SEOUL, Oct. 1 (Korea Bizwire) – In Korea, multi-ethnic families are called ‘multi-cultural families’, which is a term that was introduced to replace discriminating and degrading terms that were used before. However, research shows that the children of multi-ethnic families do not like the term ‘multi-cultural family’.
Recently, Konkuk University hosted a forum entitled ‘The Teacher’s Forum on Multi-Cultural Communication’. Experts from related fields and 50 teachers discussed the term ‘multi-cultural’, which turned out to be disliked by the children of multi-ethnic families. Though the term was created to lessen discrimination towards families of mixed or different race, the term somewhat illustrates them as a minority and weaker members of society.
The children of ‘multi-cultural families’ are those who were born through international marriages, children of parents who immigrated to Korea, and children of foreign families.
According to the Ministry of Education, there are 204,000 children in multi-ethnic households, which is 3.5 times more than five years ago. While 59 percent of the multi-ethnic children are still preschoolers yet, the number of school-aged children is continuously growing.
The number of multi-ethnic children enrolled in school last year was 67,000, which is over one percent of the total number of students in Korea. There are even three schools in Seoul where the portion of multi-ethnic children exceeds 20 percent.
With a growing number of multi-ethnic children, teachers and experts at the forum agreed that a new kind of understanding as well as a new term should be used.
Professor Kim Joo-young from The Center for Asia & Diaspora at Konkuk University suggests the term ‘multi-cultural communication’ to replace ‘multi-cultural’. Professor Kim explains that the term respects the variety of ‘cultures’, and is not suitable to categorize ‘people’.
Kim Barunsun, a teacher at Topyeong High School, points out that most textbooks concentrate on conflict and problems in a multi-cultural society, and are educating children based on ‘our’ point of view. “The textbooks describe the children of multi-ethnic households as the underdog. But children do not like to be considered as ‘weak’. Terms should be reconsidered in order to reach actual equality.”
By Francine Jung (email@example.com)