Skip to main content

The black race can't afford him no more

An elderly Korean man may have a story about a near riot experience from yesterday. Not the one that is circulating the Internet.

Yesterday I was boarding the subway, a Korean friend called me to wish me a happy birthday (he was wrong, early by one week). I was standing, as I often do on the subway, and talking on my cell. As I thanked my (very busy) buddy for taking the time to call, an elderly Korean man softly tapped me on my knee about two or three times and signaled for me to be quiet. I'm not surprised about Korean men, whether sober or drunk, initiating contact, so I just ignored him, walking down to the other part of the subway car--and continuing the conversation. As I noted to my buddy on the phone, I wasn't the only one talking on a cell phone.

This morning, I saw the video of a black man going off and getting into a physical altercation with an elderly Korean man. People often say that black people all look alike, but I guess in this case that I don't need an alibi.





There have been many comments about it. Of course, we don't know yet exactly what happened off camera leading up to moment someone started recording, but I guess things were getting hot enough that someone figured it was worth recording.


One blogger did the "I don't condone it, but I can understand it" analysis:

"And as a black man in Korea who ain't even that black, skintone wise, and considering all the SHIT *I* get, I really, really doubt the man just got up for no reason and started going buck wild."

This is the "Reasonable Like Me" Standard that people often mistakenly refer to people who suddenly show up in the news. "Hey, I'm reasonable, I get bothered, I can understand why that guy would be so upset." That's fine, except that there are some real sociopaths, liars, criminals, abusive and violent people. So many people do stupid things I would never do, so it is difficult to see why such projection makes sense.

* * *

Hanging out with some friends Saturday night in Hongdae, some white dudes were getting drunk at the table nearby. As the group prepared to leave, the drunkest guy who took off his shirt a few times then stuck his fingers in his mouth, pushing deeply, until he successfully threw up on the floor. It wasn't a case of "Oh, my goodness, I think I'm going to regurgitate." It was more like...well, I don't know what he was thinking, but he clearly had time to walk, perhaps even crawl to the bathroom, before throwing up in the toilet. He had to force himself to throw up on the floor under his table.

Everyone at our table--about 12 of us--was disgusted. Throwing up, as drunk people sometimes do is one thing. Taking the time to force yourself to throw up on the floor as you are leaving? It clearly ruined a fun night for one of the Korean guys at the table. I would guess he is in his late 40s or early 50s. He may one day have such an altercation with a non-Korean, as happened on the bus.


He was guessing the guys are GIs, that they look down on Korea and Koreans, and other mind-reading. After that, he just could not have a good time.

* * *


By the way, the elderly Korean man in the video does look a lot like a Korean man who, about six months ago, was shouting at me and a platonic Korean female friend in Anyang. We had finished dinner and were saying good-bye when the Korean guy came up, staring like I had stolen something of his, then began cursing at us in Korean. Not the first time that kind of thing has happened to me, by the way, so I can understand what the blogger was complaining about. Quite a while ago I did develop the ability to ignore the rantings of crazies, drunks, angry people, both here and back home in America.

In Anyang that night, my friend and I had talked earlier about drunk and crazy people getting into fights, so the old Korean guy was a caricature of what we had been discussing earlier. She pleaded with me to just ignore him, that he clearly was an idiot.

I just looked at him and smiled, then walked with my friend to a police car that just happened to be parked nearby. The old guy followed up, still cussing up a storm.


The cop got out of the car, he listened to my friend's explanation, then listened for about 5 seconds of the older Korean guy cussing and complaining. The cop then opened his own can of whup ass and hauled the older guy into the police station. I must say, after seeing Saturday's video, that the cop was shouting like he was an angry black man on the bus.


Popular posts from this blog

2014-02-14 Yeon-Mi Park`s debut

Yeonmi Park, February 14, 2014, making her debut! Yesterday I was one of the speakers at a special session on North Korean refugees at the Canadian Maple International School. Wow, it was a wonderful time! * Yeon-Mi Park delivered her first major speech in English. She was wonderful! She told her story (35 minute speech without notes), discussed different aspects of North Korea, and then handled questions from students for more than an hour. She did seem to be nervous at the beginning-she took a deep breath just as she started, looked at me, then told her story from her heart. * Returning from the speech, I told Yeonmi that she had star potential. She told me that she didn't believe it, but I told her that the way she handled Q&A and told her story, I would be lucky to have her still returning my phone calls within a year. * The students had many questions. They have been learning about North Korea. They are now reading "Escape from Camp 14" featuring Shin Dong-h

Helping North Koreans 'strike the blow' (Korea Times)

H ave you ever engaged in action not because you were sure it would change the world, but to satisfy your own heart? That, I emailed to an American friend, is why I have joined the effort to help North Koreans who are trying to escape from their homeland. I can’t change the direction of policy in North Korea or China but I can row the boat I am sitting in rather than lamenting that I can’t steer the yachts somewhere else. So I have tried to do what I can: Attending protests in front of the Chinese embassy in Seoul (and I plan to do so when I visit America in April); donating money to the Citizens’ Alliance for North Korean Human Rights ( www.nkhumanrights.or.kr ); educating myself, writing articles and emailing friends; and, as a member of the board of trustees, I recently submitted a resolution to the Frederick Douglass Memorial and Historical Association (FDMHA) in Washington, D.C., to try to call attention to the plight of North Koreans. Our organization’s missi

Government causing problems: Caffe Bene

According to the Korea Herald : Caffe Bene, the nation’s largest coffee shop franchise, has started cutting jobs and executive salaries, blaming regulations against expansion of its bakery and restaurant chains. Then a funny thing happened on the way to a seemingly bland story: There was actual talk about the Korean government playing a role in damaging Caffe Bene's business. Not just a throwaway line or a final comment at the end of the article, but actually tying the business's problems to the Korean government's policy. Caffe Bene took over bakery chain Mainz Dom in December despite the National Commission for Corporate Partnership’s advice to reconsider the acquisition as the panel was discussing restricting bakery franchises. The state-funded commission last month designated bakeries and restaurants as “SME-only” businesses, barring franchises to keep from opening too many stores or within 500 meters from small bakeries. Large companies in the dinin

Politician commentators

It is often mockingly said that the people who know how to run the country are driving cabs and cutting hair. I have identified a new problem...the people who are running the country are pontificating like they are cab drivers and barbers. WTOP Radio hosts "Ask the Governor" every Tuesday. This past Tuesday, Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine was philosophizing about Michael Vick, the former NFL player now in the slamma for killing dogs. Kaine: "I don't think somebody convicted of charges like this should be back in the NFL." What, Vick should be driving a cab or cutting hair? * * * Perhaps Gov. Kaine would like to assign Michael Vick to a job. After all, if Vick should be barred from playing in the NFL, then would what Kaine have him do? Let's fill-in Kaine's statement with some other occupations: "I don't think somebody convicted of charges like this should... "work as a waiter." "be a construction worker." "work as a tax account

Earth Hour 2013 Man of the Year!!!

In case you missed it, last night was Earth Hour. That's when people around the world turn off their lights for one hour to show concern for the Earth. The idea originated from the World Wildlife Fund. Bouncing off Don Boudreaux, I would like to announce that Kim Jong-Un is the Earth Hour 2013 Man of the Year. Kim Jong-Un, Earth Hour's 2013 Man of the Year I won't read through his resume and accomplishments to make my case, I will point out this satellite photo showing the difference between the two Koreas. North Korea, where every day is "Earth Hour." Not only is the dashing young dictator's regime focused on keeping North Koreans in the dark more than just one hour a year, but he is now leading a government that is threatening to blow up other countries for various reasons. He has ordered his military to strike with "lightening speed"--apparently confusing lightening speed with lightening, and thinking that lightening can bring ligh