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captioned: first contact.
hopefully the last contact, whitey. (also, are you related to the gurls at gurlgoestoafrica?)
captioned: These are the ones paying for the Kim regime. There are millions of photos of poverty. These are not exceptional. But what’s most depressing is how preventable the poverty is. North Korea sits adjacent to the 2nd, 3rd, and 15th largest economies in the world. In the DPRK, so many millions suffer due to the ignorance and despotism of so few.
whitey, decoded: I am the best kind of white liberal voyeur. I love walking around third world countries taking pictures of people (especially children) that I think look dirty, poor, and sad. Because I grew up in an upper-middle class home in Palo Alto and went to school at Columbia, I really know what struggling looks like, and I also know that suffering doesn’t happen in any places like the US or South Korea. I also know that poverty doesn’t happen in the 2nd, 3rd, or 15th largest economies, ever, especially when they are capitalist economies that usher in horrendously destructive things like the Korea-US free trade agreement. I am such a hard-hitting journalist. I am the next Anderson Cooper. I am in North Korea. I can see Russia from my hotel. I am an East Asia expert. My last girlfriend was Korean. All my girlfriends are Asian. Did you know I can speak Chinese?
please, tell me what it’s really like for these brainwashed, exploited, forlorn people as you tour north korea with your colleagues from columbia university. give me more of your hard-hitting journalism that aligns 100% with the american media, because we all know the american media has always been such a beacon of clarity and critical truths. tell me more about how the north korean people suffer under the tyranny of “so few” and about how south koreans have it so much better (including south korean farmers, peasants, evictees, sex workers, migrant workers, the disabled, queers, and so on).
while you’re at it, please: tell me who divided korea. tell me who was responsible for the 635,000 tons of explosives dropped over the peninsula. i want to know more about those 32,557 tons of napalm (more than the amount used in the entire pacific theatre of wwii) used in the war. tell me more about how america saved us all. tell me who first threatened nuclear warfare on the korean peninsula, and who is really at the root of nuclear proliferation in east asia. tell me more about why massacres like the one at nogeun-ri happened. please explain to me why the american-backed president syngman rhee is more legitimate than kim il-sung. tell me more about the peaceful presidencies of south korean military dictators park chung hee and chun doo hwan, and how they were such upstanding, liberatory leaders who didn’t do things like massacre thousands in kwangju or have labor organizers assassinated or collude with the US and the japanese to uphold colonial systems of power.
tell me more about north korean repression. tell me about how the south korean national security law, which criminalizes the publication and circulation of material deemed “pro-north,” or how the corporate-run south korean media, are not meant to squash political dissent. if we’re talking about the production of fear, about government control and brainwashing, tell me how an entire generation of south koreans was taught that north koreans literally had horns sticking out of their heads, and how that’s the north’s fault for being so evil.
tell me about how no south korean political prisoners exist, and how torture to the death is a tactic only north koreans use. tell me why north korea has become so isolated and why its main strategy of defense is militant posturing. tell me why, exactly, there are food crises in north korea, and how they are unrelated to US-led blockades and sanctions. tell me more about how it is north korea’s fault that the koreas are still divided when south korea and the US are practicing war games and tactics for north korean invasion just miles from north korean land. tell me more about how the US and south korea have worked hard to de-escalate tensions, and how the potential for nuclear development in north korea is more threatening than the twenty-something existing nuclear power plants in south korea. tell me more about how the north korean government is the most evil, lawless, cruel government in the world, as south korea buys up most of the land of madagascar, displaces and exploits its poor and working peoples, and ushers in neoliberal policy after neoliberal poilcy for the sake of ‘development’.
if you want to talk about north korea and not sound like a fucking ill-informed, sensationalist, mccarthy-era tool that can’t fucking think for itself or be critical of messaging that is homogenous all across western media, then educate yourself beyond talking points from that sham of an organization “liberty in north korea” (think invisible children and kony, but with starving korean kids and kim jong-il).
i also don’t know why people think they can be “north korea experts” without knowing shit about south korea beyond its lightning-quick development (which, by the way, was built on the backs of thousands of exploited workers, many of whom were arrested, incarcerated, tortured, and killed for organizing during the dictatorships of US-backed korean military leaders!). the only reason people like this sound the least bit intellectual or informed is because no one else knows shit either, and is content with the soundbytes we get from the msm. but on principle, when has the msm promoted actual justice or liberation, inside of the US and out of it? how do people who think themselves “critical” miss this huge, huge point?
korea (north and south) is what it is because of japanese colonialism, US imperialism, and a decolonization process that was hijacked and warped into partition and war. the decontextualization (and ensuing demonization) of northern korea from this history is in and of itself promoting a political agenda that is predicated upon historical amnesia. this historical amnesia absolves both southern korea and the US for all the violence that occurred on the peninsula post-japanese colonialism. it fixes north korea as the one that is at fault for everything bad ever during and after the korean war, which is how you get shit like this where people are blaming north koreans for kwangju. when south korea is defaulted to as the progressive, good, normal one that’s a victim of north korea’s “crazy” belligerence, it automatically gets to be in a position of moral authority, victimhood, and legitimacy. it justifies US intervention (which came in the form of bombs, napalm, indiscriminate massacres [because they couldn’t tell north and south koreans apart — for obvious reasons]), and authorizes continuing US occupation and a hypermilitarized south korea. the US-SK relation, as it stands now, depends on the constant vilification of the north, because the creation of the south korean state itself (which was closely tied to US and UN intervention) was justified and legitimized by constructing leftist korean revolutionaries (who would later become ‘north koreans’) as threats to peace, freedom, and democracy.
also, does no one see how people can say all the racist, orientalist shit they want about north koreans because of this type of discourse, and how it’s made totally acceptable because “well, they’re the crazy ones”? like, there was a fucking video game made last year about north koreans invading the US (never gonna happen lol) and the goal of the game is to kill them all. (fun fact: that game, homefront, originally wanted to make the villains the chinese.) people pop off about north korea and kim jong-il and north korean people in such fucking obviously racist ways, but it’s acceptable because they’re just this impossibly foreign, mysterious, unknowable nation… there are all these gross american fantasies about what north koreans are really like, with no acknowledgment that their fetishizing and fantasizing are products of war and forced division and separated families.
and of course, savior missions like liberty in north korea won’t ever acknowledge how fucked up the process is for north korean refugees who try to migrate to south korea, and how many north koreans face discrimination in the south, and how high suicide rates are amongst them.
i am not an expert. i don’t know that much about north korea either, and i would really like to learn more. i’m also just really not that into nationalism, ever, and north korean nationalist discourse is off-putting to me. i also don’t doubt that violence and horrible things have happened in the dprk, but i want to learn about these things and be critical of that state without relying on imperialist discourses or racist bullshit to do so. goddammit. a lot of knowledge produced about north korea fits so, so neatly into US government doctrine that it’s just really fucking suspicious, and i’m not about to trust anything that aligns so closely with an apparatus that bears some of the heaviest responsibility around contemporary korean suffering.
For most of America, Psy is a funny name, a funny face, and a funny personality. He doesn’t sing in English and most people just don’t get it leaving most of them to not take him seriously. It’s easy to strip the significance behind “Gangnam Style” down if you don’t know what it means and solely find entertainment in the Asian guy shaking his hips. But what most people don’t realize is that Psy doesn’t take himself seriously. He’s a satirist and political dissident. “Gangnam Style” was a commentary, not just a fun pop tune with a silly dance.
Gangnam is Seoul’s wealthiest and flashiest neighborhood. For South Koreans, Gangnam represents the ideal life of excess and consumerism. Psy’s character in the video is a wannabe Gangnamite. He dreams he’s living the flashy, excessive lifestyle while he’s really just like everyone else, swimming in a public pool and riding the subway. But never in the video does it seem that Psy’s character is unhappy. He’s content to play in a children’s playground and meet the girl of his dreams in the subway. “Gangnam Style” is much more that we have made it, but that’s not surprising considering Psy’s background and how little we know about it.
In America, it seems like “Gangnam Style” was Psy’s big break when in fact the song had been released on his sixth studio album and his music career hadn’t been about making flashy and catchy songs. He believes music is the key to overcoming the intolerance embedded in his country’s political systems. Throughout his career, his songs have been banned for inappropriate content and have been surrounded by controversy, not to mention the fact that he fought his mandatory military draft.
Psy is a voice for his people. He’s fighting the oppression and intolerance he sees in his culture through his music. And by ignoring his worth and his value, we’re reducing the culture of South Korea into a short man with funny pants doing a ridiculous dance."
Warning: Again highly simplified and generalized and is from my pov only, other Koreans or ppl who know Korean history please feel free to add.
-After the Korean war many children were adopted into other countries some of whom were not in fact orphans
-The move was used to earn money esp under Park Chung Hee
-As Korea “developed” there was a growing sentiment that this was shameful
-But at the same time propaganda that all the adoptees would be living a better, happier life in a more “developed” country persists to this day
-Adoptees are seen as “one of us” and not “one of us” simultaneously and it is hard for them to find their roots as again some of them were not orphans so the adoption industry has a practice of falsifying birth certificates
-So the media’s viewpoint is somehow that it’s shameful and taboo but at the same time we should forget about it because adoptees live a privileged lifestyle in well-off countries and that is all that is needed to be happy
-This weird stigma hurts everyone involved except for the adoption industry and adoptive parents
I was 15 years old when I landed my first job as the new sales girl at Mandee, a local women’s clothing store. My first taste of independence. It was the happiest day of my little life.
That is until I told my father the good news. His response: “oh sh@#.” Turned out not only did my parents misplace any official proof of my existence, but they also forgot that they did not complete my naturalization application when they adopted me nearly 14 years earlier. They also failed to inform me of any of this. Needless to say without legitimate identification I was unable to work and lost my first job as well as my dignity.
Eventually I was able to get a replacement social security card, a new passport, which was Korean, and a shiny new alien card. I learned that although I was an alien, I was not an illegal alien. I was a permanent resident. This satisfied my parents and me for a while. It took me nearly 10 years to go through with the naturalization process - English proficiency test and all - and become a full-fledged American citizen. My identity woes were over as I knew it.
That is until I went to South Korea to live and work for a year. At this time I still had a valid Korean passport and my new US passport. Traveling to Korea I thought nothing of using my Korean passport to enter the country and had no trouble doing so.
That is until about six months later when I was at airport customs on my way from Seoul to Beijing. My Korean passport had expired by then and so I used my US passport. Without explanation, two intimidating officers escorted me to a private room marked Office of National Security. After what seemed like hours of back and forth attempts of broken English, Korean and charades I came to understand that dual citizenship in Korea was illegal. Using my Korean passport to enter the country and a US passport to exit was finable up to tens of thousands of dollars and I could be deported. After another bout of charades and hysterical tears (mine), I explained that I was adopted as a baby and had no idea that what I had done was illegal. They agreed to not charge me and let me go with a warning.
However, I had to choose at that very moment: Was my loyalty to the country that birthed me or to the country that raised me? I’m still trying to figure that one out.
One of the reasons why I am so angry about the baby box is because it is rife with misogynistic assumptions which in turn don’t help anything.
“But sometimes teens give birth to their baby in secluded places and abandons them”
Yeah, those are really rare cases. Not to mention, a significant of single mothers are not teens nor do they wish to give up their babies. Rare cases aside let’s look at why that is happening. Imagine you are a teenage girl that’s pregnant. Schools will try to kick you out because “you are setting a bad example for others”. Your family would be ashamed of you. Friends will ostracize you. Complete strangers will comment on your sexual habits. Your boyfriend very well may abandon you, assuming that it was consensual sex that got you pregnant in the first place. There is no place for you aside from shelters. Again many shelters for pregnant unwed mothers are run jointly with adoption centers that will try to manipulate you into giving up your baby. But let’s say you didn’t get into one of those shelters because of lack of access, information, time, etc. You have no one. You have no place to go.
It is this that we should be focused on. This is caused by misogyny, the blatant hate for marginalized teens by painting them as irresponsible and promiscuous. This is systematic
You, the proponents of the baby box, are doing the same thing. I would say that you are doing something worse because you are willing to eagerly snatch up the children, the fruit of these supposedly demonic mothers’ wombs.
If you’re American, don’t pat yourself on the back for how progressive we are or how that doesn’t happen here anymore, because it still happens here, in NYC it happens here, on top of Americans reaping the benefits of these attitudes in other countries and exporting these attitudes in the form of evangelical missionaries and adoption agencies.
There are all kinds of messed up arguments flying around in favor of the baby box, but they really boil down to this:
“Isn’t it better for a child to have its basic human rights violated than to die of neglect/exposure without the baby box?”
Which is a sentimental and leading question, as people would know if they’d bothered to read the refutations added to the original posts. The presence of baby boxes is not saving infants who would otherwise have died. The woman who place their children there are already the ones who care if their babies live or die.
Instead, it’s offering women, mostly unwed and single mothers who are already stigmatized by society, the tempting option to abandon their children anonymously. This action forever cuts off the infants from the possibility of knowing who they are and where they came from — a right so fundamental that the UN included it in their Convention on the Rights of the Child.
I repeat: the UN thinks the right to know your parents and to be raised by them is so profound, it labeled it a basic human right.
- The baby boxes aren’t bringing in a new demographic of infants. Instead, they’re anonymizing those infants who would have been documented in the adoption process.
- The babies left in religiously-affiliated baby boxes are completely vulnerable to being used as commodities in the creepy evangelical transracial adoption movement. (Take a look at the comments left on U.S. news sites about the baby boxes; full of the usual bullshit about how wonderful it all is, since the Korean heathen infant can now be raised by white people in the light of god’s love.)
- It violates the baby’s basic human rights. What do people not understand about the idea of a basic human right?
In summary, baby boxes don’t perform their purported function and they violate basic human rights. But they sure make some people feel good, and hey, everyone likes looking at pictures of cute babies whose lives were saved from tragedy, so it must be a-ok after all.
Yeah, but the thing about this whole dialogue is that it’s leaving out the fact that there are plenty of Asian women who do not want to go through the adoption process and would rather abandon their baby and let it die, and/or outright kill it. (Quite frankly, I could see this baby box thing working very well in China, where baby girls are frequently abandoned or killed — the stories of Chinese baby girls being thrown into the river and drowned is not just myth, this shit actually happens.)
OP is acting as though all women have the same access to and/or ability to go through the adoption process in the first place and/or the cognizance or education to do so. Quite frankly, I think a pretty basic human right is the right to stay alive, which at the very least, the baby boxes allow.
Now there’s all this shit that can be said about all the transracial fuckery when it comes to adoption processes (especially that of white parents and Asian babies) but I am honestly troubled by the kind of sanctimonious tone of Western imperialism that underscores the above post that doesn’t for even a moment consider the cultural implications as to why such a device like a freaking baby box is needed in the first place, such as the fact that in Korea, there is no safe haven law.
The West =/= the rest.
Amurica =/= East Asia.
OP’s enlightened Western imperialist assumptions about human rights pretty much suggests that these mothers who would use these baby boxes in the first place are ignorant and uneducated for thinking a baby box can save the babies they are trying to give up and furthermore imply that the mothers are engaging in the ongoing denial of the baby’s inherent human rights. Yet OP hasn’t even begun to consider the rights of the mother who might not have been allowed to abort the child, cannot raise the child, and or cannot go through the adoption process in the first place for any number of reasons.
Ugh really, this is exactly why I fucking hate Tumblr social justice. It’s a bunch of poorly thought out, uncritical crap that might as well be blowing a bunch of steam at elephants who don’t really give a shit in the first place.Are you seriously fucking kidding me??? The Korean law requires that all infants be registered at their birth which this baby box goes directly against. You are also assuming that Korea is the same as China when it is not. Have you even read the Op’s points? I am not even gonna go into what you said about China because I am not Chinese but in Korea there are multiple cases of friends or relatives or vengeful boyfriends giving up the baby without the mother’s consent even though she may want to keep the child which this box encourages. What you are doing is creating this false sense of East vs West shit when plenty of Korean bloggers such as myself, Korean Americans and most importantly Korean adoptees LIKE THE OP themselves have spoken against the baby box. Listen to them instead of harping on about ~tumblr social justice oh noes~ because those are the people you should be fucking listening to. Fucking shut your mouth. You really don’t know jack shit about the adoption process and how it emptionally manipulates unwed mothers to give up their children to fulfil the demand and make money. You don’t know how historically this adoption industry was filled with fucking separation and downright human trafficking of children. Shut the fuck up and get some fucking sense. ETA, did you just call a KAD uncritical about the situation that they are talking about? Really? ETAA: ARE YOU FUCKING AWARE THAT YOU ARE SUPPORTING HUMAN TRAFFICKING BUILT ON WHITE IMPERIALISM IN THIS COUNTRY?
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