Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Racial Profiling In Korea

Last night, I was walking back from the bus to my apartment with my buddy Dan around 10PM or so to head back to my apartment. The bus drops me off the perfect place to jaywalk across the street and save myself the 5 minutes it would take to walk up to the crosswalk, wait for the Korean lights until they finally turn green. Korean lights take forever to change colors, and only one side of a 4 way stop is allowed to cross at one time, and each side gets about 1 - 1.5 minutes to cross the street. So if you see a light turn green from a hundreds away, you start running, or at least the Koreans and I do. At first we thought it was funny and called it the Korean shuffle. We all now shuffle on a daily basis.

This brings me back to last night. Dan and I jaywalk this street, no cars coming or anything, perfectly safe. Right infront of us there is another Korean jaywalking. This is something you don't see very often. I've been yelled at before by Korean pedestrians for jaywalking, so to see one doing it was very shocking. And as I get across the street, 2 Korean police offers run up to Dan, the Korean, and myself speaking in Korean and a bit of Konglish. So we stop, one of the cops takes Dan and I, the other takes the Korean kid who couldn't have been more than 17 years old. All he can say in English is "you jaywalk" and then asks "Do you speak Korean?". We immediately said no, he has just no idea what to do. Asks for our ID's, Dan shows his passport, I show my Massachusetts license thinking he might give me a ticket if he knows I'm an ARC holder, and he hands them back to us. The cop just says "no jaywalking" and gestured for us to keep on going. Meanwhile, the Korean kid is being written up for a ticket, while we got off for simply not being able to speak Korean. This would never, ever fly in America. Not that I'm not thrilled about the outcome, but that Korean kid must have been furious. Being an American over here certainly has its advantages at times.

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