It wasn't so long ago that I said that while Korea's economy might finally have caught up with that of the Western world, its societal attitudes towards foreigners and those of less than "pure" blood seemed stuck emulating 1930s Germany; what I didn't know at the time was just how accurate the analogy I made was: the Korean obsession with "pure bloodlines" [sic] is in fact a direct product of Nazi ideology.
Korean society is in drastic need of change if the country's newfound prominence in the world's eye isn't to acquire a deeply unflattering cast; Koreans must come to understand that it's not just their cars, their DVDs and their TV dramas which get to register on the consciousness of foreigners, but also the fact that Korea is one of the few countries in the world in which Nazi-derived xenophobia and racism remain mainstream, respectable attitudes, and as I've said before, the very reason why so few foreigners seem inclined to get behind Korean claims about Dokdo, Yasukuni and the like isn't because of a disease called "Japanophilia", but because all those foreigners understand that what motivates the absurd Korean tantrums is the hurt pride of a people which wishes to see itself as superior to all others, and therefore considers its own claims and sufferings as uniquely tragic and in need of addressing. Truth be told, Koreans have suffered fewer invasions than most other long-established peoples, and their colonial experience was far milder than visited upon the majority of nations which have suffered conquest, yet to hear them whine you'd think they'd experienced the slave trade and the Holocaust combined in the space of 40 years.
On a related note, I'd love to say that I think attitudes in Korea are changing amongst the young, but this comment on the Marmot's Hole illustrates why I don't believe any such thing:
I was speaking to a Korean-Korean friend of mine who was amazed that Diana Kim experienced racism and prejudice in this, the 21st century. In the same same breath, she said she probably wouldn’t date a black guy but would love to date a white one.Those government-issued textbooks served their purpose well: the Great Racial Chain of Being is still alive and thriving in the minds of young Koreans. It'll take a lot more than initiatives like this one to do away with decades of indoctrination in such thinking.
PS: More Dokdo foolishness. See, this is what I'm talking about - it takes real narcissism not to be aware of how such harebrained behavior plays out in foreign eyes, to the extent it draws any attention whatsoever. Why on Earth should Americans give a damn about a bunch of uninhabitable rocks?