12:15 am - 05/31/2013

An Open Letter from International Fans for #ChangeInKorea: Blackface

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본 문서는 모든 한국 엔터테이너들에게 보내는 공개편지다.

최근에 들어 세계 시청자들은 한국엔터테이너가 얼굴을 검은색으로 분장하고 무지무식한 연기하면서 재미있다고 생각하다는 것에 대해서 얼마나 분노했다. 분명히 우리는 이런 것들을 용서하지 못한다. 많은 세계 팬들이 이에 대해서 너무 속상하고 창피하다. 우리 모두가 여기에 있는 이유는 한국과 한국 엔터테이너들의 여러 측면을 즐길 수 있기 때문이지만 이런 문제는 우리들한테 계속 괴롭히고 있다. 무엇보다 우리는 앞으로 분할하지 않고 계속 뭉치할 것이다.

아시다시피 한류 및 Kpop 확산 덕분에 한국음악 및 쇼들은 한국 국경내에 더이상 갇혀있지 않다. 한국은 세계에서 빠른 인터넷 속도를 가지는 나라로 알려졌다. 이 주제는 당신들이 모르다고 하거나 “교육 못 받는” 척하지 못 할것이다.


위에 언급한 바와 같이, 이를 보고 있는 사람들은 세계 한류팬들 뿐만 아니라 일반적으로 잠재적인 팬하고 외국인도 있다. 외국인들한테 당신의 나라에 대해서 소개할 때 한국연예인들이 얼굴을 검게 하고 웃음거리를 만들면 그런 것들은 한국에 대한 나쁜 그림을 그린다 (http://ohnotheydidnt.livejournal.com/49233603.html). 전 세계가 한국에 대해서 인정한 성취 및 좋게 평가한 측면들은 불쾌한 것때문에 가려하는 것은 불공평한 것이다 (http://ohnotheydidnt.livejournal.com/77318875.html).

[블랙페이스 무엇입니까?:]

본질적으로 블랙페이스는 미국에서 긴 역사를 가지며 아프리카 출신 사람들을 놀리기 위한 것이다. 피부를 검게, 입술을 두껍게 하는 행위는 흑인의 전형적인 보기를 알려주기 위한 것이다. 악의 또는 재미 등 어떤 의도를 불구하고 이는 흑인들이 검은 피부를 가져서 비방을 당한 끔찍한 시기를 사람들한테 상기했다.

블랙페이스를 이해하기 위하여 흑인을 묘사하는데 여러 고정관념에 대해서 이해해야 한다.이런 풍자행위는 미국사람들이 자유로운 사람 혹은 노예를 되게 된 흑인 어떻게 생기는지에 대한 아이디어에서 비롯한다. 미국에서 19세기 중.후반 유행했던 코미디 풍의 쇼 있으며 미스트럴 쇼라고 한다. 연기자들은 오락프로그램을 만들기 위하여 생각했던 흑인 이미지에 따라 얼굴을 검게 분장하고 흑인 풍의 노래 및 춤을 추면서 사람들한테 웃음거리를 만들었다. 흑인들을 어떻게 묘사했는지 어떻게 그거는 미국사회에 영향을 미쳤는지 등 자세한 내용은 www.black-face.com에서 참조할 수 있다. 블랙페이스 및 이런 인종차별에 대한 고정관념의 조합은 종종 코미디 효과를 위하여 많이 사용되기 때문에 둘로 분리하는 것은 불가능정도이다. 이에 따라 사람들이 오늘날 이러한 관행을 싫어한다. 이 아이디어하고 관행은 너무 널리 알려져서 아직은 미디어의 의식에 포함되며 텔레비전이나 영화에서 볼 수 있다. 이러한 묘사는 시간이 지나서 사회적 요인으로 인해 다를 수도 있지만 메시지는 동일하게 남아있다: 그거는 더 위험한 아이디어는 흑인이 이등 시민이며 사람들이 흑인들을 놀릴 것이다.

그러다가 한국의 블랙페이스의 유래는 다르다. “Gusts of Popular Feelings”라는 블로그에서 최근 올린 글 중에서 블랙페이스가 한국에 등장한지 30년 되었다는 것이다: http://populargusts.blogspot.com/2012/03/three-decades-of-black-face-in-korea.html. 블랙페이스에 대한 예를 들어보자: 이봉원이라는 코미디언은 그 얼굴을 검게 분장하고 “Sikeomeonsu”루틴을 만들어 당시 사람들한테 인기 많았다 (sikemeonsu에 대한 설명은 블로그에서 찾을 수 있다). 그렇지만 1987년도에 블랙페이스를 그만했다. 그 원인은 1988년에 한국은 올림픽대회를 개최했는데 여러 아프리카 사람들이 한국에 들어왔기 때문에 아프리카 사람들을 놀리고 싶지 않았던 것이다. 또 다시한번 2003년도에Bubble Sisters가 블랙페이스 컨셉으로 나왔을 때 많은 부정을 받았다고 밝혔다. 그 블로그에서 블랙페이스가 코미디 도구로 써있던 예가 많이 제시했는데 매번 몇 가지의 반발을 받았다. 어떤 재미있는 사건에 관련 이야기해보자. “Maikol” 또는 Michael 는 분명히 마이클 잭슨의 패러디다. 많은 네티즌들은 외국인들이 인종차별 행위를 찾지 못할거라고 주장했다. 왜냐하면 Maikol는 흑인 한명의 패러디이지만 한국말을 할 줄 알고 실제는 완전한 흑인이 아니기 때문이다. 그러나 질문들은 몇 가지 남아있지요: 그러면 그들은 블랙페이스의 미국사용법과 비슷하면 이러한 해석은 어디서 나왔는지요? 같은 블로그 링크에서 한국 엔터테이너들이 흑인을 비웃는 다른 것도 있다: 그들이 모두 다 아프리카에서 왔으며 특히한 머리카락으로 야만적인 사람 같다고 비웃는다.

자 지금 처음에 야기한 내용으로 돌아가자, 미국에서는 메디아는 블렉페이스를 나쁜 도구로 사용하여 흑인 컴뮤니티를 놀리며 흑인을 무지하고 지저분하다가 못된 짓을 하는 사람으로 묘사한다. 그러면 블랙페이스는 한국에서 어떻게 쓰는가? 블로그에서 제시했던 예를 보면 그것들은 같은 특징을 가진다: 분명히 블랙페이스는 코미디의 효과로 사용된다. 흑인들이 피부가 검은색이고 입술이 두껍기 때문에 그 사람들을 보면 웃음거리가 생길거라고 생각한다. 다른 특징은 그들이 못생기고 바람직하지 않는다. 이는 한국사람들한테 흑인이 못생기고 바람직하지 않는 야만적 사람이라는 인식을 줄 것이다. 분명히 틀린 것이지요. 그러면 그렇게 놀리는데 문제 없는가? 대답은 문제 있지요. 블랙페이스에 관련 이미지들은 흑인들의 마음을 아프게 하고 그들을 과거 창피하고 안 좋은 역사를 상기시킬 것이다.

만약에 어느 나라에서 흑인 소년, 소녀가 집에서 Kpop을 즐기고 있는데 기광, 은혁, 신동 등 그들의 아이돌들은 등장하고 피부를 검은색으로 분장하고 입술을 두껍게 하면 그들은 마음을 상하게 하는거 아닌가? 그리고 현재 한국에서 한국 나라 그 자체 사랑에 빠져서 한국에 살고 있거나 일 때문에 앞으로 한국에 계속 있는데 그 사람들이 어떻게 생각하는가? 그들이 그러한 이미지를 보면 마음이 얼마나 아픈가? 그들은 오해가 아니라 열등감의 이미지를 주장할 것이다. 자기를 공격 풍자적인 프로그램을 보고 싶은 사람이 없겠지요.
 

[한국 엔터테이너의 블랙페이스에 대한 예:]
한국 엔터테이너의 블랙페이스에 대한 예:

1.슈퍼주니어 예성

2.원더보이즈 MV, 문을 여시오
3.이경실, 김지선

4.SNL코리아

5.

6.리쌍 길

7. 버블 시스터즈

8. 비스트 이기광

9. 정주리

10. 슈퍼주니어 신동

 


한국에서 블랙페이스에 관련한 것은 populargust's신문에서 참조할 수 있다: Three Decades of Blackface in Korea


MBC에서 선전과 같은 것을 보고 너무 충격을 받고 분노하고 슬펐다. (http://omonatheydidnt.livejournal.com/9295264.html) 그것은 잘못된 정보뿐만 아니라 의도적으로 문제를 악화하게 했기 때문이다. 이제부터 대중교통에서 호언장담하고 싸움 그만하라. (http://omonatheydidnt.livejournal.com/8546756.html) (http://omonatheydidnt.livejournal.com/7469021.html)

사회 개선 및 변화를 위하여 한국에서 노력하는 사람들한테 박수를 보낸다.

1.정부는 다문화사회에 대한 인식을 높이겠다는 서약
2. 반 인종차별법 만드는중
3. 다문화주의 지원 한국어 미디어

지금까지 동행해주셔서 감사한다. 앞으로 우리 회원 및 전 세계 팬들의 의견을 지속적으로 읽어주시기 바란다.



This is an open letter to all Korean entertainers & South Korea.

Us international fans are fed up with Korean entertainers acting ignorant, insensitive, racist, and dressing up in BLACKFACE makeup, thinking it is funny or a tribute. There is no time or place for this. Many of us international fans are embarrassed and even ashamed by this behavior. Not only that but a lot of us are the people who you choose to make fun of and it hurts us. We are all here because we enjoy aspects of South Korea and Korean Entertainment, but this issue has been nagging us for too long. We need to move forward together united, not divided.

We would like to remind you that through the spread of Hallyu and Kpop, your music and shows aren't confined within the bubble of South Korea. South Korea has emerged to become the world leader in Internet connectivity and speed. You can no longer claim ignorance nor can you hide behind "not being educated" enough on this topic.


As stated above, It is not just existing international Hallyu fans that are seeing this, it's also potential fans & foreigners in general. When foreigners are introduced to your country and entertainment through Korean stars dressing in BLACKFACE, it paints a very bad picture of Korean society. It is unfair that at times the achievements and great things about Korea are eclipsed by distasteful things such as this.

[WHAT IS BLACKFACE, WHERE DID IT COME FROM AND WHY IS IT BAD?:]
In essence, blackface has a long history in America entrenched in making a mockery out of people of African descent. It is the act of darkening one’s skin and the thickening of lips to resemble a stereotypical view of a black person. Regardless of intent, whether it is malicious or for “fun” it represents an appalling period in history where black people were openly vilified simply for being black.

To understand blackface, one must also understand that there were different stereotypes used to depict black people. These caricatures originated as white people’s idea of what black people were like, both free and enslaved, back in the early 19th century during vaudeville acts and minstrel shows. In these minstrel shows, performers would often darken their skin and “entertain” families with songs and skits using some of the worst stereotypes of what they thought black people were like. Refer to www.black-face.com for a more detailed look at how they were portrayed and how it affected America’s landscape. A combination of blackface and these racist stereotypes were so often used for comedic effect that it has become impossible to separate the two, which is why people today abhor such practices. These ideas and practices were so widespread that they are now embedded in the media’s consciousness to this day, seen in television and films. These portrayals may have evolved over time due to different socioeconomic factors but the message remains the same: it furthers the very dangerous idea that black people are second-class citizens and are to be laughed at.

The history of blackface in Korea is quite different. A blog called Gusts of Popular Feelings has written up a post saying that there have been three decades of blackface in Korea: http://populargusts.blogspot.com/2012/03/three-decades-of-black-face-in-korea.html One instance of blackface and how it is received: a comedian named Lee Bong-won darkened their skin and did a “sikeomeonsu” routine which was really popular with many people (an explanation of sikemeonsu can be found in the blog). However he stopped doing blackface in 1987 because African people would be coming to the 1988 Olympics and decided that “we don’t want to denigrate black people.” Again in 2003 when the Bubble Sisters came out with their blackface concept, they received a lot of negativity. There are more instances in that blog link about blackface being used as a comedic tool, and each time they have received some sort of backlash. One interesting incident is that of “Maikol” or Michael, which is apparently a parody of Michael Jackson. A lot of netizens claim that foreigners shouldn’t find it racist because Maikol can speak Korean and is not actually black even though it is a parody of a black person, but it begs the question: where did these interpretations come from if they all look similar to American usage of blackface? In the same blog link, there had been other ways in which Korean entertainers have depicted black people: they are usually from Africa, with a bone through their nose, and with kinky hair depicting them as “savage.”

We are now going back to a point made in the beginning of the post about intent. In America, blackface was a harmful tool used by the media to malign the black community, portraying them as uneducated, sleazy, up-to-no-good characters. How is blackface in Korea used? From all the examples shown in that blog, they carry similar characteristics: it is definitely played for comedic effect, as if LOOKING LIKE a black person is funny because their skin is dark and their lips are big. The other characteristic is to show them as ugly and undesirable.This effectively lets the Korean people know that black people are seen as ugly, undesirable savages, which is obviously not true. Now, does it matter if it was done maliciously? No it does not. Receiving these images of blackface will always hurt the way black people are seen and will continue to remind them of the hurtful and shameful history behind this makeup.

Now in the advent of a global media where a black girl or boy from a foreign country can get into Kpop in the comfort of their home sees that idols like Kikwang, Eunhyuk and Shindong darkens their skin and thicken their lips, is it unreasonable for them to be offended? Let us not forget that there are black people living in South Korea, whether for work or because they love the country. These people may still feel hurt seeing these images, regardless of intention. To them it’s not a misunderstanding, or a different type of humor: it’s an assertion of an image of inferiority. No one wants to see themselves on television as an offensive caricature. Do you?


[EXAMPLES OF BLACK FACE BY KOREAN ENTERTAINERS:]
EXAMPLES OF BLACK FACE BY KOREAN ENTERTAINERS:
1.SUPER JUNIOR'S YESUNG

2.WonderBoyz debut MV, 문을 여시오 (Open the Door)
3.Lee Kyung Shil and Kim Ji Sun

4.SNL Korea

5.entertainer Boom

6.Lessang's Gil

7. Bubble Sisters

8. B2ST's Kikwang

9. Jung Juri

10. SUPER JUNIOR'S SHINDONG



All of these are recent examples. For a look at the history of blackface in Korea, please check out populargusts' article:
Three Decades of Blackface in Korea



We are also shocked, angered and saddened to see things such as RACIST PROPAGANDA ON MBC, because it is not only full of false information, it also deliberately worsens the problem. We don't need any more Jenny Hyun like rants, or fights on public buses.


We do applaud those in S.Korea who are trying to make change and improve their society.
1.Gov't Vows to Widen Awareness of Multicultural Society
2. ANTI-RACISM LAW IN THE MAKING
3. SOME KOREAN MEDIA SUPPORTING MULTICULTURALISM



We thank you for reading this far & sincerely hope you take the time to further read the opinions of our members, and your international fans.


[FEATURED COMMENTS:]FEATURED COMMENTS:
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[FEATURED E-MAILS:]FEATURED E-MAILS:

Interesting to think of it that way. Thank you!


[FEATURED TWEETS:]FEATURED TWEETS:

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(More to come...)

For those who would like to contribute but are not a member of Omona, please use the hashtags #ChangeInKorea, #RespectInKorea, or #NoMoreBlackface, to voice your opinion. Or simply RE-TWEETING THIS POST will help. You can also send e-mails to omona.change@gmail.com, and we may feature your message in this post. We'll blur out your name and e-mail for privacy.



Thank you to aleash1989 for suggesting this open letter, & a special thank you to jaejoong for taking time out of their busy schedule to translate. We would also like to thank black-kpop-fans & blackinasia on tumblr for sharing this letter. Please check them out.



We understand this is an emotionally loaded subject, but please try to keep comments in this post respectful.

DISCLAIMER: We are also aware we'll likely receive some level of criticism for hoping our letter could possibly help change anything, but if you're gonna excuse racism in Korea, kindly visit THIS LINK for more information!
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turdferguson 31st-May-2013 07:21 am (UTC)
do you have pictures? then show us
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bunica1990 31st-May-2013 07:21 am (UTC)
Thank you so much for this!
smilez4you 31st-May-2013 07:24 am (UTC)
Great post. Thank you for this.
flumes 31st-May-2013 07:27 am (UTC)
this is a great idea and thank you
omonatheydidnt 31st-May-2013 07:42 am (UTC)
It was all you Omona members sharing experiences and concerns that made this open letter an absolute must do. Thank you for the support and encouragement.
kwaiirosesilent 31st-May-2013 07:28 am (UTC)
glad to see i-fans directly addressing Korea and not just complaining about it in their own forums. hopes this helps progress things a bit, at least raise awareness if not actual policy changes.
benihime99 31st-May-2013 07:30 am (UTC)
It's a beautiful post
I hope mots fans will support this and not hide behind "oppa didn't mean it" or "oppa didn't know", especially since with this letter it will no longer be the case.
The strength of this letter will come from the number of people supporting it

Should we post it on tumblr as well?


Edited at 2013-05-31 08:02 am (UTC)
hisjulliet 31st-May-2013 08:25 am (UTC)
What would really help imo is that this letter could be posted on the mother ship. I know they may not submit it (it's understandable) but I also know that there are a lot of kpop fans who are members over there who are either past kpop fans or have quite omona (but i'm sure if they see this letter they would want a change as much as we do here). It would also give this letter more attention.
asth77 31st-May-2013 07:30 am (UTC)
I absolutely love this letter Omona.
Not only is it well informed, but I'm very glad that you talked mainly about AMERICAN history of blackface (because no matter what this is still mostly part of America's history) and linked it to Korea's history of black face, and their similarities (which obligatory means that no matter what, Koreans are not innocient & are disrespectful period)

Thanks very much to aleash1989, & jaejoong a well as the mods who worked on all of this. I could have not found a better way to adress the issue.

/saying this as a black european

Edited at 2013-05-31 07:32 am (UTC)
line_genrou 1st-Jun-2013 06:39 pm (UTC)
Um, no. It's not mostly "america's history". In Brazil slavery was a HUGE part of our history and culture. I can say it was on the same level that happened in the US.
sweetemerald513 31st-May-2013 07:30 am (UTC)
Amazing. I applaud those who put this together.
turdferguson 31st-May-2013 07:31 am (UTC)
also if you're thinking about trolling, don't do it. this is not the time nor the place. truth be told i was very nervous about this post going up. i fully expect comments being like 'this isn't gonna change anything' and tbh i don't give a shit. progress isn't made by just letting shit fly. and i know we're just one corner in the internet but that shouldn't stop us from making an official stance on anything. obviously this issue affects a lot of our membership and we want them to know that we stand by them. /turdy out
omonatheydidnt 31st-May-2013 07:38 am (UTC)
It is true we may not have the largest audience or the most power out of the K-Entertainment blogs, but if we plant the seed who knows.... Sweet dreams dear Turdy <3
pentrue 31st-May-2013 07:37 am (UTC)
Thank you very much for the hard work in getting this out there. It needed to be done.
etoiles 31st-May-2013 07:37 am (UTC)
beautifully said
turdferguson 31st-May-2013 07:40 am (UTC)
actually, special shoutout to shanny_w for putting the post together at the behest of those who requested it :D

Edited at 2013-05-31 07:41 am (UTC)
aleash1989 1st-Jun-2013 07:06 am (UTC)
Yes, yes to this. I discussed things so much with her.
indira22 31st-May-2013 07:40 am (UTC)
applaud this!! Hwaiting!! *hope it will get true In Korean Media*
in_noctem 31st-May-2013 07:42 am (UTC)
Really hoping this goes viral, there's no way they can ignore it if enough people spread the link.

Thank you for this Omona!
maidenfaire 31st-May-2013 07:49 am (UTC)
The only point I honestly don't agree on is that you point out Yesung dressed as 'movie' Nick Fury as distasteful. That was cosplay, not disrespectful blackface. There is a difference. Only black people are permitted to cosplay as black characters? [yes, I am well aware that Nick Fury in the comics is white, but many people probably never even heard of the character until the movies - where he was portrayed by a black man] Don't take what he did out of the context in which he did it. If it offended you, I am sorry for that - but not everyone sees this particular 'incident' in the same manner.

Edited at 2013-05-31 07:50 am (UTC)
molly_hime 31st-May-2013 07:53 am (UTC)
I'm going to speak as an ELF. What Yesung did was wrong. You can cosplay without doing black face. Wear a nametag that say Nick Fury or something to get your point across. There's a black character from an anime I love that I would love to cosplay as, but that doesn't mean I'm going to paint my skin black. It doesn't matter what the context of it is, it's inappropriate offensive, and wrong.
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