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We Are Korean - Only Our Looks Are Different
Park, Wan Reporter  |
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[0호] 승인 2004.09.09  
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“If the truth that I am ‘mixed’ was widely known, I thought that I would have had difficulties finding acting work as an entertainer.” A couple of days ago, a popular entertainer revealed the secret of her birth, and it became a public topic.

The entertainer disclosed the fact that she was the child of a Spanish-American father and a Korean mother. She apologized for covering up the details of her birth and shed tears. This showed a hint of bi-racial and multiracial people’s sorrow and pain.

It is the 21st century, which is called the era of internationalization, globalization and world unity. It is a time when a man can have a sex change operation and be registered as a woman. However, we still do not recognize a variety of birth situations and insist on a ‘pure blood doctrine’ that only Korean blood can be mixed.

We show a remarkably closed and ungenerous attitude toward bi-racial and multiracial people, while we feel proud of ourselves by the fact that we are the only racially homogeneous people. This prejudice and indifference toward these people are becoming more serious as time goes by.

Most Korean bi-racial and multiracial children have difficulties even acquiring Korean citizenship. Moreover, it is very hard for them to acquire citizenship in the United States as well, if they were born of an unwed mother. Meanwhile, these children are entered in a different family register from their mothers (such as their grandfather’s) thus distorting their legal relationship with their mother, and they have difficulties being protected legally. This is not all.

Most of them must undergo all sorts of hardships living in our country. From being bullied at school to experienc prejudice and discrimination in wider society, finally they suffer from economic poverty. And the majority is out of a job. Even if they have a job, it is usually a menial job like laboring. The poverty continues over to the next generation.

In the mid 1980s, about 3,000 bi-racial and multiracial people who had suffered from prejudice and discrimination left Korea when the Reagan government passed ‘multiracial special immigration law.’ Since then, many such people have made every effort to immigrate by hook or by crook. But they have not all adapted to American culture, and often end up wandering as another outsider who can’t fit in either here or there. These bi-racial and multiracial people clearly have grown up in this country speaking the same language, having the same history and eating the same food.

Now, it is time that these people finally gain people’s warm understanding and supportive government policies. There should not be any bi-racial and multiracial people who can’t live in this country. We have to proclaim our true commitment to globalization by recognizing and accepting them. After all, they are actually Koreans, too.

Reporter had a brief interview with social welfare worker Lee, Ji-young, who is in charge of public relations and supports services for ‘Pearl S. Buck International, Korea,’ which is the one and only organization supporting bi-racial and multiracial people within the country.
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