I live in a country that is often referred to have a racially homogenous population with only 3% of the entire population being foreign residents. In such a place where the majority of the population share the same regional background, it has been regarded as peculiar to have a family from a place other than Korea or to have a different skin color than the majority. In recent years, the previously racially homogenous nation started to face an influx of immigrants from mostly Southeast Asia due to the shortage of labor resulted from a significant decrease in the fertility rate. Such sudden demographic change was lead to an abrupt increase of ‘multicultural’ kids with one of their parents from Vietnam, Laos, or Bangladesh and the other from Korea. These kids are often called ‘Kosians’, identified as social minorities apart from the mainstream Koreans. It is not uncommon that the ‘Kosians’ suffer from serious discrimination in the public only because of their identities. After years of encountering with people with multiple backgrounds who have struggled with prejudice against them, I started to wonder why the society has classified these people as ‘Kosians’ when they are all ‘Koreans’ just like others. Why do we call them ‘Kosians’? Why do we judge them by their backgrounds? How should we eliminate these prejudices and promote diversity?
Published by Jimin Kim
Tokyo-Seoul-DC✸Human rights, East Asian Studies✸President at Project Silkroad, Intern at The Asia Institute, Co-organizer at AND Project, Head at Amnesty International EHS✸Episcopal High School in Alexandria, VA View all posts by Jimin Kim