Monday, June 21, 2010

Racism and Time

I tend to get stuck on things. This drives those that know me crazy. Lets say there is a new band I like or in this case Korea, and everything about it. Well I could just say how hot it was (or cold in the winter), kimchee, and how things were down in the vill' (short for village). But it was so much more than that... for me anyway. A recent conversation about Korea got the old wheels in my head to turning.

I learned what racism was all about when I got to Korea. Now I grew up in New Orleans/Southern Mississippi, so what I thought was racism was literally black and white. And all through school we would hear about the black struggle. That is fine and I'm not trying to take away from those people, just hear me out.

See when I was a kid, except for the color of my skin, we were the black people or poor white trash as they say. I didn't have color TV, or air conditioning. We shopped at cheap discount stores for clothes and shoes. Got the least expensive groceries (as in- no meat). We lived the most frugal life. Many times it was dark... because we didn't pay the electric bill on time. That was just a part of being me.

So bring it back to Korea, South Korea to be exact, and how did that change anything? Well I learned that racism is a two way street, the person you may be hating... is also hating you. My NCOIC (Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge) thought I had to be racist because I was coming out of Mississippi. Not so much. At least I do think so. I also saw some weird actions by the locals. They would suddenly close or be closed if a black man came in to a store. Why? Damn if I know. But even more than that you take all these different races, white, black, Latino (of every variety), Asian, and all the different shades of white... Italian, Irish, Russian... the list goes on and on.

And you mix them up, throw in a language barrier and you have a bunch of hate. One guy I knew, he was my shop foreman, hated Koreans... and was married to one. He obviously liked them once... but anyway. There was a lot of animosity between the GI's and the Koreans. Odishee (that is Korean for old man) got the blame for a lot of things. Some were rightfully blamed, others not so much. So what did Korea teach me? That everybody hates somebody else, including me, and unless you are willing to listen to the other person, you will likely keep on hating. And the world keeps on spinning, with or without you.

I guess what I'm trying to say is you can waste your time hating if you want to... but in the scheme of things, I believe there are better things you can do with your time on this earth. Like crochet or baking cookies or reading the label on your toothpaste. The possibilities are limitless. I'm just sayin'...

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