I don't know about other Korean kids, but when I was growing up I watched a lot of Korean videos with my parents. I didn't understand most of it, but they usually fell into one of these categories:
- Modern drama - where the couple who tried so hard to be together, finally get together, only to have either the girl die from leukemia or the guy shot or run over by a car in the last 15 minutes of the 20 tape series.
- Historical drama - where everyone wears these crazy costumes and talk really, really, slow. Usually there's a lot of backstabbing and chest pounding. (Like literal chest pounding, the Queen will wail and pound on her chest because her son turns out to be a traitor or something.)
- Sing for the soldiers - I don't know why, but my parents liked to rent tapes of singers going to entertain soldiers (kind of like American USOs). Sometimes the singers went to small suburban towns and there's always someone who looks like my grandmother dancing and waving her arms around.
- Talk shows - Usually it had a LIVE! With Regis and Kathy/Kelly formula to it. Sometimes it had an entire panel of guest celebrities as the hosts. Sometimes they had interesting segments, like one show had celebrities go do blue collar work (like harvest seaweed) and then they have to donate their normal daily wage to charity. A lot of times they have people reunite with others in the past. My mom usually cries at those.
Ok so the reason I bring this up is because for some reason, last night I remembered watching one of these talk shows and the focus was on this one couple... and the only reason I can fathom why they were on the show is because the husband was white and he spoke Korean fluently.
Turns out the guy fell in love but the wife wanted to move back to Korea and he agreed. After about 10 years, he's fluent. I remember my parents were totally amazed and amused. The hosts of the show were amazed and amused. The audience was enthralled. Heck, I thought it was cool.
But WHY? Why is it so amazing that this guy learned to speak Korean? If we saw Regis interviewing some Asian girl because she spoke English well, don't you think the protests would be instantaneous? Were my parents (and me!) racist for our fascination? And if so, GAH! How did that happen and how can I change my views?
And if I'm not being racist, how is it different than some jackass saying something like, "He speaks very well for a black man."?
Or maybe I just think it's cool in the way I think it's hot that my roommate can speak Spanish.