A teenage male model named Han Hyun-min is an upcoming star on South Korean catwalks and a showcase for fashion magazines. However, 16-year-old Han is half black, which is a major racial issue in an ethnically homogeneous country.
Stemming from Nigerian father, South Korean society and culture is embroiled in racial discrimination. People of mixed race are even commonly referred to as “mongrels.”
“A dark-skinned fashion model like Han was unheard of in South Korea, so recruiting him was a big gamble,” said agent Youn Bum.
It’s strange when one observes South Korea, considering for years it’s become a bustling nation of modern, sophisticated and tech-savvy infrastructures and entertainment industries. Their pop culture has made waves across Asia and on the international scale.
Despite this elevating fascination, the country hides a dark side of deeply-rooted racism. Discrimination against those of different skin color is abundant, and those that are immigrants are openly mocked at public transports for being “dirty” or “smelly.” In some cases, they are even refused entry to upscale restaurants or public baths.
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