Sunday, November 25, 2007


Why the Anti-Discrimination Law Must be Amended.

From the time I heard that the Korean Government was going to pass “Anti-Discrimination” Legislation I was skeptical; if not hopeful. How could a society such as this with such deep-rooted biases against even its own ever hope to pass legislation that would somehow protect those who need it most? Of course, my reasons for hoping for the passing of this bill were somewhat selfish. As a foreigner trying to raise a family in Korea I am keenly aware of the ways in which such a law could make life easier for me and mine.
But since I have been in Korea for a long time, I think I can sort of ‘step outside of myself’ a bit and challenge myself to find reasons why the government would choose to delete the 7 contentious items from the bill. It is said, to really understand someone you must walk a mile in their shoes. So, I am taking a moment to really try and understand, item by item, why it is necessary to remove these items from the Korean perspective. Prof. Gill Wonpyeong’s wise words (albeit something may have been lost in translation) have given me the necessary mindset from which to spew forth:

Family type –
Because it is important that we make sure that the people that we work for are only the most moral of people. We should not be forced to hire someone, regardless of their qualifications, if they are estranged from their spouse. It does not matter if a woman’s husband cheated on her and left her with 3 kids to feed, it must be her fault in some way and society must punish her for that by making it difficult for her to work a decent job with other decent people. This is particularly important in a society reaching a 35% divorce rate. In addition, we certainly don’t want to have to work with someone who comes from a broken family because we know that if someone comes from a family like that they must be messed up, crazy or both, regardless of their qualifications.

Nation of Origin
Businesses don’t want to pass this one possibly because they know that the ramifications would be far reaching in the area of employment. Employers would no longer be able to pay people differently based on the color of their skin….this would force many businesses to shut down because they simply could not afford to pay their workers. This can’t pass because that would mean that we would have to actually pay out a little more of our profits to those dirty-looking ASEANs. We have to keep their wages low to make sure that they will want to return to their home countries with the thanks that they were able to work in such a profitable environment. Never mind that they lost their right hand due to lack of a safe working environment. They should be glad that we gave them a chance to earn more money in a month than they could in a year in their own country. Also, we wouldn’t want to actually pay them enough money that they could live in the same neighborhoods and send their mongrel children to school with our own children.

I didn’t originally know that this would be included in the bill. If I had, I would have known right then and there that there is NO WAY IN HELL that we can allow this because we have to maintain the purity of our 5000 year language and its 400 year old script that is the most scientifically logical and greatest invention of the most auspicious king that ever lived. And we certainly can’t have foreigners demanding that they be made aware of their rights in the law in their own languages. That would make it impossible to railroad them into confessing and making sure that the bloated statistics that we feed to the newspapers about foreign crime on the rise are kept accurate. Of course, we must maintain our linguistic superiority at all costs.

Sexual Orientation
Prof. Gill may have neglected to mention a few important points in this regard. This item cannot stand because we certainly wouldn’t want to have to actually accept the fact that there are homosexuals in our society. We must make sure they stay in the closet. After all, if they were allowed to come out of the closet freely how terrible that would be for all people. How could we continue to work side by side with someone knowing that they might be after our ass after working together for 10 years? How would we even be able to enter the bathroom for fear that we might be raped by one of these animals? Of course, the women homosexuals should be protected because of the benefit they provide for the lonely working man’s need for a little girl-on-girl action. Unfortunately, if we allow that then we would also have to reciprocate and that would be disgusting. So we just have to keep it all in the closet.

Medical History
This is related to Sexual Orientation because there is a need to discriminate against those who are HIV positive. We must make sure that they die quickly, and alone and penniless, without taxing our medical system. We must also insure that those who have some history of even the most treatable of mental illness should be kept away from the workplaces. How can we work with peace of mind knowing that the person next to us might be transferring their neurosis to us through some sort of evil mind control?

Educational Status
This one is a little hard to understand. Why put this in there at all. Educational discrimination is the backbone of Korean politics. How else would you get to know the people you need to know unless you went to the same school? Passing this portion of the bill would mean the end of discrimination based on the school you attended and everyone knows that it would be bad for society if we couldn’t make sure that we all worked with people of similar caste.

Criminal Record –
Because regardless of the fact that someone has paid their debt to society, everyone should be able to feel free to make sure that this person returns to exactly the same place in society that they came from. We have to prove our theories of ‘once a thief, always a thief’ by forcing them into such destitution that their only resort is crime and then we can put them away for life.
There is also the problem that when the head of a family commits a crime, his or her family census register shows the crime and even a grandson of a living criminal should be forced to work in only the most menial of jobs, regardless of his skill or education because he must be made to pay for the sins of his patronage.

Finally, if this bill were to pass unaltered, the litigation would be endless. Koreans cannot be expected to just change their system of discrimination and bias that has existed for five thousand years. Korea really doesn’t want to become a global society. It would just be too much work. Anti-Discrimination is not in line with a number of the most basic tenants of Korean Society. For Koreans, it is natural to discriminate and examples of this train of thought are found in daily life. So, why bother to change it.

Note to the hopelessly stupid (and Prof. Gill, just in case he is more confused than I think he is): The previous was intended to be sarcasm.

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