중앙데일리

Is it in the blood?

Old Korean attitudes toward biracial people are changing

Jan 04,2004
The following is a tip on traditional Korean language and customs in response to a query from a Mr. Capers, who wrote to us from Seoul:

Q. Mr. Capers:
On a recent social occasion, my Korean friends spoke about a beautiful Korean star who had to “confess” to the public that she was not full-blooded Korean, but half. In my personal experience, I’ve never met a biracial Korean outside of Korea who has been sensitive about their mixed ethnicity. Does the purity of blood issue involve “coming out” in Korea?

A. IHT-JAD:
In the conformist society of Korea in the old days, it seems, being anything other than what society prescribed was not acceptable. In the wake of the Korean War, when many Korean women bore the children of American soldiers, biracial children were lastingly stigmatized. Most mixed-race Koreans left the country or lived as social outcasts. But the attitude is changing today.

The local star, Lee Yu-jin, had hidden the fact that her biological father was non-Korean. Ms. Lee’s situation subsequently triggered a new debate on the country’s deep-rooted prejudice.


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