Tuesday, April 24, 2012

No Place for Racism

The editorial in the Catholic Times brings to our attention a Filipina, who became a naturalized Korean, a member of the  National Assembly as a proportional representation candidate when the Saenuri Party (New Frontier)  won a majority in the recent parliamentary elections. Reason enough to have her attacked on the internet with all kinds of racist remarks. The editorial does mention the brutal killing of a woman by an ethnic Korean Chinese worker at that time,  helped to inflame  the hate talk, but it admits that Korea has this deep feeling of aversion for the foreigner embedded in the society.

To express feelings of racial discrimination is not Christian and goes against our teaching. We have the words of our Lord, in Matt 25:35, "I was a stranger, and you welcomed me." We are urged to deal kindly with the immigrant. This attitude of dislike for the foreigner is not only against our humanity but also contrary to our faith.

We, as Koreans, in our recent history have been the victims of this kind of discrimination, both directly and indirectly. From the time of the Japanese occupation, we have experienced scorn, contempt and persecution. Emigrating to American and Europe, Koreans have experienced great sadness because of the discrimination and the emotional scars still remain with us. The very thing that we have experienced we now see evidenced in our society.

That a single incident can tarnish a whole people lacks all reasonableness. This kind of hate is violence by society. Clearly, to prevent crimes from happening efforts have to be made, but they should not be motivated by prejudice toward the foreigners.

Agencies that have made a study of these problems have shown that the crime of foreigners is much lower than those of Koreans. Therefore there is no justification for the dislike of the foreigner.

Efforts by the Church, both nationally and in each diocese, have been made to take care of the difficulties foreigners experience in adapting to a strange culture. This is not only done because of our similar humanity, but because of  the mission that we have as Christians to make a just society. This requires that we have a correct attitude towards the foreigner, and because of their marginalized status make them one of our first concerns, and not be miserly in our efforts to welcome them into our society.

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