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No More Discrimination in Korea Society
By Jo Sae-hae  |  newyear90@hanyang.ac.kr
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[318호] 승인 2013.06.03  
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  “Isn’t it sad when a male is not sexually attracted to a female?” This statement was made by a Hanyangian during a discussion on the topic of the “Pros and Cons Regarding Homosexuality” in a Korean Speaking and Writing Class during the 2011 winter session at Hanyang University. The student opined that heterosexual love is right and homosexual love is wrong.
  Surely, homosexuality is much less prevalent than heterosexuality. However, being in the minority should not be the basis upon which something or someone is deemed wrong.   In fact, it is often due to this precise notion of “less mainstream is wrong” that minorities in society are targeted for mockery and even discrimination. Issues of discrimination in Korean society are growing problems that require proper consideration for resolution. Comprehensive measures are also needed for prevention.
  It is very easy to fail to realize or forget that anyone can be a victim of discrimination. Usually in Korea when news about discrimination arises they focus on minorities like foreigners, homosexuals, and/or the handicapped. There are even some who have been known to publically advocate the rights of minorities while inadvertently confessing their  subconscious belief that discrimination primarily happens to the limited groups in society and not citizens overall.
  Discrimination however, can involve anyone in society. When a set standard for an agenda is decided upon and everything is categorized into either normal or abnormal according to that  norm, there always exists groups who are segregated and even ridiculed by others; when a standard of beauty is set, those who do not fit that description are considered unattractive; if gaining high-education is considered  right, those who have achieved only a low level  are considered inferior; when wealth is perceived as good, those who are poor are viewed as bad.
  When a person realizes that he/she also can be excluded within a community, that individual can begin to understand the harm in segregating “others” from “us”. This is the first step in comprehending how harmful discriminating against someone for being different can be. If more of people in society could be aware of such matters on a personal level, they could learn and work towards respecting one another as they are. 
  To create a society where discrimination does not exist, people in Korea need to take the necessary steps and make fundamental changes. Enlightening others about the negative perceptions of minorities is an important element needed to reach this goal, but admittedly it is a highly challenging task.   Nonetheless, proper institutional strategies from the government should be implemented as the first step because institutionalization can promote a “no discrimination” mentality for all Koreans to eventually value and follow.
  In fact, the Korean government had already attempted to push forward legislation against discrimination several times in the past. In 2007 and 2010 respectively, The Prohibition on Discrimination Law, which stipulated that no one in Korea should be discriminated against based on sex, race, and age, was introduced. However, it was soon blocked by a series of harsh protests from groups such as Christian conservatives.
  The Korean government ultimately gave in to opposition forces and since then, The Prohibition on Discrimination Law has been continuously shelved. Implementation of The Prohibition on Discrimination Law will not bring about equality in society right away of course, but the law would be a basic measure needed to reduce discrimination in Korea. The government should not delay approval of the bill and instead resolutely coordinate with interested groups involved to reach an agreeable consensus.

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