• Yup

    It’s so sad because I love Boom as an entertainer, but as I black person, blackface always offends me. Even when blackface was first started it wasn’t meant to be offensive, but it was, it still is. Not only offensive, but highly ignorant. Koreans probably don’t know learn the history behind it, but still. Why would that be okay? I’m sure it wasn’t meant to be offensive on Boom’s part. I’m not all furious because I know ignorance will always exist, but I’m deeply disappointed. Boom, you’re still funny and all but now I like you less. I’m still a fan though. 

    • Yup

      * as a black person*

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_MEGAH5NUOS6RD2OYMMJ4XS2LCY MariaI

    I get how blackface is offensive, but I really think in this instance it shouldnt be taken as such. He’s dressing up as Stevie Wonder. What else is he supposed to do to make it apparent that he’s Stevie Wonder? If he just showed up wid the dreads &glasses no one would get it. Like it or not skin color is a big distinguishing factor for people. The first thing u notice when u see someone is their skin color.

    • saturn

      Actually many ppl have imitated Stevie Wonder (black, white and asian) and all they had was sunglasses on. The thing that most distinguishes Stevie Wonder is Not his skin color but the way he moves his head side to side when he sings, everyone knows that. 

      • maldita

        But the thing is, for such a homogenous country like Korea, I wouldn’t be surprised if Stevie Wonder’s dark skin is the one thing that makes him stand out. I mean, isn’t it why Taeyeon got in trouble with her Alicia Keys quote a few years ago? She said “my black friend Alicia Keys is pretty.” To them, black is just a way to describe a person. I’m from an Asian country and people here talk like that too.

  • Kyana

    Maybe something is wrong with me, but as an African American I don’t feel the least bit offended by what Boom has done. I feel like there’s a difference between a costume and actual Black Face. He isn’t making fun of the African american race he’s just dressing up as an African American man. Now that 5th picture is what i would consider Black Face and that is where i would draw the line. You can clearly see that they chose to represent African Americans using a generalization or a stereotype. Look at the large hoop earrings and the hair, now that is offensive. But for me Boom dressing up as Stevie wonder is no different than Eddie Murphy dressing up and disguising himself as a Caucasian man(which he did several times)in one of his movies. 

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FS52P3WGP37JJ6YJNRLPPBVS4E A

      I completely and utterly agree. I think the intent behind actions are particularly important when looking at such a controversy in a country like Korea, where sensitivities dont stem from a Western (particularly American) history.

      It reminds me of the incident where BEAST (?) didnt want to wear japanese clothing at a fashion show. International fans were at both sides of the debate, wondering why they couldnt just wear the clothing. 

      I truly think that answers such as the one Tasha gave and the one the Professor (one of the member’s father gave in the other incident) gave are stated with understanding, empathy, and hope towards the future.  

    • Aja213

      he doesn’t need to dress up as anybody and yeah that eddie murphy comment is true. LOL

  • Mgflutie

    Koreans still are VERY racist so hopefully those involved get a whole lotta SHIT their way! If you put blackface on, its racist and intentional. Don’t give me that crap ‘oh that wasn’t intended…’

  • asianromance

    I’m angry about this blackface issue, but I also know that koreans don’t know the history behind this and know nothing abt history of racism and hate behind this (just like how many in the international community do not understand the history between the koreans and the Japanese) -and why some people get worked up over seemingly innocuous issues.  That’s because these issues have a sensitive history- a connotation.  That is where some cultural sensitivity should come in. 

    I know Boom just thought of this as some sort of cosplay of someone who is admired rather than using it to intentionally propagate stereotypes.  And I know Koreans can’t be expected to know the culture and history of every country out there (heck, in the US, I bet most people can’t even point out South Korea on the map).  However, I do think that the international community for k-entertainment is so large that I find it somewhat ridiculous that after so many of these blackface incidents and international backlash that entertainers are still pulling this sort of thing.  Especially after Tasha has spoken up before abt this.  I hope someone korean tries to educate the korean community about why this is offensive using terms, examples, and feelings that the koreans can understand and relate to.  As a country/people where a good chunk of its history was spent being vassals to more powerful countries, shouldn’t they understand even a little bit? 

    I know it is hard for Asians to understand the sort of racism that occurs in the US.  Heck my Asian mom told me 2 years ago that it was okay asians don’t get represented in the media.i.e.  saying “no one in the US wants to see asians” like it was no big deal while I try to argue the societal and psychological repercussions of not having asian faces in the media.

  • kc

    please marry me, jk, but really, you can’t fight racism with fire, like with anyone who doesn’t understand something, yelling at them and telling them they’re stupid will just make said people get angry and turn away -.-
    I don’t think Korea notices and understands the history of Black Americans, or white Americans or really any  other race other then their own, but then again, how often did we touch on Korean culture in History class here in the states? how can we ask them to know us if our own country doesn’t take the time to know them?
    how many times have you seen a non-Asian doing a parody of an Asian? hell, a good deal of Asian celebrities make fun of their own race, that can’t be to helpful for the none-Asians to see past the stereotype -.-

    IDK, racism is a slippery slope that every culture seems to have difficulty with, but well, as humans we’re always trying to find reasons why the “other person” is different from us, sometimes I think we even try very hard to find reason to hate others whether it be our race, political view or sexual orientation… it’s like we try to find reasons as to why we’re better then others.

    the world, if it’s ever going to change, needs to be dealt with with a little bit more, well we need to learn how to listen to each other better if we’re ever going to change.

    here’s praying for the world, praying for life in general and here’s praying we learn to listen instead of shutting our ears to those that oppose our views.

  • jen

    I too am tired of the self-righteousness of the international fans. Yes, I fully believe that the history behind blackface make it an unarguably racist act and it should not be condoned. But the response I see from fans is never anything more than a “what the fuck” or “how does this even” or or some variation of the previous two. I’m tired of fans thinking they are the high and mighty, peering down upon the poor peons in Korean society who know not what they do and deserve no more of their time than a disgusted keyspam.

    It’s true that they ARE wrong when they purport racial stereotypes through “blackface” (among other things), but to look upon the Korean society with such disdain and disrespect while applauding yourself on your unswerving moral compass is shameful as well. I’m really sick of people thinking just because Korea did wrong they deserve this incredible hatred and backlash. To reprimand and let it be known that you disapprove is absolutely necessary, but international fans who rarely deign to write out a complete sentence to express their disdain are not superior beings. I don’t know how feasible it is to go out and teach, but being so lofty about how much wiser and better of a human being you are than the tasteless PDs who put together such acts is irritating.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FS52P3WGP37JJ6YJNRLPPBVS4E A

      I think, in the case of Boom, the backlash isn’t by people who themselves are offended but rather by people who are offended on behalf of someone else. That is to say, they know it’s wrong, dont understand why, dont feel themselves wronged, but want to speak out about it. It’s not bad, it’s actually a bit heartening, but it does nothing really to move forward.
      In the case of the Saudi Arabian incident on Star King, however… I find that is something much more serious. It wasnt something meant to be a representation of sorts, mostly fun.In the case of Star King, it painted an entire community/peoples as being bad, crude, backwards. And the backlash by those particular internationals, though not as vocal, is more vicious. In that case, there are people on both sides, some wanting the channel to air something to show a bit more understanding, others hating Koreans all together. Sad. 

  • Anonymous

    so he had is come back as a complete idiot…bravo Boom and bravos to the show’s PDs *sarcasm*

  • Anonymous

    Wow…what a load of crock. It’s like this was written using Derailing for Dummies as a checklist. (http://www.derailingfordummies.com/) Considering Seoulbeats’ history of looking at k-pop with a more critical eye than other online blogs, I expected better.

    Let’s break down where this argument failed. First, when an idol does something demeaning or insulting, the international audience has every right to be angry. We don’t owe these idols a kind and placating response (especially when they fail IN THE SAME WAY over and over again). If someone insulted you, how calmly would you act? By accusing parts of the international community of being too angry, you are invalidating the hurt these groups face and placing the Korean idols’ feelings above theirs. The anger aimed at the Korean industry is warranted in my opinion. They
    haven’t proven themselves to be open to hearing about outside views and
    opinions. (At least, not negative outside views and opinions.)

    Second, it is not my job (or anyone in the international community’s) to teach Korea and Korean entertainment industries how to be more sensitive. When I first got into the k-pop fandom I took the steps to educate myself about Korea. I looked up information about honorifics, cultural norms, hanbok, Korean festivals and the like so I could better understand the idols’ lives and the market they worked in. It’s the same with any community. When I became a LGBT ally, again I EDUCATED MYSELF. It would have been presumptuous to assume there were scores of people waiting to show me how not to be an insensitive jerk. If the k-pop companies want to enter the global market, THEY are going to have to take responsibility and educate themselves on cultural sensitivities. No one is going to be around to hold their hand and show them the way. What’s more, it’s not as if this is the first time they’ve faced
    criticism regarding blackface. The photographic evidence is right there.
    There was Kikwang (or however you spell his name), The Bubble Sisters,
    Shindong and I’m sure there’s many more I don’t know about. The Korean
    industry has some idea that the practice is not accepted and they continue to do it. This is not a
    matter of education; this is insensitivity.

    And finally, to the fandom, just because it didn’t offend you, doesn’t mean it isn’t harmful. If you don’t know the history of blackface, I’m jealous of you. I really am. Because it’s painful. As I wrote earlier, blackface is a gag that was used early on to mock black people for their
    perceived stereotypes. Almost all blackface characters are portrayed as
    lazy, dumb, oversexed and simple. Blackface was also used to
    appropriate black culture. White audiences liked black music and dance,
    but didn’t want to deal with the actual people. So white actors and
    singers would put shoe polish on their faces and go out and act “black.” K-pop idols may not mean to offend, but blackface has a hurtful history that it may never be able to shake. They can’t simply use the gag and ignore the history behind it. It may not be racist, but it is ignorant.

    Boom wanted to honor Stevie Wonder, then why not focus on his music? By donning the dark makeup, Stevie Wonder’s entire persona was reduced to nothing but his skin color. K-pop idols have done great tributes to MJ without using blackface. They focused on his music and his dancing. They focused on those things that made him the star he is today.

    I didn’t mean for this to be so long and I apologize, but I just cannot stand it when people give the “you’re too angry” line to hurt groups. I agree that the discourse between Korea and the international audiences should be respectful. I would love to interact with the Korea entertainment industry and tell them why I like their stars and what I would like to see. But do not tell me how I should respond to someone whose actions are hurting me. I have every right to express my anger and to call the idols out for their actions.

    • HelloWorld

      I was pretty much thinking exactly the same thing, but you worded it better than I could ever.

      The idea of educating the Korean media about the implications and history of blackface is absolutely ideal and lovely, and the thought itself sends butterflies to my heart. And I definitely see where you’re coming from Patricia. But here’s the real deal: we can’t do it. How are we meant to do it? I’m not going to go and email the US ambassador in Korea over some stupid Star King or Boom skit. Ignorance is never an excuse for anything, it can be an explanation, but it never excuses an action. If I feel something is disrespectful and immoral, hell, I’m going to go on my twitter and rant about it. Tasha has means of communication with the industry, so it’s all great that Tasha wants to teach and not rant. But that being said, if Tasha did choose to rant I wouldn’t hold it against her.

      And as straighttohelvetica said, this isn’t anything new. They’ve done blackface before, and they’ve seen the repercussions it had on them. I agree that the statement ‘when will Korea ever learn’ is a generalization, but it carries truth about it. They’ve done it more than once, they’ve been called out more than once, they’re not ignorant anymore. And even if they were ignorant, I’d like to see that excuse taken to court. “Yo, sorry about that. I was ignorant.”

      And seeing how you incorporated the use of the Muslim cameo on Star King, I might as well address that too. That was offensive. I’m not going to sugar coat it. I am Muslim, and I was offended. I doubt the girl they brought on the show was even Muslim. If she really wanted to sing nothings stopping her from moving to Lebanon or Egypt, or another Middle Eastern country where female singers are everywhere. But in the case of Saudi Arabia, that country is like the birth of the first wave of Islam, and it holds religious significance to many Muslims. It’s where the Prophet fought his battles, where the Prophet was born, where the Prophet died. You can argue that prohibiting women from singing is extreme, but it doesn’t change the fact it’s their culture. It’s like wearing a bikini to Jerusalem- not cool. 

      And seeing the sheer amount of negative response Star King received from the broadcast, I’m pretty sure there are people in Korea who are aware of the offensiveness of that sketch. Hence the argument ‘Korea is isolated from the issues of the other world’ is invalid. Here, my issue is ‘when will Star King ever learn’ not ‘when Korea will ever learn’.

      I love the Korean culture, and not just for the idols. I did research about it, I’ve learned to respect it. And sorry, but it still disappoints me when a culture I invested so much of my time in go and mock the culture in which I was brought up in. 

      P.S: Seriously though, Patricia. Arguments aside, I love your articles. They always bring in the intelligent discussion. 

    • Kot

      Of course they wouldn’t do the same with MJ because of the obvious. 
      And sure, Patricia’s article is unrealistic when it comes to “educate SK” but I just think the main idea was that you can’t expect this country to be perfect. Kpop fans just react too much to this kind of thing because they can’t handle the fact that it isn’t the wonderland they imagine. I’m not saying it isn’t wrong, just that angry online comments won’t change a lot of things. 
      The reality is that SK is a really homogeneous country so obviously they haven’t faced yet the impact of all these ignorant actions. And everything is now accessible through the internet but SK still can’t imagine how much all their contents is exposed and watched by people.

      • Anonymous

        “Of course they wouldn’t do the same with MJ because of the obvious.”

        This comment doesn’t make any sense. MJ may have been very light-skinned when he died, but he wasn’t that light-skinned for all of his career. I’ve seen idols doing Thriller-era tributes and they still didn’t have to use black face.

        I don’t expect Korea to be perfect; I do expect them to be respectful. And by doing the same hurtful action again and again, it’s clear they don’t respect anything outside of Korea.

        • Kot

          MJ is an exception there’s nothing to add about this, it wasn’t even a valid example to begin with.

          SK doesn’t actively disrespect “anything outside of Korea”, it’s ignorance. That’s a fact, they’re not aware of their actions. How can someone disrespect something he’s not even aware about ? Before being respectful they need to be conscious about it.

          • Anonymous

            WTF? Michael Jackson is a very valid example. He’s a pop star that many of the idols admire and at the height of his popularity, he was a dark-skinned black man. Even after his skin lightened, he still considered himself a black man. When idols due tribute to him from the Thriller era, they don’t put on black make-up and wigs do they? No; his dance moves, the red jacket and the moon walk are enough. They focus his skills as an entertainer rather than his skin color.

            You don’t consider MJ black? Fine. That’s you. Korean stars have recognized Whitney Houston, Usher, “Dreamgirls” and other black entertainers without the use of black make-up. The point is (and was from the very beginning of this discussion) is that the make up is not necessary to honor these artists.

            And yes, when an industry does the same hurtful action again and again, despite the outcry they have experienced in the past, that is disrespect. Can we stop acting like Korea is a nation of children who don’t know any better? They know enough about black people to dread and cornrow their hair. They know enough about hip-hop culture to wear bandannas, undershirts and baggy jeans. Just as they researched and copied all those things, they could research and learn about how not to offend other cultures. That is not that too difficult of an expectation.

          • http://twitter.com/clazzigirl bulleusekat

            He WAS a dark skinned black man.

             “Korean stars have recognized Whitney Houston, Usher, “Dreamgirls” and other black entertainers ”
            Recognized but not impersonated.

            Otherwise, sorry, I know about hip hop bandanas, undershirts and baggy jeans but I didn’t know about the blackface history. Does it mean I did the same shitty thing ? No ! 
            But you shouldn’t assume that everyone knows the history of “black” culture OR expect people to do researches out of nowhere. 
            Which outcry are you talking about ? kpop fans’ outcry? 

          • Anonymous

            I don’t know how we got sidetracked by the MJ thing, but my point is
            that Boom could have just as easily worn the wig, the dark glasses, the
            dark suit and mimicked Stevie Wonder’s unique way of playing the piano
            and audiences still would have gotten that he was impersonating Stevie.
            The dark make-up was unnecessary.

            You said that while you know
            about popular black culture and don’t know the history of blackface, you
            still wouldn’t have done the blackface gag. That’s great! And that’s my
            point. You, one person, know better than everyone who was involved in
            that skit. That’s not a good thing for an industry that’s trying to
            become a major force in the global market place.

            Boom is a S.M.
            signed artist, correct? I admit, I do have very high expectations of
            S.M. A few months ago the board held that big press conference about
            their goals for the company. They talked about how they wanted to team
            up with international producers and enter markets outside of Asia. The
            hired Teddy Riley, held their first concert in Europe and are planning
            another concert in New York. I DO expect them to do some research if they’re making that big an effort to become internationally known. If they want to enter the global market, they’ll have to know the global rules.

            Despite my criticisms, I do like k-pop. I would love for western audiences to see how amazing some of the idols are and how hard they work. But if they keep up the blackface gags and similar insensitive actions (such as the Star King Muslim skit) they are pretty much shooting themselves in the foot.

            (And yes, the studios do know the blackface gag causes an outcry. That’s why you can’t find video of the Kikwang blackface scene anywhere online and why the Bubble Sisters are no longer promoted.)

          • La

            Boom’s not from SM

          • Aja213

            they are aware of their actions do you see them mocking white people nOOOO you don’t and there a reason why.

        • Kot

          MJ is an exception there’s nothing to add about this, it wasn’t even a valid example to begin with.

          SK doesn’t actively disrespect “anything outside of Korea”, it’s ignorance. That’s a fact, they’re not aware of their actions. How can someone disrespect something he’s not even aware about ? Before being respectful they need to be conscious about it.

    • Kot

      Of course they wouldn’t do the same with MJ because of the obvious. 
      And sure, Patricia’s article is unrealistic when it comes to “educate SK” but I just think the main idea was that you can’t expect this country to be perfect. Kpop fans just react too much to this kind of thing because they can’t handle the fact that it isn’t the wonderland they imagine. I’m not saying it isn’t wrong, just that angry online comments won’t change a lot of things. 
      The reality is that SK is a really homogeneous country so obviously they haven’t faced yet the impact of all these ignorant actions. And everything is now accessible through the internet but SK still can’t imagine how much all their contents is exposed and watched by people.

    • TmL

      I have absolutely nothing to add to what you just said. You’re amazing.

    • Anonymous

      And oh god, I can’t believe I missed the whole “you must enjoy being offended bit.” No, as a matter of fact, I don’t enjoy being offended. I don’t enjoy seeing my culture reduced to nothing more than a gag or a joke. I want to enjoy k-pop and what Korea has to offer, but I’m not going to put up with any crap. Sorry.

      This whole article is almost more offensive than the actions it’s supposed to condemn.

    • http://www.callmepatricia.com Patricia

      You’re right; it’s no one’s responsibility to teach Korea how to stop being culturally insensitive. Korea’s been exposed to the global community for far too long to not know the difference between offensive and not-offensive. Clearly they haven’t gotten the point yet. And clearly we are fed up with it. The anger towards the reoccurring displays of racism and ignorance is certainly deserved, and you (and I, and everyone else on this plant) certainly have the right to be offended. But is it the best thing to do?

      What is of concern to me isn’t the fact that international fans aren’t going out of their way to educate others or writing letters to Korea’s Ministry-of-Whatever in an attempt to enact change. What’s bothersome is the fact that so many international fans’ ONLY reaction to this kind of news is anger. When there’s a clear injustice being done, we have a right to be angry and offended. But the kind of anger I’m seeing is unproductive anger. Whenever news like this comes out, international fans tend to huddle into little groups and collectively scream and cry over the injustice of it all. It’s an understandable reaction, sure, but there’s no real discussion going on, and with matters such as these, there SHOULD be a discussion. Sure, the bulk of the international fan community might understand the true offensive nature of blackface, but clearly, not everyone does. As evidenced in some of the comments below, not even everyone within the international fan community itself fully understands the racist connotations behind blackface.

      And that’s my real problem with this issue – whenever I see a member of the international fan community enter a conversation about blackface (or any other similar issue) and question the validity of its offensive nature, s/he is almost never given a straight response. When someone in the international fan community actively approaches us wanting to be educated, s/he is given the brush-off, if not something worse. If someone adamantly argues that blackface isn’t all that offensive, they’re probably bound to get backlash…but it’s also an opportunity to open up a discussion. What I’m seeing, though, is just the backlash. International fans are constantly being presented with the opportunity to educate others within their own community. But they’re not taking that opportunity, and choose instead to just be angry. As I said before, the anger is deserved and it’s understandable…but if there’s nothing good coming out of it, then all we’re going to have is two opposing sides at a standstill. The people who are still ignorant about blackface will continue to be ignorant, and no amount of angry ranting on Twitter will change their opinion. Nothing will get better.

      But maybe this is simply a matter of personal morals and beliefs. Personally, I believe that putting aside your own reservations and reaching out to educate just one other person can make all the difference in the world. Call me idealistic, but I think that that’s a lot more productive than constantly being angry and offended simply because you have the right to be.

      • Anonymous

        I appreciate that you took the time to respond. Two quick comments:

        First, in your reply you are again making someone else’s ignorance MY problem. Instead of expecting people who don’t see why blackface is harmful to just look it up themselves, you are expecting international fans to educate them. Why should I have to go out of my way to teach and guide people on the Internet when they have the resources to do all of that for themselves? Again it’s presumptuous and kind of lazy to expect people to go out of their way to educate you. It’s really tiring and frustrating to have to explain five, 10, 15 times to people why something is offensive, when they can just as easily spend a few minutes Google searching it. (And not everyone asks in the most polite or respectful way, Most of the time it’s people just going “What’s the big deal?”) So yeah, I don’t appreciate it when I see post after post of people going on about how something must not be offensive just because they don’t know why it’s offensive.

        Second, you also ignore the fact that there are people who are attempting to educate; however they are either talked over or are in a position where their voice can’t be heard. A few people on Tumblr got together to form a new community of people who want to fight racism in k-pop (http://fansagainstracisminkpop.tumblr.com/ ). They are taking this as a cause and are trying really hard to reach fans, both international and Korean, going so far as to try and find a fluent Korean speaker to post tweets in Hangul. Every time there’s a blackface incident, I see tons of posts by people calmly explaining why blackface isn’t appropriate and why it shouldn’t be done. And I also see the same dismissive responses: “Korea doesn’t know that much about black history,” “They didn’t mean for it to be offensive,” or the worst, “Asians are racist.” These excuses don’t hold water anymore. Maybe they did the very first time, but not anymore. Finally, when the most popular and most visited international site for k-pop fans won’t even discuss the incident, how can one even expect for a discussion to take place?

        • Aja213

          yes and let me explain this goes beyond music. A politician from korea’s Grand National Party was told to keep his mouth shut when he went to Washington but the idiot didn’t listen. He went to Washington and told a powerful diplomat,”I don’t know how you sleep at night with all of these n#$$%% running around i would be terrified.”

          Suffice to say the diplomat was not amused and the stupid racist politician was dismissed from the party as that was not his first racist idiotic statement toward black folks, this time the party had enough of his ftard behavior and told him get the hell out and stay out. props up to the party for dealing with stupidity as Korea was battling China for image superiority and his dumb ass statements didn’t help.

        • http://www.callmepatricia.com Patricia

          Thanks for posting a link to that Tumblr. I checked it out and I really appreciate their respectful attitude in handling an otherwise delicate matter. I think it would do a lot of other international fans good to follow the example they have set. 

          My biggest problem isn’t the fact that international fans aren’t leaping to educate those who don’t know any better. No one is responsible for holding Korea’s hand and guiding it to the path of enlightenment. No one is obligated to respond with kindness and understanding to an act of cultural insensitivity. No one needs to subject themselves to repeating the same explanation a twentieth time because the message didn’t go through on the first nineteen tries. As users of the internet, we’re not responsible for correcting the wrongdoings of others. I get it, and I agree.

          My biggest problem is the alternative we have chosen. Whenever stuff like this happens, it always turns into a discussion about “Korea”‘s problems and what “Korea” has done wrong and how “Korea” will never learn, as if Korea were a paste-eating monkey locked in a cage for our scrutiny. We criticize Korea for its moral wrongdoings in the name of ‘socio-cultural analysis’ to the point where Korea itself has turned into a caricature in the eyes of many international fans. That’s not fair. Many other Asian countries have suffered the same kind of treatment from Westerners. When I was in Taiwan this summer, I was able to speak to many Taiwanese university students who have had their fair share of interaction from American study abroad students, and the one thing they did not appreciate about the Americans’ attitude is how they treated Taiwan like their personal sociology lab rat. They knew that the American students’ probably had a genuine interest in Taiwanese culture and sociology, but they were offended to see Americans nitpicking at Taiwanese society and subconsciously trying to find something that would validate the widespread idea that all of Asia is inherently racist, sexist, homophobic, you name it. And once they found an example, they got angry over it and concluded that Taiwan was as culturally insensitive as they thought it to be. It’s an arrogant attitude, and it’s offensive.

          Look, it’s a fact that Asia’s attitude towards cultural sensitivity is markedly different from the west’s attitude towards cultural sensitivity. It’s true that Asian societies exhibit racism, sexism, and any other kind of -ism in a much more shamelessly obvious manner than western societies, and it’s true that there are some people in Asia who hold those racist and sexist ideals that back up those actions. Not all, some. But that doesn’t give us an excuse to get on our high horses and start picking apart Korean society as a whole and casting judgment upon it as if we understand every nuance about it and have declared ourselves the higher moral beings. What Boom did was wrong, and there are two things we as an international audience can do: we can go rant about “Korea’s problems” and use it to validate the socially-backwards caricature of Korea we have created, or we can try to do something about it. We’re not obligated to do something about it, but I think that it’s far better than the alternative. Socio-cultural commentary is okay and is oftentimes fruitful (why else would I be writing for Seoulbeats), but not when the motive is to look for reasons that prove that a society is backwards or inferior.

          In addition: a real discussion is one that involves multiple viewpoints, not just a group of people simultaneously voicing similar discontents over the same issue. That can only happen if people with opposing viewpoints aren’t afraid to speak up. With the high-and-mighty attitude possessed by much of the international fandom, the likelihood of that happening is getting slimmer and slimmer. I have no responsibility over what major K-pop news sites choose to post and not post, but the fact of the matter is, there are places on the internet where intelligent discourse can happen, and they have chosen to post this news. But the intelligent discourse is not happening. It’s just groups of people posting one line comments about how Korea did something wrong, AGAIN, adding to that caricature of an immoral, intolerant Korea.

  • http://twitter.com/annytran Anny Tran

    i think context is important and even though the act may be offensive, you also need to consider the reasons behind it. Although yes, its in poor taste but its done without ill-intention and purely for entertainment, not as a racist or derogatory statement. Besides, blackface is not something that is universally known as it is in the US. 

  • Beemo89

    Firstly let me start by saying that I am a black woman who is very much a fan of Korea, their culture and the K-pop entertainment industry as a whole. I’ve taken time to learn their language, living in their country and through that I have many Korean friends. I might have had a few stares in the street, and a few sniggers or comments when I walked by…But you wouldn’t expect anything else from a HOMOGENEOUS society. Truthfully I always felt 100% happy in Korea and have faced more racism and problems in my home country (England) then I ever faced in Korea.

    However, it does sadden me when these incidents continue to happen, and no-one seems to learn from them, as it overshadows the beauty of such a special country. That does not mean we can lay the blame only on the Korean nation, because there is racism all over the world and in every pocket of society. Even among blacks themselves…

    The anger that international K-pop fans demonstrate is of-course understandable, but not necessarily helpful. Ok so we can’t “teach” these entertainers directly, but we can help them to learn about other cultures, through our actions, the way we speak, the way we conduct themselves, and even through the way we respond to situations like this one. Showing them up for being small minded, and allowing them to see OUR race and culture for what it truly is.

    I’m sure BOOM did not do this to offend, but for the people who do want to be offensive, they will soon be made to look very stupid when they realise that the way they “make fun” of blacks (or any other kind of non-white entity) only spurs us on to become bigger and better.

    Finally, for all of you who can only come up with vicious curse words and stupid sentances like” Oh Korea…grow up, or when will you learn”…
    …I suggest you take a look at the link below, to see that RACISM is world wide, as is IGNORANCE. It’s high time people start opening their eyes to that, and make a change, instead of blaming one particular race/country.


    • Aja213

      no black people don’t need to do anything. if koreans are that damn stupid to black singers like usher and mary j blige step to a microphone in pajamas and blackface then they deserved to be called, idiots,ftards and every other name in the book

      • Beemo89

        And that attitude makes you just as ignorant as them…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1454993355 Kokonoe Stein

    Three things; i am black, i love kpop and i am not ignorant. Now moving on…

    Honestly i have nothing against this guy for this considering that perhaps maybe he simply didn’t know what impression he was going to have on people, otherwise the producers and others involved would not condone it. I mean consider the actual consideration and nit-pickiness of the kpop industry. They criticise their own for using a single word or gestrure that just might maybe somewhere in the world make them look negative or offense to any and everyone. Hence the debates over what should or should not be banned in songs, hence the shiny happy “we love the world” gleams on our favorite idols’ faces and the pressure they go through because they don’t have the freedom of speech the fans have and could be dying on the inside and commit suicide the next day because they have to shut up and take it so they don’t offend the ignorant masses which honestly in a way pisses me off but i digress…

    The racist thing is rediculous because as previously noted by other commenters, racism is everywhere and whether people wanna admit it or not racism against blacks happens more than half the time within the black community. On top of liking asian music music i dont understand half the time i speak proper english and dress alternative/goth and the comments never stop about not being black and all that bullshit but who cares. again, i digress…point being ignorance cannot combat ignorance. the same people saying that korea is racist are half the times the ones saying the man is keeping them down to justify not wanting to get a job instead of selling drugs for kicks claiming that black people who listen to anything but booty popping rap are ‘not black’. It’s fucking backwards and again, pisses me off…

    The international fans have just effortlessly prooven why the kpop industry is the way it is and why these sad struggling artists are not allowed to have souls. An endless vicous cycle of ignorance, but hey that’s how the world turns ’round. It was a bad joke, it was blown out of proportion, and yes, racism against ANY race FROM any race is bad under any circumstance. End of story.

    • TmL

      Nice generalizations you made there. First off the people saying Korea is racist don’t all happen to be what you described. I can personally attest to that. Second, when you talk about “the man” I assume you must not know a damn thing about institutionalized racism? Third off, you are not a special snowflake of the black community. You speak “proper” english (that comment in itself is semi-foolish as english is a bastardized language) and are alternative/goth, so are a large amount of other blacks, that doesn’t give you the right to make the sweeping generalizations about those who are offended.

      I get it, you’ve clearly been told you are not “black” enough. So have I, by whites, asians, blacks and hispanics. None of that pissed me off. What pissed me off was what they really wanted to say was “you don’t fit the stereotype the world perpetuates about black people.” The stereotype you yourself just repeated about booty popping, drug selling, and “kicks” wearing. People can be ignorant, you just proved that yourself with the comment you made. What kills me is the willful ignorance and racism, and yes Korea’s repeat incidents of black face is at this point willful ignorance and racism, that international fans allow them to get away with, under the pretense of it being cultural differences, racism existing every where, or as you say, “…racism against blacks happens more then half the time within the black community.”

      By the way if you could just give me the statistics of racism against blacks happening mostly in the black community I would be more then thankful. My best regards.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1454993355 Kokonoe Stein

        no im not saying im a snowflake and i appreciate a good debate when i can get one but i don’t need statistics to know what life is like for someone who decides to be a non stereotype in the ghetto. i dont want to be a stereotype but i along with countless individuals have been oppressed and targetted everywhere we go because we are not.i don’t need to proove to you with statistics that gays get horribly beaten, when you think something different you are physically harrassed by those you pass or belittled for not belonging. “The man” is a saying used not by myself, i was quoting stereotypes and individuals who actually say that (they exist) and no i don’t assume any of this. i know it because i am related to, know, have known, know of and have been around these people all my fucking life and its tired. i dont need numbers to show me what i see every single day. And the racism thing, im not ignorant i am angry -.-

        • TmL

          I got that you were angry from your first post. But you do realize you’re completely derailing the argument from Korean racism to “black” racism. Which I think you have been misinformed about. You being bullied for being alternative is not racism. Racism is to hate someone for their race, combined with the power to oppress them based on their race. Your bullying is ignorance, plain and simple. Those who aren’t aware that they can be anything different to what they’ve been told by the public, are acting out of confusion and possibly jealously.

          But once again, your experiences do not give you the right to make those sweeping generalizations about the people who are offended by this, or other instances of black face. I’m not trying to trivialize your experiences, frankly I don’t even want to get involved in your experiences because I can tell there’s a big pile of hurt, anger and hate in there. At the same time don’t try and trivialize these examples of racism because you deem your own experiences harder to deal with and more prevalent.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1454993355 Kokonoe Stein

            i’m wondering now why i even replied to your reply in the first place but thanx for humoring me. i’ll just continue to say what i think regardless of whether you wanna waste your spare time ripping it apart so have a good day TmL ^_-

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1454993355 Kokonoe Stein

    and another thing…i think korea is far from homophobic considering the term “fan-service” so that’s just hilarious

    • Anonymous

      Korea is VERY homophobic. A basic Google search of “homophobia in Korea” would have shown you that. (“Ask A Korean” did a good post on homophobia in Korea: http://askakorean.blogspot.com/2008/10/dear-korean-just-want-to-say-thank-you.html )

      Being gay in Korea is still seen as a perversion equal to that of pedophilia. Gay Koreans in Korea can still be fired from their jobs and denied housing. Most may never come out to their families because they can be disowned. Kim Ji-Hoo, a gay Korean actor, committed suicide due to homophobic attacks by netizens. Hong Suk-Chun, who produced and was featured in a special focusing on his own coming out, lost his job and got kicked off the air. He had to completely rebuild his career.

      Do not confuse boys hugging and fanservice as a reflection of actual cultural values. If any of those idols ever announced they were actually gay, their career would be over.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1454993355 Kokonoe Stein

        damn, i never even knew that. thanx for that

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1454993355 Kokonoe Stein

        damn, i never even knew that. thanx for that

    • Matilda

      LOL. Ridiculous.

      Siwon from Super Junior loves fan service but sees homosexuality as wrong. He’s a freakin’ devout Christian who lives his life PRETENDING homosexuality doesn’t exist. That’s how bad it is for him. He can’t accept homosexuality so bad, he has to deny its existence.

      Before you go off claiming Korea is far from homophobic, educate yourself. Most idols do it because their fans would love it, it doesn’t mean they themselves enjoy it. Korea and other Asian countries still see many issues as taboo. Homosexuality, mental illnesses, teen pregnancies, disabilities, or anything that may bring shame to the family is not discussed or widely condemned. Some families don’t approve of a potential in-law if that man/woman has a history of autism in the family. That’s how bad it is. What more if it’s homosexuality, something that even many people in the US are struggling to accept?

  • TmL

    Let’s see we have the apologist, the people who are making generalizations about the people who are offended while claiming they’re black (like that makes it ok…), and then we have this article derailing the entire argument.

    Let’s get one thing straight right now. It is no ones job to educate Korea about what is and is not racist. Frankly if they cannot look at their own history of degradation and invasion and apply it to situations where they have the choice of whether to degrade another race or not, then frankly even if they are educated it won’t make a damn difference. THEY ARE NOT ISOLATED. Should I repeat that? They are one of the most wired countries in the world. They can look up all their “favourite” black artist (I say this with sarcasm because someone cannot be your favourite when you disrespect their race so damn much) but they never accidently stumble upon issues of race? You expect me to believe that? You know why I know any history of Japan or Korea? Because when I got into their music I found out some of their history. I didn’t even have to go searching for it, it was right there. If I actually believed for a second that Korea was as ignorant and naive as people made it out to seem then it’s up to Korea to educate themselves, not someone else’s duty. They want to play with the big boys and export their culture then they need start reading the big boy books. 

    Furthermore, Korea doesn’t need to be educated because they know damn well what they’re doing. How do you think they knew to call Jordan a n*gger and say his hair is nappy? How do you think they came up with the bubble sisters (because that black face was researched)? How do you think Shindong had the audacity to wear black face Oprah and then mention something about becoming a slave master? How do you think the Hot Brothers producers had the common sense to remove any and all pictures of Kikwang’s blackface as soon as they got wind of any complaints? Your constant claims of “We should help educate them!”, “they don’t know any better!” is exactly the reason that they can repeatedly do this, it’s not because people get angry. Those same people who get angry actually happen to be the ones who try to send the letters explaining why this sh*t is not okay and they tend to get very little support from international fans.

    As for Tasha, I respect her more then anyone else in the industry, but let’s get her message clear right now. She may have said education is key, she didn’t say it’s someone else’s job to do it for Korea.

    One last thing, if you don’t feel offended then good for you. But let’s get one thing clear, you do not get to tell someone what they should and should not be offended about. You’re not offended? Fine sit back and do whatever you want. But don’t go telling people they’re “over reacting”, “being to sensitive”, or my personal favourite “the reason racism still exists.” 

    • cancertwin2

      Exactly. If is one thing if someone is not offended. But don’t make it seem petty when others are. We all have personal experiences that may determine how we handle this type of thing. That is asinine.

    • http://blackmagic32.livejournal.com/ Cas

      I was debating whether or not I should reply to this article because I saw a lot of people including African Americans defending what was going on. I just  want to say, you said everything I wanted to say and more. 
      As an African American enjoys kpop and Korean culture, It saddens me every time something like this happens. What makes it worse is that there are always people that defending the idols actions.  In my eyes right is right and wrong is wrong. I can’t defend someone who is blatantly wrong so I don’t get why others can.

      • Aja213

        because they don’t want to why black people keep asking that question i don’t know. also maybe black folks should learn about african culture rather  than worry about japanese or korean culture.

        • http://blackmagic32.livejournal.com/ Cas

          Ignorant people like you are the reason why we have situations like this. I just don’t understand how someone can produce such an ignorant response. I could say a lot worse but I won’t stoop that low.

          I just say, I can’t and won’t live in a bubble. There are so many different cultures out there. Why would I limit myself to just in your words “worry about” African American culture when I as you but it “worry about” other cultures. 

        • http://blackmagic32.livejournal.com/ Cas

          Ignorant people like you are the reason why we have situations like this. I just don’t understand how someone can produce such an ignorant response. I could say a lot worse but I won’t stoop that low.

          I just say, I can’t and won’t live in a bubble. There are so many different cultures out there. Why would I limit myself to just in your words “worry about” African American culture when I as you but it “worry about” other cultures. 

        • TmL

          First off you’re assuming that the black people interested in japanese and korean culture don’t already know about “african culture” (which one I’m not sure, as Africa is not a country and there are thousands of different cultures on that content). Second you’re not taking into account that because of slavery and the african diaspora black people don’t just come from Africa. Third, what kind of idiotic answer is that? Why wouldn’t someone be interested in other cultures. Hell there are careers dedicated to the understanding of other people’s cultures.

        • Reneee

          PURE IGNORANCE seems to run rampant on this site. Really?? Don’t worry about Japanese and Korean culture?? really?? I agree that black people and every other race should learn about “African” culture, and I use that term loosely as TmL has already pointed out that Africa is not a country, but to say not to worry about J & K culture is pure ignorance. If kpop had stayed to their “culture” there would be no kpop as we know it. In the grand scheme of things we all need each other to survive. PERIOD!

        • taequila777

          One of the many reasons why we were put on this Earth was so we could get to know one another, not mock, ridicule, and despise one another. I took a verse from the Holy Quran to illustrate my point.” O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise (each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of God is (he who is) the most righteous of you.”

      • KoreaNOT_what_u_think

        SO TRUE

      • KoreaNOT_what_u_think

        SO TRUE

    • Blasphemy

      @14cdeb1d9243458d13ea56dbe3fe0405:disqus I really wanted to take the time to say ‘Thank You.’ This SB “article” was very disheartening, as if the author had followed instructions from a Cultural Debate Derailing Manual.Coming across your response was very reassuring, that not everyone is willing to tolerate despicable behavior. Gracias ~

    • Kyana

      Your comment… just wow. So true. People try to pretend that Korea is so uneducated when it comes to black culture and the history of how African Americans suffered, but we all know that they are. In a country that practically lives on the internet and it’s technology, how could they not? But what can we do? When it’s more than just a few people and a few acts of racism, how do you fix something like that? I’m at the point now where I pretty much just brush it off. I know that nothing will change in Korea anytime soon, the best way to continue listening to Kpop and enjoying Korean entertainment is probably to just not focus on all the racism.

    • Renee

      CAN I KISS YOU!?!? You took the thoughts out of my head that I didn’t know how to explain in words. I’m honestly tired of the ignorance excuse. If we internationals know how to treat and respect Korean culture because we have done our research, there is absolutely and I repeat ABSOLUTELY NO EXCUSE for Koreans. Korea has exhausted all your chances! The author was dead wrong in this situation and the article clearly was written in emotion rather than intelligence.

    • Klewis

      Racism doesn’t happen only in Korea. I don’t know why “Korea” is to blame.

    • http://twitter.com/Kiyanaakakeke Kiyana S Smiley

      great statement yeah we can’t educate them they have to do it their selves and yeah that messed up what they said bout tasha’s son they was wrong and they know what they doing is wrong

  • cancertwin2

    I am a black female who’s been a fan of Kpop (specifically TVXQ) for nearly five years now. And of course I’ve seen my share of their culturally accepted derogatory ignorance when it comes to outside cultures. All for the purpose of a cheap comical guffaw. I will feign not being offended in order to save face and appear to not be hyper sensitive. Let’s just call this what it is, without making accuses about Korea being a homogeneous culture. They are ignorant which means a lack of knowledge. It is their prerogative if they choose to continue to be shut off and close-minded about the world beyond their country but they should not attempt to take their debauchery world-wide as the only culture that they will be spreading is that they are a bunch of racists who haven’t learned common decency or how to be PC. Some people see the West as being a little too PC but it’s a necessary evil as to not offend those myriad of inhabitants from all over the globe living together in one country.

    I find it odd that these are the same culturally insensitive people who want to spread their hallyu all over the place. It’s no wonder all of my Korean American friends look down on Koreans living in Korea and see them as inferior due to their close-mindedness. I fear most of them are afraid that if the world finds out their fellow Koreans in the motherland are like this, they will think all Koreans and Asians are that way too. So, they distance themselves from it. The same way I distance myself from my older aunts and uncles who still hold a henge of prejudice in their hearts here in America.

    Patricia, while I do find your suggestion of educating Korea a nice sentiment, it is nowhere near possible. The people in the country have to open their hearts to change and wanting to accept the cultures of others. At this point and time, that seems to not be of interest to the majority of them. And if we keep making excuses for their cultural indignities, then they never will get the point. I fear it will be decades before they ever will.

    As jaded as I have become about the true surface of Korean cultural ignorance, I still can appreciate their culture. However, I don’t have much respect for it and get peeved when I see people praising Koreans as if they live in some sort of paradise. Well, perhaps they do. They do live in an isolated land. See, they don’t have to bother being PC or suffer outsiders the way that the rest of us do. However, I think we are better for it.

    • Beemo89

      I do agree with you, but being a homegeneous society is part of the reason. That doesn’t make it right, and that shouldn’t be used as an excuse…it’s just a fact.

      In England or America or wherever, we’re used to seeing different races, cultures, colours and used to hearing different languages. We know what’s culturally acceptable or politically correct, because it surrounds us constantly.
      However, Korea is like a fish bowl…and so people really shouldn’t be that surprised if their behaviour is somewhat strange, or even down right rude. Again, this doesn’t make it right…But it also doesn’t give people the right to blow their top over everything…Because if they had been raised in that country, it is likely they would have been the same.
      As you stated, it is ignorance, and I 100% agree that it is no one’s responsibility to educate them…But if everyday you’re surrounded by the same people, with the same hair colour, eye colour, sense of style, language and even ideas….Then it’s not going to seem necessary to be that open-minded. Is it??

      • http://twitter.com/ShearahNickole Jade Shearah Nickole

        I think you’re generalising by practically saying everyone in Korea thinks the same because of their homogeneous society, which perhaps wasn’t your intention. Or maybe it was, I don’t know. Just because in America and England etc. we’re used to seeing different races, that doesn’t stop the people in these countries being racist or ignorant despite knowing what is PC. 

        From the sounds of it, you’re not Korean and possibly from America or Europe. You might not share the same views as your peers and you and I definitely don’t share the same view on this issue. Not to mention the contrast to a lot of others who have commented. Do you see what I am getting at? There are plenty of people everywhere, with the same hair colour, sense of style, language etc., that stay amongst themselves and shut themselves off from others. Are we assuming that they all believe in the exact same ideas? Plus, I’m not quite sure that they all dress and look the same. That’s a pretty prejudiced way to look at their culture, but perhaps you didn’t mean it in that way either. 

        As humans, we are curious and like to question things and we don’t always share the same views and I like to hear the opinions of others because we are all unique. We don’t all think the same and without intention, people are making an entire culture seem unintellectual and thus incapable of thinking for themselves! That they have to use films and TV to make their judgements about another culture. I think we need to stop speculating about what and entire culture is thinking, when we will never have any idea what every individual belonging to that culture is thinking. But, we shouldn’t stop voicing our opinions, no matter how angry, when someone does or says something completely negating from the social norm.

        I just think people are realising everywhere that people are still just as ignorant and racist as before. Nothing’s really changed, other than the fact that it’s acceptable to be more open about it, especially on social networking sites.

        However, I’ve started to think that there are often peer pressures to believe in the same things or act a certain way to avoid being an outcast or excommunicated from society. This also happens everywhere and commands a certain attitude to life. It’s something I wish to explore further. Hopefully, other ideas and opinions will arise to further educate me.

    • stephanie williams

      my friend they don’t want to change their hearts and people must accept that and also accept the fact that Koreans are white-washed people who continue to define their very existence by white people and go as far as trying to look more westernized, i asked one stupid girl do you mean white because  in a million years you will never be white and they are not trying to be like you.simple as that.

  • Anonymous

    The fact of the matter is, the consequence of k-pop becoming more and more internationalized is that they now have a responsibility to learn about international cultures to understand their new audience base and fans. And have the sensibility not to do things like blackface, use the N word, or parade around in a Nazi uniform during a concert. Respect is a two-way street.

    That being said, although no doubt there IS inherent racism in their culture (just like there in all cultures) I’m sure they did not mean to offend on purpose. As long as they realize their mistake, apologize for it, and are open to learning from it (and educate others) so it doesn’t happen again, it doesn’t bother me too much.

  • Chooseylover

    CNN article about blackface from 2009
    Editor’s note: Mark Sawyer is associate
    professor of African American Studies and Political Science at UCLA and
    the director of the Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity and
    Politics. His published work includes a book,
    “Racial Politics in Post-Revolutionary Cuba,” which received the DuBois
    Award for the best book by the National Conference of Black Political
    Scientists and the Ralph Bunche Award from the American Political
    Science Association.

    Mark Sawyer says practitioners of blackface always try to justify it, but the defenses don’t ring true.

    (CNN) — Harry Connick Jr. almost got it right when he
    challenged the doctors who mocked the Jacksons in blackface on an
    Australian version of “the Gong Show.”
    The fact is, even
    Australians know better. It isn’t that they did not know that what they
    were doing was shocking and offensive; they just thought they could get
    away with it.
    “If they turned up looking like that in the United
    States,” he said on the “Hey Hey It’s Saturday” television show, “Hey,
    hey, there’s no more show.”
    In a message posted on his Web site,
    Connick wrote that “in the American culture, the blackface image is
    steeped in a negative history and considered offensive.” He also wrote,
    “I do not believe that the performers intended any harm.”
    put this in context. Australians have their own ugly history of racism
    against Aborigines. One in which half-white, half-Aborigine children
    were forcibly taken from their mothers and raised in group homes so they
    could learn to properly integrate into white society. They know better.
    There is no cultural context in which blackface minstrelsy is okay or
    Blackface is one of the most pernicious and painful
    stereotypes about people of African descent. It is also global.
    Blackface has appeared everywhere from Mexico to Japan, and it is always
    ugly, despite what those who put it on claim. The doctors who did the
    Jackson “tribute” claimed that they were honoring Michael Jackson. They
    were mocking him, and that is what blackface has always been.

    The same applies for those like a responder on the Guardian Web
    site who suggests that blackface models presented in French Vogue
    magazine are simply cultural play: “The American cultural imperialists
    of the Anglosphere are out in force again.”
    It is neither
    imperialist or wrong to point out racist imagery, even if done in good
    fun. In a cruel twist, the commenter takes the victims of racism
    and imperialism and calls them the perpetrators. But both the
    photographers and French Vogue are aware of the problems of racism in
    Europe and the barriers black women face in the fashion industry.

    Like old blackface minstrelsy, when you can’t find blacks you think are
    worthy to play the part, you simply blacken up white actors or, in this
    case, models. The message: Real black people aren’t good enough at
    being themselves.
    Whether it is the original white “Amos and
    Andy” or white fraternity/sorority girls and boys, blackface is always
    about mocking black skin and presenting stereotypical black behavior.
    Minstrels always clown around, sing and dance and otherwise dehumanize
    the individuals they represent.
    The blackface itself by whites
    reduces them to one critical feature: their black skin. And in almost
    every case, even this one, it’s exaggerated. None of the Jacksons are
    that dark; it is a rank racial caricature. It always has been.

    Even in the early days of blackface minstrelsy, those who practiced it
    did not see themselves as promoting pernicious racial stereotypes and
    hatred but, like the doctors on the Australian
    show, honoring fun aspects of African-American culture and being. No
    one then or now who uses blackface cops to saying, “I intend to
    dehumanize black people.” Everyone has an excuse or an alternative
    explanation of what it means.
    From the frat boys to the Spanish
    Formula One fans mocking black driver Lewis Hamilton to the soccer fans
    who throw bananas on a soccer field in Europe just for fun, they all
    make attempts to excuse the behavior by saying they’re personally not
    racist and they never meant to hurt anyone. The most common response is,
    they don’t understand the reaction.
    But they do. Blackface is
    always designed as comedy, to shock, to mock and to get a few laughs.
    For a Jackson tribute, one can see the prisoners from a jail in the
    Philippines dancing to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” Their moving homage
    didn’t need blackface. Jackson’s music and dancing were what moved,
    motivated and captivated them, not his skin color and hair texture.

    So whether it’s racist caricatures on Mexican stamps or Australian
    doctors, the signs and symbols of demeaning black people are universal.
    They transcend continents, cultures and genres. At the same time, so are
    the denials. The people who traffic in them always have the same set of
    They did in late 19th-century and early 20th-century
    America, and they do now in Australia, Mexico or Spain. They do it
    because they want to honor black people, they want to take in black
    culture and expression, and they can’t do so without putting on
    blackface. They also all know it is offensive but think it isn’t so
    offensive that they can’t get away with it. They just can’t resist race
    and blackness as the vehicle for comedy.
    Research shows that
    whites in countries like Cuba, Brazil, France and many others often
    express higher levels of racism against blacks in surveys and
    experiments that tap unconscious attitudes than in the United States.

    The rancor that has surrounded race in the United States — while not
    creating a post-racial America — has at least moved the dial
    substantially in terms of racial attitudes among whites and made a
    substantial portion of them more sensitive to the issue.
    many other countries look down upon the U.S. racial past, they often do
    so at the expense of asking hard questions about their racial present.
    The United States is certainly not perfect, but we also have elected a
    black president and come a long way toward making anti-racism a norm.
    Such that a white Southern musician recognizes an ugly racial caricature
    when he sees one.
    Harry, as a son of the South, you were both
    calling it right but also being polite. I applaud you for calling it as
    it is, but you gave them too much credit for ignorance. They knew they
    were offending; they just thought, like many others, they could get away
    with it. Fortunately, they didn’t.
    The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Mark Sawyer.

  • http://blackmagic32.livejournal.com/ Cas

    I was debating whether or not I should reply to this post because I saw a lot of people including African Americans defending what was going on. I just  want to say, you said everything I wanted to say and more. 
    As an African American enjoys kpop and Korean culture, It saddens me every time something like this happens. What makes it worse is that there are always people that defending the idols actions.  In my eyes right is right and wrong is wrong. I can’t defend someone who is blatantly wrong so I don’t get why others can.

  • benny

    I agreed with everything she said till I got like halfway down the page; I mean if you take for example a country as advanced as Japan where black face is daily tv.. its normal. International communities talk till they are blue in the face but to no avail. Their excuse was they did not participte in slavery so there’s no harm. Now a couple months ago a British comedian made a joke about hiroshima (I’m not condoning it) and the japanese demanded an apology. They got one. (What good for the goose is good for the ganda) but I see no reason why BBC apologised. Korea similarly does black very regularly and I think Korea is headed the same way; sad thing is its rare to see black fans of kpop; this is why

  • Mer

    The thing that burns me is this is not even the first time.  How many times do you have to get bitched out about the same thing before it sinks in?  It has been explained over and over again, but the people that should be listening aren’t.  For a culture that emulate to the extent that they do,  they sure do treat it shitty.  I will never understand that.

    SN:  Another thing that burns me is trying to tell someone how they should feel. And I’ve seen quite a few commenter’s doing just that.

  • Blasphemy!

    Please review the great insights offered by Derailing for Dummies[dot]com (specifically “If You Cared About These Matters You’d Be Willing To Educate Me” and “You’re Being Overemotional”) THEN get back to me on my supposed oh-so-offensive anger.

    Your right, I should consider the bigots/ignorant’s feelings before I blow a fuse–yeah, you’re right, I should be more considerate. . .Blackface in the year 2011, so freaking funny! My stomach hurts from the laughter! Maybe I should have fun making the “oriental eyes.” So fun! Fun! Fun!

    Now, I’ll be a good non-Korean girl and try to be ‘rational’ and emotionally detached from this not-so-real “offense”. 

    • http://www.callmepatricia.com Patricia

      I never said that the offensive nature of the matter wasn’t real, and learning to understand the perspectives of others is not the same as condoning offensive behavior. 

      And it seems as if a bunch of people think that I am trying to avoid the subject by offering up excuses in an attempt to defend whomever was behind this act. I am not. If you were looking for an article that explains the wrongness of blackface in excruciating detail and condemns this event to the depths of hell and below, then there are a bajillion other websites on the internet (heck, on the comment board of this post) that will do that for you. There is more than one way of looking at things, especially when you’re talking about something like this. Just because I chose not to rant and rave about things that dozens and dozens of people have ranted and raved about to the point of exhaustion doesn’t mean that I am choosing not to address the problem. I addressed why blackface was wrong in one of my opening paragraphs, but I didn’t want to make that the focus of the article. Does that make me ignorant?

      Also, DerailingforDummies is one of the most pretentious and arrogant things I’ve ever seen on the internet, and I can’t believe people actually take it seriously.

      • Blasphemy!

        In an article consisting of 1,000+ words, you deliberated over the race/cultural issue of Blackface for ONE whole paragraph of about 100+ words. The rest of your consideration is devoted to admonishing international fans and (what to you seems to be) their disagreeable response to issues concerning cultural insensitivity, such as Blackface.

        Your focus is on other people’s offense to racist behavior, rather than the racist behavior itself. You insist that you recognize the gravity of the behavior, but your main concern in your deliberation is on how international fans should not overact to an incident that you yourself argue that, “It’s debatable whether or not the behavior was outright racist, but [to some degree] ignorant.”

        Based on the title of the article and the overall tone of the piece (with sentences such as “Cue the explosive, angry response from international K-pop fans everywhere,”), my impression was of an author who viewed the issue as petty and the response by other people as overblown. For that reason, I presumed that the author did not consider this present issue as a “real offense.” This display of Blackface was to be regarded as being of little concern and that the true issue was not that still to this day (in the oh-very-modern 21st century and in sparkling, global Korea) we come across repeated cases of offensive and culturally insensitive conduct. Rather the topic necessitated a concentration of our efforts in regulating the appropriate response and steps to be taken, especially by those that the caricature sought to debase and stereotype. 

        Does that make you ignorant? I won’t deliberate on that point.

        • Deux

          Look, you can get out of this post. No where does the author write off the issue of blackface as a “trivial” matter. To use your own words, your focus is bitching about the racist behavior, not thinking about how you can start getting rid of it. You accuse the author of not being angry enough but.  What the author is ultimately trying to get at is how to make progress – your propagating that we condone blackface as offensive and insensitive is a fact. But It’s. Just. A. Fact. If you begin to educate, then you change into an action. To begin educating you have to begin understanding (READ: this does not mean AGREEING WITH) the other side, which to this point you treat like cancer. Repeat “blackface is wrong!!!” a thousand times to yourself, and not a damn thing will have changed other than your throat getting sore.

          Look, if you want to start talking about “appropriate response and steps to be taken,” why can’t the author talk about appropriate response (or lack thereof) from international fans as well? Unless you want to contend that international fans are responding perfectly, which they are not, then it is a perfectly viable issue. You’re all on a moral crusade right now, and against a very legitimate and serious problem, but your words and way of approach do nothing more than throw oil on a blazing fire.

          • EKG

            What I don’t understand is how you expect this education of the Korean entertainment industry to begin without someone (or a group of someones) making an issue out of it. Most international fans won’t ever step foot in Korea and they definitely don’t have a direct line of communication to these celebrities, broadcast networks, and other agencies to be able to tell them exactly why what they’re is offensive to a lot of people.

            And I get that the bigger point is that international fans shouldn’t judge a whole country by the actions of a few or cast aspersions on Korean society because their societal norms are different. But at the same time, I shouldn’t be told to sit down and shut up because I take issue when the Korean entertainment industry chooses to make being dark skinned into some colossal joke. 

          • Beemo89


  • Xiomara

    Is there really anything I can add that hasn’t already been said by more
    eloquent commentors than myself on this site? I’m just going to
    reiterate that it’s not my place to educate a country hell bent on
    spreading it’s culture all around the world. It’s one thing if Korean
    culture wants to stay, shut away from the rest of the world, in Korea,
    but quite another when it wants to become not only an industrial world
    player but a cultural exporter. When I first got into Kpop, I educated
    myself on Hangul, Korean respect terms, and some Korean history – things
    that were entirely alien to me, living in a country in which these
    things are really far removed from the local culture, but myself and
    most other international fans managed. Why is this so difficult for a
    huge corporation like SMent to do? If these companies actually want to
    go and make money by taking their music to the US or whatever, they even
    more so need to educate themselves on the local culture. As an
    arbritary example, a company attempting to sell baby food in Africa
    didn’t change the packaging from their European products, a tin
    featuring a happy baby on the outside. During investigations as to why
    the product wasn’t selling well, they discovered that as many people in
    that particular African country couldn’t read, companies usually put a
    photo of the product inside a tin on the outside, so people knew what it
    was…altering the design to be of the actual baby food, needless to
    say, boosted sales no end. Just one example of the detrimental effects
    of not doing your research before moving into another country. I wonder
    if Kikwang will be up to his old tricks at the United Cube concert in
    London in November? I’m sure Londoners will /really/ be impressed with

    ‘Whenever a K-pop star does something offensive, we’re the first to leap up and demonize the person(s) in question.’

    Yeah, because a lot of the time these are things that aren’t considered
    offensive in Korea (blackface being a case in point, apparantly)…who
    else are you expecting to talk about it? Even if Korean fans are
    discussing these things, it’s not like we’d know, given that the
    majority of international fans can’t actually speak Korean. I wasn’t
    taught about Korean history at school, can I make a derogatory joke
    about comfort women and then expect not to get bitched out by Korean netizens because they should be trying to educate me?

    ‘ The fury was directed all over – at Boom, at the production staff,
    at Super Junior for being in the photos and thus condoning the behavior,
    at anyone who tried to make excuses for Boom’s behavior…but most of the
    fury was directed at Korea itself. “When will Korea ever learn?” asked many.
    When will Korea ever learn, you ask? Korea will learn when someone calms down and has the patience to teach them.’

    This commentor says it best:

    ‘If I actually believed for a second that Korea was as ignorant and naive
    as people made it out to seem then it’s up to Korea to educate
    themselves, not someone else’s duty. They want to play with the big boys
    and export their culture then they need start reading the big boy

    Furthermore, Korea doesn’t need to be educated because
    they know damn well what they’re doing. How do you think they knew to
    call Jordan a n*gger and say his hair is nappy? How do you think they
    came up with the bubble sisters (because that black face was
    researched)? How do you think Shindong had the audacity to wear black
    face Oprah and then mention something about becoming a slave master? How
    do you think the Hot Brothers producers had the common sense to remove
    any and all pictures of Kikwang’s blackface as soon as they got wind of
    any complaints? Your constant claims of “We should help educate them!”,
    “they don’t know any better!” is exactly the reason that they can
    repeatedly do this, it’s not because people get angry. Those same people
    who get angry actually happen to be the ones who try to send the
    letters explaining why this sh*t is not okay and they tend to get very
    little support from international fans.’

    ‘We devour K-pop idols and music like hungry beasts, but when it comes
    to Korean society as a whole, we look at it with absolute disdain.
    Korea’s too conservative. Korea’s sexist. Korea’s racist. Korea’s
    homophobic. Korea doesn’t care about cultural sensitivity. Korea needs
    to get its head out of its ass and stop being so damn ignorant all the time.
    There are parts of those accusations that are true, but every time an
    event comes up prompting these accusations, international fans respond
    with anger and disdain at Korea’s backwards way of thinking, expressing
    their indignation through exclamation points and curse words. The fans’
    intentions are probably good, but there’s no way you could tell through
    the anger of their words. After observing the international fan response
    to Boom’s blackface debacle, I was saddened. /Not because of the
    blackface itself, but because it’s the fans themselves who are
    obstructing the way for any true change to occur./’

    I think it’s fair enough that some fans use the opportunity to
    comment on Korean society as a whole when these incidents occour. Let’s
    lift this same situation into another culture. Boom doing this in say,
    England, would get him bitched out MAJORLY. Why? Because racism against
    black people is something that’s widely frowned upon in England. That’s
    the culture. I’m not saying that there aren’t racists in that country,
    but it’s not something that is accepted by the majority. Siwon’s
    comments, again, would get him bitched out, because homophobia is’t
    widely accepted by uthe majority in that country. That’s the culture.
    Clearly, these things aren’t treated in the same way in Korea, otherwise
    they wouldn’t keep happening. Koreans would make enough of a fuss to
    ensure that broadcasting companies knew that they didn’t like it. (read. Jay Park)

    ‘If someone jumps into the discussion and questions the offensiveness of
    the given action, s/he isn’t given a straight answer. Instead, people
    start leaping at him/her with the “you-have-got-to-be-kidding-me”‘s and
    the “go-read-a-history-book”‘s and the oh-so-popular “I-don’t-even”‘s.
    The words that we use convey nothing but anger and indignation. And when
    all the initial fury has finally settled, all we can do is sit back in
    our chairs, shake our heads at our computers, and say, “When will Korea
    ever learn?”’

    We’d probably have to discuss a given piece of evidence to
    agree/disagree on this one, but what I’m thinking of is an example like

    *blackface discussion*

    *commentor* ‘This isn’t offensive, they were just dressing up as him and
    the makeup was essential otherwise how are you going to know it’s x
    black entertainer?’

    *commentor 2* ‘Are you serious?’

    Commentor 1 is displaying a complete lack of background knowledge as to
    why people might find it offensive (even if THEY don’t find it
    offensive, a knowledge of the history of blackface would help them
    understand why OTHER people might find it offensive) and then outright
    stating it isn’t because they don’t understand it. Especially after
    pages and pages of replies like this, I don’t blame people for getting
    irked and responding in a snappy way. The words convey anger and
    indignation because we are angry and indignant…after the third,
    fourth, fifth time of the same old, same old, it’s REALLY difficult not
    to reply with a ‘screw this’. Clearly, the intelligent discussion we
    took part in the first, second and third time hasn’t worked, we’ve got
    nothing else to add as it’s all arealyd been said, so I’ll just express
    the fact that I’m pissed about it and leave.

     I’m pretty saddened to read the same, if not more condensing commentry
    on this issue like the one on overseas fan concerts from a site like
    Seoulbeats (if I remember correctly, one of the only major sites to
    cover the Kikwang incident back when most others censored discussion of
    it), but wasn’t surprised to discover that they were written by the same

    • Xiomara

      Wow, the awkward typesetting makes the comment look even more tl;dr than it is…apologies.

    • Bunmiisaiah

      It is frustrating! Definately.

  • Acidimp

    I really think this article is misguided, perhaps well-meaning, but definitely misguided. Racism doesn’t just make people angry, it hurts, desecrates and demeans. You might see the anger because it is easier to see but it doesn’t mean the other emotions aren’t there. The last thing someone wants to do to a person who has deeply wounded them is teach them how to be a better person. In fact, you can’t teach people how to be better because that is something they must learn themselves.

    I really take issue with people claiming that Korea is innocent…that is bullshit. Why is it that one of these blackface incidents have never made an appearance during any of the overseas concerts? I think we all know why. Korean artist work with black producers, black choreographers, and black songwriters and many of them claim to idolize black singers. Korea is one of the most wired countries in the world and many of their stars were raised in America or went to school overseas. There is no way that the majority of Koreans don’t understand racism and, given their history, they understand all to well how it hurtful and awful it can be.  

    Given the “Korea is best” attitude I doubt that complaints from international people would be given all that much weight. If Korea really wants to learn then they will do it from Koreans at home and abroad. I suspect that the same belief system that makes it easy to poke fun and mock black people is the same one that teaches them that natural Korean features are “ugly” and must be covered up with surgery. That is not something that goes away with a few well-written letters from a bunch of “foreigners”. 

    • Acidimp

      And btw why is is that this page only has ads about frizzy and curly hair? Jesus.

  • http://www.facebook.com/DaniCollinsSparks Alexandra Collins

    It’s like part of me wants to defend Korea so bab but i’ve done it so much i’m sick of it, i can’t defend a culture and a group of people that refuse to acknowledge that what they do and how they act is RACIST i mean let’s all just take a step back from “oh but it’s Boom” or “Oh but it’s Super Junior” and let’s be honest that this is just racist, had this been done in America we’d be ripping them apart and demanding an apology. Now on to the “educating” thing, how in the heck are we as internationals supposed to educate a group of people that feel that they already know so much??? I mean if they know so much then why did they do this? They love our culture and our musicians but they take no time to learn our history? Come on now this is not the first time that Korea has done something racist do i need to remind you of Seungri and Taeyeon too? Personally i love Tasha and i hope that stars listen to what she’s saying but i doubt they will which is sad but i will say one thing before any korean star can make it big in the States they need to learn about our history (and i don’t mean just black people history) like we learn about theirs

    • Bunmiisaiah

      I agree with you 100% too. The same way I’ve agreed with many other sensible and articulate comments on this page.
      But the question is…If we believe this (That they are all racists, and know exactly what they are doing) Why do we still listen to their music, watch their drama’s/movies, visit or even live in their country??
      Are we glutton’s for punishment, or trying to prentend that these problems don’t exist??

      There must be a reason, because no matter how many times Korea shows itself up…It still seems to be going from strength to strength. Which is something I do and don’t understand.

      I’m not taking back what I’ve said before, because no matter whether they are Korean or British or any other non-black race…Most people think “dark skinned folk” should be “Ghetto”, uneducated, and crass/common, with no ability to rise to the top…and so I strive to prove them wrong.
      Not because I have to, not because I believe “educating them” will even make a difference, but just because I can.

      So even if they think it’s ok to ridicule us, or to make us feel less than….They are not showing themselves to be better than us, they’re just proving themselves to be narrow minded and stupid. Therefore I won’t let their ignorance stop me from enjoying what makes Korea amazing. Because amongst all this hatred and bigotry, are many people who would never even dream of feeling this way!

      • http://www.facebook.com/DaniCollinsSparks Alexandra Collins

        i think that we want and hope that they will change we let it slide that and i know alot of people that just listen to the music and dont follow the background of the celebs.

  • Anonymous

    is blackface still really popular in asia…or just s.korea? i don’t understand who still thinks this is okay. s.korea is like the second most wired country in asia, is it not? what’s up with that?? i thought they like stevie wonder?! i mean jeez…this is no longer based in ignorance. if you ask me, they just don’t care anymore! they know by now, the entire world does! and s.korea isn’t even a developing country. they aren’t their closed borders northern neighbor!
    this are the type of things that put me off of korean culture and kpop. and Super Junior…WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS?!  cue long frustrated sigh…

    • Bunmiisaiah

      I think it’s because there is not a strong enough foreign presense in Korea to make this NOT ok!

      24hours a day, 7days a week, they are staring at faces that look just like theirs, hearing voices that sound just like theirs and being surrounded by a culture that hasn’t changed in the last 500years…

      Yes they may think they are “modern”, yes they might even be a very developed and “wired” country…But that doesn’t change the fact that when they step outside…There is nothing but a sea of Korean’s staring right back at them.

      That doesn’t make it right….But compared to countries like America, which is a melting pot of cultures…Korean doesn’t have enough “different” people, to make them feel guilty for doing any of this. So why would they feel bad, when this kind of entertainment is aimed at their country…A country full of nothing but Koreans….
      There is no-one to say “stop this isn’t right”…and so since they think they can get away with this “artistic liscense”…they will!!
      Even the Koreans who don’t agree with this, will only be told to pipe down, for fear of anti-fans.

      Again that doesn’t make it right. It just makes it sad and frustrating.

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  • Anonymous

    I think the author is wrong in painting international fans as over reactive and ignorant. What confuses most fans is the fact that South Korea is not some underdeveloped country: It’s one of the MOST developed, in the top ten even. So when something like this happens either one of two things happen: One, if you’re a K-pop newbie, you scratch your head and go…”huh?’, confused as to how this happens without an alarm going ‘RING RING! RACISM!” in at least one person’s head, or that no one is actually shocked. Two, for veteran K-pop fans, immense frustration and anger, since they have seen this kind of thing happen time and time again.
    Often, international fans are accused of not taking K-pop seriously or to the same standard as their own country’s music. Yet. when something like this happens, we are supposed to teach them like they are kids and we‘re the teachers? We are not their teachers, and nor do we want to be. Koreans should know better, because while I understand how Korean culture is different, there is a certain standard that applies to EVERY country, or at least every developed country.
    Just because South Korea is not our country, does not diminish our right to have an opinion on this. Whether in America, or in South Korea, blackface is RACIST, and there’s no denying it. Why is something incredibly offensive and racist in one country, yet when applied to South Korea, the racism is simply dismissed? There has to be a world standard for this, a moral and ethical standard. And there is. And by that standard, there’s no excuse for this. And if anyone dismisses the pain this causes for international fans, especially African American fans, then they are basically spitting on the pain and infliction that they and their ancestors have experienced.
    Many say that South Korea right now is in it’s 50’s, an innocent and booming time for American culture. But at least in the 50’s for America, people had a basic understanding of what is just blatantly racist, and there were people rebelled against it. Lawmakers did something about it. People were aware. In this perspective, South Korea is more like the 1800’s.
    In this perspective, South Korea is America in the 1800’s, and the international fans are Britain, shaking their heads and wondering how racism can exist in such a country. It’s sad, but true. South Korea has many parallels to Civil War-Era America that can be made, and if history truly repeats itself, it will not be us, but Korean people themselves who will change the existence of racism in Korea. The only thing we can do is be enraged, because nothing will happen if people keep trying to make everything seem ok.
    In the case of South Korea and its racism and discrimination, slow and steady is not the answer. Something drastic has to happen, and for us international fans, the most passionate and drastic thing we can do is use our voice, whether virtually or verbally. That Boom was even allowed to this by his management is especially confusing, as South Korea is constantly exporting it‘s music internationally, and as many a K-pop fan knows, the goal for every K-pop artist, the ultimate trophy, the crown that will finally make Hallyu officially a world movement, is domination of the US music industry. Then why, for god’s sakes, WHY and HOW could this happen? Just as netizens can find out everything about a person, so can American tabloids, and they’ve got a better motive and an advantage: they will make money, and they have money.
    I can tell you right now, neither Boom, Super Junior, or maybe even any SM entertainment artist will EVER have a chance at achieving US success. Neither will Kang Ho Dong, but I don’t think that’s in his plans right now. So bottom line here, South Korea, we shouldn’t have to teach you, and we won’t. You need to change yourself. You’re not some kid in kindergarten class, you’re freaking South Korea. And it’s time to grow up and listen.
    If you want to be an actual global music titan, then this kind of stuff needs to end NOW. Stop giving us international fans a reason to be angry.

    • http://twitter.com/ShearahNickole Jade Shearah Nickole

      Exactly! You seem to share the same view as I do. They can’t keep using the “Korea is a homogeneous country, so they don’t know racism or don’t know it’s racist”. They are aware; if they weren’t there would be no reason for this article as it clearly rehashes the fact that international kpop fans are, yet again, constantly complaining in anger when something like this happens. I’ve heard from people who say they are Korean, but don’t know how factual this is, that even dark-skinned Koreans are ridiculed in their own country for being dark-skinned. If this is the case… You know where I’m going with this. They know.

      Plus, it’s easy to run to the defence of and give those who portray themselves this way the excuse that they are ignorant when it’s not your race being targeted and just because you like them. I’ve found that most people take the stance that if it’s not happening to them, it’s not their problem. Racism is everyone’s problem; whether or not it’s happening to you at the time makes no difference.

      In addition, I especially don’t enjoy the part of the article where the blame for kpop idols and just Koreans in general wallowing in their “backwards way of thinking” as the author put it, is shifted to the fans. We also need to stop dividing which black people are being offended by these things. Yes, the artists being referred to are African-American, that doesn’t mean that I am less or not at all offended because I am black-British. I am as equally offended as African-Americans. Racism in general to whomever makes me angry. And I think if international kpop fans weren’t angry in their response, which can you blame us (?), wouldn’t the industry be more desensitised to their reaction if we didn’t react this way? I don’t condone death-threats or any type of violence, however.

  • Gil

    Racism rises from ignorance. While this act is deplorable, the thing is that Korea is so homogeneous that they don’t realize their errors. In America we understand the offensive connotations of black face because it is an ugly mark in our history and we had made it a point to move pass that, specifically through education. But you see only the native Koreans doing so and it makes me wonder about the reactions of American born K-pop stars. Shouldn’t people like Tablo, Nichkhun, or Kevin, be offended when they see something blatantly racist like this? ” Korea will learn when someone calms down and has the patience to teach them.” And I agree with that, and that can be done. There are so many people in the K-pop scene that hail from the western cultures who don’t tolerate these actions, and I do applaud Tasha for saying what she said. I just feel more people should that also. Oh the wonders education can do.

  • seri-park

    Ok, now, all of this has to be put into cultural and historical context.  In Korea, there is no history of racial conflict with African Americans as there has been between European and African Americans in the United States.  The discourse and decisions on what is and isn’t acceptable that occurred in the US never happened in Korea.

    That said, the way that Asians are treated in American media is equally deplorable.  Let’s take Hollywood.  Most depictions of Asians in Hollywood are as foolish caricatures, such as Long Duk Dong in 16 candles, Micky Rooney’s character in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, or as the Kungfu master, Geisha, etc.  It has been common for white actors to put on “yellow face” to portray these caricatures.  Yet, this has long been considered “acceptable” even though it promotes stereotypes and is equally offensive. 

    We can’t expect Koreans to automatically understand why blackface is unacceptable when the discussion never took place in Korea.  Meanwhile, Hollywood continues to depict Asians in a restricted, stereotypical, and often offensive manner… even when some discussion has taken place in the US.  So, why should we expect more from Korea?

    • Mwika Kankwenda

      I understand where you’re coming from but that’s no excuse for ignorance. I wasn’t around during WWII, nor am I Jewish but I still know not to draw the swastika. And just because Hollywood (and many other movie industries) are being stereotypical, doesn’t give South Korea  license to be offensive as well.

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  • Chelsea Fisher

    Gee, that’s so funny(sarcasm) I was actually gonna start slamming down on the keys of the keyboard typing every word of hatred and irritability I could. Stevie Wonder was the first CD I got from my mom when I was young. I fell in love with his voice and with his songs. So to see that FOOL look like one of the people I look up to. It makes me want to find them and push them of of the highest closest building. How rude! I read what Tasha has said and I now have no need to use violence. I’m just going to pray. I am adding this foolishness to my prayer box. Special thanks to my Sunday school teacher for making vacation bible study fun and giving me my prayer box. 

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