Valuable lesson on Korean racism
I used to teach a course on nationalism in literature at Korea University, which arguably has some of the best and brightest students in South Korea, if not Asia. I designed this course to get students to think critically about the nation-building propaganda that permeates their basic education.
The indoctrinated were offended at a foreigner coming and criticizing Korean culture, and the cosmopolitan students already knew that they had been trained to be racists ― and had rejected that education. In other words, the class was a waste of time, I stopped teaching it.
I did learn a valuable lesson about Korean racism: it is best combated with contempt. A head-on collision will result in heels being dug in and the Korean radicals simply asserting their own small-minded worldview. Instead, I realized that an air of indifference, amusement, and contempt resulted in the nationalists feeling shame and that greatest of horrors in Korea, loss of face.
In other words, I took the Korean racists' power away from them by deciding that they weren't worth taking seriously.
I would like to extend this suggestion to those currently gathering on social media and in the blogosphere to complain about the recent MBC documentary on evil, diseased, abusive foreigners ruining the upstanding moral sanctity of the pure Korean flowers. Do not gather to protest, boycott, and complain.
This will only fuel the fire and create a division between the Koreans on the one hand and the foreigners on the other. Instead, laugh at them. Mock the provincial, small-minded racists spewing dishonest and inaccurate xenophobic chestnuts in third-rate yellow journalism.
Laugh, because it's funny. It's a joke. And for as long as this kind of nonsense gets taken seriously in South Korea, the rest of the world will see the nation as a joke too.