Saturday, July 2, 2011

Generalizing about Koreans

I have been reading David's site and a mook named John keeps trolling there. He is often found bleating the same tune about generalizing about Koreans. Yes, I have commented on making generalizations and South Korea before but it bears repeating.

A lot of times the "defenders of Korea", especially apologists, decry the fact that people make generalizations about South Koreans. Of course people do, it is one of the few societies in the world where you can generalize about public thought and be right. Group think, or herd mentality, is very active, alive, and encouraged in SoKo. This has even been noticed by the Korean "media", and used and abused by them, protest groups, as well as businesses in order to sell their service or cause.

Conformity is the norm in South Korea. Whether it is in style of dress or way of thinking. Sometimes those two actually go hand in hand as I found out from my friend SY. He used to get jealous of the fact that I could wear whatever I wanted whenever I wanted because I am a foreigner. Really? Yes, you have to dress a certain way for the seasons. If you deviate something is wrong with you, or you are a foreigner and it is excused. Koreans would get bent out of shape at times when they saw me wearing short sleeve shirts in the winter.

There is a dark side to it as well, which I have written about before too. Like the idea that if you don't "look" Korean you can't be Korean. After an incident in a class where an older boy started laying into a younger girl because she had light colour hair and complexion, I used that as a talking point with higher level classes. Most agreed that if you don't completely look Korean you aren't. Even adults.

You can see it in racial stereotyping by Koreans. All whites are American unless they are blond in which case they are Russian. All blacks are African. Japanese are evil. Chinese are poor and dirty.

Individuality is not encouraged in South Korea, or North Korea for that matter. If you do stand out you tend to get smacked back into line or even worse, no longer treated as part of the group.

Yes, generalizing can be taken too far at times but in the case of South Korea it tends to be true a lot of the time as well. The fact that some people get pissy when generalizations based in reality are made just makes me wonder how much they really know about life in South Korea.


  1. "You can see it in racial stereotyping by Koreans. All whites are American unless they are blond in which case they are Russian. All blacks are African. Japanese are evil. Chinese are poor and dirty."

    How else do stereotypes work? All stereotypes are a product of group think and generalizations, stupid.

    In America/Canada:

    Blacks are criminals, Asians males are effeminate and Asian women are submissive/dragon ladies, Muslims are terrorists, and Mexicans are stupid and multiply like rabbits.

    This post has got to be one of the absolute worst, Flint. Your criticizing a country for the same problems everyone has. Group think is not exclusive to Korea, it's seen in psychology and many studies have shown how easily people are influenced by it. Look it up.

  2. Sorry, stupid, but I disagree. Group think to the degree it goes on in Korea isn't the same everywhere. If you want to throw studies at me show them don't tell me to look them up.


    Yeah, asshole, there you go. What? You thought I was making shit up? Or maybe you thought I was basing my argument on a bit of observation and a little assumption? Bro, that's you and David.

    Group think is a common thing. HUMAN PSYCHOLOGY. It's everywhere. I posted on David's site too and mentioned that it is worse in Asia and countries that put a stronger emphasis on nation/family than individuals.

    But again, you and others act like this is exclusive to Korea. The example you gave with the stereotype thing is a clear indication of that. Was that really supposed to be a good example of how close minded Koreans are? You said that as if stereotypes are things only Koreans do, or that the stereotypes created in Korea are somehow worse than ones made in your country.

    If you think individualism and being different is strongly welcomed and encouraged here in the US or in Canada, you're watching too many feel-good movies, buddy.

    You're a hypocrite like so many other people who complain about other countries. You're a hypocrite. Stop bitching about other people and look at yourself.

  4. Hmm - this explains why all of my students were appalled that I was wearing long sleeves on the day that "summer" officially began. It wasn't actually the first day of summer - it was the day that all the students were told to start wearing their summer clothes (short-sleeved shirts).

  5. Thanks for posting the links dickhead. No I didn't think you were making the shit up, I just hate it when people tell you "do this" "find that" instead of posting their link.

    I never said you don't get group think anywhere else. YOU latched on to my saying how it seen in the widespread belief of stereotypes by South Koreans and evidently took that to mean I was saying only South Koreans think that way.

    A lot of the studies cited (All of them on the wikipedia page) talk more about group think at the polciy making level, be it government or business. While it can and does happen everywhere it is the degree and depth I feel was different in SK when I lived there.

    You can easily point to instances where it happens in Western countries but it is usually a smaller group and not a national consensus. The Tea Baggers or Oral Robert's Moral Majority are a good example of extreme group think but they don't represent the thoughts of most of the population of the US.

    Going by just by what is said in the studies South Korea is the perfect breeding ground of group think on a grand scale. And the main reason for that is the level of conformity in the society. The studies pretty much cover that right down to the use of simple or unsubstantiated agreements about things. (Mad Cow Bullshit)

    The studies also contradict each other in areas, as mentioned in the wikipedia article you cite,

    The studies of groupthink and groupthink antecedents reveal a mixed body of results. Some studies indicate group cohesion and leadership style to be powerfully predictive of groupthink, while other studies indicate the insignificance of these factors.

    It ends by saying

    Group homogeneity and group insulation are generally supported as factors predictive of groupthink.

    THAT is South Korea. The "one blood theory" and conformity provide the perfect arena for group think on a national level.

    So, once again, thanks for the link dickhead. The wikipedia article in particular actually helps prove my point. :)

  6. @Anonymous - "You said that as if stereotypes are things only Koreans do, or that the stereotypes created in Korea are somehow worse than ones made in your country."

    Actually, nowhere in this blog post did WTK say anything of the sort.

    Groupthink crosses cultures for sure. But in South Korea, it is institutionalized in terms of Confucianism. In many ways, it's "the law" in ways that it isn't in other cultures.

    Strange that an anonymous commentator would go out of his/her way to attack a blog post that really doesn't seem that controvertible to me. Groupthink/conformity is strictly adhered to here in South Korea. That is not news.

    There's always gotta be someone who will disagree with anything foreigners in South Korea say, no matter what.

    Also, anonymous commentators are cowards. In my opinion. Two cents will buy you nothing these days, of course.

  7. Eve:

    Oh yeah, don't wear short sleeves in winter or long in summer. It was kind of funny one day, my students were (for the most part) used to me wearing short sleeves all year. It was Spring and one student wore a short sleeve shirt. Once one classmate noticed and started gasping, pointing, and sputtering "shortuh sleevuh" the class devolved. The entire class was aweswtruck by it and it took about 10 minutes or so to get them calmed down and the class moving again. Just because a kid wore "the wrong" shirt for the season.

    As for Anonymous, I always get a kick out of people who ignore reality.

  8. @Flint - more information for me! short sleeves only in summer, got it! :)

    I, too, get a kick out of anonymous commentators who talk out of their asses on my blog. Oftentimes, my trolls (like yours) make my point for me. It is kinda funny. But nonetheless annoying.

  9. I have to give the above anonymous some credit though. He does more than say "fuck you" or "esl whitey".

  10. Nowt more brave than an anonymous poster!

    Two wrongs don't make a right...people who generalise in the west, are only as wrong as people who generalise in Korea. I've been called an American more times than I care to mention...but my Korean friends in Australia often get called Chinese or Japanese. It's ignorance in both cases. catch more flies with honey than vinegar...even if your points are valid, calling people stupid does little to enhance your claims.

  11. Oh...and Flint...fuck you esl whitey!

    (I kid!!)

  12. I am still smarting from your Simsons burn. :)

  13. Knowing what the Korean net nazis are like I understand some (those with views the whackjobs wouldn't like) need/want to post anonymously.

  14. I wouldn't say that it is lack of bravery that makes me post anonymously, it is more due to fear, concern, chicken-heartedness, anxiety, timidity and angst. But it's not lack of bravery per se.
    I mean, 'lousy korea' finally opened up and it didn't hurt her or anyone else in the process did it?
    Apart from the death threats to children.

  15. I had to wear long sleeves and a tie, because the locals would assume I was Indian because of my skin color. Finally, last month of my contract, I said f-it and disobeyed the head teacher. Heck if she wasn't going to go to school or my classes like she was suppose to, I wasn't going to listen to her.


  16. 1st school I worked at foreign teachers had to wear a dress clothes. Korean teachers wore jeans and t-shirts. We (foreigners) were told that we had to dress that way, it was in the contract so I knew it anyway, so the school looked professional. When asked why the Koreans didn't have to the director had no answer so someone (Dave I think) said it was because they weren't professionals and we were. Of course the director mentioned that to the Korean teachers and things were a little chilly for a few days. :)

  17. I'm going to address everything at once and be done with it.

    Flint -

    Sorry, asswipe. Groupthink is still in all of our minds. It's psychology. Did I not say that Korea and other Asian countries are a little worse? You're right - it's worse in countries that are more homogenous (like Japan as well?), and it'll be worse in countries with smaller populations (like Korea?).

    While "individualism" is seen as a good thing in the West, you are absolutely crazy if you think such things are widely encouraged in reality.

    Let's again look at your stereotype example. Buddy, these things exists EVERYWHERE and are all result of ignorance and a group's willingness to believe what others have said. Read your fellow K-blogger, BlackChild, and he'll show you just how bad America is in this regard. Sure, you won't see it in LA as much, but he's very accurate. How are they any better than Korea? They're not. So when you point at the Koreans only without looking at your own problems, you're being an asshole and generalizing about a group of people. Sorry, man, these are problems of the world, not just the Koreans.

    I'm not even against your criticism; I have, in the past, enjoyed many of your posts, but it's the way you say these things that pisses me off.


    You're right. Flint doesn't outright say stereotypes are exclusive to Korea, but he uses these stereotypes as an argument that Koreans have herd-mentality. I'm sorry, but which countries doesn't have stereotypes about other races/nationalities?

    Perhaps he didn't mean to say that? But here are his exact words:

    "You can see it (herd mentality) in racial stereotyping by Koreans."

    So just based on those words, am I to assume that if a country shows more creativity in stereotyping, they have less of a herd mentality?

    Also, I post as Anonymous because I never bothered to make any of the accounts (blogger, wordpress...etc). I have, on David's site, posted with my name - John. Besides, EVE, this is the Internet. Whether I post my name and profile or not, doesn't mean I'm any less anonymous in the large scheme of things. What do you want? My home address?


    Buddy, he calls me a Mook first in the post. He says "I'm trolling," because I make multiple attempts to get my point across, which is responded by these fools as "trolling" from the get go. I have been sharp with my words before, sure, but this is a site that has posts titled - "Retarded Shit Koreans Do," and "Korean Bullshit." Anytime I'm here or on other sites saying that what these people are saying is offensive at times, and that I would wish they at least have respect for a nation, they get all anal and tell me to fuck off and shut up. They have an entire blog dedicated to criticizing people, but the moment they are criticized, we are apologists, crazy gyopos, fools with no REAL experience, BLIND, and stupid. They tell us to shut up because they had a BAD experience in Korea and I should believe them. FINE, I do, but when I say I was happy there, they tell me I haven't seen the REAL Korea and that I'm just an apologist.

    Burndog, these people have disrespected me, a country I love (and the home country of my wife) LOOOOOOOOONG before I was here calling him stupid.

    Your advice about honey and vinegar applies to them as well. You think when they bitch about Korea that is them being positive? Of course not, but you don't give a shit because you agree with them and not with me.

  18. Yeah, you guys do have a point about anonymity in South Korea - I've been trying to make myself more and more anonymous myself. I'm definitely no stranger to receiving death threats, either, so I guess I can understand.

  19. Mind you a person could still remain anonymous and just pick a name to post with. If a lot of anonymous people are posting at the same time it can be confusing when someone tries holding a conversation.

  20. Oh dear, John is posting as "anonymous" and yet using the exact same style and rhetoric he does elsewhere. Sorry to have passed on my favourite troll.

    I tried to comment on your most recent post but the Chinese internet ain't so good and it won't let me for some reason... I was going to say that you should download "funshion" instead of getting torrents. It's a great piece of software and has more movies than you can shake a stick at.

  21. Ok ... AnonyJohn's "spam" post has been unspamified and approved. It is about 3-4 posts above this.

  22. "John" clearly needs a blow job from his wife.

    Oh, wait a minute -- I'm totally against making assumptions about people based on their comments on blog posts ...

    Let me think about his totally valid comments for a spell. :)