Elledy: Dear ignorant white folks in Korea:
Why are you teaching English in Korea when you lack basic reading comprehension?
Why are you telling Koreans that they shouldn’t be offended by racist slurs?
Why are you even stepping into a conversation that doesn’t even concern you?
Please direct your mangy selves where you are actually…
I dno… I haven’t read every word people have had to say about this waygookin stuff and I’m sure people have heard enough of my opinions for one day, but…
As a general rule of thumb, surely:
1) I do something that I don’t realize might be racist and could upset people
2) Someone tells me that they think it’s a shitty thing to so and they find it upsetting, or offensive, or something.
3) I say ‘shit, I’m sorry, I won’t do it again’, and try my best to understand what went wrong. I don’t lose anything (in fact I learn something) and they feel less bad.
People are saying that lots of words contain racial slurs in them and that we shouldn’t stop using them, and that’s fair enough. But what I got from the Jeremy Lin ‘chink in the armor’ thing was that using a phrase like that isn’t totally necessary, so if it might cause distress to people then surely just don’t do it? I remember reading somewhere that newspapers now have a general policy against using the word ‘niggardly’ because it just puts that other word in your head, and why do that when it’s not necessary? Is the word niggardly so important? No.
Having said that, clearly the word ‘waygookin’ is more important than the word niggardly or the phrase chink in the armor, because that is what we are; it’s our descriptor. It would be stupid to never say the word at all.
But when someone stands up and says they think it’s a bit shitty to emblazon it across the top of a website, and they find it triggering, why not listen to them? Treat their opinion with respect instead of derision and admit that they might know more than you in this situation? Is the name of the website really so important? Step 3) is so close, and yet so far.
What is standing in the way?
Reblogging because this is the closest thing to sanity I’ve gotten so far, and because I want to have something big in my records the next time someone asks why I’m not “nice” in discussions like these. Also, addressing a few points that I didn’t want to engage directly, because a whole lot of white/non-Korean people been cray tonight and I don’t want to flood my dash with that crap.
I think the ugliest part of this whole thing is how people who didn’t grow up speaking Korean are telling bilingual Koreans how shit should be done. It reeks of white smugness and arrogance and pretty much describes asshole expat behaviour to a T.
It’s very telling because if they were anywhere close to being native speakers, they’d know that romanization is not the be all or end all. In 외국, “weh” is the closest thing to the 외 sound (not “way,” because of that longer end syllable). And for 국, the “u” vowel is shorter than how English speakers say “gook” (with a long “u”) so it doesn’t even end up sounding like the slur.
As for that ridiculous anti-black claim that 니가 sounds anything like “[ni**a]”…I don’t know what kind of anti-black shit they’re even getting into, because the long “e” and the hard “g” sound nothing like the slur. “Niga” would make more sense. Not surprised given all the “stuff black people do wrong” on their blog, though. White people have always wanted this weird possessory title on PoC slurs. That’s why I briefly mentioned their history with the n-word (a.k.a. “it’s not offensive, why can’t I use it, it doesn’t mean what you think it means, it’s just a word, etc.”), and why didn’t address the rest of that straw-reaching nonsense.
So what does that blurb on pronunciation lead up to? It means all these “lol she’s a kyopo/교포 who doesn’t know Korean” identify-policing assholes can miss me with that shit because I could come up with an equally douchey ID-policing response for the kool-aid drinking puppet PoC or two on their end. If they had piped the fuck down, moved on, and accepted that they had no business telling bilingual Koreans how their own language worked in conjunction to English, then we wouldn’t have this wall of text.
If these people would just stop reading selectively, they’d realize that I don’t care if they or their dogs or their grandmas say 외국인 or any other variation of 국. I don’t care if they scream it from their keyboard warrior bases or their rooftops. But another thing that this crowd failed to realize is that you don’t learn pronunciation from romanization alone. That’s like muting a TV and trying to speak English by reading the closed captioning. You need an actual speaker to tell you how words sound.
So why the hell are they so stuck on “wah I can’t write gook” if romanization is unimportant in the grand scheme of things? Why are they trying to appeal to examples of “gook” used within a non-English speaking society when those aren’t the people directly affected by a western-invented slur? What does it cost non-Koreans folks if they can’t write “gook?” How does “kook” hurt them or affect them on the same level as racism?
If sound is more important than relatively non-uniform romanizing, and “k” has been widely accepted as a g-like consonant (and if they tell me otherwise, it just shows the pea-sized extent of their romanization/history knowledge), why is it so hard to avoid being racist?How often will they even write out “waygook/waykook” compared to actually saying or writing 외국인? No one has managed to answer that coherently without pandering to white supremacy or their personal selfishness.
And contrary to all the wild claims coming out of the wazoo, I never even said that all expat English teachers engage in deliberate racebaiting. But it’s clear to me that none of them have even thought about the violent, racist, and imperialistic legacy in Korea and how their blissfully ignorant and whitewashed view of the world contributes to garbage like this. It proves how reactionary and privilege-denying they are when it comes to acknowledging their messes. We pointed out the racism in one website’s URL and they went fucking nuts defending it. And it only drove home the point that they didn’t know a single thing I was talking about. It was the same thing that repeated itself over years of online and offline discourse.
They don’t care that slurs are painful for PoC. They don’t understand what it’s like to be institutionally dehumanized by words. They’re totally apathetic about anyone getting triggered or why they might have an adverse reaction to “gook” in its written form. NO bilingual Korean has given me static for this as these non-Korean expats have. All they’ve proven to me is that 1) they don’t care about PoC 2) they don’t care about PoC 3) they don’t care because they don’t ever want to concede to PoC. As they always have. So why would I have faith in their ability to teach English without looking through some fucked up colonial blinders?
I’ve currently got all sorts of idiocy still flooding my dash because now they’re tone-policing my language, getting bingo all over the place, hitting every section in Derailing for Dummies, and whipping out the dictionary definitions of racism as per usual. They’re on some trip about how “they” is grammatically incorrect within a context where I’m trying not do misgender someone like a cissexist douche. Which tells me that this crowd can’t even get the fucking basics right and I’m throwing pearls before swine.
And I am tired, because it’s the same arguments, the same educating, and the same damn people saying the same things they’ve always said. Except it didn’t matter when I presented pretty little logical arguments on a silver platter like a good girl minus the cursing and the sass and the .gifs. Pretty much any PoC who have had to argue with ignorant privileged white people will tell you that nothing we do is ever good enough for someone who places the burden of educating on marginalized people, but doesn’t want to learn and will never learn. So why waste civility to begin with?
I wasn’t even that abrasive today until they kept insisting that my personal and cultural upbringing with the Korean language was invalid. That their learning stages of Korean gave them the authority to speak over people who’d been speaking it all their lives. So if you think I’ve got a short fuse? Reproduce this bullshit times a million. And even more so for people who actually blog anti-racism with several thousand followers (and haters/stalkers).
The sad thing is that once the butthurtness wears off in this crowd, they can go on their merry way because nobody will get up in their business about how their pain is trivial and meaningless or try to call their heritage into question. And we have to deal with this racist mess from some other source somewhere down the line. Privilege is truly grand.
all. of. this.
why is this convo coming up again after a month has passed? oh yeah white people’s feelings
why are the non-krn/white ppl in this convo insisting their use of a slur? oh yeah white people’s feelings
why do non-krn/white ppl think their opinion is even remotely desired in an issue that DOES NOT CONCERN THEM? oh yeah white people’s feelings
why do non-krn/white ppl believe they can ignore the complex and messy history of white colonialism in korea and its effects today on krn ppl and culture when discussing a very specific slur? oh yeah white people’s feelings
why do non-krn/white ppl think they’re qualified in any way to discuss this issue (esp when their opinions are once again COMPLETELY UNWANTED AND UNIMPORTANT) when they lack said knowledge and context? oh yeah white people’s feelings
why do non-krn/white ppl think it’s EVER their place to police how krn ppl take slurs directed at them? oh yeah white people’s feelings
and they think we can’t see past their bullshit. bitch pls