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Multiracial Koreans Live Very Difficult Lives: Report

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Multiracial Koreans Live Very Difficult Lives: Report

Post by momopi » March 18th, 2009, 6:12 pm ... es-report/

Multiracial Koreans Live Very Difficult Lives: Report

OhMyNews looks at the “desolate realities of Korea’s Hines Wards� — the first and second generation of post-Korean War multiracial Koreans experience terrible difficulties, including an average monthly income of less than a million won with most laboring as irregular employees on a time and contract basis.

According to a report by Sungkyunkwan University social welfare professor Kim Tong-won, the average monthly income of first and second generation multiracial Koreans was just 865,400 won, and six out of 10 worked as irregular workers. Due to their low incomes, 55.64% said they could not get medical treatment of any kind.

The report will be was read today at a hearing at the office of Rep. Kim Chung-hwan (GNP).

Professor Kim’s report, conducted between October of last year to February of this year, polled 333 of Korea’s 546 (presumed) first and second generation multiracial Koreans about their lives and major desires.

For the purposes of Kim’s survey, the multiracial Koreans surveyed are those born to US military fathers and Korean mothers after the Korean War. The first generation are those born in the era immediately after the Korean War, while the second generation are those born between 1961 (when Korea passed an anti-prostitution law) and 1982, when the US amended its immigration law.

Those born of white fathers (51.64%) outnumbered those born to black fathers (41.39%), and most live in Gyeonggi-do (51.39%) and Seoul (21.67%). Some 85.77% have not graduated high school, including 25.38% who have no schooling at all. Only 14.23% have a community college education or more. By religion, 41.74% are Protestants, 39.57% are Buddhists, and 3.91% are Catholics.

Some 42.53% have been unable to get jobs due to their physical characteristics or low education. Those that did get jobs generally earned their living as restaurant kitchen cleaners and waiters/watresses (27.89%) and construction workes (15.65%). Some 6.80% worked as bar hostesses, two worked as bar performers, two worked as athletes/entertainers/housekeepers (?), while one was a clergyman.

Some 66 out of 100 worked as irregular workers. Some 34.01% worked in hourly part-time jobs while 31.97% did contract work, meaning 65.98% were irregular workers. Only 17.01% were regular employees, and 8.16% were self-employed.

When seeking jobs, these individuals experience great difficulties — 26.67% have been refused jobs due to low education, but 18.43% have been refused jobs due to being multiracial and 12.94% have been discriminated against for being multiracial. 18.43% say the jobs they can get are limited due to their race. Some 49.51% said they’ve been unable to get jobs due to poor health.

Professor Kim said when getting jobs, multiracial men suffer more discrimination than women due to their race, and the second and third generation of multiracial Koreans experience more discrimination than the first generation.

Low Personal and Family Incomes

Multiracial Koreans earn quite little, too. The average monthly income of the polled multiracial Koreans was just 865,400 won; their average monthly household income was just 3.07 million won. There was one individual who made no income, and one household that made just 200,000 won. Some 59.75% of those polled had debts, with the average debt being 13.1525 million won.

As for their standard of living, 43.13% said they were in the lower lower class. When combined with the 33.59% who put themselves in the upper lower class, a full 76.72%put themselves in the lower class. Only 6.11% put themselves in the upper-middle class or above. Some 65.46% said they live in rental places, while the average key money paid was 9.0461 million won.

Kim noted that 29.12% received welfare support, meaning almost 30% were currently experiencing exonomic difficulties.

Despite the fact that most were suffering from musculoskeletal disorders due to their difficult lives, 55.63% were not receiving any medical treatment whatsoever. As for why they were receiving treatment, 96.10% cited their difficult existences.

Other difficulties cites including being told off by society due to their parents (68.0%), discrimination in employment (54.4%), discrimination and ostracization at school (52.0%), and difficulties in dating and marriage (45.9%). Of these, discrimination and ostracization at school was selected first by the most respondents.

Some 68.40% said they’ve been sweared at, 47.98% said they’ve been discriminated against at public institutions and offices, 38.27% said they’ve been sexually harrassed or assaulted, and 15% said they’ve been assaulted. Some 59.60% said they’ve suffered severe depression and 10.29% said they’ve attempted suicide due to this discrimination and abuse.

In particular, multiracial Koreans with children worried about passing on their poverty (36.60%), social discrimination (18.95%) and education issues (15.03%).

As for support measures they needed most, 71.5% cited “guaranteed secure housing,� and 60.1% said a system to correct social discrimination. Some 31.6% said support for multiracial Korean association was needed, while 30.4% wanted cost-of-living support and 28.9% wanted health and medical support.

Multiracial Koreans vs. Multicultural Families

Professor Kim noted that nothing is being done for these multiracial Koreans — for social cohesion, we needed to solve the difficulties suffered by Korean War-related multiracial Koreans before dealing with the issues of “marriage immigrants� and migrant laborers.

He explained that “multicultural families� as designated by the Multicultural Families Support Law do not include Korean War-related multicultural Koreans, so no systemic support is being given to them. A realistic alternative would be to include them in the law.

Another alternative would be a law similar to a multiracial Korean support bill proposed by Rep. Kim Chung-hwan in 2006, although Prof. Kim believed this had less of a chance getting realized.

Rep. Kim Chung-hwan, however, gave his bill another shot last October. Kim has given war-related multiracial Koreans much attention from the time he was ward head in Gangdong-gu.

An offical at the lawmaker’s office said the bill fell as it was being considered alongside the Multicultural Family Support Law, but since the latter does not include (war-related) multiracial Koreans, they needed protection and support.

The official said the multiracial Koreans were a sadness of the age created as US troops were based in Korea. Born unintentionally, they were suffering discrimination due to their appearance and needed legal support, he stressed.

Rep. Kim and Prof. Kim held a hearing today in order to launch another bill to help multiracial Koreans.

As Hines Ward Goes

In a telephone interview with OhMyNews, Bae Gi-cheol of the Korean General Association of International Families (?) said he was pained to see that Korean society cared only for so-called multicultural families, such as Asian women who immigrate to Korea to marry. He said the only time people are really interested in when Hines Ward visits Korea, and when he leaves, interest disappears.

Bae said there’s nothing in the Constitution calling on people to discriminate on the basis of skin color. He stressed that multiracial Koreans, too, have the right to pursue happiness, but because they’ve been excessively excluded, a support law was needed.

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