Dear Tracy Cozette
You wanna know what’s wrong with getting shirts done that says “Loof”? Let me tell you something from my perspective, something you might not understand since you’re not actually Asian. Now I may not be Korean, but I am half Japanese. Of course if any Korean people need to correct me please do so.
At the end of the video you said that B.A.P. fans were babying Himchan. I’m not even really a huge fan of B.A.P. but let me tell you something as an Asian American with an immigrant Asian mother. This is not about babying Himchan, it’s about respecting non-Westerners in the same way you would respect a Westerner, or in your case another American. You need to understand that you as a Westerner are not put up to the same standards as non-Westereners are when it comes to speaking another language. You can mess up and hey maybe some people will make fun of your accent or whatever but you will still be more or less accepted in the end. It doesn’t work that way for Asian people.
Yes, you know the struggle of learning how to speak another language, but it’s different for you because whatever language you’re learning is not considered a “powerful language” nor was it actually mandatory for you to learn Korean. English is considered that, quite obviously by how a lot of countries have made English mandatory in schools despite it not entirely making sense to considering that their native language is not English, and therefore there’s way more pressure on being able to pronounce and speak it well than there would be for other languages.
It really does not matter if you speak the Korean language or that you got a degree in East Asian studies. Naming all these places you’ve been to in Korea and all these connections you have don’t support your argument at all either. At the end of the day, you’re not Korean nor are you Asian. You have no right to speak for Korean people or for Asian people on this subject at all, which you are doing by the way, because you do not understand the discrimination Western Asian people have to face, constantly have to prove to people that yes they CAN speak English or whatever the native language is in their country, and that Asian people speaking English as a second language must face, knowing that they are constantly being judged for the way they speak by Westerners, much more harshly so than let’s say a white European speaking English as a second language would.
Wearing those shirts was not only wrong but flat out insulting. You claim to have not been trying to make fun of Himchan’s English, but right around 3:43 you completely admit that yes, you do make fun of the fact that he cannot pronounce roof right. So what was all this shit you were saying about how you didn’t like it when people were making fun of him now?
You also stated that part of embracing the word “loof” has not only to do with encouraging Himchan but also that it also has to do with breaking down cultural and language barriers. Encouraging him to do what? Be embarrassed? How is making fun of someone’s English breaking down any barriers? What you are doing literally shows no signs of being more accepting and open of other people’s cultures and languages. If anything you’re making fun of the fact that he can’t completely adapt to YOUR language. When you do this, whether you are conscious of it or not, you are looking DOWN on that person for not being able to fit in to the standards of your country.
No, I’m not gonna personally email this to you because I need the kpop fandom and everyone in general to understand what is wrong with making fun of someone’s English. This is a serious issue that happens constantly not just in a kpop context, but for Asian and Western Asian people among other foreigners coming to Western countries everyday. People have a right to know about what you and unfortunately many others have been doing.
It does not matter how much you paid for the shirts or how much you love B.A.P. What you did was wrong and you need to recognize the mistakes that you’ve made and apologize, not just to Himchan, but to everyone , especially people who are not Western or visibly Western, that have struggled with English as a second language and have faced the discrimination that has come along with it, something you will never understand.
This is actually very important. As a Korean-American growing up in LA, I have had to deal with racist remarks and bullies saying mean things like chink, ching chong, and all that crap since the age of five.
And even though I was born here and English is my native tongue, I have had to deal with people constantly judging and putting into question my credibility just because of the mere fact that I am Korean, whether I was born in America or not.
So, I’m sorry if I sound like I’m being over-sensitive or whatever. But things like this really get under my skin. Because, yes, you may think it’s cute or endearing or whatever. But to Himchan, it’s an embarrassing part of his past that he wishes to forget. Who are you to constantly bring it back up and make him relive those moments that he’d rather be rid of?
Making fun of someone else’s accent is no laughing matter, no matter how trivial it may seem to you. And although you may not have intended it to be taken that way, you are still indirectly demeaning my people and our inability to speak your language the proper way.
I can’t tell you what to do, I can’t tell you what to think, and I can’t tell you what to say. That is all entirely up to you, because we all have the freedom to decide and think for ourselves. But what I can do is request that you truly think about all this before you go around saying that “loof” is okay, it’s cute, whatever. Please think about how many people you are disrespecting, whether you know it or not, by brushing it off as just a joke.
That is all I have to say.