In the past it was generally considered a taboo for a man and a woman to marry if they both have the same last name from the same ancestor.

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You can not blame children or their parents for lack of exposure to other cultures.

(I blame the Korean government for not embracing cultural awareness at a national level, but that’s another story.) However, this same ignorance can easily be transformed into racism without proper education, as we see happen so often in America.

Through my genuine passion to teach and my fun spirited disposition, parents warmed up to me as well.

Though my race became a focal point of my time in Korea, I utilized it as part of my teacher toolkit.

To be clear, I don’t categorize these instances as racism.

I categorized them as systemic cultural ignorance and lack of awareness.

And virtually all of my students refused to believe I was American and must be from somewhere in Africa because to them Americans were only blonde and blue-eyed.

Parents were frightened to speak to me simply because of what they had seen on TV shows and in movies.

And in a small town, every time I walked out of my apartment building I was stared at incessantly.