SOAR Holds Discussion on East Asian Discrimination

Anti-Racism Group invites DIS Community to Self-reflect

Oliver Park and Jodie Lee

Prejudice against Japanese and Chinese individuals in South Korea grew as a prevalent issue in recent years. Although Japan and China share cultural and economic ties with the ROK, preconceptions and discrimination toward our neighbors still exist in society. To combat this injustice, a SOARing Discussion was held in late January to discuss the topic of “Racism against Japanese and Chinese in Korea”.

Poster designed by Solah Han.

SOAR (Students Organizing Against Racism) chose the theme ‘Japanese and Chinese Hate in Korea‘ as a way to kick off 2023 due to the increasing observations of such hate around the country. Last year, the club based much of the SOARing Discussions on bigotry in America or aspects of racism that aren’t specific to Korea. Though they touched upon the subject of racism in Korea briefly last year, they received requests for more discussions that hit close to home.

Participants questioned and answered through the live chat during the event. Photo by Selina Son

Selina, Vice President of SOAR, brought attention to the meeting by discussing various forms of discrimination, such as physical and verbal abuse, unfair hiring practices, and exclusion from social and cultural activities. She said, “We talked more about hate in school and Korea’s education system, portraying Korea, as a whole, as a victim. This includes the government and citizens, saying ‘Korea’s hands were tied.’ ‘Korea did their best.'”

Selina added that Japanese and Chinese individuals living in Korea often face a lack of support from government and law enforcement agencies, and their complaints are often left ignored. She said, “Even in a diverse school, as such, we think it is easy to grow hate towards Japanese and Chinese people as Korea’s education system portrays itself as the victim and excludes parts where Korea, for example, invaded Vietnam. Many attendees also testified that they had never heard of when Korea did a ‘wrong’ towards another country, totally victimizing their situation.”

Eunice, a participant in the meeting, said, “We should be open-minded and acknowledge these problems, then teach others. And also think it is OK to love your nation, but having racism involved is unacceptable”.  Others at the discussion echoed similar sentiments.

SOAR asked everyone to stick around for a group photo after the event. Photo by Selina Son

Selina enjoyed the Google Meet, too, “I loved that it was such a highly participated discussion. I think because it was local and everybody could testify their piece of story, different experiences came together to uncover the complex biases hidden in Korea.”

Suppose you missed this discussion; no need to worry. SOAR plans to hold recurring monthly activities for all students and teachers. Another discussion is in the works for upcoming months, with a new theme addressing anti-racism or racial justice. Look out for posters, Instagram posts, and morning announcements for upcoming events.


Instagram Post designed by Solah Han.