When searching about the experiences of black men or women living in South Korea, videos with negative undertones often pop up. This was the observation of Reddit user @Steffy_love in a post she shared on the r/korea subreddit.
Here, she stated that she expected the worst of Koreans based on the vlogs that fellow black people would post.
Most say that Korean people will look at you like you have two heads, will touch your body without asking, etc.
In an interview with Asian Boss, for instance, black men and women detailed their experiences of being discriminated against because of their skin tone. From not being allowed inside a club to taxi drivers refusing to pick them up, they were open about the challenges they faced while living in Korea.
I’ve been in a lot of lines going into a bar or a club with my friends and we’ve been the only ones who have been not allowed entry while everyone else in the line was allowed to enter.
— Interviewee, Asian Boss
It is also common for Korean natives to hear about similar stories in the news.
The original poster of the Reddit thread on the other hand, @Steffy_love, expressed her amazement at just how different her experience in the country was compared to these people.
Literally, no one even bats an eye that I’m black. I was a bit confused in the subway, but this woman came right up to me and asked if I needed help. Most youtubers say that Koreans aren’t that friendly, which just isn’t the case. Everyone just minds their own business. I also went to a club and was pushed once, but everyone is drunk so I get it. I have had a positive experience so far!!
Another commenter agreed, saying that the type of racism that is present is different than what many would expect.
Others noted that positive stories aren’t often posted online.
On the flipside, there were many netizens who pointed out that a person’s experience as a tourist who has been in Korea for two days differs greatly from someone who has lived there for several years.
One shared her experience of racism as a teacher and how her school had a quota of hiring only one black teacher at a time.
They emphasized the need to not minimize the hardships of others—especially the ones who have stayed in the country longer.
At the end of the day, there are both good and bad experiences associated with being a man or woman of color visiting South Korea.