we’re all attracted to the exotic)” The broad statement of “we’re all attracted to the exotic” seems to ignore the political underpinnings of how some things get more exoticized than others.
I don’t think you ever thought Africans don’t have interracial relationships (Surgarbelly may have thought this but I didn’t), and I don’t think not talking about these things means you don’t think they face more discrimination. What I said is all I meant – I think it’s important to point it out at the appropriate places (that while interracial couples are not viewed positively, there is still a hierarchy at play) just to make sure the readers are also on the same page as you.
I’ve read a good amount of your posts and I think you’re very good at sorting out through some very complicated social issues. I’m sorry if this appears like nitpicking.
Ugh I said sorry way too many times! damn gender socialization! =P
LOL: I didn’t notice, and I’m afflicted with the same problem in real life. Do you also have a British background perchance?^^
Sorry in turn if I came across as too harsh in my last comment: I really was very sleep-deprived (and didn’t like the tone set by Sugabelly!). And granted, if I was to rewrite the post, then for the sake of making it more well-rounded I probably would indeed add most if not all of the points and caveats you mention (and thanks for them). Still, some things do go without saying sometimes, and so – in the nicest possible way – I do personally think you are nitpicking a little. But no big deal of course, and we can agree to disagree!
p.s. Not knowing that you had quoted me, I actually edited some of the parts you mention before I read your comment (in case anyone is looking for them). But nothing to change the meaning of course, and all your points above are still valid.
Can’t disagree with me being a little nitpicky. I don’t think I would have out of my own volition since I knew where you were coming from but I could see some of the logic behind Sugarbelly’s post (I could understand why she’d feel compelled to write what she did) and I think it had to do with the little things.
And nope! No British background! Do Brits apologize a lot? I also think it has to do with my boyfriend. At first he said sorry way more than I did but now his habit is definitely rubbing off on me.
Sooo old, haha.
Reading this 3 years later, I had the exact reaction Sugarbelly had as a black (albeit American) person. But, I don’t think it’s because of what you wrote in particular (well, except the “exotic” thing).
Since the time you wrote this, most articles on interracial couples in Korea have been white-korean focused. In many many articles, white and Western privilege is not really acknowledged. Most of the articles end with the sentiment of “If you’re a foreigner, go for it! ^^” and completely ignores the fact that all foreigners are not equal in the eyes of the world, let alone Korea. If this is all you read as a black person (or really, any other minority who has dark skin and/or not the “right features”) it can be annoying and aggravating.
So it may be “nit-picky”, but hey we still are humans, and humans liked to be included in discussions they care about.
Also, growing up in the West, the LAST thing I think of when you see the word “racism” is discrimination against *white* people, so there were expectations, at least for me, at the start.
I know you mainly were focused on a blog that talked about white guys with Korean women though, but what Sugarbelly brought up *is* a valid point for the *general* discussion, which I’m surprised you didn’t acknowledge in your response to her.
Thanks for your comment, and sorry for the late reply.
Reading this myself 3 years later, I agree that Sugabelly’s point was valid for general discussion. I guess that at the time I was just taken aback at being called out by so many commenters for not mentioning non-White/Korean couples, when I thought I was pretty explicit about only focusing on White/Korean ones (I realize now though, that I really, really, should have said that in the post title!). Also, I thought it detracted from the main point of the post, which was rationalized misogyny against Korean women, although again perhaps I wasn’t as clear about that as I could have been (I have to admit I don’t have time to read the post again!).
Either way, frankly I wouldn’t write a post like this at all today, and haven’t for a long time. Partially, because I don’t think responding to the rants of freaks like Jake is all that positive or constructive, but mainly because I avoid racial discussions like the plague. On the one hand, because just some of the commments here alone (let alone what I’ve experienced in the last 3 years) demonstrate that many people just bring too much negative baggage and stereotypes about white expats/white males/yellow fever/US racial politics etc. to the discussion, don’t read what I wrote, and/or are just simply unable — or deliberately unwilling — to acknowledge that I’m not guilty of them myself. Or, if I do try to be inclusive as possible, I get dismissed by them as just another white guy who by definition wouldn’t know anything about the subjects he writes about, and so doesn’t have anything valuable to add to the discussion. So really, why bother?
I’m Indian and I didn’t see much about KC-NCM (non-caucasian male) relationships. It’s a great article, but a little infuriating as well. I’m an English teacher here in South Korea, from the US originally. I live in a really conservative area of S.K. I’ve been here for four years now. From my experiences, I’ve usually been met with negative responses from Korean women if I would try and talk with them. I have an intermediate conversational level of the Korean language and know a lot about their customs and culture, but dark-skinned people here in South Korea – no matter where they’re from – are looked at as “dirty”. My views are a bit jaded, though as I’ve experienced more negativity from Korean women about dating than positives ones. My Caucasian friends who are also teachers are hooking up with girls all the time, and it’s just sad to see one group of people upheld as “ideal” while another is put down due to their skin color.
Grrrr, I wrote a long post and then accidentally closed the tab. :( Well, to summarize: support for you, sympathy for you & your wife, and anecdotal evidence of respectful, successful interracial relationships.
I’m particularly interested in scoffing at that video, which was just unbearable to get through. First of all, those are some TERRIBLE actors (with the possible exception of the Korean guy, though I couldn’t understand him so…). And secondly, why does the white guy speak English like a Korean – not only the dialog, but the weird pacing and accent?
Just about to head off to work, but before I do here’s a link to an explanation of the video at Gusts of Popular Feeling. Sorry for forgetting to add that earlier.
Will respond to the rest of the comments when I get home tonight.
Many foreigner characters in Korean dramas aren’t played by professional actors. They’re usually models or DJs working in Korea. They just have to show up to the casting session and hope there isn’t much competition. The production company can’t be picky since good, affordable white actors are hard to come by in Korea.
I took a long time to review and digest this issue as well as Jake’s original posts and his website. I tend to disagree with a good portion of your opinions James, but your arguments are always well thought out and informed so I do enjoy your blog.
It would appear to me that rather than serve as a source for Asian-American male empowerment like some other very good sites out there do, Jake has chosen to essentially make his site about the good old racist legend of the “White Devil Bogeyman” who is responsible for all the evils in the world. By his logic that must surely mean that a white male – black female relationship is rooted in the master and slave dynamic of the 1800s and earlier.
Or how about a Japanese male – Korean female pairing? Wouldn’t that be a result of Imperial dominance and the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere reborn anew in the dating world? Oh, that probably wouldn’t count to him because they are both the same race.
I would hope that in the modern world the path to racial harmony would take more of the Dr. King route and we could leave behind the more militant Malcolm X attitudes. I think Jake’s attitude is dangerous and makes it seem like the Asian community in America is somehow under siege. What a crock. I can assure you that in areas with a large Asian presence in America the majority of Asian females choose Asian males. The Asian female – white male pairing, while significant, does not form the majority. And while I cannot speak for the whole country, I can assure you that in New York and California the Asian male – white female pairing is becoming very common, albeit not in the numbers of the reverse, they are not the rarity they were 20 years ago.
Truth be told I only spent a couple of minutes on his site, and on its Facebook page. So although I knew of its admirable ends, I was unaware of its means so to speak. Now that I do though (thanks), I’m not really surprised given what he wrote on Noona Blog.
Lets face it, if your a white male your immediately labeled as an evil overlord imperialist who is the direct cause of every disaster and problem in the world. Or that is what many racist people will have us believe. Personally I’ve just given up on caring about it and live my life.
Am I a white male? Yes,
Do I date a Korean female? Yes,
Is it about some weird asian fetist? hell no.
If I ever, ever, treated my GF like that she would kick my a$$, stab me, find a way to revive me so she could stab me again. We like each other and fine the company of the other pleasant enough to fall in love with. Is it too much to ask people to simply acknowledge that relationships tend to just happen and aren’t some part of a global dominate plan by “the evil white man”.
No the white man is evil and pent on world domination muhaha!!!
While the black man is only interested in his gold chains, hip hop and sports…ohh don’t let me forget this one..
Asian women are submissive and great in math!! All of them :)
Asian men are great team builders but they don’t have the stuff to be leaders!!
hahaha All of it sounds absurd when you think about it objectively. Nothing is ever absolute for starters & it’s simply no way to support any of the statements that I listed above. You just can’t do it.
I couldn’t agree with you more Palladin9479. It’s simply a matter of finding love in the right place with the right company. It’s time we start accepting people at face value on who they are, & not what we subject them to be. Love is Love, and will always be simply that.
Honestly, I think the numbers of the WF-AM pairing had remained consistent for those 20 years, and are actually diminishing.
This is a very old subject that somehow stays very fresh when brought up. Inter-racial dating, especially between Caucasian man, (insert nationality) woman, is always an old issue, yet it is changing with globalization and the smashing of stereotypes or the shoring up of new ones through new trends, media, and communication.
As an half-Korean male, I too used to think that white males have an easier time of getting Korean women because of their race and the “good” stereotypes that come with it, because of media influences. In some cases, stereotypes of the handsome white man do prevail, but to say that a majority of Korean women ultimately, and innately, will desire white men because of the “white man wins in dating” is wrong. I believe it is wrong because it assumes some aspects of Korean women that are not true:
1. Korean women are stupid and cannot think about whom to date.
2. Korean women are incapable of making judgments on a man’s character.
3. Korean women are all submissive and cannot reject a foreign man’s advances.
I think its very important to realize that though media influences judgments and thinking, to simply say that Korean people follows the worldly media display of foreign men and that they are simply eye candy basically shrinks people into “sheep thinking.”
One good environment where I’ve seen the white Caucasian/Korean female attraction smashed was in my own classroom. Teaching in a girls high school for two years, it was interesting to see many of my students were quite taken in admiration for white actors/actresses/pictures of my own friends, when posted on the projector during class. Yet, most of my students, when I asked casually who they liked, opted to name Korean men at the forefront. There were only a few girls who told me personally that they would rather date a foreigner. A FEW. And some of my students were quite attracted to black men. Throwing all Korean women into one false argument distorts reality big time.
Also, the “white men reign supreme in Asian dating relationships” de-fangs some more serious issues when it comes to inter-racial dating: cultural differences. To simply say that white men triumph EASILY ignores the facts of language, dating behavior, and family relationships could be a barrier for Korean women to NOT date white men, vice-versa.
Finally, the argument assumes that Korean women simply cannot make character judgment calls when it comes to dating men. I think its reasonable to say that many women do acknowledge certain attractive attributes of white men, but that does not indicate a desire for them. There is a difference in going personal into a relationship with someone and just a mere shining of the eyes. Korean women do understand this.
Good way to put it. Naturally it will always be a popular subject, but given the context you describe then it does seem to change a lot quicker than other familiar concerns of expats and bloggers.
Also, it’s interesting to ponder how and if your ex-students’ tastes in men may have changed as they got just a little older. I’m guessing that there weren’t many (or any) foreign men teaching at the school? In which case, I wonder what the impact of meeting actual foreign men and women at university would have been?
It’s just that as I read that part of your comment I thought of my wife for instance, who literally only saw her very first foreigner when she was 17, and didn’t even talk to one for the first time until she went to university. And then there’s a friend of ours also, who thought that all foreigners were attractive because she only ever saw them in movies, and so got the shock of her life when she stepped off the plane to spend a year learning English in the UK. But that was back in 1998 though, and so I imagine that that sort of naivety and/or lack of exposure is really quite rare these days!
I certainly don’t know what the media situation is like in Korea, but I wonder if the reach of western media is substantial indeed (though I would completely agree that its reach in America and Korea would be quite different). After all, high fashion and luxury companies often do market their products with predominantly white models, so there is a strong connection with “whiteness” and wealth and power etc.
I also wonder if anyone has done studies specifically on standards of beauty with implicit association tests (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Implicit_Association_Test).
I’ve had conversations with other Asian men in America and Canada about this, and while I agree there are major problems with media representation, counter-arguments have a tendency to degenerate into sexist and homophobic rants.
Hmmm, if I started writing about the symbolism of and reasons behind the use of White models in Korea, then I’d probably never stop!^^ If you haven’t read it already though, then this post about White female models specifically is probably a good summary. And as for the media, I have written one post at least about the (alleged) role of cultural imperialism in Korea, in which I demonstrate that Korean women are in fact very active and willing participants in the Westernization of the Korean magazine industry.
It’s possible that the moderators on Noona are simply holding all comments to be moderated before displaying them. It’s how I’ve run blogs in the past. Regardless of registration I had to click an approve button. Not sure if thats the same issue though.
Or just went into spam, and so I also check that being deleting anything myself. Whatever the reason or wherever my comment on either blog went, it’s a pity that this sort of thing happens, and often – probably usually – with the blogger having no idea. Especially because personally I lack the motivation to read most blogs if I know I’m never ever able to respond to anything on them, even if I never actually would in reality!
Thank you for linking my blog!
just a little note – In your last section on this post you quote my comment “a fact-based academic writing style” – where I am trying to make esther feel better as she is a committed reader and commenter of my blog, for the sudden attack from jakes side. I was refering to his writing style, not so much to what he was writing.
In my blog I write what I want and what I stand for, but if other people start a war between themselfes that is only partly connected to my post, I’d rather take a step back and not take sides…
all the best, Paula 우리
I support Jake in his work for promoting Asial men in the media – I don’t support everything he says. I want to make that clear.
Thanks for the clarifications, and I understand your stance on the comments.
What a weird website (AMR, not GN). I guess I could spend a lot of time analysing it but hey, he looks pretty insignificant from a (real) Asian perspective, or lack of one.
Asian Male Revolutions looks to me like just another copycat “Rah Rah” Asian-AMERICAN Man site on the Internet. I doubt this Jake even speaks Korean very well or event spent any of his adult life in South Korea. Pretty sad how lost he sounds.
Hello there, here the girl with the German dad and Korean mom :) I read this article the moment you posted it, but I didn’t find any time to comment. What I want to say is that I agree with the very first comment by “My Kafkaesque Life”:
quote: “We won’t ever change it, we need to get used to “them”.
I already wrote at Paula’s blog that I normally just ignore negative reactions about my mom and my dad.
“your parents’ particular type of interracial pairing is the result of a global system of white male hegemony and privilege.”
It was insulting, but it’s hard to explain that this isn’t the case, if somebody truly believes that this is how my parents got together. So I didn’t reply on that one.
Maybe it’s naive to be like this, but I don’t want to stress myself with a problem someone else has, when I think there isn’t any. I used to date a German guy, and even he would say stuff that weren’t appropriate, but it didn’t stress me, it’s the way people think about asian women, or even halfasian women.
Like “Kafkaesque” said, “We won’t ever change it, we need to get used to “them”. As long as nobody gets hurt, you’re not going boinkers about it, and you don’t cry each night untill you fall asleep, then just live and let other live and think what they want.. right?
Hi Nicole and thanks for getting the main point of my comment. I feel flattered :-)
Ps: Dein Blog ist ausgezeichnet!
Vielen Dank, ich fühle mich geschmeichelt :)
I don’t know what offends me most; the idea that my Korean mom (Hapa here) has some internalized “white fetish” or that it apparently is easy for white people to get girls and thus I am apparently screwing up big time on the dating scene (Maybe I’m not “white” enough).
I’m as critical when it comes to media potrayals of minorities and “whitening” of ethnic groups, but this type of stuff is just offensive. This sort of privledge politics just does more damage then anything.
I enjoyed this post – nicely done, James.
Here’s an interesting article by someone who used to be known for his KT articles in which he complained about white male hegemony, who in this article suddenly does an about face and criticizes his former way of thinking.
Also, I’ve been doing research on topics from the 1970s and looking at a lot of old newspapers. Guess how many pictures of white guys in swimsuits I’ve come across? Now divide that by the number of pictures of white women in bikinis I’ve come across and the answer will be… zero, but not because of a lack of the latter! I wonder how this fits into the whole ‘ long reach and influence of white media’ premise…
Thanks. And for the link also, as it really is quite a transformation from what you say he used to be like.
Interesting point about the photos and the old newspapers too, because foreign models weren’t even allowed to work in Korea until 1994 (or 1995; different sources give different years), so all those bikini shots would have all have had to be in the guise of “news” stories. And which of course sounds much like the Korean media today, so this fetishization (and consequent stereotypes of hypersexed Caucasian women) must go far further back than I thought, although in hindsight that would at least partially explain why they are so pervasive today.
Either way, by coincidence I intend to write a post on lingerie advertisements soon actually. Because just in the space of the last 6 months or so, there’s suddenly been so many Korean female celebrities appearing in them that the stigma lingerie advertising had from former porn stars working in it seems to be well and truly over.
Or to be more precise, the big change is not that celebrities aren’t doing lingerie advertisements, but rather that you can actually see them wearing the lingerie being advertised now (and often in nothing but), unlike before when apparently we were supposed to assume that they were. And once such ads become just as if not more frequent than ones featuring Caucasians are, which would still be the vast majority, then a big source of those stereotypes of Caucasians (of both sexes) as being oversexed and all to happy to get naked will have been removed.
I really should hurry up with that post actually: it’s not wise to have a folder of bookmarks titled “LINGERIE” prominently featured on my firefox toolbar. At least, not on a laptop I sometimes take to work anyway…
laughing out loud about having a bookmark titled “LINGERIE” on your firefox toolbar! I remembered reading something about “the naked girls”- apparently a new girl group in Korea? So I just wanted to google that before I leave work. But googling “the naked girls” wasn’t a good idea.. ^^ But I found something http://seoulbeats.com/2010/09/ages-19-and-above-allowed-only/
I’m gonna have to call bullshit on Jake.
“. . . Korean women, having internalized media messages glorifying white men, are also actively seeking them out to satisfy their own ‘white fetish’. Therefore, we cannot simply categorize white men as “predators” for Asian flesh: instead, a significant number of Asian women are willing collaborators.”
Ok, so this is the age old “false consciousness” argument used as sword to attack Korean women as race traitors. And who has the “right true consciousness”? It’s Jake. He knows that when it comes to Asian females they are “they are psychologically and mentally colonized, dominated, and enslaved.” So if a Korean woman chooses to date a white male it’s because “Korean women [have] internalized media messages glorifying white men.” You see, when a Korean woman chooses to be with a white male, she’s not acting out of free choice because as Jake explains “to them it’s a confirmation of their own belief that “being with a white man = COOL + URBANE + COSMOPOLITAN + TRENDY’”. Only Jake & his Asian male revolution crew get to have free choice.
How can we save Asian women from being victims of their own false consciousness? From falsely thinking that “being with a white man = COOL + URBANE + COSMOPOLITAN + TRENDY’”??
But don’t worry, Jake & crew have a plan. How? Why becoming “cool, urbane, cosmopolitan, and trendy” and not being a white man. Ok, you say, not being white is easy enough but how can I be “”cool, urbane, cosmopolitan, and trendy”??
Just ask Jake, his website lists tips on “fashion, grooming & style”. Where he teaches Asian men not to look like what white people would view as stereotypically Asia nerds. Are you an Asian nerd? Do you play ping-pong, wear big glasses or a bow tie with a pencil guard?
Better “re-invent” yourself (as his website says), because, as Jake tells us, “There is such a thing as a ‘cute’ or ‘sexy geek’ in many women’s eyes.” Jake’s got the fashion tips to set you straight and looking white, umm, I mean right. How’s your body looking, do you have that Abercrombie and Fitch toned physique? Washerboard abs? If not, Jake also has “Fitness & Health” tips section to get you in shape.
All this of course is not “internalized media messages” or “false consciousness”… You are a man, dude! Don’t worry about that crap, it only applies to the bitches. When YOU make choices about “re-intent[ing]” yourself, as Jake puts, you are acting with real rational choice! You’ve got balls damn it, and that’s where the free choice flows from.
Now if we are talking about women re-inventing themselves, fashion, style, body changes, well that’s because they’ve “internalized media messages” — the dumb bitches can’t help themselves, so what we need is a Asian MALE revolution. And that means calling “a significant number of Asian women [as] willing collaborators” to race treason. That, and trying to look and act more like the white guys they are betraying the race with.
In the end, Jake’s website and comments make him looks like a hypocritical misogynist pig. I call bullshit.
On the other hand, I strongly support Prof. Darrell Hamamoto and his “yellow porn” movement to fight the “desexualization of Asian American males.”
But unfortunately, as the Professor explains, while “[t]here is no shortage of Asian-American women who don’t mind going on camera and engaging in sex, showing their faces and bodies,” the same can’t be said for the Asian-American males. Hamamoto continues, “You’d think there would be tons of Asian-American men who’d want to do this. What it comes down to is [Asian-American males] don’t want to represent. If they continue to do that, they deserve all the shit they get.”
Hamamoto actually has something saying and isn’t out simply to attack women for trying to exercise the free choices that Jake & crew say only men are entitled to.
Read the website, interesting article. But why the hate on “the evil white european male”? I didn’t do anything to anyone to “subjugate” them or to emasculate the asian man. There is no evil shadowy group of older white men scheming to deliberately alter public opinion in support of the white male. Hell more of that goes on here in Korea where you do have a group of evil older asian men scheming to manipulate public opinion in support of the older asian male. They go so far as to paint pictures that young korean women choosing to have a relationship with a young white male should be treated like social outcasts and bad moral influences.
I really think the haters need to take a step back and realize there is no “enemy whitey”, just the world and money. If some company is using a white female picture to sell their produce it is because some advertising manager believes it will attract more buyers. If their using some white male then its for the exact same reason. If someone feels emasculated then its because their doing it to themselves, not some evil whitey. Externalizing internal self-image issues then directing that externalization is harmful for personal growth, its a cop out.
(pls. excuse typos)
No problem, and thanks for the info about yellowworld.org
(I really have to apologize, that earlier post was nearly unreadable, I proofread it a bit and am re-posting.)
I’m gonna have to call bullshit on Jake.
“. . . Korean women, having internalized media messages glorifying white men, are also actively seeking them out to satisfy their own ‘white fetish’. Therefore, we cannot simply categorize white men as “predators” for Asian flesh: instead, a significant number of Asian women are willing collaborators.”
Ok, so this is the age old “false consciousness” argument used as sword to attack Korean women as race traitors. And who has the “right true consciousness”? It’s Jake. He knows that when it comes to Asian females “they are psychologically and mentally colonized, dominated, and enslaved.” So, if a Korean woman chooses to date a white male it’s because “Korean women [have] internalized media messages glorifying white men.”
When a Korean woman chooses to be with a white male, she’s not acting out of free choice because as Jake explains “to them it’s a confirmation of their own belief that “being with a white man = COOL + URBANE + COSMOPOLITAN + TRENDY’”. Only Jake & his Asian male revolution crew get to have free choice.
How can we save Asian women from being victims of their own false consciousness? — from falsely thinking that “being with a white man = COOL + URBANE + COSMOPOLITAN + TRENDY’”??
Don’t worry, Jake & crew have a plan, by re-inventing yourself as “cool, urbane, cosmopolitan, and trendy” and not being a white man you too can save those poor deluded girls.
Ok, you say, not being white is easy enough, but how can I be “cool, urbane, cosmopolitan, and trendy”??
Just ask Jake.
His website lists tips on “fashion, grooming & style” where he teaches Asian men not to look like what white people would view as stereotypically Asian nerds.
Are you an Asian nerd? Do you play ping-pong, wear big glasses or a bow tie with a pencil guard?
That’s not good, says Jake. And according to Jake, there are a lot of Asian nerds! “Many Asian men happen to fall into that classic archetype of the ‘Nerd’” – but again, not to worry, because as Jake says, “[t]here is such a thing as a ‘cute’ or ‘sexy geek’ in many women’s eyes.” And if you follow Jake’s advice you too can “combine your wardrobe update with a fitness regimen – and you can become a ‘nerd’ that is sexually desirable to women.”
But wait a minute, can I really be an Asian guy and be “sexually desirable to women” just like that?
Yes you can! And all you need to do is follow Jake’s plan™ and he’ll show you how to totally “re-invent” yourself (as his website explains it). How’s your body looking, do you have that Abercrombie and Fitch toned physique? Washerboard abs? If not, Jake’s plan™ also has “Fitness & Health” tips to get you in shape. With Jake’s fashion and fitness tips he’ll set you straight and looking white, umm, I mean right.
Of course all this fashion accessorizing and focus on fitness is not “internalized media messages” or “false consciousness”… You are a man, dude! Don’t worry about that crap, it only applies to the bitches. When YOU make choices about “re-intent[ing]” yourself the way Jake’s plan™ tells you, you are acting with real rational choice! You’ve got balls damn it, and that’s where the free choice flows from.
Now if we are talking about women re-inventing themselves, fashion, style, body changes, well that’s because they’ve “internalized media messages” — the dumb bitches can’t help themselves, so what we need is a Asian MALE revolution. And that means calling out “a significant number of Asian women [as] willing collaborators” to race treason. That, and trying to look and act more like the white guys they are betraying the race with.
Sorry but in the end Jake’s website and comments make him looks like a hypocritical misogynist pig. I call bullshit.
On the other hand, I strongly support Prof. Darrell Hamamoto and his “yellow porn” movement to fight the “desexualization of Asian American males.”
But unfortunately, as Professor Hamamoto explains, while “[t]here is no shortage of Asian-American women who don’t mind going on camera and engaging in sex, showing their faces and bodies,” the same can’t be said for the Asian-American males. Hamamoto continues, “You’d think there would be tons of Asian-American men who’d want to do this. What it comes down to is [Asian-American males] don’t want to represent. If they continue to do that, they deserve all the shit they get.”
Hamamoto actually has something to say and isn’t out simply to attack women for trying to exercise the free choices that Jake & crew say only men are entitled to.
(More on Prof Hamamoto and the “Yellow Porn” movement, more than a decade in making, can be found here:
If you want to hear someone worth listening to discuss “the various and sundry overt and subtle expressions of White supremacy” in the US that requires “Asian Americans . . . to put themselves out there and bring about ‘sexual healing’ through direct erotic expression” read Hamamoto.
If you want advice on how to bash Asian women while appearing to a right-thinking intellectual — plus fashion, fitness and etiquette tips on how to look and act like the white guys they are allegedly sleeping with!! — Jake’s your man. )
what i found interesting, and correct me if i’m wrong, was that Jake did not apply the same reasoning to Korean men in interracial relationships. i mean almost everything he said could be applied to men as well. of course that’d be generalizing and such but really one could as well conclude that Korean men are only interested in going out with white women because they see them as trophies and their passports to being cool, urbane, trendy and cosmopolitan. i’ve encountered a few discussions online that address the fact that when some Asian men say they are open to interracial relationships, they are only interested in white women. talk about double standards.
for the record i don’t agree with what Jake said at least from reading the italicised comments here (for some reason i can’t access Noona Blog).
Oh, you mean like my favorite site “백인 여 과의 만남” (meet a white woman) with 14,202 members?
Love it! It’s got all kinds of great”Tips & Infos” on “Muscle, Fittness and Fashion” on “how to meet a white girl”. A major contributor is a Korean-American guy from California. Jake, that wouldn’t be you would it?
But in all seriousness, I really don’t mean to give Jake too much of a hard time. From my take, he’s your typical American kid: young, dumb, and full cum. He’ll grown up eventually. Let him have his fun and his pseudo-intellectual babble, white chicks dig that kind of stuff (or so says the “백인 여 과의 만남” website) and hopefully it’ll get him laid.
Excellent post. You speak for a lot of us white guys with Korean wives.
Check out I’m no Picasso’s response on this on her blog. If any ‘proud’ Asian man wants to see how counter-productive Jake’s approach is, there you have it.
BTW, if I’m no Picasso is reading this, I like your blog – it’s great to hear from a teacher who actually gives a shit about her students – and I’d make some replies but the image-capture code device never shows up on my computer.
I read what the Jake guy said to the girl whose German father married her Korean mother.
I suppose he’d say the same someone like Yoon Mi Rae (Tasha). In her song she raps about all the shit she and her family took from Koreans for being half-black.
With the kind of race hate Jake is promoting, I can think that we are going to see more and more kids of mixed ethnicity in Korea facing the same kind of bullshit from bigots like Jake.
Taylor, there are already tens of thousands of kids of mixed ethnicity in Korea – with Korean fathers and SE Asian mothers. If trends continue, in another decade or so they could make up to 40% of elementary school students in some rural areas. In fact, far more Korean men than women marry foreigners.
I’d be a lot more worried about what will happen to these kids than the half-Korean children of white professors, teachers, and engineers who speak English and always have an escape hatch to the west if they have too rough a time here.
When I expressed concern for kids of mixed ethnicity in Korea facing discrimination, what made you think I was excluding mixed ethnicity kids in Korea who have SE Asian mothers? You’re insinuation is insulting. Of course they were included in my note of concern.
I also think it’s inappropriate for you to suggest that “half-Korean children of white professors, teachers, and engineers who speak English” are deserving of any less concern. It’s as inappropriate as suggesting that kids with SE Asian moms deserve less sympathy because they may appear more Korean than kids with white or black moms or dads. Should we feel less sympathy for a kid who is Korean/Chinese who faces discrimination than a kid who is Korean/Filipino with darker skin who also faces discrimination?
Your belief in the “escape hatch to the west” is also misplaced. Tasha speaks English, had an American dad and was born in the US. That didn’t stop her or her mom from feeling the pain of being ostracized for being mixed when she was in Korea.
Anyone facing racial discrimination is deserving of sympathy and support.
Above comment is directed to Yu Bumsuk.
Taylor, sorry if I misunderstood that you weren’t also talking about half-Koreans with a SE Asian parent. I just wanted to stress that this is the group that’s going to bring about some very serious changes in Korea.
And yes, I do feel more sympathy for them. I live in the Korean countryside and know that while it’s very possible for them to have happy lives here, many will face particular difficulties that my American friend’s daughter won’t.
If you didn’t do anything obviously wrong or offensive to Korean male personally while dating or marrying Korean female, then, such a shame on Korean male. However, it’s a bold truth that White medias manipulates the image of Asian male as dumb and unsexual with the exactly the same power game logic which is exercised by Korean male now. So, you get the canes for the brothers of yours has done and doing. It’s a shame, but, I wouldn’t say it’s unreasonable. It’s exactly the same for the bashing Koreans of Chinese people’s wrongdoing because they look the same. Whether you like it or not, you are a representative of your race and there are quite lot of White male whores in Asia too. It’s not you, but, it’s considered as one of you. Ask God.
I think you are , in vain, trying to argue for those Asian women who perhaps went for a white out of taste/liking (they are extremely rare commodity and often tend to end up in marriage) but lets talk about the dating scene. let me tell you my survey from cyberspace on race. out of 650 cases that i did, only 12, yes only twelve were willing to talk after knowing that the other party is not a “white”. so without asking for picture, without talking, just one question “what is your race”, they decide whether they want to talk or go out…
how would you explain this ???????
After reading this post and Jake’s post, I just wanted to put forth my opinion. Like Jake, I am an American of Korean heritage. To be perfectly honest, I am more versed with American culture than Korean culture. I’m assuming that you live in Korea and must have more interaction with Korean contemporary culture than I. My opinions are mostly based on my interactions with Korean-Americans, Koreans (friends and relatives), and Korean media that I have consumed in America. While I agree with your and comments that every case should be considered on an individual basis, Jake’s comments do have some veracity on a broader level. I agree that his comments are often generalizing and overstated, but he does have a point when bring into question global power dynamics and history when examining the issue of structural xenophobia and racism.
I guess more so than putting forth an opinion, I am more interested in hearing you opinion on what you feel should be done. I am not a frequent reader of your blog, so if you have covered this elsewhere, I do apologize. I fully acknowledge that Korean people can be narrow minded and any mistreatment that you or other foreigners have received due to your racial background is unfortunate. However, on a broader level, not on an interpersonal level, is it really that shocking that Korean people should have reservations about foreigners (specifically white men)? Is there not a historical context under which this behavior can be better understood in terms other than simple jealously, racism, or provincialism?
In full disclosure, I am currently a graduate student studying the history of Korean and US relations. From the research I have done, the policy of the US (I specify the US here b/c over the past fifty years it has had a disproportionately large amount of influence on Korean domestic/international policy) has been intrusive and often dismissive of the Korean people. Furthermore, it is important to note that Korea is currently a war zone and as such has one of the largest number of occupying US troops (I use the term occupying here with full knowledge of its connotations). While the Korean War (if it is taught at all in schools at all) has popularly been portrayed as paternalistic intervention that “saved” South Korea from grasp of the “evils” of communism, a lot of scholars have shown that the war was carried out in order to protect US interests in East Asia (specifically its desire to rehabilitate Japan). A leading authority of Korea history, Bruce Cumings, argues in his two volume The Origins of the Korean War that the actions of the US were actually in fact against the popular will of the Korean people. When discussing Korean reaction to any foreigners, the Korean war has to be taken into account.
Furthermore, more related to the topic of interracial relationships is phenomenon of comfort women. Although in no way an isolated phenomenon (it occurred in Japan, Vietnam, but also in Europe as well during the WW’s by of all races), occupying troops often were “serviced” by local women. I will not deny the fact that actually relationships could have been made between servicemen and Korean women, however, the fact of the matter is that the vast majority of these interactions would fall under the category of “prostitution”. From research and first hand accounts I have heard from older Korean women, US troops (vast majority being white) actively took part in this system and attracted women using their position of power. It was oppressive system for all Korean women, but also men who like almost every society historically, have seen in as their responsibility to “protect their women”. This attitude should be taken within context. Seen through a modern feminist perspective, it may seem chauvinistic, however, it would be ahistorical to retroactively apply this term. I am not here to defend this position, but only to point out that this system was seen as oppressive, not only at an individual level, but by Korean society overall. (I want to add here that the treatment of these women by Korean has been horrific, both in Korea and in America where they would go if married to American servicemen).
Vestiges of this system can be seen today. The red light districts or “camptowns” where this prostitution took place are still where many current US troops and foreign young men (this I can attest from my experience studying aboard in Korea) go to clubs and “pick up” women (a prominent example being Iteawon). The direct legacies that exist between the practice of prostitution during the Korean war (Korean sensitivity to prostitution of local women to foreign troops actually can be traced backed even further the Japanese colonization of Korea) and the current trend of interracial dating are prominent. Are they the same thing? Absolutely not. Am I being an apologist? I hope not. I am not here to defend what is going on at all. I know that you may find this irrelevant to your life (and in many ways it is), but I think it goes a long way in explaining some of the harsh reaction of Koreans to interracial couples. Simply put, is it racism? Yes. I am in no way excusing Korean people of that; however, I think it is important to put that racism in context. You may have more interaction with younger Koreans than I do, but from my interactions with my parents, but more so Korean of my grand parents generations, the wounds of the Korean War and Japanese occupations are still there. Just as any society, traumas such as these get past down invariably from generation to generation. In fact, in Korea, as I alluded to earlier, it is an ongoing process. The vast majority of Koreans view the division of the country (the most direct result of the Korean War) as a national trauma. The United States, and other Western powers, are the most prominant large cause for this. In fact, they proudly (and arrogantly) claim that they were doing what is best for Korea. However, many Koreans do not see it this way. My tentative hypothesis, is that the backlash against white males dating Korean women are a result of these historical trends. Although with most Korean people that you meet, they will not point to this as a cause, but on a larger metahistorical/cultural level I think it plays a large part.
Again, I know you are probably saying “who gives a shit about all this.” That’s a fair response, because by and large there is nothing you can do about it. However, I think the historical context is very important when trying to understand the situation in Korea. Dismissing this subject as irrelevant, does violence to the history (and current events) going on in Korea today. Of course you personally had nothing to do with these events; however, learning the deeper context can help you engage with people like Jake and bring forth a useful dialogue rather than simply arguing with each other in circles (although I do admit that some people would rather have it this way). Maybe, large discussion about global relations can be brought forth when discussion of interracial relationships are brought up. Because isn’t that one the great things about the interracial relationship, the meeting of two cultures and the transcendence of difference? Maybe interracial couples, and I realize relationships are hard enough without another additional burden, and discussion surround them can be a forum for addressing issue of global equality.
Thanks for your comment, but I’m afraid that that’s a lot of ground you cover. I’ll try to give a proper reply when I can.
Wow typical white a$$hole post. I love the RUDENESS displayed to the Nigerian lady. She made an important point. Unfortunately it is a typical response. There are too many comments to read, so hopefully I have not replied to this before.
Having lived and worked in many places all over the world, including Korea I can provide my opinion of what I saw in Korea that may be other reasons that the Koreans in general look down on interracial couples although the media likes the “magically appearing” white features, as long as the kid can be proved to be fully Korean.
1. Impression of “Foreigner” Men is bad – I was told by my coworkers to stay away from Itaewon. The impression of those guys is they are rude and uneducated. It is true. A lot of the Americans there are soldiers from a certain class and with certain behavior. Buying prostitutes, low level of education etc.
2. Impression of Korean Women who marry Foreign Men – As in many foreign countries, there is a caste system and dowry system for marriage. In Senegal, Egypt and of course Korea. Korean women who have married Korean men can usually said to have acceptable families and had the means to save for the marriage gifts and items for the home. The women who usually marry foreigners cannot be said to have that. In cases in the past, those women were prostitutes, or women from very “low” families who are unable to marry a decent Korean man. For those women, honestly marrying an American, was marring “up.” So the opinion of Korean women who marry or (god forbid) just get pregnant by a foreigner is a girl who is kind of scummy.
In a lot of cases, the marriage is not done “properly” with the exchange of gifts, introductions, etc giving the impression that the families are at a low level, AND that the foreign man does not value the woman he has married.
3. American Men’s (sorry usually white) Treatment of Foreign Women – In many countries outside Western Europe and the US, there are strict rules for interaction between men and women so that women can retain their reputation. The rules are important especially in small countries like Korea.
The foreign soldiers (white and black) who typically went to Korea (not sure how things are now with the BOOM in teachers) did not have enough education or knowledge of the culture to follow these norms. In Korea as in any country, the behavior you have generally shows the class you are from, btw.
At any rate, doing things like holding hands/kissing with girls they don’t intend to marry in public etc…are considered really disrespectful. The thought is that no decent girl would put up with that…sometimes because it will hinder her choices for marrying a decent person. A lot of the white people in Korea also believe sex before marriage is acceptable and natural. Even Christians in the US accept this. A lot of Koreans do not believe this…and having sex OPENLY (indicated by living together etc) is frowned upon.
It is the same in a lot of countries, but white men typically ignore these norms and spread their seed widely and uncaringly in any land they visit…bringing shame to the women and pissing off the local men…who in some cases may desire to protect the honor of their local women…but are unable to, especially if the white men are gigantic or ARMED in the case of soldiers in Korea. Additionally, if the men are uneducated, they may not be able to tell the difference between a prostitute or room salon girl, and try to treat all women in the same disrespectful way. This is baaad. Any wonder the local men are upset?
“Wow typical white a$$hole post”
I’m not going to read any further. Banned.
Correction: Additionally, if the men are uneducated, they may not be able to tell the difference between a prostitute or room salon girl And a decent Korean girl, and try to treat all women in the same disrespectful way.
I, and most of other girls with sane mind, do not feel attracted to white guys for that sole reason……, Yes there may be more fantasy, pride-boost and stuff people talk about, but it does NOT help white men to get girls. or decent girls.
I get disgusted by these white men who are nobody in their countries but pretend to be somebody in Korea. And funny thing is, my Korean friends who’ve never gone out of country notice that.
Only girls with low self esteem want a white man to improve self-projection, As a result, white man with nothing else going for him can only get insecure girls. (who are mostly f*cking annoying)
If you’re white and think insecure girls’ booties are no different from confident women’s booties, go ahead. (Korean girls have hotter bodies anyway.)
But remember, girls will dump you if you are not worth keeping, no matter which race you are.
And in case the racist didn’t notice, Korean girls go crazy for Korean men who look like white men but not for white men… It’s an interesting phenimenon, actually.
What pisses me off about Asian Women/White Men relationships more than anything is the fact that so many people are blind to the white privilege that plays into bringing these two groups together. White men’s problem is the fact that they want to separate their personal lives with their Asian girlfriends or wives from the larger, political and social history of white men. Many white men actually seem to think that centuries of colonization, military occupation, and barrage of bullshit media content that promotes WM/AW couples while desexualizing Asian men played absolutely no part in him being with his Asian girlfriend. It is quite laughable to think that you and your Asian girlfriend are so special and exceptional that none of these things played a part in bringing the two of you together. Just look at what the Korean wave is doing to the minds of women from all over the world. These days among many Asian women the Korean wave has created this weird heirarchy where Korean men are now desired above all other ethnic groups. If Koreans were able to do this just by spreading their pop culture all over the world in the last ten years imagine what kind of mind f*cking colonization, Military occupation and Hollywood has done to the minds of Asian women for centuries. The Incredible popularity of the Korean wave has brought a lot of backlash mostly from Japanese and Chinese men who find it threatening because so many women from their countries have fallen in love with it. Like white men I can just dismiss these people as losers who can’t get laid and say that its all their fault but I am actually sympathetic to their plight. I can sort of understand how a lot of these guys would think of the Korean wave as a form of neocolonialism and brainwashing. The problem I have with WM/AF is that so many of those couples are in denial about these factors playing a big part in bringing them together. If I was to date interracially with women from Japan, China, or anywhere else from the world I would not deny the fact that my new found “Korean privilege” played a part in getting us together so why is it so hard for white men to admit that their white privilege played a huge role in their relationship with Asian women?
“White men’s problem is the fact…”
Even if your comment wasn’t an incoherent rant, clearly written without reading much if any of the actual post or comments, I don’t see much point in having a dialogue in someone who takes the position that I’m a racist dupe simply by virtue of my race and gender. Or your purpose in writing on an (irredeemable) white guy’s blog in the first place.
It does seem to me though, that in the rush to be the most progressive blog out there, the message has been somewhat lost in the madness.
I’ve never even heard of the blog that started this before you linked to it, so his rants are irrelevant to me, but it seems that your site and the sites you linked to are simply picking on low hanging fruit without truly addressing the issue at the heart of his angst and/or racism and/or bias.
As in, why do Korean women (or Asian women, in general) marry out at much higher rates than men (race, not ethnicity)?
I honestly haven’t read a solid piece on it that portrays both sides in an equal light.
Additionally, I think it’s disingenuous to portray all Korean women who are with white men as virtuous and intelligent ladies. The opposite portrayal, the one you are rallying against in this post, is disgusting, but I don’t feel it furthers the dialogue to pretend that Korean women who pursue white men never have issues (or vice versa) or that such things never happen.
You have talked to your wife, that’s great. The other white male blogger has talked to his wife, that’s great. A Korean woman chimed in and that’s wonderful as well. However, that completely belies the fact that people with blogs, especially popular ones, are obviously increasingly likely to have productive and normal relationships with people, regardless. That is true in basically every genre of blog out there in my experience, at least for the intelligently run ones like this.
Point being, as a person who was once a foreigner in Korea, a few foreigner friends and I do avoid certain areas and certain types of Korean women specifically because they are known to be English teacher or military chasers who let’s say aren’t of the most prudish variety. I highly doubt any of the wives of foreign bloggers in Korea were found wasted in an Itaewon club going home with whatever foreigner they could find. Honestly though, that kind of stuff isn’t an uncommon thing but it wouldn’t dare ever be mentioned on blogs for obvious biased reasons. We similarly bemoan the presence of many military men and English teachers who are simply around to sleep with as many Korean women as possible, many of whom do have yellow fever. Why? Because it creates a bad name for regular guys like us. I mean these people can’t be serious if they’ve lived in Korea and hung out with foreigners and have never met promiscuous women chasing foreign men or creepy yellow fever guys or military grunts just wanting to act a fool and harass women.
I’m not saying this to characterize Korean women or white men in a certain way, but rather as a counter to this equally unrealistic so-called reality of KF-WM interactions as all completely normal (for the record, the opposite is true as well KM-WF, but that’s off topic).
It’s simply interesting to me that these blogs seem to pretend that the objectification of Asian women by white men doesn’t exist or that Asian women don’t aimlessly chase after white men. I do get your point, but I think some of the backlash on your blog at times is because a majority of foreigner blogs in Asia only wish to paint one side of the picture, and I find that rarely to be the reality. I understand what foreigners in Korea are up against and why they would feel the need to present one side of the story only, but I think that does a general disservice to the dialogue at hand.
I’m not posting after the fact to purposely stir up trouble or necessarily disagree with your post or any of the entries you linked to, but I do think they gloss over addressing real issues and other anecdotal evidence in favor of picking on a racist’s low hanging fruit.
Sorry for replying here, as I can’t seem to reply in a new thread.
I can’t speak for other bloggers that have covered this topic, but I’ve certainly never claimed to have a “progressive” blog, let alone have the most progressive one out there. This immediate pigeonholing of yours is certainly convenient for your later framing the discussion as “Jake says one extreme, The Grand Narrative et. al. says another, I am the sane and rational middle-ground” though.
Hey, I’m well aware that Asian women in general marry out at much higher rates than men, and don’t for a moment dispute most of the reasons cited for it (representations of Asian males in US pop-culture, etc. etc.), as discussed in – and more than adequately covered in – thousands of Asian-American blogs and academic books. That issue isn’t what this post is about.
Rather, I and – as you can tell – many White men in relationships with East Asian women are just sick and tired of being told that relationships between 99% of races and ethnic groups are done for largely romantic reasons between fully consenting and rational adults, yet somehow those between non-White females and White males only occur because the former is duped by vast, impersonal neo-colonial and culturally-imperialist forces.
To be annoyed at that doesn’t mean that we are unaware that things often suck for Asian-American men, or that that should be dealt with in a blog post focused on the other side of the equation. So, I consider that a strawman argument, let alone tiresome and disingenuous.
I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt that you missed this part of the blog post…
…but even if you did, my saying that Korean women with White men are smarter than Jake makes out (not difficult, considering how he portrays them) does not imply that I’m pretending that “Korean women who pursue white men never have issues (or vice versa) or that such things never happen”. Even though you devote most of the rest of your comment to it, that’s just another strawman argument.
Hey, that’s a hell of a lot more than Jake ever did. Technically, I could have talked with more I guess, but did I really need to? I challenge you to find a single Korean woman who isn’t offended by how Jake portrays them.
I also challenge you to provide evidence that popular bloggers are more likely to have normal, healthy romantic relationships (if anything, devoting one’s entire free-time to a &^%$ing non-paying blog is a strain on mine!). For all you and 99% of my readers are aware, my wife could have divorced me for domestic abuse years ago, and none of you would be any the wiser.
Again, evidence? I challenge you to tell me of one blogger who find’s Jake’s comments abhorrent, yet refuses to believe that there’s aren’t actually any guys with Yellow Fever out there, or that there aren’t some Korean women more than willing to take advantage of and/or fulfill that fantasy, and so on. Just because they haven’t mentioned it doesn’t mean they’re ignorant of it, and indeed things like that can very much be taken for granted and so don’t even need to be said either. Seriously, I’m simply amazed at how you’re constructing and framing two sides of some imaginary debate between Jake and bloggers like myself based almost entirely on what the latter doesn’t say.
Hey, putting up with Jake’s crap is very much a real issue for expats in Korea. But sure, I’d like to get into issues of why Asian women marry out more than vice-versa, but my time is limited, and that’s really much more of a issue for overseas Koreans, and which like I say has been more than adequately covered by especially US-based Asian-American bloggers.
I have been observing this blog and several others, and I like everyone else here was caught in this mindset that actually made me think there is a problem about different choices. WRONG!!!
I can’t believe how pathetic is the fact that very few people from general public managed to convince everyone else that this or that is good or bad.
People, seriously!!! STOP looking at other people’s mess and START acting like adults as you are, and look at your own!!! Words never solved enything. If you want to prove something, to show something, to be and become something, do it by deeds, not by spitting at each other.
It’s such a failure that after all this history and technology, freedom and everything in third millenium, we only managed to become what others tell us what and who we are. I don’t need anyone to judge me about what am I according to the thickness of my wallet or the shape of my face or skin, or my wedding gift….
To everyone who participated in this blog or comments:
Shame on you if this is the best you can do, if this is all you expect from life to be.
Biracial and international couples in Korea are no different from others but surely have a tag on them.
If you take a look at ordinary Koran couples, you will easily realize that they also divorce in climbing numbers even though they are from same culture.
Korean couples also have sex before marriage, oh yeah, they do! Don’t be fooled.
Korean boys and husbands also cheat their wifes and girflriends looking for better ones! Yes yes, they do.
Korean boys also “rape” Korean girls, it’s rare but happens just like everywhere else on this world.
Korean boys also “go fast” on white females thinking they will get it easily! Ask foreign females.
Korean boys find white females as exotic as white males find Korean girls exotic. Hang out more in University areas.
List can go on an on..but the propaganda is focused on Korean local men anrgy on the world because of “dishonored” local women. I tell you, don’t play this game because you can’t win.
I honestly cringe whenever I see this interracial couple discussion on blogs because I know so many people now who are in interracial relationships. But everyone knows that Korea is a very nationalistic country, right? Any sort of foreign presence is considered a threat to their sovereignty, especially white males (the only race in history that seems to enjoy conquering other races) with korean females. Also, Korean men should be protesting to white men/Korean female relationships for one simple reason: white men could care less about the survival of Korea. White men almost never renounce their citizenship for a Korean one, serve in the military, or adopt Korean culture as their own. It is largely perceived (and in my opinion correct) that white men are in Korea for the wrong reasons: satisfy their asian fetish, earn easy money as English teachers, or escape whatever crappy circumstances they were in before they came to Korea. There are always exceptions to every generalization, but ask a good number of white guys in Korea for a reason why they’re in Korea, and it’ll probably fall into one of those three categories.
Joe, Your post have hit the nail on the head there. I coudn’t have written a better post.
Why do I agree with you? Simple. I have 17 years of real life experience in the “real” world, associating with
white people. White people(guys) don’t give a fuck about Korea only Koreans do. Korean males have every right to protect their women from sexual predators, just like a man has every right to protect his family from harm.
I beg to differ. My wife is Korean, my children are half-Korean, half of my friends are Korean, my students and colleagues are Korean (shall I go on?), and as it happens I give a fuck about all of them.
I just discovered this blog, and am really enjoying it (even though I have no real connection to Korea, I think it’s well-written and interesting). When I read Jake’s comments, I felt an unease with them, but was unable to clearly state, to myself in my own mind, precisely what made me feel that way or why I disagreed. James, this blog entry really helped me get that all sorted out, thank you so much.
While I’ve only had one interracial relationship, with a childhood friend who arrived from China when he was 8, I’ve lived abroad in France for 6 years now, and have had plenty of hard times with intercultural relationships. So I think that the thing that made my heart sink most is hearing that we’re just products of marketing techniques and schemes, rather than love stemming from something ‘deeper’ (again, I’m not so great with being able to put into words what I mean). The first 4 years or so I spent living in France, I was (or felt like I was) the ‘desirable commodity’ for many French students, with people’s first reactions to meeting me being ‘Oh! Your English is going to get so good, and you’ll be able to travel!’ As if this can’t happen any other way, through hard work, etc. My husband actually didn’t know a whole lot about Canada until a year into our relationship when we visited Canada so he could meet my parents.. and we’ve never spoken in English.
Despite this, we still take quite a bit of flack from people who *don’t* know us personally – that we can’t really be in love, etc. He certainly wasn’t looking for a foreign girlfriend, as that is sometimes culturally (and logistically) complicated! And I guess my point is that I can absolutely imagine that the same thing is true of plenty of other mixed-ethnicity and/or mixed-culture couples.
One thing that I can see in Jake’s post is that we are influenced, in many ways, by the media.. but my take on it is that this is at least partly due to the media being part of our life experiences. Kind of like an aunt or parent who says ‘oh, look how handsome he is, what a nice bright smile!’ and it seems natural to agree… that said, I certainly don’t have the same taste in men as my mum does, so maybe this isn’t such a great example. In any case, this wasn’t Jake’s main point, and thanks again for helping me straighten out in my head what I felt was wrong with that line of reasoning.
Thanks, and you’re welcome. But I’m a little confused sorry — where are you and your husband from exactly? :)
Thanks for the read James! I love your blog and I wanted to add my 2cents because… well because I can.
My family live in New Zealand, and interracial partnering is common here so I’ve never really thought about the politics, stereotypes etc. that develop and circulate around interracial pairings. Even for myself who is the product of an pseudo-interracial coupling (my Chinese Mum was adopted and identifies herself as Pakeha), and now in an inter-cultural relationship (Pakeha-Chinese). This probably seems really naive and just ignorant, but I think after my own experiences, one thing that really frustrates me is ignorance of heritage.
I think one of the most racists and hurtful statements I have come across is “Your mother is Chinese” and plenty of other variations to that effect. The visual clues that people use to “create” a story around a person extends beyond the simple belief that “they are Chinese therefore they have these characteristics”, it is story building, fake experiences that you have not shared with this person become very real to them in alarming ways. (Sorry too tired to give examples)
My heritage isn’t physically on display neither is my Mum’s or my Dad’s but other people will make it up for us if you don’t tell them, even if that heritage is very personal and at times painful. But when it is made clear, there is a lack of general empathy for any differences from the norm, which then is some cases doesn’t really make us Pakeha. Physically my parents are allowed to be together, but it is difficult for people that I have encountered to accept their heritage and consequently my own.
This post seems negative overall, just to clarify people understand that my Mum is adopted and that I’m not really Chinese, they just can’t separate our physical appearances from our cultural practises.
I think that’s enough at this point, it’s late here in NZ, and I need to sleep after major James Turnbull Blog Binge.
Why did you get all emotional and twist Jake’s words?
The fact is modern Asian beauty standard and other standards tend to favors Whites, and the Koreans know that’s unrealistic, so the standard looks like they are striving for the Euro-Asian look.
The problem is that modern Asian beauty standard are still very uniform, it’s like a cookie-cutter, and this standard is almost IMPOSSIBLE for the locals to attend EVER.
Acting more “western”, dressing in a “nice suit”, drinking red wine and speaking English is being view as a high-class thing. You know that. That puts the locals in disadvantages.
Love your posts~! As a Korean female born and raised in Korea for pretty much my entire life (currently I’m living in LA happily married with my White Husband) , your opinions truly represent and reflect what many Korean females face in modern Korean society.
As mush as other Asian ppl look at us with admiration of being a wealthier, more advanced asian nation with many good looking ppl, in reality the severe gender bias and the unrealistic expectations for young females make many young women to feel less appreciated and constantly subjugated.
There are so many subtle or very transparent male chauvinistic cues embedded all over media and in every-day life in Korea, however, the sad thing is that many women do not even realize those things bc they are so used to the culture that they are in and simply they do not know any better.
Moving to the States was an eye-opener for me. Of course I knew American society is much more liberal than S.Korea but I began to truly realize how much of freedom that women in the States have even in the smallest things in life.
It still bothers me when I take a look at what’s going on in Korean online community.
They get obsessed with ‘Witch Hunting’ (Yes, they take extreme measure to find and reveal the woman’s profile and condemn them when they think the women are not behaving properly in public..but as we all know they have indefinite tolerance for male’s wrongdoing) many Korean males openly have discussions on internet (since we have world’s highest internet users population for its size) about how to get rid of ‘Yankees (양키놈 means any ‘white males’) in Korea and to rant about how Korean females are the worst mankind in the world (according to their logic)and they go after particularly the girls that date White guys and label them as whores and white guys as rapist.
Ppl may say that this is just my thinking of S.Korea but if I was raised almost my entire life in Korea and still have all my family members and friends over there (20 yrs in Korea and about 10 in the States) thus I think I have a really good idea about how Korean society really is.
I think your postings would be very helpful and educational for many young and naïve Korean females to see Korean society’s sexism in a deeper perspective.
why the hell should white men get off scott free? I don’t mean to be an angry Asian guy ranting but given that they are mainly responsible for creating this incredibly unfair system where they have the advantage of dating from a much larger pool of females than Asian men it is only fair that they face some minor persecution and obstacles if they choose to date Asian women. What they go through is still a hell of a lot easier than what the average Asian guy has to deal with when it comes to dating in western countries. Unless this huge unfair disparity in interracial dating becomes more even I don’t see how any Asian guy can feel sorry for white men who date Asian women.
I haven’t read everything on this post, but have you ever looked at it from a Korean male’s point of view? What I mean is that marriage is getting increasingly difficult for them as they are getting pressures from all sides of their family, as well as a potential mate, to have that plus-sized apartment, respectable car, and that good job before marriage.
So when they do see a white male/korean female couple, its not surprising that they would feel slighted at this. Especially when the korean male is working so hard to improve his marriage prospects, while the korean female is most likely your average college student dating a white male to experience “variety,” and to practice her English skills to seem more “sophisticated,” “worldly,” or frankly, in Korean society, to improve her status symbol.
Also, I believe you’re overestimating how many “stand-up, gentlemen” white males are here in Korea. Have you ever been out to a bar in Seoul after work lately? Just strike up a conversation with these guys there, and 9 out of 10 times, the conversations all lead to how “Korea is great,” and how “Korean girls are all easy.” Its just disgusting at how they all brag about their “conquests” on this side of the world.
I love your blog; you have really good insights, but I would recommend that you blog more about the plights of Korean men and what they have to go through; balancing out the gender points will be a great addition. And just some food for thought: have you ever thought about what the consequences of interracial dating/marriage will be of the Asia-wide phenomenon of Asian men not getting married quicker/importing brides/gender imbalance? Don’t you think there will be more friction between Asian men and white men?
Sorry John, but I’m never sympathetic to someone who admits to not reading a post but somehow still feels fit to comment on it, and indeed you seem to have completely missed the point of this one. In particular, your idea that Korean women that date White men are “most likely your average college student[s] dating a white male to experience ‘variety,’ and to practice [their] English skills to seem more ‘sophisticated,’ ‘worldly,’ or frankly, in Korean society, to improve [their] status symbol” is just as ignorant, inaccurate, and offensive as what Jake wrote, and I seriously doubt that you spoke to many actual Korean women that date White men before you came up with your description of them.
Or any Korean women for that matter. After all, I’d love to see what they think of your notion that only Korean men are under pressure and have to work hard to improve their marriage prospects.
As for the ” talk to guys in bars” line, I’ve been hearing it for the past 12 years, and frankly I’m sick to death of it, for two main reasons. First, because as you read this, there’s millions of guys in bars all the world either bragging about their conquests or bitching about their lack of success with women, both groups making some pretty misogynistic comments in the process – there’s nothing special about White expats in Korea. Second, because guys in decent relationships with women usually have much better things to do than hang out in bars, listening to wankers talk about how women like the guy’s girlfriend or wife are easy. Not that every guy that hangs out in a bar is automatically a misogynist wanker of course, but you get the idea, and again you sound like you need to talk to many more members of the group you’re making stereotypes about.
Finally, no, I haven’t written a specific post about Korean men’s point of view, but in the nearly two years since this one was written I have certainly made and/or acknowledged many of your points about their gender ratio-related difficulties in finding partners etc. in passing. But whether it’s Korea or Asia, I think the impact on interracial dating are obvious – of course there’s going to be more friction between Asian men and White men, because of course some of the former are going to be jealous and frustrated. That still doesn’t justify pseudo-sociological bullshit and caricatures of Korean women that people like Jake come up with though.
Hey James; thanks for the quick reply. I just want you to know that I am a Korean American living in Korea as of now. I’m one of those Korean Americans who has a very extensive family network here in Korea. To put it simply, yes, I’m an American citizen; but only officially on paper; I grew up very “Korean,” and so I believe I can speak about this topic with some confidence.
In regards to your first reason about me generalizing and being “ignorant, inaccurate, and offensive” to my previous statement, I will be fair and state that I guess everyone has their own experiences with the people they meet here. And in terms of my experences, I know that Korean women are more practical/realistic than “western” women (which I am not saying is necessarily bad). I’ll just leave it at that.
And contrary to what you have stated, I do know many Korean women, including many of my extended female family members who have yet to get married and are in their 30’s. So I do acknowledge the fact that its a two way street: both Korean men and women are having severe difficulties in getting married given the average marriage ages for both are now in their late 20s-early 30s. I am sorry if I misalluded you to the knowledge of only Korean men having to compete for marriages.
But I still think that you’re still overestimating the “nice, knight-in-shining armor” white guy image. I’m just not talking about bars; I have met quite a few white males here both professionally and socially (again not bars lol), who have this humongous ego of how since they are white, they can get with any Korean girl. They constantly hate on Korean men and how Korean women secretly desire them. I would really love to hear your views on this. Why are they constantly bashing Korean guys? Why do they constantly believe that Korean women are secretly attracted to them who secretly hate Korean guys?
I know you have stated that Korean women being foremost attracted to white guys is a myth, which I agree with wholehardedly. White men constantly bash Korean men for being way too nationalistic, but I feel like they are forgetting the fact that Korean women call Korea home too. Korean women were born here, grew up here, and for all practical purposes, grew up dreaming that “Korean Dream” of marrying that guy who works at Samsung that could provide her with the lifestyle she desired.
It would be interesting to have some actual numbers on this. International marriage numbers. It would be pretty awesome if you made a post about this. I believe I read somewhere that all international marriages involving a foreign man and a Korean woman numbered about 8000 in 2010; and about half of that were marriages to Japanese men. I wouldn’t be surprised if a quarter of the other half were marriages to Korean-Chinese men. What about Americans? How many of them consist of Korean American men; Korean Canadian men? Would you be willing to write something like this? It could disprove Jake…
This post doesn’t apply directly to my situation as I am in a Korean man – Caucasian woman relationship, but I am glad you also take offense at this simplistic view of Korean women. I can’t help but feel that in order to patronize Korean women, you have to somewhat patronize women in general. Most of us know what we want, thank you very much.
Also, I find it frustrating that a relationship gets judged as unloving or not true, based solely on nationality of the man and the woman involved.
I am pissed..I am a Black businessman from America. Reading this article you would think the only “foreigner” that counted in Korea was a white man. the reasons for this would probably be a entirely different discussion. I’ll say will say this… even in Korea.. if you look like you have enough money (by enough money I mean VERY rich). Trust me… I’ve been doing business here in Korea for year and money is a BIG factor.
This is a great article, but it makes me angry at the same time. As an American who is of East Indian background, it’s very difficult for me to truly understand the struggles of Caucasian foreigners in the dating scene. Koreans, at least from my experiences, still hold a somewhat negative opinion of non-white foreigners. That opinion is based both from ignorance and fact, but race has nothing to do with how a person acts towards another. I’ve been in Korea for four years so far, and as far as dating goes… it’s been defeat after defeat. I’m not a guy who’s looking to score with as many Koreans as possible, that’s pretty low in my opinion. The times I’ve had a Korean girl interested in me, it would quickly end because she would be afraid of what her family might think if they found out their daughter’s dating a foreigner. It’s more of a cultural difference than an racial one; still I’ve been the target of negative comments and such because of my Indian background. There was one time, when I was at a bar with one of my white friends (we’re both teachers in the same city). There were a few girls sitting across the aisle from us and he wanted to talk with them. So, we did and he asked [them] if they thought we were handsome. One girl said my friend was handsome, but I was “so-so”. My friend asked why and the girl said because I was “black skin”. That made me pretty angry and I said some expletives and sat down in our booth. My friend didn’t like it either and sat down as well. Though the girls were young (21) and naive, it still was a rude comment. I know not all Korean women look down on dark-skinned men, and I’ve seen interracial couples involving Korean women and black or Indian men. It’s just frustrating how Korean society as a whole looks down upon non-white foreigners.
Go read r/Hapas and try again