Last week, I stumbled across a culture blog focused on Seoul (you won’t find links here) that seemed pretty cool. I like culture blogs that hyperfocus on a city, so I clicked around. I found a page that had “hilarious” photos from senior high kids. I know the kids in Seoul go all out in these pictures, so I clicked through. You know what I saw.
Blackface, of course!
Usually, Korean-focused sites in English try to sanitize the constant use of blackface in Korea. Just search ‘korea blackface’ and you’ll get loads of articles and comments by black people in Korea, embarrassed Koreans and/or black hallyu fans just offended that blackface is still a thing after 1940. This is probably the first time I’ve seen an English-language Korean site not only post images of blackface, but call it ‘hilarious’ to boot.
I know the history of blackface in Korea is celebrated. I’ve seen it used in various music videos, movies and TV shows filmed this year. I’ve been sick of it for years and when I see it, I call it out. I make the same exact comment everywhere, “Koreans do love their racist blackface, don’t they?”
Sam Lim, the moderator of the site, did the same thing that black hallyu fans have heard over and over again: S/He decided that Koreans aren’t racists, but rather my statement actually is. It’s an embarrassingly stupid argument. One only used by someone unable to think critically and who writes from their emotions.
FACT: Blackface is racist.
FACT: Koreans love to use blackface.
Do I think all Koreans use blackface? Of course not. That’s stupid. No one with a brain could assume I said that. Do I think all Koreans are racist? Of course not. That’s stupid. No one with a brain could assume I said that. Did I say, “Koreans are racists.” Of course not. That’s stupid. No one with a brain could assume I said that.
Sadly, Sam Lim doesn’t have a brain. Instead, Sam Lim decided to write a lot of words about what I didn’t say. On the surface, you can agree with Sam Lim. There are facts there. But the facts are typical derailment tropes we see when talking about blackface in Korea. I’m not talking about the US and how we are treated this country. I’m not talking about Korean-Americans. I’m talking about blackface is acceptable in Korea.
To explain how acceptable blackface in Korea is and how not-racist they view it: When South Korea hosts The Olympics, memos from the government are sent to the broadcasting stations telling them NOT to use blackface because it could cause offense to African and black athletes visiting. After the games, they are free to use blackface and do it. I guess the African and black people living in Korea don’t count.
So, I said that Sam Lim used a lot of words to justify the use of blackface. I wrote that knowing that if Sam Lim stupidly decided to respond s/he would most like keep saying I was racist and use an anti-black stereotype. These sorts of things are textbook and Sam Lim, did not disappoint.
After telling them that they tried and that all those words doesn’t negate the fact that blackface photos were posted under ‘hilarious’, I moved on. Nothing Sam Lim can say would be important, useful or smart.
Which brings me to today. I saw a link to this blog about a photo scavenger hunt. I love photo scavenger hunts and made a comment that it would be nice to play along here in LA. My comment was blocked.
At first, I was like, “How am I blocked on a site I’ve never visited?” Then I saw the article below this and died laughing. Seems Sam Lim didn’t like having their racist photos called out on, so blocked me. Then I looked and saw that Sam Lim did actually reply back and I laughed even harder. I was called a ‘troll’. For pointing out blackface. Or rather for not accepting that saying Koreans like blackface makes me The Real Racist™.