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Racism Files

Is It Better To Raise a Black Child in the US or Abroad?

August 10, 2015
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In the US, black kids get harassed and murdered by police. In Korea, black kids are shunned. Which is better?

This is part of the Racism Files series. Read the FAQ here.

I came across this YouTube video by an adorable married couple (J Hearts J) who talked about where they should raise their future child.

He is from Korea, and she is American. After living in Korea for a while, they decided to move to the US. In the 15 minute long video, they debate about one of the reasons for doing so: raising a mixed race child, and whether this would be easier in the US or Korea.

On Friday, 19 year old Christian Taylor was killed by a rookie police officer in Arlington, Texas. Yesterday, police in Indianapolis, Indiana  killed 15 year old Andre Green. Green is the youngest black child to be killed by police since 12 year old Tamir Rice died last year in Cleveland, Ohio. Black children are more likely to be disciplined at school even though they are not more likely to misbehave. Teachers have lower expectations for black children. Black kids are also incarcerated at much higher rates. And once they become adults, the statistics about incarceration and police brutality only become worse. I’ve heard black people talk about moving abroad, or raising their kids abroad because of the way we’re treated here, and I don’t blame them.

But racism exists everywhere, and one way or another, black/darker skinned people are treated like shit all over the world. Korea is no different. A foreign teacher wrote this comment on the YouTube video:

I am an English teacher in Korea now. My experience with having mixed students in the class (Korean and Filipino) or just darker skinned students have over all been negative. The students tease them and they seem to be a little more uncomfortable in the class and around their peers. When it is time to do pair work or group work the other students complain. It’s sad and unfortunately, even though you as your child’s mother will hope to have a greater influence on your children than their peers… at a younger age that’s usually not the case. The teasing and taunting will be stressful to the child no matter how many times you tell them they are beautiful…I do also see your point about America. Things are not very good over there but speaking on terms of your child having friends and not being teased… America might be better. Korea is getting there though on accepting other races.

I was considering taking a job in Korea earlier this year, but I was kind of dreading it because of everything I see whenever I Google “racism in Korea.” For example:

So, where would I raise my child? Probably in America. It’s not perfect over here, but we try. I’d rather live in a place where ethnic and racial diversity are valued, where people of different races and cultures at least make an attempt to get along, rather than a place where I or my child would feel like outsiders everywhere we go.

So, which is better: to live in a society like Korea where you won’t get killed, but will be discriminated against and treated like an outsider? Or to live in the US, where racism is openly discussed and where POC have a community, but where the police and some white people will shoot you dead at the drop of a hat?

Let me know in the comments, and watch the video below. (Don’t forget to turn on the subtitles.)


Racism Files

Racism Files FAQ

July 21, 2015
From a December 2014 Ferguson solidarity protest in Madrid. Image by Keziyah Lewis.

1. What the hell is Racism Files?
It’s a collection of news articles, think pieces, videos, personal experiences, etc, of racism that happens in countries other than the US, plus my commentary.

2. What’s the point?

Too many people believe that the US is either the ONLY racist country, or the country with the MOST racism. This is absolutely not true. The difference is that in the USA, we talk more openly about racism, and we’re generally not afraid to admit when there is a problem. Things aren’t perfect here, but at least we try. It seems that people in general think that racism doesn’t happen in other countries, but it does. To think that European colonization hasn’t had an effect on former colonies’ concept of race and skin color is absolutely absurd. All over the world people buy skin lightening products so they can be light enough to get a partner or pass an interview. All over the world, darker skinned people are systematically discriminated against. All over the world, white tourists are praised like they are celebrities, while black tourists are attributed with negative stereotypes. Of course, I’m generalizing, but there is truth to what I’m saying. That’s why I’m starting this series here on the blog, to show people that racism isn’t just an American thing.

3. Are you trying to discourage people from traveling?

No, not at all. But I think people should be informed/prepared before they go somewhere, don’t you? Lately, with all the horrible racial police brutality in the US, I’ve heard black people talk about wanting to move to other countries where they’ll feel safe. I get that. But black people are hated all over the world. The only reason why we’d be safer in other countries is because of a lack of guns.

4. Before talking about racism in other countries, you should talk about racism in your own.

No kidding. Look at my writing. I write about racism. I’m a black person from the United States. Trust me, I’m well aware that racism is pervasive here. The point of this series isn’t to say that the US is better than other places. Just that racism is a world wide phenomenon and that white supremacy has done serious damage on all corners of the planet.

5. You’re racist for bringing up racism.

No, and you’re silly. As Jon Stewart once said, you can’t “he who smelt it dealt it” racism. If someone says that it’s raining, that doesn’t mean that they caused the rain.

6. Do you hate white people?

No, I hate white supremacy. I hate that I grew up hating my skin color/hair/facial features. I hate that a police officer in my country can kill me at any time and just get away with it. I hate that I’m 3x more likely to go to prison than a white woman. I hate that, if charged with the same crime as a white woman, I will get a longer sentence. I hate that blackness is only celebrated when pieces of black culture and black beauty are adopted by white people. I hate that I got made fun of for having big lips, but suddenly Kylie Jenner plumps hers up and now full lips are cool. I hate even though there is a black family in the white house, people all over the world still cannot believe that a black tourist can be American or western. I hate that my ancestors were stolen, chained, packed into ships, and brought over to this hemisphere to be sold as property. I hate that people don’t understand that slavery has everything to do with how messed up things are today. I hate that we’re told to get over it. I hate knowing that as a black woman, I will be subject to both racial and sexist harassment online. I hate that a presidential candidate actually said that Mexican immigrants are rapists, and he still gets to run. I hate that a white man can walk into a historical black church and shoot 9 people to death and people will continue to fly the Confederate flag with pride. I hate that I grew up on land that was stolen from Native Americans.

These are just some of the things I hate. These things happen because of white supremacy. If you are white, you personally benefit from this system, even if you are not racist yourself. Even if your ancestors didn’t own slaves. Even if you’re poor or have other conditions that aren’t privileges. White privilege is a thing.


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