[Letters] Some foreigners are here permanently, Korea

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[Letters] Some foreigners are here permanently, Korea

The word culture is defined as the integrated pattern of human behavior that includes thought, speech, action and artifacts, and depends on the human capacity for learning and transmitting knowledge to succeeding generations. It is the basis for many of humankind’s most important achievements.

But there are problems with culture, too, namely racism, xenophobia and ignorance. Such issues are clearly visible in a video segment recently aired by MBC which depicts foreign men as predators and Korean women as victims. Unfortunately, the video is pure conjecture. It draws its inferences almost entirely from presumptive evidence. The bias of its creators is evident, and the video’s message should be easily dismissed by any rational human being. But the overt racism displayed is merely a symptom of a larger disease.

Sentiment toward foreigners is summed up in the Korean word “foreigner.” This word implies we cannot integrate, that we are mere visitors and have no permanency. But that’s obviously not the case. Many of us are here permanently.

Another myth which permeates Korea is that HIV is a common gift from foreigners. The fact is that every teacher here has been tested for HIV, and the U.S. military tests all soldiers for STDs prior to deployment. How does HIV spread here in Korea? Think about prostituion before accusing foreigners.

The video also disgraces Korean women by protraying them as helpless victims. The overwhelming feeling I receive from the MBC segment is that Korean women are merely a commodity over which native men don’t want to lose control. In the end, Korea’s wish to become globally successful will require an equality of the sexes. Continued patriarchal favoritism will only hold Korea back.

by Andrea Dworkin, an American living in Korea

* Letters and commentaries for publication should be addressed “Letters to the Editor.” E-mailed letters should be sent to eopinion@joongang.co.kr.
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