Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A portrait of alienation

Over at the Marmot's Hole, Robert posted about a report which looks at the lives of multiracial Koreans and paints a rather bleak picture. Most have had very little schooling and are (were) unable to find good jobs due to this (and to discrimination against them). It's well worth reading if you haven't already.

It was interesting to see that post after a taxi ride I took on Sunday night. When I got in I noticed - before I closed the door and the light went out - that the driver (who was likely in his 50s or 60s) reminded me a little of someone I'd met once, another foreigner here in fact. I thought little of it until he told me that he had a foreign parent and a Korean parent. He had lived in Alaska for awhile and had worked part time as a cook there at a Chinese restaurant (which may have been run by a family member - I can't remember now). He had nothing but good things to say about Alaska, but I have to say - I've never heard anyone complain about Korea so much during a taxi ride before. He told me he didn't like Korean people - he didn't like having them as customers and thought they were rude. He also told me that his daughter had married a man from England, and that she also didn't like Korean men (he didn't talk about her mother at all). While he seemed in some ways to not identify himself as Korean, he was proud of his service in the ROK marines (itself confusing because I thought multiracial Koreans weren't allowed to serve in the armed forces). There were a few items with 'ROK marines' written on them in his taxi.

After reading the aforementioned report and seeing the picture it painted of the difficulties many multiracial Koreans face, I couldn't help but recall this taxi driver's bitterness.


Anonymous said...

Was he part black ,or white ?
because i heard they treat Korean/black mixes badly compared to Korean/White ..

Although , there are some successful

Black/Korean ,like Hines Ward,Tasha reid in ent circle !!

matt said...

He was part white. I should have mentioned also that he didn't speak any English.

Jens-Olaf said...

My daughters are attending elementary school in korea. They are German AND Korean. So far the educational system is the one we are most concerned about.