• http://www.m-rated.tumblr.com/ Michelle Chin

    To be honest, I don’t get this whole idea of having dark skin as a weakness to start off with. What’s wrong with people who have a tanned appearance? God knows how many millions of dollars flows into moguls of solariums and tan sprays! 

    But maybe it’s the culture in which these stars are raised – it’s ingrained in their pretty heads that fair is debonair – though I think some of them think that having a tan won’t hurt a bit. So, I don’t really blame Taemin for saying that (I’m not his fan, don’t get me wrong) but of course, you have a point, being a role model and all, saying these things can really trip the wrong wires and set off a bomb in the fandom. Not only that, it perpetuates the message that being different is wrong. 

    But you see, it’s not only Taemin. If you’ve noticed Kai’s makeup, it usually hides his sexy tan and makes him look like a pile of pasty affair. I always take pity of him because isn’t having dark skin what makes him unique among the other members? Also, I cannot help but to think of this as implicit racism and a rejection towards skin colours that are not white. Perhaps, skin colour is part of the reason why Koreans still rank poorly in openness towards foreigners who are not really white. Then again, maybe I’m wrong. 

  • k_db

    “Kkamjong” is probably ranked second to “Thehun” in terms of offensiveness.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1042394200 Nga Ngắc Ngoải

    I’m super annoyed when culture is used as an excuse. Seriously I’m from Asia and yes, many people here are obsessed with paleness but a lot of people don’t have that kind of view as well. So when you try to be ‘sympathetic’ and ‘understanding’ and decide that it’s an Asian thing, you are basically erasing a lot of people’s voice =.=
    If you feel it’s a dick thing for Taemin to say, say it. Don’t bother with the ~Asian culture bullshit~, much more like a common dick behaviour persisting in Asia to be honest.

    • ggoma

      Exactly. White skin has been desired in most cultures because only few people could be that pale since only nobility could stay inside out of the sun. This is not a new or Asian concept.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/MMRQEZEPSNJ26LJ7XJNDDM5NCI JasmineA

      Would you say its more okay to openly say things about skin color than it is in other places. Because that’s were the whole cultural excuse could be coming from. I mean kpop celebrities get in trouble for all sorts of things and constantly have to watch what they do, but I’ve never heard of them getting in trouble for saying something negative about someone’s dark skin. I mean can you imagine Beyonce and Kelly Rowland talking about weaknesses and Beyonce said Kelly’s weakness was being dark skin how that would go down even if she was joking? I can Imagine not very well. Did the people in Korea care at all about what Taemin said to Kai? 

  • KrisMyStar

    Yay for tanned idols! I always thought Asians with darker skin are sexier anyways ;D

  • VLF218

    I don’t like it when people call him that at all because i’m African American and I get those kinds of comments from my friends all the time but it irritates me sometimes.  I know his skin is darker than Suho’s and all but I find it extremely attractive and really (Since i’m black and all) he’s not even that dark.  I don’t snap off on my friends when they make those jokes but it still annoys me a bit so I know it gets to him sometimes.  But yea I don’t like the name at all

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_LL4QDJLVFDT2RDIZYBALSE75JE angel29

    I was already composing an argument in my head to play devil’s advocate to this topic when I saw this line, “if you’re a public figure, don’t be ignorant of the public at large.”  Wow.  So much wisdom in such a few words.  That shut me up right there.  Kudos!

  • loner99

    I don’t really get it. Kai doesn’t seem any darker than Taemin, or a lot of other idols. Why single him out?

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/YQ53WK5K4DPXQ5DIBKDELB6WPE Camille

      Actually, when compared to most idols, he really IS a shade or two darker. He IS more tanned compared to all other fairer-skinned idols out there. When he’s next to super pale Sehun, the difference is obvious. Nowadays, they pile on the BB cream on him to make his tan less noticeable though.

      Kai now is probably as tanned as Sooyoung was during her debut days.

  • http://twitter.com/SoliJilleo Soli Jilleo

    I feel like this is another article written because there was nothing else to write about. Stop looking into things to politically. I think writers on this blog should stop trying to find little things to stir controversy. You stated many times that the Kai being called kkamjong is understandable, however you insisted on continuing to argue that it’s offensive. Choose a side and stop trying to look for loopholes. He himself stated it was a part of his sex-appeal. As an African, I can confirm I am not offended by the term. 

    • wahooyahoo

      As a person with darker skin (I’m assuming so since you said you’re African)…how can you not be at least slightly offended?! Topics like this are important and should keep coming up as k-pop makes its attempt to court international markets. Seriously it gives you somethings to think about, it terms of you thinking so highly of your precious oppas and noonas who might not think so highly of you just based on your skin tone. The writer stated that the nickname does come from a notion ingrained into Korean society about a long held standard of beauty, but it doesn’t make it any less offensive and the writer has the right to make that point. Even the idea that darker skin equates to a higher degree of sexuality comes with its own messed up connotations, so don’t be so quick to dismiss articles such as this. Jeez…

      • http://twitter.com/SoliJilleo Soli Jilleo

        I totally understand that the article is trying to bring attention to the ideas of beauty standards in Korea and the negative associations with dark skin, but I feel that the article is picking at something which I thought actually praised in Kai’s unique quality and then turning into something dark and demeaning. This has come from overanalyzing it. Myself and my friends never took offence to it because we know that being dark in a society which holds being fair skinned in such high regards is already difficult in it of itself and we actually APPRECIATED that Kai was proud of his skin and was able to see the positive side of it. And the fact that Kai finds his tan skin to be sexy isn’t a “messed up connotation”. For instance, some women go tanning because they find it makes themselves more appealing in their own eyes… theres no real racialization there so why can’t Kai feel the same way without it being considered an spectacle of injustice? He feels more appealing in HIS OWN eyes when hes darker/tanner as well. I think this is something to consider instead of thinking that every aspect of kpop should be dissected for anything that gives off the impression that “asians hate dark skin”. It’s not always the case. 

        • Ana Maria

          You missed the point a little, I believe. In my view, what the article is trying to focus on isn’t the fact that “asians hate dark skin”, but rather the fact that ignorance can be hurtful. Using the “Kkamjong” nickname as a joke may have been okay the first few times among close friends (or bandmates), maybe not even then since the recipient actually minds, but at one point, over-repeating it does get annoying and hurtful. Most international fans obviously do not mind the nickname, since from the get-go they perceived it as a term of endearment – they couldn’t have done otherwise, especially because of the first instance in which it was used. Heck, if anyone called me KkamAna or something, I wouldn’t feel offended. However, that is only because the word comes with a different baggage in South Korea amongst part of the population compared to where I come from (as Taemin says, it is generally considered a bad thing). Which is why I would attribute this to basic ignorance – especially since not every single South Korean shares the view.

          I apologize if it seems that I’m flogging a dead horse – it’s just that I thought you put forward some very good ideas, but missed the point the article (as I understood it).

  • http://dvqd92.tumblr.com/ Elizabeth

    great article Nabeela when it comes to inside jokes and making offensive/ignorant comments regarding race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, culture by celebrities/idols/public figures

  • http://dvqd92.tumblr.com/ Elizabeth

    great article Nabeela when it comes to inside jokes and making offensive/ignorant comments regarding race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, culture by celebrities/idols/public figures in public for the world and fans to see and media especially social media and internet get instantly picked up

  • http://dvqd92.tumblr.com/ Elizabeth

    great article Nabeela when it comes to inside jokes and making offensive/ignorant comments regarding race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, culture by celebrities/idols/public figures in public for the world and fans to see and media especially social media and internet get instantly picked up

  • http://www.facebook.com/catherine.song.9693 Catherine Song

    It’s not completely avoidable because Koreans “tease” each other with almost-demeaning nicknames…it’s almost as if you are not really close unless you can put up with such teasing.

  • http://twitter.com/KKheitaa Katariina Vellamo

    But isn’t it the same thing with Taemin being short? I mean it’s not  something Taemin could really affect himself – as well as Kai can’t change his skin color, Taemin cant change his height.  It’s not like Taemin tried to be racist or anything, it’s just the beauty standards there and so be it. It’s no use for us to cry on something this stupid.

    • Gaya_SB

      one word: insoles.

    • http://twitter.com/DeniseHuxxtable S☀L

       No, it’s not the same thing.

  • Tingyi Kao

    “The MC at some point asked the boys to cite a weakness they saw in one another. Kai replied that Taemin is short. Taemin noted that Kai’s skin is rather dark.”

    Just a thought: if nicknaming Kai as KKAMjong should be condemned since dark or light, skin tone is not to be joked about, what about a person’s height? I’m too lazy to check Taemin’s height to understand the standard of being SHORT. And yes, height has often been a subjet to joke with, but nothing more. (e.g. in CNBLUE’s case) So is skin tone–not really worth to elaborate on. 

    Just my Taiwanese opinion. And no, I’m not familiar with either group.

    • http://twitter.com/stroplok stroplok

       I think someone in the comments already mentioned that height and skin colour can not be compared because they don’t hold the same historical and cultural weight. People of colour have been enslaved and victimised, treated as second class citizens and made to be less for the colour of their skin. If Taemin had been short enough to be classified as having dwarfism (under 147cm) then it would be another issue, because of the history of the oppression and abuse people with that condition. (I hope i have not used the wrong or offensive terms here).
      and while I couldn’t hear to well in the video and I could be wrong, the way I heard it was him saying “he’s shorter than me” rather than simply “he’s short”.

      • Elle8

        Taemin isn’t a dwarf and Kai isn’t African. He’s Korean. If his tanned complexion was seen as a serious weakness or if Kai were African, I doubt that Taemin would have brought it up. 

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2UNQGN7IPNTIRIWBNVHEFBHHV4 a z

          Seeing as how Koreans spend a large amount of time emphasizing milky white skin then obviously in their culture being darker is a big flaw. I have read posts (not necessarily on this site) from asians confessing that their parents or other elders told them that people with dark skin are dirty and poor. also i have to point out that many asians go as far as to use umbrellas, and BB creams with lightening properties to maintain/gain lighter complexions so you cannot say its not a serious weakness.

      • AcadiasFire

        I agree.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1100880621 Rachel Young

    I don’t understand how people are commenting that if skin color is commented on so should be height.I didn’t know that someone’s height has the same history and deep connotations that someone’s skin color has had in many countries in the world.  

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/OCSURF5HGLXSWSWI2J2MDJ2IGU vk

    I was surprised this incident from their trip to Thailand wasn’t mentioned in the article:

    “During the Channel V Hero filming, Chanyeol laughed, pointing out that even Kai’s chair is a dark color. Kai retorted with a straight face, “그래요. 나 까매요. 아주 까맣죠…” Translates into “That’s right. I’m dark. Very dark…” Then, he pointed to a couple fans in the audience, “Some of the fans here have a similar dark skin tone. It’s like I’m watching a bunch of Kai’s in front of me…like family.” Chanyeol sort of gave an apologetic pat on Kai’s shoulder, but Kai remained unamused.” There’s also a video of this – http://youtu.be/QYeQFbC05yg

    • Nabeela

      Thanks so much for the link! I probably missed this clip cause it is currently unlisted, but this is a great example of how even he himself is fed up with this joke. 

      • Jasmine Smith

        He looked so upset

    • http://twitter.com/DeniseHuxxtable S☀L

       SMH Sad.

    • Lyannis Ferrer

      I can’t see it :(

  • iWantpancakes

    Height and skin color are not the same thing. I have never known anyone to be considered second class citizen, be enslaved, be a victim of a hate crime, be accused of being a criminal or have a whole organization dedicated to hating them because of their height.  I’m not saying picking on someone’s height is cool, but come on it is not the same thing. Taemin said something insensitive and offensive; get over it. I don’t hate  him for it.

  • goldengluvsk2

    I loled at how ppl want to sortvof justify taemins reply with the fact that kai said he was short… I dont remember short people going thru something even close to what dark skinned or people of colour have gone thru in history… I happen to be a black girl with short height so ive experienced all kind ofcteasing for one thing or the another and obvoiusly the ones regardig my skin color are the most infuriating ones due to cultural background… Even when ppl quote how asia had nothing to do with people of color being enslaved, its obvious the unfavorable reaction to those with darker skin cuz it symbolized those people worked outside in the sun while the nobles had fair skin cuz they were inside… But playing the ignorant card as you mentioned is getting old… Pleaseeee thats basic history and just think before you speak…

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/VOBHN5WR2Q3MPYG2DVDKDOB3WU Lili

    I seriously stopped my tracks when I read Taemin used Kai’s “dark” skin against him. wth kind of response is that. I’m a little more tanner than my bros and sister (two of them nearly white as paper) and I like Kai’s tan look. I’m happy that not every Asian has that white milky skin. Like Ryo and Okura from K8. anyway, I’m in no way a fan of Taemin or Shinnee, but I can see if a fan got hurt by this. If I were a fan I’d be insulted too.Hell, I’m still insulted. As for the short thing…be real guys. I’ve never heard of a war to stop the shorties from being free.

    • iWantpancakes

      Your last sentence made me lol ;D

    • iWantpancakes

      Your last sentence made me lol ;D

  • severely

    I never really understood their obsession with his “dark” skin. He really doesn’t look that much darker than any of the other idols. Watching the “Max Step” MV just emphasizes that to me. He looks about the same as the others. Don’t really get it at all.

    • AcadiasFire

      I just said the same thing. In Maxstep he looks the same as everyone else lol

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/YQ53WK5K4DPXQ5DIBKDELB6WPE Camille

      That’s ’cause they covered him up with BB cream. Sometimes even his hands are covered with BB cream. I remember a radio show EXO-K guested on and somebody mentioned Kai’s darker skin, the DJ couldn’t see it. Kai said it was all under his clothes.

      • Whisperingnotes

        That’s just……sad.

  • aozora1290

    I remember when these videos first came out and im really at a point where i dont even get offended anymore because as a kpop fan of color ive heard enough derogatory  comments already. It really just leaves me scratching my head now and i dont think there is anything that i could say that hasnt already been said. Ofcourse not every korean or asian feels it appropriate to say things about skin color but the frequency with which korean entertainment is making some kind of racial gaff is appalling. Especially considering the increasing prevalence of international promotions in other parts of asia where people come in all kinds of shades but also in western countries where people have a certain common identity despite being made up of various cultures and ethnicities. I dont think asking people , no matter where they are or the racial make up of their society, to be open and accepting of people who look different is that much of a stretch. Especially when they want me to pay outrageous prices for concert tickets when they come to america. I think it is our job as human beings to hold eachother accountable when it comes to racial discrimination. How else is anything supposed to get better? We have to first make a conscious effort before anything can become subconscious.  It’s also alarming how easy kpop fans are able to brush this stuff under the rug but for some reason it seems to me that kpop fans also have a skewed view of race. Whether that has to do with a hive mindset or the subliminal messaging of korean entertainment is something that i am not qualified to comment on. I dont think Kai looked to happy in either video but imagine being korean and growing up with these beauty standards and having people constantly joke about it or call it a weakness. I wonder how that must make Kai feel and i hope that kpop fans can at least think about that.

    • http://twitter.com/silverukiss Silver

      Yeah, I can’t imagine Kai would be too happy about it. All my siblings get rather dark skinned, but I’m just plain white. It sucks to look different, because I grew up thinking I was ugly because I didn’t look dark and exotic, no matter how much I tried. So having people make fun of something you feel insecure about and can’t change… I  just feel bad for Kai.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/MMRQEZEPSNJ26LJ7XJNDDM5NCI JasmineA

      I agree with pretty much everything you said. As a black fan of Kpop I don’t feel offended as much anymore had it been 3 years ago when I first got into kpop. However, I still don’t excuse the behavior. Its disappointing that things like this happen but not surprising. I actually really like Taemin so I was kinda disappointed when he said that to Kai, I wasn’t angry but disappointed. Its kinda said that as kpop fans we are not surprised by these sort of things, because really what does that say about the industry.

  • animasaurus

    Didn’t Taemin used to be darker than Kai predebut? Hmm… I think even in Shinee’s early days Taemin used to be quite tan… Idk why he made such a comment tbh.

    • Jasmine Smith

      Exactly

  • http://twitter.com/catEYEx3 Clairi

    The things that bother me are how Taemin said his dark skin was a weakness, and the video from their trip to Thailand where Kai seems upset at the joke about it. . .

  • find_nothing_here

    As a fan of Taemin’s, this makes me very disappointed.  There are sometimes when I just want to fly to Korea and call people out their dick moves.

  • taestits

    The word is ‘racist,’ man. There’s no need to refrain from “pointing fingers,” I’m not gonna stop liking Taemin or anything, but I do understand now that he’s (at least, a little) racist.

    • Gaya_SB

      I think it’s more colourist than racist, but it’s definitely prejudiced, whichever label you use.

  • http://twitter.com/sebsobandsky Sabah

    This is the first time I have had a close look at Kai (being an EXO member) because they are so young (when compared to me) and I have just got to say, ‘he’s so beautiful!’ *ahem* Right, so colourism and nicknames and so forth…

    The rule of thumb for me in regards nicknames is quite simple actually, does the person find it irritating, malicious or hateful? If so, then it isn’t a nickname but a taunt or an insult.  In my experience, I have found two types.  Ones given to you by loved ones which indicate the closeness of your shared history/relationship.  These do not (or very rarely) have roots in things which might be a sensitive issue to the individual because they stay clear of things hurtful to them.  The other type is “a sign of dominion over that individual…they define and delimit another‘s powers and status.” These generally come out of instances of ‘hazing’ or arenas where ‘strangers’ are placed together.  These can be quite personal and or rude and are generally a test to see how ‘co-operative’ or ‘compliant’ the individual can be. If he feels intolerant towards it, he is regarded as weak BUT if he restrains himself from showing hurt or sensitivity towards it he is deemed to have a strong character.  It is quite cunning because by turning it around and making it a test of character for the individual, it becomes something seemingly done for the betterment for the person when in fact it is aggressive and antagonistic. 

    The truth is that this isn’t a group of best friends who got together to create a band like ‘Shut Up Flower Boy Band,’ where nicknames are formed through history and the love is not just implied but felt.  It is a band manufactured from talented individuals picked from auditions and placed together more in the vein of an arranged marriage. I can’t speak for EXO members, but generally though respect is harder to earn, love takes longer.  There will be a jostling of dynamics between individuals and sub groups within the whole.  For the sake of the band as well as a general sense of human etiquette, these boys are developing relationships, hopefully friendships, whilst compromising and tolerating a myriad of differences found in their upbringing, world views etc. 

    As for the issue of colourism, though Kai didn’t intend to be a warrior for the cause, he has now been burdened with that task and if I may say so, he is setting an amazing example, full of dignity and grace.  God bless him with the strength that he will need.  The rest is up to us, the public and society, to educate not just people who read our posts on blogs/internet but our families, friends and acquaintances that beauty and strength has absolutely NOTHING to do with the colour of your skin.  Hwaiting!

    • Hope

      If I say I think I love you for this comment, would that be weird? :) But in all seriousness, I agree with everything you said. I like to think of K-pop groups having a likeness to working with other students in a group project except the teacher assigns the groups. Meaning you’re put together with other people where the best possible work will come out of your working together. You’re not friends having fun and enjoying the assignment (is that even possible?), you were put together to do a good job, with everyone covering for everyone else’s strengths and weakness.

      Occasionally, like with 3 of the 5 members of Big Bang, you were already friends before working together and can get along with each other and more or less get the job done with little hassle. Don’t tell me no one out there has never been together with someone they genuinely did. not. like. I’ve been put together many a time with the girls and guys in my classes that I wouldn’t give the time of day to much less chance my grade and how much work we get done if we ever got over our hangups with each other.

      The Idol industry is an incredibly competitive place. I bet some of the members of some of our favorite groups used to be rivals. Maybe they even hated each other. Kkamjong may used to have been a name to make Kai feel like sh*t. We don’t know. For it to be mentioned over and over again has got to be annoying and in my honest opinion, a little ridiculous. I’ve seen pictures of EXO in airports and on the radio (heck, I’ve even watched videos. So taxing, I tell ya) where they aren’t/shouldn’t be wearing any makeup and Kai isn’t much darker. I’d say a little more tan than the other members, yes, but not “dark” enough to earn him a nickname.

      I don’t know how to end this comment, so… *poof*

  • http://mapthehumansoul.blogspot.in/ Chryss

    But really though, South Korea is one of the most racist and shallow countries out there. I don’t even know why I still keep on loving that country despite its many flaws. Is it because of their pretty boys, their addictive music, or their culture and the country in general? I understand that most Asian countries (coming from one myself) view fair-skinned people as more good-looking than those with darker skin but it makes me feel a little constricted inside knowing that the country I’m in love with it view it as a ”weakness”, with the word coming straight out of my bias’s mouth. I’ll admit, I was really hurt by his statement given the fact that even though I may not have dark skin, it’s darker in contrast to the ideal skin of Koreans. It’s just a little off-putting and uncalled for Taemin to say that. He could’ve said something like he was more experienced than Kai or Kai still had a lot of room to grow as an idol. But then again, calling out physical characteristics as weaknesses is never okay. Why’s being short a weakness? Since when was it okay for people to view height (or lack thereof) as a weakness? We’re all given different quirks and it’s those quirks that make us special. It’s not just about skin color, it’s about everything. People from all over the world get teased at for their skin, color, their height, the color of their hair (infamous gingers), the shapes of their nose, and most especially their weight. And this is already verging into other topics but I also don’t get why the host had to ask that question. It’s just wrong in so many levels. Couldn’t they think up of better questions?

    • http://twitter.com/sebsobandsky Sabah

      “And this is already verging into other topics but I also don’t get why
      the host had to ask that question. It’s just wrong in so many levels.
      Couldn’t they think up of better questions?”

      Yeah, I thought that too.  Then I wondered maybe he meant ‘least favourable aspect’ as in something that they might improve to better their performances.  If they had replied something in the vein of, ‘he needs to work on his dancing/singing etc’ it might seem too critical and rude, and so by choosing things that were outside their control such as height, it is ‘relatively’ less harsh and mean because they can’t really do anything about that.  Just an opinion, of course, I can’t read minds.

    • http://twitter.com/sebsobandsky Sabah

      “And this is already verging into other topics but I also don’t get why
      the host had to ask that question. It’s just wrong in so many levels.
      Couldn’t they think up of better questions?”

      Yeah, I thought that too.  Then I wondered maybe he meant ‘least favourable aspect’ as in something that they might improve to better their performances.  If they had replied something in the vein of, ‘he needs to work on his dancing/singing etc’ it might seem too critical and rude, and so by choosing things that were outside their control such as height, it is ‘relatively’ less harsh and mean because they can’t really do anything about that.  Just an opinion, of course, I can’t read minds.

    • http://twitter.com/sebsobandsky Sabah

      “And this is already verging into other topics but I also don’t get why
      the host had to ask that question. It’s just wrong in so many levels.
      Couldn’t they think up of better questions?”

      Yeah, I thought that too.  Then I wondered maybe he meant ‘least favourable aspect’ as in something that they might improve to better their performances.  If they had replied something in the vein of, ‘he needs to work on his dancing/singing etc’ it might seem too critical and rude, and so by choosing things that were outside their control such as height, it is ‘relatively’ less harsh and mean because they can’t really do anything about that.  Just an opinion, of course, I can’t read minds.

    • http://twitter.com/sebsobandsky Sabah

      “And this is already verging into other topics but I also don’t get why
      the host had to ask that question. It’s just wrong in so many levels.
      Couldn’t they think up of better questions?”

      Yeah, I thought that too.  Then I wondered maybe he meant ‘least favourable aspect’ as in something that they might improve to better their performances.  If they had replied something in the vein of, ‘he needs to work on his dancing/singing etc’ it might seem too critical and rude, and so by choosing things that were outside their control such as height, it is ‘relatively’ less harsh and mean because they can’t really do anything about that.  Just an opinion, of course, I can’t read minds.

    • http://twitter.com/sebsobandsky Sabah

      “And this is already verging into other topics but I also don’t get why
      the host had to ask that question. It’s just wrong in so many levels.
      Couldn’t they think up of better questions?”

      Yeah, I thought that too.  Then I wondered maybe he meant ‘least favourable aspect’ as in something that they might improve to better their performances.  If they had replied something in the vein of, ‘he needs to work on his dancing/singing etc’ it might seem too critical and rude, and so by choosing things that were outside their control such as height, it is ‘relatively’ less harsh and mean because they can’t really do anything about that.  Just an opinion, of course, I can’t read minds.

    • http://twitter.com/sebsobandsky Sabah

      “And this is already verging into other topics but I also don’t get why
      the host had to ask that question. It’s just wrong in so many levels.
      Couldn’t they think up of better questions?”

      Yeah, I thought that too.  Then I wondered maybe he meant ‘least favourable aspect’ as in something that they might improve to better their performances.  If they had replied something in the vein of, ‘he needs to work on his dancing/singing etc’ it might seem too critical and rude, and so by choosing things that were outside their control such as height, it is ‘relatively’ less harsh and mean because they can’t really do anything about that.  Just an opinion, of course, I can’t read minds.

      • find_nothing_here

        Could anybody point out the part in the video where they said that?  I wish I could gauge their reactions.

        Yeah, being short might not have the enormous cultural baggage that being darker skinned does, but that doesn’t mean it’s nice to be teased for it. :/

        • http://twitter.com/sebsobandsky Sabah

           Try this link. http://youtu.be/Q9i8RcVL-So

          • find_nothing_here

            Oh, damn.  Taemin talked first.

            It seems like they were both sort of joking, but I can’t tell.  It’s interesting that Kai called Taemin’s lack of curves a weakness though.  That’s not usually listed as a desired attribute for men…

            At least the MC tried to diffuse it and called them both attractive.

          • http://twitter.com/sebsobandsky Sabah

             I think the statement was ‘lack of curves of the lips.’ 

            Though I can’t be sure, since this was an SM event, I would speculate that they probably had some idea of questions that were coming their way and so had thought through their responses.  The video linked below of the Thailand incident does feel more tense though. 

          • find_nothing_here

            Oh, you’re right.  I read it has “hips.” Welp. ( Of course my immediate response was “Taemin has awesome hips, what are you talking about?”)

            I wonder how the kid keeps it in.  :/  He must get this sort of thing a lot, but it seems like he’s got enough self confidence to turn it to his advantage, instead of just laughing and faking nonchalance.

  • asianromance

    Given how Asians are so obsessed with milky white skin, I wouldn’t be surprised if he had to deal with this sort of BS since he was a kid.  You would think that after he has become one of the most popular and hottest members of EXO that he wouldn’t have to deal with this sort of crap anymore…

    I’m glad he’s still tan.  I notice that a lot of idols are dark during their trainee days and then get like a bajillion shades lighter once they’ve debuted and become famous.  

    • Sue Dogra

       That’s very true.  I noticed that SNSD’s Tiffany was of a darker complexion during her pre-debut days: http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/139/aajq8.jpg/sr=1

      Now, she’s notably a large number of shades lighter. 

      • idontknoe

        She’s probabaly naturally lighter, but lived in Cali and tanned too. In America tan is in.

        • http://twitter.com/karentlynn kt

          do people return to their lighter shade THAT quickly? me and most of my friends remain that tan if they get darker
          or do most kpop idols use skin whitening treatment….
          if they do, wow. i didnt know they worked THAT well O_O

          • idontknoe

            A lot of people do. I have white friends who come back from vacation looking like a different ethnicitya nd then a month later they’re pale again.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/YQ53WK5K4DPXQ5DIBKDELB6WPE Camille

        She probably tanned a lot as a kid, but once she started training in Korea with hardly any time to go tanning, she probably went back to her naturally lighter skin.

        Same goes for Yoochun and other California K-pop idols.

    • zsc

      This happens in America too. Just look at Beyonce.

  • Julianne Jimenez

    I think the reason why Taemin has no eyebrows in MAXSTEP is. . . Kai got revenge on him for what he said and shaved off his eyebrows. jk, jk. But, if Taemin is implying that being dark is a weakness, is Kai saying that being short is a weakness? If so, I’m offended. Not by Taemin, but Kai. Again, kidding. Sort of. I’m just saying, how much of their answers is being taken in context? Yes, the two of them considering the two traits of dark skin and short height as weaknesses can tell us much about the person, but given the nature of their relationship, best friends, could they be joking? As a short Asian girl, I have often been called short and “ninja” by my friends, but I never felt offended.

  • Trinkets

    Just going to mention that as a tall girl (182cm) i’ve gotten used to being openly stared and pointed at, called names, and having not so funny jokes thrown at me (not only when travelling mind you).
    I’m NOT saying that it’s comparable to commenting on skin colour due to to historical reasons and all that, and i’m guessing that the “dark” comment hurt kai more than “short” hurt taemin. BUT i just wanted to add that some things, related to our physical appareance, we’re suppossed to take with a smile, even though they are hurtful.

    on a side note: “Needless to say, if you’re a public figure, don’t be ignorant of the public at large, especially the public that stalks your every moment from behind a computer screen, because believe me, nothing goes unseen”. I do agree, but can’t help wondering if any one told taemin this when he signed his contract. 

  • http://twitter.com/veria10 Veria

    Different cultures have different ideals of beauty – this will always be true, will never change and there is little that can be done about it. I can accept this, and I respect other cultures for having their own values and beliefs. However what I cannot understand is putting people down because they don’t fit into that ideal.
    For instance, there’s nothing wrong with Koreans valuing pale white skin. They are allowed to hold whatever belief they want. What I do find wrong is how they put down people who, like Kai, do not have pale skin and call it a ‘weakness’ or a ‘flaw’. It is when they use their belief of white skin = better and turn it around to almost vindicate those who have the opposite does their belief manifest into a behaviour which I find backwards and disrespectful to the person.
    Is there really anything ‘weak’ about it? No – Kai is an extremely talented person, he worked and trained hard to get where he is now, but labelling his skin as his ‘weakness’ is extremely shallow.

  • http://twitter.com/VampireMadonna VampireMadonna

    I don’t consider myself an Exotic per se but I am a ridiculously huge EXO fan. Initially Kai wasn’t one of my favorite people but he’s grown on me along the way. Theoretically, I KNOW that he’s a bit darker than the rest but I would never refer to him as brown because I usually don’t notice it. As a person of color myself, I realized early on that being brown really is frowned upon in Asian culture as a whole. They’d rather be ghostly, sickly pale than even lightly tanned. It’s only the rare few like SISTAR’s Hyorin who actually go tanning to get brown because to her it’s attractive. I remember seeing Doojoon from Beast also being teased because he’s darker than the others. There’s also Kwanghee who notoriously uses foundation/make-up shades lighter than his natural complexion because he considers himself unattractively dark. Certain K-celebs who are well-known for their paleness, especially when it’s considered part of their charm, act like they’re vampires and can’t possibly endure even a minute of exposure to sunlight. It’s quite ridiculous sometimes. I mean it’s funny when you see it in a variety show or something, especially when there’s a laugh-track TELLING you that you’re supposed to laugh, but it’s really sad when you think about the real world connotations.

    I’ve always been fine with my browness. I don’t use the term “black” because that is a largely American term to refer to someone of African descent. Where I come from, 90% of the population IS brown and there are various shades from light to dark so unless a person is black as pitch, we don’t call them that. Unfortunately, the majority of the world, including Asia, has adopted that term to refer to people of color so now we’re forced to identify ourselves as African American/Black when filling out official forms, etc. Personally, I just select the “other” box if it’s available because my ancestry is mixed and far be it from me to deny my forefathers.
    However, as fine as I am with my browness, despite how much I love Korean culture, I’m really hesitant to actually go to Korea. The more I learn about the culture and their attitudes towards other cultures and races, the more I feel like the proverbial “other”.

    When you see/hear the kind of attitudes and stereotypical expectations that they have of foreigners, especially those of an ethnic minority, it’s quite startling. For example, I can’t list the number of times I’ve seen idols imitate “black” people by speaking in ebonics and acting “gangsta”. I understand that they see it in movies and hear it in music but they need to be able to differentiate fact from fiction. It is the reality for some, I won’t deny that, but one should never generalize an entire race. They hate it when Asians are stereotyped (I’ve seen a lot of idols talk about how they felt living in America or predominantly white countries) yet they do it to others.
    Similarly when mimicking Middle Eastern countries, etc, which shouldn’t be mimicked to begin with, they tend to be extremely derogatory. It’s really disappointing to see someone you enjoy watching and support monetarily completely degrade another culture simply because they’re ignorant. Ignorance isn’t an excuse. Not being exposed to something isn’t a reason to not know about it. That whole debacle with the Shinee performance in Japan a while ago where they dressed up in costumes and acted like utter fools on stage really pissed off a lot of international fans. And that’s just one example. There are many others.
    It’s just sad that, despite how long the Hallyu Wave has been in play and how far it has spread, their attitudes seem to remain constant and the entertainment companies do nothing to change it.

    Basically, seeing stuff like this just makes me wonder: if they treat their own people like they’re inferior for being a few shades “too” dark, how are they going to behave towards an actual person of color? They do seem “friendly” towards foreigners but it’s a kind of distant, insincere politeness. A friend of mine worked in Korea for a while and overall she loved it but there were a lot of negative experiences that came with it as well. And she’s Caucasian so it really makes me reconsider ever wanting to actually experience Korea in person. Maybe I’m better off “experiencing” it from the safety of my computer.

    • http://twitter.com/silverukiss Silver

       I’m sure Korea isn’t as rosy as we would all like to paint it. I plan on going there at some point, hopefully to teach English, and I’m sure I will come across bad experiences as well. But the thing is I’ve come across many bad experiences just living in my own country, the USA, as well. I think no matter where you go, people are people. There will be many bad people, but also a lot of good people. If you really want to visit Korea, I wouldn’t let it stop you. I think the best way to prepare would be to learn to revel in the good experiences and leave the bad ones in the past. And maybe your interactions with those good people will leave an impression on them. Maybe they will open up their mind more to possibilities they just hadn’t considered before, living in their uniform society, and so they will teach those possibilities to their children. Change can be slower than dirt, but I believe everyone can be benefited by an exchange of cultures.

    • taequila777

      I really enjoyed your post, the majority of what you stated is so true. Asians are considered people of color, but often it’s people within that same social structure that bring about so much negativity. I’m Black/African American, and I can’t stand the “N” word, but you’re absolutely right, if they take that stance with their own people, then lord only knows how they really feel about others. This isn’t a blanket statement against all of them, I’m certain they are more than a few where skin color is a mute issue.

  • http://www.facebook.com/nana.eena Andréa Fuks

    i have only one thing to say.. kai and taemin are bestfriends. i call my bestfriend ugly almost everyday – i tease him about his height, about his pimples, about his weight AND about his skin color. do i have something against black people ? no. this is totally different, and i don’t really think taemin is racist, the boy didn’t say anything that make me think he is. kai himself is proud of his skin and already said he thinks this is his best charm, he’s confident with his skin, and i think this is one BIG reason to tease him about it. in fact, i find this article pretty pointless… taemin didn’t insult anyone and kai doesn’t seem that much bothered about it. he said taemin is shorter – again, i don’t see the difference in teasing someone about his skin or his height.. this is the same. the people thinking this is different are the ones having a problem with “colored people” in my opinion. and kai is my bias, but it really never bothered me. luhan make fun of xiumin because of his baby cheeks, they make fun of tao’s “cry baby” side, they make fun of chanyeol and chen inhability to dance… well, i don’t think kai’s skin is different.

  • http://www.facebook.com/nana.eena Andréa Fuks

    i have only one thing to say.. kai and taemin are bestfriends. i call my bestfriend ugly almost everyday – i tease him about his height, about his pimples, about his weight AND about his skin color. do i have something against black people ? no. this is totally different, and i don’t really think taemin is racist, the boy didn’t say anything that make me think he is. kai himself is proud of his skin and already said he thinks this is his best charm, he’s confident with his skin, and i think this is one BIG reason to tease him about it. in fact, i find this article pretty pointless… taemin didn’t insult anyone and kai doesn’t seem that much bothered about it. he said taemin is shorter – again, i don’t see the difference in teasing someone about his skin or his height.. this is the same. the people thinking this is different are the ones having a problem with “colored people” in my opinion. and kai is my bias, but it really never bothered me. luhan make fun of xiumin because of his baby cheeks, they make fun of tao’s “cry baby” side, they make fun of chanyeol and chen inhability to dance… well, i don’t think kai’s skin is different.

  • http://www.facebook.com/nana.eena Andréa Fuks

    i have only one thing to say.. kai and taemin are bestfriends. i call my bestfriend ugly almost everyday – i tease him about his height, about his pimples, about his weight AND about his skin color. do i have something against black people ? no. this is totally different, and i don’t really think taemin is racist, the boy didn’t say anything that make me think he is. kai himself is proud of his skin and already said he thinks this is his best charm, he’s confident with his skin, and i think this is one BIG reason to tease him about it. in fact, i find this article pretty pointless… taemin didn’t insult anyone and kai doesn’t seem that much bothered about it. he said taemin is shorter – again, i don’t see the difference in teasing someone about his skin or his height.. this is the same. the people thinking this is different are the ones having a problem with “colored people” in my opinion. and kai is my bias, but it really never bothered me. luhan make fun of xiumin because of his baby cheeks, they make fun of tao’s “cry baby” side, they make fun of chanyeol and chen inhability to dance… well, i don’t think kai’s skin is different.

    • TheJadeBullet

      I think the point of the article was to indicate why this joke shouldn’t have been made public, as it’s more open to misinterpretation. Kai couldn’t care less about it, apparently, but others with darker skin tones may view Taemin’s comment as being offensive or racial. I’m Indian and I don’t give a damn but you can’t make a concrete statement that this trivial thing would be ignored by everyone.

  • idontknoe

    I’m pretty sure it’s a nickname he’s had forever in school. He’s hot, he’ll get over it.

  • Rahnl

    You can hope, but to expect a young person who’s probably barely going
    to (a likely biased) school in a racially homogenous country to be
    culturally/racially sensitive is a stretch. You can claim, hasn’t he
    traveled?? And yes, for all of several days, he pops into a country,
    puts on a show and then flies back out. Hardly a base to form cultural sensitivity from.

  • TheJadeBullet

    I know it’s their cultural view but damn, Korea needs to get its head on right. Kai is freaking WHITE. I fail to see how a complexion differing by a few tones would cause such an uproar. Just–just… -.-‘ *sigh* Whatever. If he’s brown, then I’m so black, I disappear in the night.

    • http://twitter.com/M_Wys Michaela Wylie

      Yeah. And the weird thing is, I don’t Koreans so much more tanned than Kai is. I don’t see why it’s such a big deal. :P

    • taequila777

      LOL. Exactly.

    • Hope

      “If he’s brown, then I’m so black, I disappear in the night.” I don’t think I can agree more with this statement. If I was on Tumblr, I’d just say THIS^^

  • http://twitter.com/RoknRollPumpkin E-Bone

    I know the nickname is meant to be endearing but I read Kai’s body language/facial expressions as coming off a wee bit agitated that it was being brought up, in an “not this again” sort of way. For all I know he acts like that all the time and I am reading too much into it, just something I noticed.

    • http://twitter.com/DeniseHuxxtable S☀L

       I agree. Kai looks bothered by it.

  • h0neanias incognito

    I get if someone’s uncomfortable with what Taemin said, but if someone wants to criticise him, at least understand that Korean preference for fair skin isn’t about race, it’s about class. If anything, Tae was being classist. Those who accuse him of racism miss the point completely. Being righteous about race doesn’t mean you start seeing racism in everything anyone does and says. Seeing evil everywhere you look doesn’t make you good. It makes you neurotic.

    But of course, it looks so and so, thus it has to be so and so, right? Otherwise one would have to actually try to understand the matter, God forbid. That doesn’t make the matter fine, but it deserves to be criticised for what it is, not for what it looks like. And by the way, if someone criticises Tae, one would be wise to banish the word redneck from one’s vocabulary, because that’s classist as hell. Curious, but I have’t seen any Tumblr brouhaha over that one.

  • http://twitter.com/M_Wys Michaela Wylie

    Agree with what you said.

    And honestly, I find it a bit upsetting that Taemin gets so much criticism for saying what he did. I mean 1. The MC made them do it and 2. Kai also pointed out Taemin’s “unattractive” qualities…why is being short necessarily unattractive? I find this as assumptive as the presumption that the whiter the skin, the more beautiful. 

    Just saying. I disagree with what Taemin said, but I also disagree with what Kai said. 

  • iWantpancakes

    I just want to point out that it doesn’t really make any sense to call Taemin a racists considering that his comment was about someone one of his own race.  Making fun of another Korean is hardly racist, but not cool.

  • http://twitter.com/DeniseHuxxtable S☀L

    I agree with this article, but of that comment I’m no longer a Taemin fan. 

  • sxne7

    If what Taemin said was offensive, then the opposite has to be true as well. Kai listed being short as a weakness, and just because being tall is a universal standard of beauty, it’s okay? 

  • taequila777

    I’m a person of color, more specifically, I’m an African-American, and I recall watching that video with Taemin and Kai, and I found it slightly offensive. However, I’m going to assume that most South Koreans don’t have that much interaction with black people in that country, I believe their virtually nonexistent there, besides the military, but Koreans are no more suspectible to superfical standards of beauty than the rest of the world. I agree with the writer, idols should know by now that they have fans that span the globe, and those fans have varying degrees of skin color. I personally love Kai, because he looks different than the rest of his members. I don’t find dark skin to be a weakness, because I have dark skin, so if Kai is dark, then I must be “midnight”. This also extends to education, how much are Koreans educated about different cultures in school? How are we to know that those answers weren’t scripted, hell, seemingly everything idols do seemed predetermined, and I’m not letting Taemin off the hook either, he’s my bias in SHINee. He did redeem himself with his interaction with Donika, but that was for publicy so what the hell do I know? Taemin is shorter than Kai by inches, so again, I would be considered a midget by their standards. Okay, I’m done.

  • http://twitter.com/NotMyBirthday21 Lakeisha

    Why does the issue of skin color keep coming up in k-pop. As a African American I am getting tired of it. South Korea does not seem like a great place to visit anymore. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Madison-Brown/1566647269 Madison Brown

    I like that you’re defending Kai, and I too am kind of sad when people use it, because I know it’s something he’s insecure about, but Taemin and Kai are really super close, and I don’t think that it’s a low blow/douchey move on Taemin’s part at all. They’ve been best friends for years, and can tease each other.

  • ExoKpop

    Kai’s nickname is Kkamjong. He admits it and knows that he has darker skin tone than the other members, but because the members tease him way too often about it, he seldom gets annoyed by it. During the Channel V Hero filming, Chanyeol laughed, pointing out that even Kai’s chair is a dark color. Kai retorted with a straight face, “그래요. 나 까매요. 아주 까맣죠…” Translates into “That’s right. I’m dark. Very dark…” Then, he pointed to a couple fans in the audience, “Some of the fans here have a similar dark skin tone. It’s like I’m watching a bunch of Kai’s in front of me…like family.” (Oh my god, Jongin. I hope you’re not dissing your own fans…; OTL) Chanyeol sort of gave an apologetic pat on Kai’s shoulder, but Kai remained unamused. (There’s a vid of this out there.)

    So after Chanyeol sort of upset Kai by teasing him about how Kai’s chair’s also a dark color, Kai became all sensitive. (Aww ;A;) The male MC was about to give D.O. the pink elephant plushie, but Kai reached for it first, so D.O. ended up with the dark grey one. (Yes, originally, Kai was supposed to have the dark grey plushie and D.O to pink one.) After filming was over, Kai was heard mumbling to himself, “They only gave me the red plushie because I asked for it. Why were they about to give only me the dark one?” x) (There’s a vid of this out there too~ )

  • ExoKpop

    I think kai is tired of people picking fun at his physical trait. Kai may be all sexy and confident on stage, but real Kim Jongin is quite shy, quite, and sensitive. You can see that he was visibly upset in Channel V. 

    http://hokaid-o.tumblr.com/post/36737407557/27-100-gifs-of-kai-sensitive-kkamjong-part-1

    Imagine if his grown-up bandmates r picking fun at his skin color, imagine what he had to go through his entire life in school. Im sure he got made fun of in school for being dark. I know he was laughing when Taemin said it, but it hurts him. Seriously, Korea and Asia in general, need to know that there are variety of skin colors in this world. I’m offended when i saw that Taemin said dark skin color is Kai’s weakness… like WTF?  

  • http://twitter.com/FollowOmoyono OMOYONO

    I myself feel that its totally unacceptable  i mean i know some people will feel that yeah its only a light joke and i can understand if its between friends and i totally understand where the authors getting at, but my dads gone through racism and i know it not as big as kai being called Dark jong but cause of that i’am a bit more sensitive to these kind of thing and i’am sure he gets tired of it but weirdly i find that among friend i normally joke about my yellow skin and mess around saying stuff but if it gets used too much it does come out as rude plus Asians should embrace that some of us a dark skinned, its absolutely beautiful and i think sometime people forget Indians are asian too and they are beautifully tanned, but these are only my opinions. and my English friend’s always tell me they’re jealous of my tan or wish they were at least tan as me and sometimes they go on holiday and are like look at me i’m more tanned ^^

  • http://twitter.com/FollowOmoyono OMOYONO

    i was wondering, somewhere i heard that the whole white skin south east Asian equals beautiful was because back in time, darker skin meant you were a labor worker, poor and working in the suns heat and if you were light skinned it meant you were rich and didn’t do labor work, i heard this somewhere and was wondering if its true??? 

    • http://twitter.com/wfaith122603 WFaith122603

      This is true~ That’s why asians invest so much into making their skin “milky-white” because it also signifies you have the money and resources to have fair skin >.<

    • http://twitter.com/wfaith122603 WFaith122603

      This is true~ That’s why asians invest so much into making their skin “milky-white” because it also signifies you have the money and resources to have fair skin >.<

  • Marley

    I totally agree with you. K-pop idols NEED to be more sensitive with what they say. A lot of them don’t seem to realize that they are now appealing to a GLOBAL audience.

  • Ohai Saelis

    I’m late to the party. K-pop idols DO need to be more sensitive with what they say. As a huuuge fan of Taemin, I too was disappointed at that level of ignorance. I don’t think he was malicious… It was probably one of those, “Uhhh… I can’t think of anything! You’re too dark, Kai!” Taemin himself was pretty tanned at some points, and Jonghyun, his fellow member of Shinee, is a bronze god. I think the emphasis on Kai’s tan made Taemin come up with that in the spur of the moment, though he really should’ve been more mindful of the global audience. As much as I love Taemin, even his hyungs have stated that he’s the most ignorant of the lot. The boy still has some growing up to do.

    I do wonder, however, what the reaction might’ve been if someone had said Sehun was too pale or something to that extent. As an Asian who was born with a tan, I’ve had people making comments about my skin all my life. I’m Eurasian, and I know fellow Eurasians who would have a fit if someone asked if they were Indian or Malay, which are races that generally have darker skin. Eurasians themselves tend to be a pretty racist bunch, unfortunately; almost everyone I know of my race seems to think that they’re somehow to superior because they have Caucasian roots.

    Then again, if someone accused someone else of being as white as a sheet – and I work in the gaming industry, so we get people telling each other that they’re pasty faced basement dwellers a lot – it never really boils down to an issue of racism or colourism. Is it because, in general, the minority groups (in this case, us dark skinned folks) are allowed to insult whiteness, while the ‘privileged’ majority, the whiter bunch, are called out for picking on us for our skin colour?

    At the end of the day I think there needs to be an acceptance from both sides of the coin. Ignorance from either side is still ignorance. That being said, I love Kai all the more after seeing all this. I feel for him, being constantly put down for his appearance when it’s not something he can control and certainly not a fault.

    Someone mentioned in another comment that he was indirectly insulting the audience in the video for Channel V, by saying that they’re dark skinned like him. That would only be an insult if you consider being called dark skinned an insult to begin with. I think what Kai wanted to point out was that to treat his dark skin as a fault is to insult their fans who shared his skin colour. I loved how he put it across, saying it was like looking at himself, like family. I think that he, of all people, is aware of how the things they say and do have an impact on the audience, and I am extremely impressed by that.

  • Ohai Saelis

    I’m late to the party. K-pop idols DO need to be more sensitive with what they say. As a huuuge fan of Taemin, I too was disappointed at that level of ignorance. I don’t think he was malicious… It was probably one of those, “Uhhh… I can’t think of anything! You’re too dark, Kai!” Taemin himself was pretty tanned at some points, and Jonghyun, his fellow member of Shinee, is a bronze god. I think the emphasis on Kai’s tan made Taemin come up with that in the spur of the moment, though he really should’ve been more mindful of the global audience. As much as I love Taemin, even his hyungs have stated that he’s the most ignorant of the lot. The boy still has some growing up to do.

    I do wonder, however, what the reaction might’ve been if someone had said Sehun was too pale or something to that extent. As an Asian who was born with a tan, I’ve had people making comments about my skin all my life. I’m Eurasian, and I know fellow Eurasians who would have a fit if someone asked if they were Indian or Malay, which are races that generally have darker skin. Eurasians themselves tend to be a pretty racist bunch, unfortunately; almost everyone I know of my race seems to think that they’re somehow to superior because they have Caucasian roots.

    Then again, if someone accused someone else of being as white as a sheet – and I work in the gaming industry, so we get people telling each other that they’re pasty faced basement dwellers a lot – it never really boils down to an issue of racism or colourism. Is it because, in general, the minority groups (in this case, us dark skinned folks) are allowed to insult whiteness, while the ‘privileged’ majority, the whiter bunch, are called out for picking on us for our skin colour?

    At the end of the day I think there needs to be an acceptance from both sides of the coin. Ignorance from either side is still ignorance. That being said, I love Kai all the more after seeing all this. I feel for him, being constantly put down for his appearance when it’s not something he can control and certainly not a fault.

    Someone mentioned in another comment that he was indirectly insulting the audience in the video for Channel V, by saying that they’re dark skinned like him. That would only be an insult if you consider being called dark skinned an insult to begin with. I think what Kai wanted to point out was that to treat his dark skin as a fault is to insult their fans who shared his skin colour. I loved how he put it across, saying it was like looking at himself, like family. I think that he, of all people, is aware of how the things they say and do have an impact on the audience, and I am extremely impressed by that.

  • http://twitter.com/Leskig Freaky Fangirl

    Honestly it never ocurred to me even once that the nickname could be used in a “bad way” or how to say. I don’t think any fan or anyone else for that matter means any harm. And when Taemin said it was a weakness I just assumed he meant because a lot of people prefers paler skin in Asia. (That’s so stereotypical I know, sorry,it’s true though. He obviously didn’t insult his best friend and I don’t think he thought too much of it.) I mean people look in to this WAY too hard. People call Yuri dark all the time as well so cut the crap and don’t be so dramatic. I’m not super in to asian culture though so I might be wrong but this is just how I see it.

  • http://twitter.com/Leskig Freaky Fangirl

    And just another thing I think I need to say because I feel like people interpret wrongly here is: when saying dark skin is “a weakness” or anything like that. They do NOT mean for example that black people aren’t beautiful or that their skin is less worth (can’t find the exact words I’m looking for, sorry, my english is bad.) but simply that when it comes to asians, paler skin is stereotypically preferred. (Some actor even explained that years ago on some talk show.) But yeah I guess there is someone is secretly racist in this industry too. Just note that what I said above goes for most cases.

  • http://twitter.com/Leskig Freaky Fangirl

    Woah this text gets really annoying after a while and the perspect you’re taking…you come off quite ignorant yourself but I’ll leave it at that…

  • hana amyka

    well not every asian are born with milky skin,i’m even darker than kai,and yeah i feel slightly offended,y’know do not judge a book by it’s cover and i’m gonna say do not judge a person by its skin.

  • Akosua Boffour

    ”Don’t we all single out our friends for their own quirks or defining characteristics and sometimes make inside jokes about them?”

    well I sure the hell don’t O_O

  • SilverHallow

    I don’t know if he was annoyed because his skin is brought up so much, but I also remember multiple times when he was called ‘sexy’ in direct relation to his skin tone. And look at Hwangbo. She must have heard the words ‘At first I thought you were from India’ (i vaguely remember hyungjoong saying something like that during WGM) more than once, but she still also has a sexy image. So.. I kinda thought that atleast a relevant number of people in Korea thought that darker skin was sexy.

    I honestly actually didn’t notice him being darker at all, and I still see hardly any difference now. It’s more like how I have my dad’s skin, which is naturally (by that I mean with no influence of the sun involved) just slightly paler than my mom’s skin. But that doesn’t mean my mom has dark skin, she is pale too. I used to get laughed at by people at my school because no matter how much time I spent in the sun, I still didn’t get a tan.

    I’m sure that there are plenty of people in Korea who do like darker skin, just like there are people here where I live who don’t think it’s a lack in beauty if you can’t get a tan. Beauty standards exist in every culture, but that doesn’t mean that everyone who grows up in a certain culture also shares that specific ideal of what is beautiful.

    For me personally, I don’t give a damn about what colour someone’s skin is. Especially not Kai’s. When he is up on that stage, his skin tone is probably one of the last things on my mind.

    Anyway, to sum things up: who cares if his skin is darker or not? Who cares what other people think, to me he’s damn sexy no mater what colour his skin is. He could be blue for all I care. It’s not like he’d be any better looking if he was just a little paler. His skin tone is his, and it adds to his charms, just like Taemin’s pale skin adds to his. I just hope that Kai doesn’t feel insecure because of what other people say.

    (Oh, and before I forget: Taemin and Kai are friends, people. If Taemin had thought his comment would hurt Kai, he wouldn’t have said it. And I’m also pretty sure he didn’t mean to offend fans over the world. I don’t think he even made the connection between them and the beauty standards he grew up with. With so many people around the world, all looking so different, there’s really no point in holding people from the other side of the world to the beauty standards that apply to just that small piece of earth that you live on yoruself. Of course it was a thoughtless thing to say, but so what if he said something wrong, have you never? He’s only human. The only difference is that his stupidities can and will be viewed by who knows how many people all over the world. Excuse him for screwing up once or twice. I’m just happy hardly anyone hears the stupid things I say.)

  • Quenna lacy

    I’m a big Kai and Taemin fan and when I read that he said this I was disappointed. I don’t think he’s racist but it was an ignorant thing to say. Sigh~ I love Kai’s slightly darker skin and I find nothing wrong with it. Whats annoying is that they cover his skin up with BB Cream… I also don’t find his nickname amusing. Never have. Disappointing :/

  • haruharuharu

    wow.. I see jong-in in a new light! I hope he can come to peace and accept his beautiful skin! THEIR JUST JEALOUS OF YOUR SKIN KAI LOL !! i wonder how korea takes 2pm and other tanned idols then o-o

  • http://bear-says-hey.tumblr.com/ Devi

    Bottom line is, know your audience. They should know better than to cite something like this while knowing they have a diverse fanbase. Even if they weren’t internationally famous, even if they were only big in SK, as idols it’s an obligation for them to be progressive in terms of social attitude, or at least mindful, because of the influence they have. Having a famous person who is dark by certain standards should show that skin color and appearance isn’t all that important. Because it’s really not, and it’s clear that they know it’s not–it’s not an issue of malice here, but a matter of presentation.

  • joonoppa

    I can’t see how it’s okay thay EXO says it, but not Taemin? Taemin and Jongin are best friends since before EXOs debut.

  • nachi

    I guess I might be completely delusional or something as a shinee fan but I’m also an eco fan and I don’t think Taemin meant anything particularly harmful about it at all really. They have been friends for quite awhile so I imagine it wouldn’t be strange for Taemin to use the joke either. Also with the fact that both of them were grinning and Kai has also called Taemin dark (in a joking manner. They said when they first saw each other Kai thought Taemin was Usher and Taemin said he thought Kai was african I think). So I don’t understand why so many fans would hate on Taemin for this as you said? I don’t know, I didn’t hear about any hate on Taemin so…

  • Sassy pantaloons

    It was the same with Yuri in SNSD. Her nickname was Black Pearl, because she was the darkest…and she embraced the nickname

  • CloudieSky27

    I’m not saying that it wasn’t wrong of Taemin to say it the way he did, but I think it’s important to consider other similar talks that they’ve had. Both Taemin and Kai have joked around about skin color various times, such as when Taemin called Kai for the speed quiz on Sukira. When they were asked what they thought of each other when they met, Taemin said he thought Kai was South American and Kai said he thought that Taemin was Usher, who as we know, is a quite tan. I don’t think they were being very serious during the interview, since the two are constantly teasing each other and trying to beat the other in terms of comebacks. Although it was a very careless thing to say, and I don’t think he should have said it, I don’t think Taemin meant it in an offensive way.