Racist MBC Story on Foreign Men

Foreign men are sexist, womanizing, HIV-ridden thieves, according to a story aired on MBC in South Korea. 

photo220198Let me be clear about something first and foremost. Korea is not a racist country, and by and large have no xenophobic tendencies. Which is why there was shock and outrage at a recent piece aired on the Korean TV station MBC which depicted foreigners as all of the above. The story is rife with speculation and bias, and it has angered quite a few expats in the nation, some of whom are involved in loving, committed interracial relationships and marriages.

A petition on AVAAZ.org has so far collected over 2,000 signatures, and a Facebook group is calling for the government to step in and take action against the network, with over 8,000 members.

Here’s the offending video:



Daniel Tudor, a correspondent for The Economist wrote an interesting article defending the network, stating that one program, Viewing the World Moment to Moment, is giving the station a bad reputation.

Koreans are not racists or xenophobes. But keep airing fear-mongering garbage like this, MBC, and you run the risk of pegging South Korea as all of the above.

4 Responses to “Racist MBC Story on Foreign Men”
  1. Korean’s AREN’T xenophobic?! I know Koreans that would even disagree with that comment! I agree that article was absolutely disgusting and that it has caused outrage amongst both Koreans and foreigners alike but our day-to-day experiences here have certainly exposed us to a some attitudes that really surprised us. I wonder if that’s the difference between living in a large city like Seoul, and a tiny village like we do?

    • I’m sure that some Koreans are xenophobes, but by and large my experience has been that Koreans are welcoming to outsiders and eager to learn about western culture, particularly all things American. But your right to point out that there is a difference between living in Seoul and living in rural parts of the country. Even back in Canada, rural people tend to be more conservative. There’s also a major generational gap to consider. Older Koreans seem more apprehensive about the influx of westerners, while the younger generation is more willing to be a part of the world community. Sweeping generalizations are usually inaccurate and overly simplistic, but I’d rather generalize in a more positive light, which is why I wouldn’t consider Koreans xenophobes. For a nation that has been constantly under the threat of occupation and annihilation, I’d say they are rather welcoming.

      • Its interesting to hear all the different experiences that people have here. We definitely haven’t been welcomed warmly where we live by any stretch of the imagination but have still thoroughly enjoyed the challenge!

        I also found your comment that Koreans are particularly interested in all things American fascinating – we aren’t American – so maybe that’s a significant difference too. I really enjoyed your blog post on this topic and think you’re right when you say its best to generalise positively rather than negatively. A little xenophobia can’t be too bad I think – at the end of the day I have never experienced a culture that is as expertly able to combine extraordinary progression with maintenance of tradition and a strong cultural identity as much as I have witnessed here in Korea. Its amazing stuff.

        • Actually, I’m not American either, I’m Canadian as well. I’ve just noticed a fascination with American movies, music etc. I think the strong cultural identity comes directly from their long history of being invaded and occupied…especially in the most recent Japanese occupation where most of Korean culture was banned and suppressed.

          Thanks for commenting!

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