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How S. Korea sees outsiders

March 01, 2009

Re "Foreigners hope to teach S. Korea dangers of bias," Feb. 24

The Times fails to provide sufficient perspective on South Korea, which is historically one of the most ethnically homogeneous nations in the world.

Only recently have large numbers of foreigners arrived on the Korean peninsula. Americans have had more than 200 years to adjust to large waves of newcomers, and even here, with each new influx has come discrimination.

Clearly any nation has a right to get information about newcomers who plan to stay and work for a period. And with economic uncertainty, growing unemployment and increased tension between the Koreas, it is understandable that some Koreans view some foreigners "as unwelcome strangers."

It will take time for the Korean people to become more tolerant of diversity and to build institutions to treat people as equal citizens.

Mary Connor

San Marino

The writer is the president of the Korea Academy for Educators.

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