The “Reverse Racism” of Korea

I was at a restaurant with two Belgian girls I shared a room with and their Swedish friend.

“I’m into white guys too, but I think just on average Asian guys are more attractive” said the Swede (whom I’d later hook up with).

“Yeah, they just have better features” agreed one of the Belgian girls.

WHAT IS GOING ON?! WHERE AM I?! This was my first day in Korea.

I think no one would say the opposite of this in public now, but throughout my young adult years I constantly saw this on dating profiles or I’d hear this sentiment echoed by my female peers. Its spectre still looms too; I just assume this is an unspoken bias most American women have.

dating profile excerpts a sexually frustrated me compiled 4 years ago (the last three were Asian women)

Many women that come to Korea are here because of the influence of Korean media. Many are here to specifically date Korean men. I’ve met women that learn Korean and come here for a few months every year because they love the culture and the men.

When I first got here, I was thought “This is how my life should have been. This is what my life would be like without a racist media bias”. Women (and men) both Korean and foreign were very open to talking to me and including me in their activities and plans. This was an ideal social life, where I could be accepted by nearly anyone that I ran into (that spoke English).

I think I felt this difference quite profoundly because I’m quite handsome by non-western media standards.

me irl

There were so many couples in the streets with an Asian man I felt like I belonged in this romantic arena, as opposed to my home where it was uncommon to even see Asian women with Asian men on the street. Hearing women fawn over TOP, GD, or Taeyang was really refreshing compared to whichever flavors-of-sliced-bread lineup populated the American “sexiest men list”.

GD and TOP

This was kind of funny because I ran into white dudes who were frustrated in the same way I was back home. Though I felt like there were still a lot of White male-Korean female couples, especially at the expat bars where we’d hang out. It was oddly white-white that was more rare.

I remember when on one occasion telling a female traveler about the initial story in this post and a British guy saying “yeah it’s messed up” and I responded with “it’s exactly how it should be.”

I remember meeting a guy who graduated from Yale telling me how it was racist here and me going “this is how it is for me in the US” and him going “oh yeah sorry”.

(Though to be fair I feel that superficial preferences are inherently a little messed up, but come on dude, you have literally every other country outside of Korea and you still have media representation here from American films and television)

I feel like in some ways I would’ve been more attractive if I wasn’t westernized at all. A lot of women fawned over the local Korean men, even (or almost especially) ones with limited English skills. I felt that Korean men that were more westernized did almost worse than Korean men that looked like they came out of a Korean TV show or Korean music video.

Anyway, I think Korea really opened my eyes to what media and perception can do. If you’re wondering what it’d be like if you lived in a country that had more balanced media towards you, check out Korea.

And if you want hard evidence that there’s media bias, look at this shit:

Michael Lewis, the author of “The Blind Side”, “Moneyball”, and “The Big Short” (all adapted into academy award winning films) says his newest book won’t become a movie because they don’t want to cast an Asian protagonist and also don’t want fallout from whitewashing another movie

Smell ya later



One thought on “The “Reverse Racism” of Korea

  1. I’m an Asian American currently working in Japan and I have a much different experience compared to my friends of European decent. Looking forward to more of your posts! Hit me up if you’re ever in Japan.


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