Monday, December 18, 2006

"Kim" isn't always Korean

By now you've probably heard about a family that was stranded in the snow in Oregon earlier this month. When James Kim, his wife, and their daughters went missing a few weeks ago, the story made international news, probably because Kim was well-known within the technology community; he was an editor for CNET and also worked for TechTV.

When I noticed that this story made news around the world, I couldn't help but wonder about what people thought about James Kim's ethnicity. I've never seen news reports that mentioned he was Korean-American, and that's a good thing, because mentioning race would be inappropriate here. However, when people outside of America heard about this, they probably assumed it was a White family who were lost (because most Americans are White). If they saw James Kim's picture, they probably assumed it was an Asian family who were lost.

Actually, it wasn't a White OR an Asian family that was was both! No, there weren't two families, it was just one. You're probably confused right now--unless you're aware of miscegenation. James Kim was Korean (ethnically) but his wife was White. That's her in the picture above with one of their children. My point is, I'm glad the media didn't say anything about ethnicity when covering this story, but it disturbs me a little that some people would assume this family is full-Asian just because they saw James Kim's picture, or assume this family is full-White just from seeing his wife's picture.



Anonymous said...


You're assuming. You assumed that people outside of asia would mis-view the inter-ethnic couple, and you assumed that they all be silly enough to make the wrong assumption that they were one ethnicity.

You're also getting annoyed at an assumption you were making. Does this make sense?

It was nice reading your posts. Interesting work, and I have some comments on the others as well but I sometimes wonder if all mixed people think this way, it may come across as exceedingly self-absorbed or obsessed about "race".

This term "race" is not even accepted during debate or discussion amongst groups because it relates to racial genocide especially during the Jewish genocide in WW2.


Cristobal said...

Hi Celtriya,

Did you say "outside of Asia"? But I didn't say anything about Asia in that post, I was talking about people outside of America. And I didn't say everybody outside of America thought that way, I said some people.

I don't think I assumed because it's a guarantee that someone, somewhere in the world, made the assumption that they were an all-Korean family or an all-White family just from seeing one parent. I know many people didn't think about the couple's ethnicities when they heard this story, but those who did think about it, probably weren't thinking about mixed people (of course, some of them could have been).

Not all mixed people think the same way I do, that's one reason I started this blog, I don't think I know anybody who has the same opinions as me.

Feel free to comment on anything else.

Anonymous said...


Thanks, just browsing. :) It's mad busy around here and I can't reply to much at the moment. I understand what you're saying. I'll hopefully get back to your journal soon.

It's still incredibly striking to me how some people have no care whatsoever about such things, and some love it so much. What I appreciate is that those who do care are (usually) more sensitive and aware of cultural or ethnic slurs.

Though.. Hopefully not overly sensitive. Take care, and a happy holidays to you!