Sam Okyere Speaks about His Racist Experience in Korea


Sam Okyere, a Ghanaian television personality who is actively making appearances in South Korean TV shows, speaks about his encounters with racist experiences in Korea in the latest episode of Talking Street.

JTBC’s “busking talk show,” Talking Street, invites singer Kim Yoon-ah, politician Lee Jae-myung, and Sam Okyere as the first three buskers of 2017. Talking Street is a show that invites guests to speak in public on the street.

“When I came to Korean in 2009 and started learning Korean, my favorite word was ‘woo-ri‘ (Korean word for we or us),” Okyere begins his busking. “But I questioned if people of color like me are included in the word woo-ri,” he continues to share his racist experience.

“When I tell people that I’m from Africa, people ask me questions like if I have a lion as a pet. Some people in Korea are that ignorant about Africa or the African American race.”

He also shares an upsetting experience in a public transportation. “I was trying to sit on an empty seat but some woman came to steal the seat, using the n-word and making racist comments like ‘go back to your country.'”

“What broke my heart even more was that people around us were just staring. That made me wonder if Koreans don’t help foreigners when they’re in trouble,” Okyere continues, expressing his hurt at the moment.

“There are some people who call me ‘Heuk-hyung‘ (Korean abbreviated slang for ‘black’ and ‘brother’). I wish people just call me Okyere Hyung, Okyere Brother, or just Okyere, no matter what color my skin is.


Original article by Sun Mi-kyung
Translated by Heewon Kim

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