Differences between racism and stereotypes

 I think people confuse racism with stereotype.



  1. prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.

“We don’t hire Asians because we need diversity in our company. We already have too many Asians.” is a racist policy. It’s discriminatory.

Meanwhile, a statement “All Asians play piano and are good at math” is not racist, it’s a stereotype. There’s no discrimination there. This is a racial stereotype about asian people, and stereotypes do come from truth, that’s how things become a stereotype in the first place.

The problem with stereotypes is that you are making a generalization about a broad group of people that might not apply to everyone. While that might be truth to a large portion of Asians it’s not true for all of them, of course. This is why stereotypes bother some people (although I personally do conform to a stereotype because that’s who I am).

So before we call someone racist, let’s be clear on what is racist and what is a stereotype.

Btw, the same thing applies for sexism and misogynist. These words get thrown around so much these days people forget what they mean.

“Misogynist” means you are a person who hates women. So something like “Playboys are misogynists because they sleep with a lot of women” is totally false. Playboys actually love women, they don’t hate them.

Sexism means you are discriminating someone based on sex. So “We don’t hire women because we think men are better at programming ” is a sexist policy.

Whereas, “women are better at taking care of children and cooking” is a gender stereotype, not sexist.


Why can’t men accept that they do not face sexism?

I think I’ll give a simple example of sexism that we see everyday that people might not be aware of.

These are female jeans. Nothing special right? Did you know that jeans were originally invented for cowboys and miners? i.e for men? They weren’t widely worn by women until relatively recently. Now they are commonplace. In fact, women weren’t wearing trousers/pants very often until fairly recently. We are more used to seeing this:

(it was more conservative back then) but my point is dresses and skirts are exclusively for women. They were designed for women and they are exclusively worn by women (drag queens and trans not excepting).

The thing is, if a guy tried to wear women’s clothing i.e a dress or skirt, he would be ridiculed. but girls wear men’s clothing all the time i.e blazers, jeans, pants etc.

If you go to any department store or any clothing store, you will realize almost 80% of the store is dedicated to women, and 20% is for men and/or kids. I’ve always found this to be quite sexist. (not saying that I want to wear a dress, I’m just pointing out)

Why do women have such a wide variety of clothes to wear? Why can’t men have the same? Women have almost so much more choices than guys its crazy. For me, when I go outside I am limited in choosing what to wear. For girls they could wear a dress, or they could wear pants. They could wear flats or they could wear heels.

It frustrates me that men have so little choice in what to wear. And society frowns upon men who wear more crazy outfits, but for women its “chic” and “stylish”. You see this sexism everyday in most cultures in the world actually, and no one complains about it.

Society does not look down on femininity as a weakness for women. It’s only a weakness if a guy is found to be feminine. Because society expects guys to be “masculine” whatever connotations that implies. Femininity is actually a positive trait for women and men often prefer feminine women to masculine women. How many guys prefer girls wear dresses/skirts compared to guys who wear pants/jeans? How many guys prefer slim women to muscular women? Women are only able to dress masculine and remain attractive so long so as they still have some feminine traits i.e long hair. If a woman tries to become masculine i.e cut their hair really short then its seen as a negative and she would be assumed to be a lesbian by some men. Feminine is a positive trait for women and a negative trait for men. Conversely, Masculine is a positive trait for men and a negative trait for women.


Does South Korea not have sexual discrimination laws?

It’s improving. The #MeToo movement has been gaining a lot of traction in Korea, a country that sorely needs it.

With regards to workplace laws though, I think Korea has a long ways to go to match up to the West. Here’s what I would change:

-Ban the use of photos in CVs/resumes, because this leads to discrimination based on appearance

-Ban asking personal questions like “do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend?” “Are you married or having babies soon?” etc

-Force companies to pay overtime. This will help decrease the number of hours employees are forced to work beyond the usual 40 per week. The 40 hours per week is already a law, but widely unenforced, but by forcing companies to pay workers more it will discourage it.

-Give companies incentives or make them pay fines for discriminating against women in things like promotion etc this will help pave the way for more women executives

-Ban ageism in the workplace. There is a strict hierarchy in Korea where the younger workers have to be subservient to the older workers. Make promotion based on merit rather than age and experience.

-Often times Koreans are forced to drink after work with their boss. I would propose a law to make this part of ‘work’ completely optional and make it illegal to fire someone if they refused to go to these drink events.

That’s what I would do if I was the new South Korean labor minister