“Korean stereotypes” is a topic that is frequently discussed among those who are..well..not Korean.
You might ask, what is the main thing that sparks up a stereotype towards someone or something in the first place? Well, the definition of a stereotype is an over-generalized belief about a particular category of people.
So, stereotypes happen because one assumes that the stereotype is true for each individual person in the category.
For example, one of the biggest Malaysian stereotypes is that Malaysians always rush for freebies. It can be anything from stationery to accessories to food…the list goes on. Whether the people use it daily or not it doesn’t matter. If it’s free it’s free.
With all the popularity that South Korea has been gaining throughout the years thanks to our favourite Hallyu – 할류 stars, no doubt that people from all over the world are gonna have many different opinions and questions about not only the residents of Korea, but the country and lifestyle there too.
So without further a due, let’s get started with the first stereotype on our list :
“Koreans eat kimchi every day and they have a separate fridge for it.”
This stereotype is the most famous one, thus chosen to start this blog off. This statement is not actually completely true; think of it as a 50/50 situation.
Yes it’s true, MOST Koreans have a separate fridge just for kimchi for many reasons. The main one being that this food itself has a strong odour because it’s fermented, so they don’t want their entire main fridge to smell.
However you’d be surprised that not all Koreans eat kimchi everyday. Compared to the older generation, the youngsters nowadays have a wider range of food choices. Sometimes they prefer to have an American styled breakfast, or some western food or any other cuisine for lunch and dinner.
A Korean was interviewed with this question and his response was “I don’t even know when was the last time I had kimchi!” :O
You can watch the interview here : https://youtu.be/jzNDUX7fMwQ
“All Koreans have small eyes.”
As controversial as this sounds, believe it or not this is a very common stereotype that’s not only pointed towards Koreans, but towards the Chinese, Japanese and Vietnamese too.
This statement however, is not true. Just like any other race, an individual’s eyes size can differ depending on their genetics. Eyes are different and are not necessarily the same just because a number of people from the same ethnicity just so happen to have small eyes.
Also, just because their eyes are smaller compared to an average westerner’s it still doesn’t really justify this point because just like how there are Chinese, Japanese and Vietnamese people with big eyes, same goes to the Koreans as well!
Here are a few people with relatively bigger eyes compared to your average Korean :
Hmmmm….not so small anymore huh?
“Koreans are racist.”
The picture above can either be offensive or nothing for whoever reading this, it depends on how you take it. As sensitive as the topic already is, if you’re someone who takes offense easily I suggest that this is not for you.
Take note, this is NOT to offend anyone who is POC (People Of Colour) but rather to raise awareness and to educate others about a serious and controversial issue like racism.
Korea is already known for its racism towards other races. Sometimes they mindlessly act or blurt out words out of ignorance, but some do it intentionally. Not only are there Koreans who are racist to people of darker skin, but kids in school make fun of any of their classmates who are mixed because they’re not “pure korean”.
Sadly, issues like this still occur but they’re not as serious as before eg : the Blackface which was broadcasted all over national television (thank god). The younger generation now are more open minded than their parents/grandparents for sure but there are a number of the older generation who are learning and accepting others for who they are.
For example in the entertainment industry, companies are branching out and giving more opportunities to not only Koreans but to those who are mixed and to those who are not :
Seeing Korea develop like this is so inspiring and it brings the hope that one day ignorance and racism will come to a stop! Sure there are still loads of flaws that South Korea needs to fix, but at least they’re starting to make a move.
Baby steps, baby steps. Slowly but surely! 🙂
“All Koreans like K-Pop.”
This next stereotype is going to be shocking for most people, but no! Not all Koreans like K-Pop.
Mind blowing, right?
Some of them listen to songs that are more from the indie genre or ballads. There are even a few Koreans who has not heard of some of South Korea’s most favourite girl groups and boy groups!
Others just prefer to listen to foreign artists such as The Chainsmokers, Taylor Swift, Khalid, Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande and more.
This proves that just because someone’s from Korea that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re into K-Pop as well. K-Pop ain’t the only genre for Korean songs maam! 😮
So, which of these stereotypes were you always curious about? Is there more to Korea that you want to know about? If so, what?
Also, did you hear that Penang Korean Class is organizing a Rocket Korean Workshop on the 27th and 28th of July?
It doesn’t matter if you have knowledge about the Korean language or not; as long as you want to be able to speak it confidently, then this workshop is for you!
Registration is closing very soon and there are limited slots left, so head over here to grab your chance 😀