This is a guest post by Tiger JK (Seo Jung Kwon), a Korean American rapper, best known as one of the founding members of hip hop group Drunken Tiger. He is also the founder and former CEO of Jungle Entertainment. He is married to Yoon Mirae (Tasha) who is of mixed heritage (Korean / African American).
Let's Give the Kids More Info and Opportunity to Learn about Racial Prejudice
As I read the replies and comments to the news story about UFC's Ben Henderson (Lightweight champion), I was dumbfounded and saddened by quite a few racial slurs. He was the son of a Korean-American mother and an African-American father. He wanted to come back to Korea to feel that he's a part of the Korean collective.
Such instances of racial discrimination are not isolated... the comments to the news article about a TV comedy 'Sebakwi'('Three Wheels'), showing a parody of blackfaces, also revealed prejudices.
"Why should we apologize? Don't they make fun of Asians in America, too?", some kids asked while others would say, "They were only comics dressed up as a black-faced, thick-lipped cartoon characters performing in a comedy like SNL."
I fully understand that the acts portrayed were not meant to intentionally defame nor antagonize black people , and such comic scenes appeared on many other comedic sketches on both network and cable TV.
However, I think it's time we should let the kids learn on what's the right thing to do, and what's wrong and what not to do. I think we should try to provide them with enough information and opportunities to change their minds regarding racial prejudices.
Racial discrimination and prejudices used to exist in any country throughout the world. But now the world has shrunken into a small global community. Korea is currently enjoying attention around the world with the K-Pop phenomenon along with other human resources.
If we learn a little more about the history of Africans, we could understand why it's not right to present them as the comic objects. Because it contains a lot of pain, deathly revolution, and struggles to regain their human dignity.
As you may well know, African slavery is a history that's quite tragic and recent in the grand scheme of things. Not too long ago in American history, they couldn't even share the same restaurants, buses, and even rest-rooms with other races! They could not even appear in Hollywood films, they were only treated as comedic objects derided by white people.
Racial discrimination exists in the sports world, too, but heavy punishment follows such actions. Sony Music also had to pay a high price, for releasing records by their artist that contained racial prejudice. ESPN had to immediately punish their employee for the headline with a racial slur about American-Asian basketball sensation Jeremy Lin. The wrong choice of the words and actions can put a huge damper on things. The words that drew an outrage all over the world was, "Chink in the armor."
Korea hosts many K-pop concerts and music award shows overseas. We need more support of the people of the world, not only from music fans but also in many other fields as well.
A movie director for the successful "Tower Heist" was banned from the Academy Awards for his remarks discriminating against homosexuals. I hope our journalists put extra effort to enlighten the young kids to learn more about the flow of the people of the world, and about racial equality and justice.
Thank you for listening to my humble suggestion.