Anti-refugee backlash in South Korea targets Yemenis fleeing war and seeking asylum

Birdseye

Banned
Oct 27, 2017
10,864
Fleeing war, more than 500 Yemenis arrived earlier this year in an unlikely place — a tiny South Korean resort island. They're hoping to be granted asylum so they can stay in South Korea, but as they wait on the island of Jeju, they've become the target of blistering backlash from South Koreans.



"I love Korea, really," Ebrahim Qaid says. He is one of 561 Yemenis who arrived on Jeju earlier this year through the island's policy of allowing most foreign nationals to enter without getting a visa in advance.

The country is teetering on the brink of famine. The U.N. has called it "the worst man-made humanitarian crisis of our time."

According to South Korea's justice ministry, last year the country approved 91 out of 6,015 refugee claims, or about 1.5 percent.

But demonstrators say that's still too much.

"They came here without proper legal process," says demonstrator Christopher Han. "We are in the position to help them. But the truth is that, the reality is that we have been used by them."

The main fears are over safety, Han says. "It is all about their different idea and belief system. I mean the Muslims," he says.

More than half a million South Koreans have signed a petition asking the government to turn away refugees.

"I didn't expect Korea to welcome refugees with open arms," says Sharon Yoon, a professor of Korean Studies at Seoul's Ewha University. She's not surprised since non-native Koreans make up only 4 percent of the country's population. Until 2007, the country's education system taught students it was ethnically homogeneous — a single-blooded nation.

"Yes," she says, "there is a lot of pushback, and yes, there is a lot of pressure from civil society, but xenophobia is not the whole picture. There is a backlash over accepting refugees all over the world. And Korea is one of those countries."

On Jeju, some Korean employers, like fishing boat owner Lee Si-hyun, take a "why not" attitude to giving Yemenis work.

"If they're willing to head out to sea, I'll keep employing them," he says.
Full article here: https://www.npr.org/2018/07/04/625915526/anti-refugee-backlash-in-south-korea-targets-yemenis-fleeing-war-and-seeking-asy?t=1530909476358
 

Xiaomi

Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,265
It's a problem in several east Asian countries, including Japan and Taiwan. Large numbers of people tolerate white foreigners (white privilege has a long reach, of course), but are hostile to black, south Asian, middle-eastern, Filipino, and other SEA immigrants/refugees. Unfortunately many formerly fascist/ultra-nationalist countries like Korea and Taiwan have a lot of shitty schools that don't really educate people about cultural tolerance and a lot of kids just straight up don't see or talk to foreigners much, if ever. And then there are the territorial grudges held between places like Japan and Korea that foster a mutual distrust. Education and cohabitation are key to solving this.
 

99nikniht

Member
Oct 28, 2017
190
I'm not surprised. I spent a year in studying abroad in SK and the country is super nationalistic. To reflect what Xiaomi mentioned, it is absolutely true that they tolerate Caucasian much more so than other darker skinned folks. I was there during the Fukushimi nuclear plant meltdown, me and my study abroad peers were collecting money to provide relief, some folks donated because they were kind hearted people, while others came up to us just to tell us how much he hated Japanese people. We shrugged and they went on their way. Though we do understand that SK has a complicated relationship with Japan, but it's a reflection of the greater society.
 

Deleted member 5545

User requested account closure
Banned
Oct 25, 2017
942
User Banned (1 Day): Inflammatory Generalization.
The most racist first-world society hands-down and that won't change in our lifetime. America don't got shit on them.
 

Chamaeleonx

Banned
Oct 27, 2017
2,348
I wonder if the world ever will "clean" Islam and Muslims of the image that some small groups have established around the globe. =/
 

BocoDragon

Banned
Oct 26, 2017
5,207
Really? I think China's treatment of the Uyghur was the worst thing I've seen from any first-world country in Asia.
First world is a pretty outdated term. Technically the first world is America and its rich capitalist allies during the cold war. China was not one.

"Developed" is the word people tend to use (still a bit problematic) and technically China still does not make the cut because it still has so many people in poverty as a percentage of the whole.
 

Umibozu

Banned
Oct 25, 2017
414
I read about this a few days ago from a much more thorough article but it seems to be taken down.
https://www.koreaexpose.com/south-korea-xenophobia-shows-itself-yemen-refugees-situation/

The other article mentioned that legislators had already removed the visa free status of jeju island and were already moving to remove the refugees.

To give additional context to a point the author of the article in the OP omitted. The point of that they were taught that they are of a single race went beyond her mention. They were taught that they are of a pure race and it took United nations pressure for South Korea to remove that from their education system in 2007.

Also here's a quote from the deleted article I was able to save in discord that can shed more light as well.
The arrival of the Yemenis coincides with a worsening climate of hate. Misogyny has been on the rise for the past two years, partly in reaction to women’s more forceful demands for gender equality in a country that clings to patriarchal mores. The powerful Evangelical lobby and its political allies spread Islamophobia by claiming that “we, too, might become a Muslim state,” without convincing evidence. The same Christian alliance has also been active in persecuting South Korea’s fledgling LGBT community, which has never been widely embraced to begin with.
 

Pelleas

Member
Oct 28, 2017
125
The most racist first-world society hands-down and that won't change in our lifetime. America don't got shit on them.
So they're ripping Yemeni kids away from there parents and sticking them into concentration camps without any thought of reunification?

Fuck off with this bullshit.
 

Ogodei

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
7,396
North Jackson High
So they're ripping Yemeni kids away from there parents and sticking them into concentration camps without any thought of reunification?

Fuck off with this bullshit.
Racism goes on kind of a bell curve. Societies with basically zero exposure to large minority presence are less racist in that regard because not enough people in the country see it as a "problem." While on the far end a country can be diverse enough that racism becomes unfeasible in daily life (doesn't disappear entirely, but you also just can't afford it for the most part). At a certain level in the middle it hits its height, where the majority feels threatened but where the minorities aren't so fully-absorbed that they are seen as a roughly equal part of the social fabric.
 

Dreams-Visions

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
14,125
Miami, FL
So as a wealthy -- but black -- guy, should I or should I not remove South Korea from my list of places to visit.

I'm not interested in going anywhere that will likely treat me like shit.
 

Sinfamy

Banned
Oct 27, 2017
1,724
This is US and Saudi Arabia's problem to fix, not South Korea's.
The US is literally sustaining genocide in Yemen through arms deals with SA.
 

GameAddict411

Member
Oct 26, 2017
1,867
With the threat of North Korea and an outright destructive war around the corner, I wonder how if a war breaks out and South Koreans become refugees would feel like if signs like that are carried around for them. South Korea is walking on thin ice to be this intolerant. What's even more disgusting then this showing is the politicians who are trying to do the very same thing of what these protesters want.
 

GameAddict411

Member
Oct 26, 2017
1,867
This is US and Saudi Arabia's problem to fix, not South Korea's.
The US is literally sustaining genocide in Yemen through arms deals with SA.
Quit the deflecting BS. This topic is about how SK is treating refugees. If you want to discuss SA and USA involvement in the war go to threads where it's the main topic.
 

brandywine

Member
Oct 27, 2017
128
It's unfortunate to see this because so much of the very well off Korean diaspora are refugees and descendants of refugees.

Bloomberg had an article about this the other day, and there was this little nugget:

“Donald Trump is a true patriot,” Lee said. “He says, ‘America First,’ and really puts his people first. That’s what our president should do too, instead of thinking of other people like these Yemenis.”
:/

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-06-28/-fake-refugees-get-out-how-south-koreans-are-channeling-trump
 

Sinfamy

Banned
Oct 27, 2017
1,724
Quit the deflecting BS. This topic is about how SK is treating refugees. If you want to discuss SA and USA involvement in the war go to threads where it's the main topic.
I want the US so fund refugee camps in SK, and to flex their muscle because they can given their importance and military presence in the region.
I'm not deflecting.
It's not gonna happen with this administration.
 

t26

Avenger
Oct 27, 2017
1,187
It's a problem in several east Asian countries, including Japan and Taiwan. Large numbers of people tolerate white foreigners (white privilege has a long reach, of course), but are hostile to black, south Asian, middle-eastern, Filipino, and other SEA immigrants/refugees. Unfortunately many formerly fascist/ultra-nationalist countries like Korea and Taiwan have a lot of shitty schools that don't really educate people about cultural tolerance and a lot of kids just straight up don't see or talk to foreigners much, if ever. And then there are the territorial grudges held between places like Japan and Korea that foster a mutual distrust. Education and cohabitation are key to solving this.
Let me remind you UN still owned Hong Kong $2 billion HKD for Vietnamese refugee. When Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia closed their border, Hong Kong was the only one taking them in.
 

effingvic

Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,042
Very disappointing and disheartening to hear. I just feel so bad for these refugees. They have nowhere to go and are met with hostility everywhere.
 

Richter1887

Member
Oct 27, 2017
15,727
Yemeni civilians are getting slaughtered yet you have these fucks calling them fake refugees? Fuck these assholes.
 

Usyren

Member
Oct 26, 2017
4,558
Woah, those are some gross posters/signs.
The fish boat owner seems like a cool dude tho. Need more people like him.
 

mikeamizzle

Member
Oct 25, 2017
282
So as a wealthy -- but black -- guy, should I or should I not remove South Korea from my list of places to visit.

I'm not interested in going anywhere that will likely treat me like shit.
Why not do some research for yourself and make up your own mind on whether or not you feel like its a good idea to visit a foreign country?

This attitude of letting other random's on an internet forum decide for you whether or not you should visit a place is a bit ludicrous imo.

Personally, based on how I feel; I would choose not to spend my money in a country that I wouldn't feel welcome as a tourist.

edit: and you may be very good to go; didn't mean to crap on SK at all either honestly.. I haven't done a lot of research on this specifically because I am not black and I have not been to SK before. My main point was just to do do as much research as possible. its easy enough these days.
 
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Kite

Banned
Oct 25, 2017
670
lol Era is very sheltered, I've had several South Korean soldiers in my squad and platoon are pretty damn racist and into the whole racial purity thing. They really look down on the mainland Chinese and SE Asian countries, really hate Japan and barely tolerate Taiwanese-Americans like myself. And Black people.. ya'll dun wanna know lol
 

Akira86

Member
Oct 25, 2017
9,025
knew some south korean soldiers....cool dudes. but Conservative, big C. I just chalked it up to military culture until I learned a bit more about South Korea.

watching fox news with them was enraging, lmao.
 

S-Wind

Member
Nov 4, 2017
775
Adding to the challenges of making South Korea more accepting of non-Koreans and non-White people (DAT WHITE PRIVILEGE!) is the fact that South Korea is the most Christian nation in east Asia and southeast Asia. Unfortunately, it was the Americans who exported their brand of Christianity to South Korea, where it took root and prospered. Even worse, it wasn't just any brand of American Christianity, but Southern Baptist/Evangelical, with all its violent racism, fundamentalism, and xenophobia.

Vietnam and the Philippines got the European brands of Roman Catholicism, which brought their own problems, but not as bad as Good Ol' Southern JEESUS!
 
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Pelleas

Member
Oct 28, 2017
125
So as a wealthy -- but black -- guy, should I or should I not remove South Korea from my list of places to visit.

I'm not interested in going anywhere that will likely treat me like shit.
This reminds me of another thread back on the old site. You'll have the usual white people trying to reinforce the notion that it's the Asians that are the true racists. The black folks that believes this and echoes it. And the truly pathetic Japan stans that just look to shit on any Asian country not Japan.

Now they'll all keep telling you how terrible it is for black people over there until at some point the black posters that actually live there come in and say, "Nah fam, I definitely prefer it here than back in the States."

Not all or even most of them said it was perfect by any means. But they pretty much all said the above in conclusion.
 

SneerfulOwl

Member
Nov 4, 2017
717
Adding to the challenges of making South Korea more accepting of non-Koreans and non-White people (DAT WHITE PRIVILEGE!) is the face that South Korea is the most Christian nation in east Asia and southeast Asia. Unfortunately, it was the Americans who exported their brand of Christianity to South Korea, where it took root and prospered. Even worse, it wasn't just any brand of American Christianity, but Southern Baptist/Evangelical, with all its violent racism, fundamentalism, and xenophobia.

Vietnam and the Philippines got the European brands of Roman Catholicism, which brought their own problems, but not as bad as Good Ol' Southern JEESUS!
You are trying to correlate things that don't exist. People identify as christians in Korea is high among older generations with people above 50s and 60s. The actual religion is in sharp decline and has been for a while and more than half of Koreans identify themselves as non-religious. Plus, it's the younger generation that are largely against refugees, not older generations. This has to do with frustration of lack of finding jobs, society and government overall. The younger generations are pissed off and they want to blame pretty much everything but themselves and at minorities and foreigners. Kind of similar to what Japan is currently going through. But there was only 1000 protesters against refugees (which is absolutely nothing in city of Seoul), most of Koreans are either indifferent to it or completely oblivious to this situation because of recent Trump-North Korean news.

https://www.pri.org/stories/2018-07-05/protest-against-yemeni-refugees-reveals-how-south-korea-has-been-educated-think
https://relevantmagazine.com/culture/christian-churches-facing-sharp-decline-in-south-korea/
 

Zoc

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,016
Why not do some research for yourself and make up your own mind on whether or not you feel like its a good idea to visit a foreign country?

This attitude of letting other random's on an internet forum decide for you whether or not you should visit a place is a bit ludicrous.
WTF at the condescension in this post. Finding out, on the internet, whether a country is a good place to go for a black guy is like the definition of hard, because it’s subjective and controversial as hell. You could find dozens of people passionately arguing both sides.

On the other hand, resetera is a known community full of knowledgeable and honest people. What better place to research than here?
 

Umibozu

Banned
Oct 25, 2017
414
So as a wealthy -- but black -- guy, should I or should I not remove South Korea from my list of places to visit.

I'm not interested in going anywhere that will likely treat me like shit.
Here's another article that's related to both the thread and what you might experience there.
https://www.koreaexpose.com/racism-seoul-bar-failed-multiculturalism/
“This normalizing of social exclusion is going to harm Korea in the end, economically, and it may hurt tourism. Normalization is because of two factors: the lack of any law, and the prevalent culture. You can say it’s a lack of exposure, but there’s no lack of exposure any more, there are many foreigners here from many different countries,” Kumar said.
 

iscodisco93

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,994
what a joke, their own citizens come to western countries for better opportunities with how shitty their labor practices are
 

Umibozu

Banned
Oct 25, 2017
414
what a joke, their own citizens come to western countries for better opportunities with how shitty their labor practices are
I don't think it's fair to blame those who emigrate out of South Korea as they might want a better environment for their families; might want to escape the rampant misogyny, the low quality of life of those who live outside of urban centres, the high work hours/low pay, or the suffocating societal pressure.
 

KenzinFive

Member
Oct 28, 2017
1,141
Lived in South Korea for two years and loved it. But the three things I disliked the most about the country were the lack of dryers (obviously minor), vanity and plastic surgery being rampant, and its xenophobia.
 

Riversands

Member
Nov 21, 2017
3,953
So as a wealthy -- but black -- guy, should I or should I not remove South Korea from my list of places to visit.

I'm not interested in going anywhere that will likely treat me like shit.
Ive been to korea once, they are pretty much kind to any people. But this is kinda like another total different case, this is about refugee. After reading that article, I can understand their reasoning and fear
 

Riversands

Member
Nov 21, 2017
3,953
Okay. So.. i dont know how to say this without being misunderstood by the mods. I have my own opinion. A totally different one. I'm a minority myself in my own country, our live existence literally depends on our government. We have our own problem without refugees, so i cant imagine how things will be if my country decides to accepts refugees in large groups without proper background check. What if they are large enough to control the government? What if some of the people intend to invade our own country? We are not first world country that we can easily propose asylum permission (*totem pro parte applies here)

I'm not trying to be very xenophobic, but there is this slight of fear that maybe some of them are actually harmful. That's what my fear is
 

Tristam

Member
Oct 25, 2017
58
So as a wealthy -- but black -- guy, should I or should I not remove South Korea from my list of places to visit.

I'm not interested in going anywhere that will likely treat me like shit.
I can only speak as a white dude, but I think you could enjoy yourself a lot if you stick to Seoul, which is way more cosmopolitan than anywhere else in Korea. Also, money talks--if you're wealthy, clean-cut, and stylishly dressed, you'll be a lot better received.
 

signal

Member
Oct 28, 2017
18,063
What does wealth have to do with anything related to racism that may be experienced during a trip. If you encounter racism are you going to pay people to stop
 

emag

Member
Oct 26, 2017
4,921
I'm not trying to be very xenophobic
Your post is literally the definition of the term.

Turkey has taken in millions of refugees. Lebanon and Jordan have accepted refugee populations that are 20% or more of their total population.

South Korea has only allowed in a few hundred people in a nation of 50 million. There’s no reason to worry apart from racism, xenophobia, and bigotry.
 

Riversands

Member
Nov 21, 2017
3,953
Your post is literally the definition of the term.

Turkey has taken in millions of refugees. Lebanon and Jordan have accepted refugee populations that are 20% or more of their total population.

South Korea has only allowed in a few hundred people in a nation of 50 million. There’s no reason to worry apart from racism, xenophobia, and bigotry.
I said "very xenophobic".. because some people may think i am xenophobic for posting that, but I can live with that judgement. But in my case this doesnt have to do with racism, it's about how government should be more 'selective' to people they do not know. I also treat the same to people who around me, kinda more like paranoia instead of xenophobic
 
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Tristam

Member
Oct 25, 2017
58
What does wealth have to do with anything related to racism that may be experienced during a trip. If you encounter racism are you going to pay people to stop
I assume this is directed at me. If you wear your wealth on your sleeve, you'll probably cop less rudeness. Shopkeepers will probably be less suspicious. Random drunks and bullies might seek out easier marks. This is all especially true in a country as obsessed with status as Korea is.
 

signal

Member
Oct 28, 2017
18,063
I assume this is directed at me. If you wear your wealth on your sleeve, you'll probably cop less rudeness. Shopkeepers will probably be less suspicious. Random drunks and bullies might seek out easier marks. This is all especially true in a country as obsessed with status as Korea is.
Was directed at the person you were quoting actually lol. Was assuming there wouldn't me much in the way of outward racism encountered, especially as a tourist, so not sure how much wealth will change things. I guess if you're sticking to really high end shopping for example and getting concierge and etc. where the service completely changes that's one thing.
 

guek

Banned
Oct 25, 2017
3,177
Yo, as a 1st generation Korean-American, lemme just say Koreans can be racist as fuck. My understanding is that xenophobia is still the overwhelming sentiment in most of Asia. Tourists are usually welcome but good luck trying to assimilate into society, particularly if you're not white.
 

Tristam

Member
Oct 25, 2017
58
Was directed at the person you were quoting actually lol. Was assuming there wouldn't me much in the way of outward racism encountered, especially as a tourist, so not sure how much wealth will change things. I guess if you're sticking to really high end shopping for example and getting concierge and etc. where the service completely changes that's one thing.
Well, Korean society is really image-conscious, and a tourist in Korea probably isn't going to speak much Korean, so Koreans will just have your appearance to go off of when forming judgments. I think that, even for a tourist, wearing a tailored shirt, a watch, and nice shoes will likely affect your day-to-day interactions, not just how you're treated in fancy hotels. And again I cannot speak to a black person's experience, but for a lot of Koreans their only exposure to black people is through unflattering stereotypes exported by American media. Dressing to the nines challenges those stereotypes.
 
Oct 25, 2017
6,402
So as a wealthy -- but black -- guy, should I or should I not remove South Korea from my list of places to visit.

I'm not interested in going anywhere that will likely treat me like shit.
I remember people (mainly americans )giving travel advice in the old forum and if you followed any of that an black person could only travel to certain sub saharan countries and maybe Canada and the netherlands .
 

9-Volt

Member
Oct 27, 2017
3,681
No safe harbor for Muslims in the world
Turkey is. Erdogan is planning to receive hundreds of thousands yemeni refugees by the end of the year. Currently there are approximately 7 million illegals in Turkey, 4 million of them alone are from Syria.

And this country literally had no money left and in serious recession.