The difficulties now being experienced in Korea because of the increased presence of foreign workers, interracial marriages, and the school-related problems faced by the children of these marriages, which has resulted in prejudice throughout the country, has gone all the way to the UN, says the priest-columnist writing for the Catholic Times. Korea once took pride in considering itself a homogeneous people. "The white-clad folks, the unsullied virgin" was our thinking in the past. Today we are in a time where harmony and communication are seen as indispensable ingredients for creating a peaceful world, and the elitist attitudes of the past are seen as stumbling blocks in creating such a world.
United Nations' Committee on the Elimination of Racial
Discrimination has pointed out that Korea has encouraged a belief in the
superiority of their culture based on racial discrimination: "purity of
blood" beliefs, using words such as
"mixed blood children," and similar derogatory descriptions, that have
worsened social conditions within the country. The columnist wants us to
now face the problems we have created by our prejudicial attitudes by
emphasizing the need for better communication, using the example of
people who have come to Korea from other cultures.
little difficulty understanding how
children of interracial marriages feel when they hear "mixed blood" and
similar words. There needs to be openness and magnanimity when relating
with persons of another culture, he says, particularly when the culture
and language is not easy to assimilate, as is the case with Korean.
Understanding this simple fact will go a long way toward better
communication with those who are struggling with the culture.
The priest mentions the efforts that have been made
to translate the words of Scripture correctly so that we, centuries
removed, can understand them. This requires that the translators know the
culture of Jesus' time and the meaning they understood by the words they used; it's an important task.
world continues to change and seemingly at an ever quicker pace, and new
ways of communicating must be found if we are to achieve the peaceful
world we all would like. This is especially true if we want to present
the teachings of Christ to our generation. Pope John Paul II wanted to
achieve this goal with a new way of delivering the message: which he
called the new
evangelization. The message is the same, the way
we expound it will be different.
If we do not know the
young people in our society, we will fail to reach them, no matter how hard we try to communicate with them. It is
imperative that we understand the typical mindset of the young and what they hold
important if we want to communicate with them.
In the first
chapters of Genesis, we read that there has been a confusion of
languages and a failure to communicate because of sin. It exists
everywhere and perhaps most disconcertingly in our families, where we
take the time to uncover the root cause of the problem. We have been
to listen and obey our elders, which is a beautiful part of our culture
no one pays attention to this "old way" anymore. In today's society, the
inter-generational divide between the young and the old is looming
larger than ever before. If we think we can continue to transmit the
message of the gospel as in
the past, we will fail.
One of the biggest problems in
transmitting the message is the reliance on an older, previously
successful authoritarian attitude that no longer speaks to the young.
The attitude that pervaded the Second Vatican Council was to open up to
newer methods of communication to achieve peace and harmony among all
people. To continue the old
way of communicating is to go counter to the teachings of Vatican II and
against what we mean by evangelization for our times.