Anti-Racism Law Proposed by Korean politician
A potentially major story breaking on a Saturday afternoon - from the Korea Times (hat tip to Korean Rum Diary for first blogging about it):
A ruling party lawmaker is to propose legislation that would define racism
and set out punishments for racist acts.
The bill, if endorsed later this year, will become the first legal attempt
to fight racism in South Korea, where various forms of discrimination
originating from skin color and state of origin exist.
Rep. Chin Young of the Grand National Party (GNP), the president of a
parliamentary discussion group on a multiracial society, said an anti-racism
bill will be submitted to a regular session of the National Assembly for
approval, which will begin on Sept. 1.
"The bill specifies which organizations will be responsible for monitoring
acts of racism and what kinds of punishment will be imposed on violators," the
lawmaker told The Korea Times.
"I have considered theories and cases in other countries, including the
United States and France as a reference for the bill."
Chin said the draft bill needs further consultation with experts. "The bill
also includes how to help non-Koreans acclimatize themselves to Korean society
and, in the long run, live here as real Koreans without prejudice and bias," he
Wow - never thought I'd hear of something like this happening. It does come across as a response to one incident from awhile back, although it's been a very long time coming. Many stories have a habit of being one-shot Johnny's - one headline announcing something, and never hearing about it again as it dies a comparatively quiet death.
Legally defining what racism is, however, is merely the first step. African-Americans knew across the US what racism was - and experienced it everyday. The cop still has to come out, figure out what's going on despite his own bias(es) and a language barrier. That cop must make his report to a prosecutor, who must not let an old man go just because he's said he's sorry or offers some form of hush money. That prosecutor must then (if necessary) prove a case for a person not of his own country and find guilt within his own countryman. That judge must then set a sentence, and the news must get out that racism will not be tolerated at all.
Cultures can - and do - change. Korea has proven itself resilient enough to make drastic changes over the last several decades - and it's time for one now. Chin Young, you have our support on this one :)
© Chris Backe - 2009