Half-Korean girl struggles to find her own identity - INSIDE JoongAng Daily
January 02, 2010
GIMCHEON, North Gyeongsang - Eom Wu-jeong, 11, was born and raised by her Korean father and Filipino mother.
Wu-jeong has black hair and dark skin, slightly different from other Korean kids, but she’s just like any preteen girl who gets excited over idol stars and the latest cell phones.
“...Marriage migrants boomed in Korea in the late 1990s. Wu-jeong’s parents married in 1996, and her mother is considered an early marriage migrant to Korea. Wu-jeong, the couple’s first child, was born two years later.
She’s the only multiethnic student among 30 students in her class. When Wu-jeong was in second grade, her classmates teased her about her skin color.
“‘Why is your skin so dark? Where is your mom from?’ That’s what they asked me,” Wu-jeong recalled. “I know that they were asking me not because they were really curious. They just wanted to tease me.”
But the 11-year-old said now she doesn’t care what her classmates say. “I don’t want to get into fights,” Wu-jeong said. She paused for a moment and continued: “To be honest with you, it’s not that I don’t care about it. I just try not to care.”
Wu-jeong feels that people’s eyes are on her mother when they go out together. Though the girl confessed she tries not to think of her classmates’ teasing as a big deal, she said she can’t stand the uncomfortable attention her mother gets.
“It’s very unpleasant,” Wu-jeong said. “Whenever I see people’s eyes on my mom, I can’t get away from the feeling that they are thinking and saying they don’t understand why my mom came to Korea.”
Yes, Wu-Jeong is learning to cope with the prejudice that still exists. She is not alone, according to latest stats from the government, more than 110,000 Multi-ethnic children have been born from Multi-Racial Marriages from the decade. They are changing the face literally of communities throughout Korea. The KWB loves what Wu-Jeong wants to do when she grows up:
But Wu-jeong is a girl with a positive spirit, and she’s mature enough to cope with all the difficulties.
“My classmates think I’m abnormal because I have darker skin,” Wu-jeong said. “But I think of myself as a special person. My dad’s from Korea and my mom is from the Philippines. I can learn two countries’ cultures, and I feel this benefits me more than children with just Korean parents.”
Wu-jeong said she wants to be a Korean literature teacher. “When I become a schoolteacher there will be lots of children born from multicultural families,” Wu-jeong said. “I’m not just going to teach Korean lessons to my future students. I will teach them how to appreciate and understand the cultures of other countries.”
Go girl! She’s got it goin’ ON! The next generation, breaking prejudice with “In your face, here to stay” a REAL KOREAN. Watch out Korea, say goodbye to “homogenous and pure” nonsense, welcome to globalization and the 21st Century.