Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Blood Purity

Link: Article

I found this article in the Korean Times about “blood purity.” It was the title of the article that caught me and I had to read what it said. The UN has advised Korea not to use the term.

The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD), a UN-affiliated organization said in a report that ``the emphasis placed on the ethnic homogeneity of Korea may represent an obstacle to the promotion of understanding tolerance and friendship among the different ethnic and national groups living on its territory.'' It also asked the government to promote banning the usage of term ``pure blood'' and ``mixed-blood.''

The concept has always confused me anyway. Growing up as an adopted child, blood relations were not something that we talked about with any regularity in my family. No one in my family (extended family included) used phrases like “blood is thicker than water” because in our family it was pretty meaningless. Because that was the attitude of my family, I picked up a “why do they care” attitude and let it go there.

The concept of blood, purity and relations is not a new one to human culture. In fact, we’ve seen it played and replayed in most cultures. Even though I am less enthralled with the idea that blood matters, I still fall into the same pitfalls on occasion. After we adopted my son, my husband and I were talking about what we would do if the agency called to tell us that our son had a biological sibling. I announced that I would move heaven and earth to adopt that child. My husband (though not opposed to the concept) asked me why it would matter, if blood doesn’t matter…I detest when he makes me think.

I do think that it’s a little unrealistic to think that a country like Korea (steeped in tradition) can just change something like this over night. I suspect that the term “blood purity” will be difficult to shed in Korea. You can look at the United States as an example of how long something has to be a part of the culture before it becomes common practice – like Civil Rights. Even now we don’t have that quite right and the United States is far from perfect.

``What is blood purity? Is there such as thing as pure blood? If so, is mixed blood not pure but dirty?'' Kim Susan, a researcher of the National Human Rights Commission of the Republic of Korea (NHRC), said. To the question of whether ``mixed blood'' is just a term referring to people who are born from parents with different nationalities, she asked, ``If we just take them as `human,' we will never have to label them in such a way,'' she said.

Truthfully, the whole date reminded me of the Harry Potter books and the use of the term “mudbloods” to describe children of non-wizards. Still, it was an interesting article and one that I hope you find interesting too.

No comments: