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Sometimes people feel that Korean Americans hate anyone who is not Korean.  They meet people who act “Super Korean” and who will only support Korean people and Korean things.  This has lead people to feel that all Koreans are standoffish and will hate them.  Or in other words, you are a Black Sheep to Korean people and it will always be that way. While I have met my fair share of Koreans who have treated me that way, or who still will treat me that way, this is not how all Koreans act.   Here are a few reasons why you may meet some Korean Americans people who act this way.

Dealing With Prejudice

Many Korean Americans have to deal with prejudice and racial hatred that is very painful.   Sadly, many people do not take Asian American issues very seriously.  As a result, many feel very comfortable mocking Asians in the media.  The mocking of Asians, especially ones who are new to North America, is seen as funny by many people.  And some feel that anyone who is Asian must be Japanese or Chinese only.  It’s as if Korean people don’t really have an identity that is recognized in some areas.  This will cause some to feel that only another Korean person will be able to identify with them.  It’s not that they are standoffish or wanting to offend you; but it maybe that they are afraid of being hurt by you.

Dealing With Stereotypes

Sometimes people will give attention to Korean people because of some stereotype that they heard about them.   Stereotypes such as Asian women being submissive, Koreans being super smart, really good at math or having a lot of money.  Many people will try to be friends with Korean Americans, but for all the wrong reasons.  When people use you or approach you with a false motive in mind, you can easily become defensive.   Defensive not by choice, but by necessity to survive.

Some People Are Just Jerks

I’m trying to be a good Christian this week, so I’ll just use the word jerk instead of the word most people would use in this situation.  Just as with any group of people, You’ll have some Korean Americans who feel that they are better than other people.  They feel that their friendship is a “privilege” and that not everyone “deserves” to be around them.  Others feel that Koreans must remain “pure” so having any association with people who aren’t “pure” is not acceptable.  But like with any group of people, Koreans who are truly classy will not have to “act” that way.  They will simply be classy.

Sadly, this feeling of prejudice is often times the product of how people were raised or what they have gone through.  This is not normal behavior for anyone. This does not excuse anyone’s bad behavior.  But it will explain what many have gone through, and why some may appear to be rude or standoffish when you meet them.  Just as with any group of people, it may take some time for some Korean Americans to warm up to you.  If they do, you’ll have a true friend.  Just as you wouldn’t want someone to look at you and judge you by negative stereotypes or bad experiences from the past, you shouldn’t judge all Korean Americans in the same way.

Hopefully this will help you if you have problems with rude Korean Americans.  And hopefully this will help you to see that Korean Americans are just like anyone else at the end of the day.  As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to #askthewaygookin.