‘I’m proud of my African heritage’

Posted in Africa, Articles, Asian Diaspora, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive on 2014-12-16 01:15Z by Steven

‘I’m proud of my African heritage’

The Korea Times
2014-12-14

Kim Se-jeong

Top award winner Park Ji-han says taekwondo changed him

When Park Ji-han was in his first year at elementary school, his classmates called him “African shala shala” because of his background and because he spoke Arabic.

Now, a decade later, the handsome youth’s nickname is “walking statue.” The high school sophomore stands about 179 centimeters tall, and he has chiseled features that could stare down any K-pop star or actors for that matter.

The change speaks volumes about how much Park, 17, went through as a young boy and how far he has come. He attributes this to taekwondo.

A student at Daekyeong Commercial High School in Seoul, he was recently named the grand winner in the 3rd Korea Multicultural Youth Awards organized by The Korea Times and the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family.

Park was born in 1997 to a Korean mother and Sudanese father. He lives with his parents and older brother in Itaewon in Seoul.

He began learning taekwondo when he was in the second grade.

“I had no friends in the first grade, but in the second grade I finally met a good friend, and I practiced taekwondo with him,” he told The Korea Times. Initially, he took up the martial art to defend himself as he was still scared of the boys who had mocked him…

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Skin color remains big barrier

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Campus Life, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science on 2014-02-02 22:16Z by Steven

Skin color remains big barrier

The Korea Times
2014-01-27

Park Si-soo

Min Kyung-joon (alias) is a “good boy” in many aspects.

The freshman at a middle school in Ansan, Gyeonggi Province, has been acknowledged by his teachers for his outstanding academic achievement and affable personality. Min is also very actively engaged in sports, which explains why he is one of the top players of an intramural soccer club.

Notwithstanding his good standing, he still has a hard time associating with his classmates, mainly because of his “exotic” appearance. The 15-year-old’s father is Pakistani and his mother a Korean native.

“That’s a huge disadvantage in making new friends among young children,” said Kim Young-im, a counselor who has interviewed numerous biracial children, including Min, in Ansan, home to one of the country’s largest population of low income immigrants.

“Children tend to get along with those who share similarity in looks and other visible characteristics. But he is different (from others) in many ways.”

For that reason, Kim added, it’s a common trend in the industrial town to see “exotic-looking” teenagers hanging out together, isolating themselves from their peers of Korean parentage.

“This is a problem that is very difficult to address,” the counselor said. “The government and school authorities have tried hard to solve this with various kinds of measures. But I think many of these programs turned out to be in vain.”

The number of biracial students like Min in Korea is estimated at 55,780 as of last year, representing 0.86 percent of the 6.53 million students enrolled in primary and secondary schools nationwide. The figure is expected to steadily increase to reach five percent by 2020, according to the education ministry…

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‘Koreans are not racist’

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, New Media, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science on 2013-08-02 21:18Z by Steven

‘Koreans are not racist’

The Korea Times
2013-08-02

Jonathan Breen

Koreans can be close-minded to issues of race and culture, but they know it and they want to learn, says the head of a foundation that helps multiethnic children here.

Yang Chan-wook, chairman of the Movement for the Advancement of the Cultural Diversity of Koreans (MACK) — told The Korea Times that Korea is not a racist or prejudiced country, but a country going through change.

“Racism is usually based on hate — Korea is nothing like that,” he said…

…“We focus on the diversity of Koreans — anyone with a mixed heritage. And we help Koreans accept them,” he said.

Like many MACK members, Yang is mixed-race — part Korean from his mother and part African-American from his father. He prefers to go by his Korean name rather than his Western name, Gregory Diggs…

…The segregation of school children in Korea is what first led the recently appointed MACK president Frank Brannen to work with multiethnic Koreans.

“I thought all multicultural children attended Korean schools, but then I learnt that wasn’t the case, so that is when I got involved,” said the 32-year-old, adding, “In some aspects for student’s futures, I don’t think going to multicultural schools is the way forward.”…

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Winners of 1st Korea Multicultural Youth Awards

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Media Archive, Social Work on 2013-07-05 23:13Z by Steven

Winners of 1st Korea Multicultural Youth Awards

The Korea Times
2012-12-12

Jun Ji-hye

Habitus, a student volunteer group at Yongmoon High School in Seoul, has worked for vulnerable members of society such as the disabled, senior citizens and multiracial children.

Among their good works, running the study room for elementary school students from multiracial families ought to be highly commended.

Seven students who are in the second grade of the school are in the group. They set themselves up as mentors for such young children and have guided their study from Monday to Friday for a year.

They also became company for them to talk together with, thus giving them the needed emotional support.

“It takes 20 minutes for them to get to the study room from the school. After doing the volunteer work for an hour, they have to go back to school to do their own study till 11 p.m. But they always do such works with a glad heart,” said Choi Nak-won, a guidance teacher of the group.

Choi said, “Seven students have been enthusiastic about understanding multiracial families and always warm-heartedly treating young students from such families. I believe this will help them grow up as leading figures in the future society.”…

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Multicultural children’s baseball team founded

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Media Archive on 2012-04-26 21:00Z by Steven

Multicultural children’s baseball team founded

The Korea Times
2012-04-20

Kim Bo-eun

Former baseball player Heo Koo-youn, 61, will found a baseball team for children of interracial families in Korea, Monday.

The team will be called Heo Koo-youn Rainbow Little.

The initiation ceremony will be held at the National Baseball Center in Goyang, north of Seoul.
 
The junior team will be comprised of about 20 children from interracial and underprivileged families residing in Goyang…

…“The team is designed to help resolve the problems troubling interracial families through sports,” Heo said in a phone interview with The Korea Times Friday…

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Multi-ethnic Koreans find help with assimilation through MACK Foundation

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Identity Development/Psychology, New Media, Social Science on 2012-04-26 01:31Z by Steven

Multi-ethnic Koreans find help with assimilation through MACK Foundation

The Korea Times
2012-04-25

A “typical Korean” probably wouldn’t call Yang Chan-wook a typical Korean, but he wants to be seen that way. The 37-year-old is a multi-ethnic Korean, part Korean from his mother’s side and part African-American from his father’s side. And he’s working towards better understanding of multi-ethnic Koreans in Korean society with his foundation, the Movement for the Advancement of the Cultural-Diversity of Koreans, also known as MACK.

The MACK Foundation president was born in Korea, but moved around between the U.S., Germany and Korea when he was young. Yang says he really started to come to terms with his dual ethnicities after his parents divorced.

“It was around 10 or 11 when I started to identify myself with the different cultural aspects of my own life that either contradicted or fit into the environment that I was in,” says Yang. Until that point, Yang continues, “my ethnicity wasn’t really on my mind until I moved to my father’s side of the family in an all African-American community.” It was there in Chicago where Yang says that his dual-ethnicities were actually being pointed out to him and he had to start thinking about what that meant.

After that, Yang decided to dedicate his life towards helping others with similar backgrounds. He moved back to Korea in 2003. It was here in 2009 where he took the reins of MACK.

“We’re different from other multi-cultural foundations because we’re focused on Koreans accepting the diversity of its own people,” says Yang…

Shin Hei-soo, a U.N. Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights expert, says that Korea still has many issues accepting a multi-ethnic as well as a multi-cultural society. It’s because “Koreans have long historical roots of the family tree,” Shin explains. In her hometown area in Gyeonggi Province, where they can count back to 11 generations of the family name Shin, she says even Koreans with a different last name than Shin are still treated as outsiders.

Rural and older generations might have a more conservative view about accepting mixed-race Koreans into society, says Lee Kyu-jae, a recent Hanyang University graduate. “In my opinion, mixed-race Koreans are also our citizens so we shouldn’t consider them as foreign or someone who is different.” The 26-year-old continues, “because Korea is a single-race nation, most Koreans cannot help having a sense of difference about them. So, they sometimes suffer from hardship due to this unique Korean perspective.”…

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