TikToker Exposes Anti-Black Rhetoric, N-Word in Korean Textbook

A TikToker’s video has gone viral for showing pages from a Korean textbook with racist rhetoric. 

Austin, who is an English teacher in Korea, shared the video earlier this month, raking in more than 43,000 views. 

“This is my last straw,” he says in the video. 

“If I get deported, it’s for fighting whomever authored this book,” reads the caption. 

In the video, he walks viewers through a page in the textbook, where everything is in Korean except one sentence: “What’s up my [N-word]?”

He then narrates a part of the Korean text, which is an example of a “live dialogue” in English. 

“What’s up my…’friend’? Long time no see,” one part reads of the dialogue. 

“Just busy staying out of trouble,” the next part says.

“Last time we saw each other we were locked up,” he continues reading. 

The messaging—such as the reference to jail and “staying out of trouble” when paired with the N-word—has connotations that perpetuate negative stereotypes about Black people. 

“Who approved this for printing?” Austin says at the end of his reading. “I knew anti-Blackness was global but this—this is something else.”

People chimed in in the comments section. 

“They could’ve made a nice educational segment on AAVE but they turned it into a stereotypical mess,” wrote one user. 

Some tried to claim it was a lack of education on the author’s part. 

“It’s sadly a lack of ignorance on the author’s part. Rush Hour came out in 1998 and I’m sure the Korean subtitles for that movie are actually to blame,” said one user. 

But others weren’t having it. 

“That’s why that excuse of they don’t know or know better be bs to me,” wrote one. 

“And it’s funny ppl are gonna be in the comments like ‘ they don’t know any better’ like they have internet access like every one else,” wrote another user. 

The Daily Dot has reached out to Austin for comment.

Today’s top stories

*First Published: Sep 29, 2021, 8:03 pm CDT

Samira Sadeque

Samira Sadeque is a New York-based journalist reporting on immigration, sexual violence, and mental health, and will sometimes write about memes and dinosaurs too. Her work also appears in Reuters, NPR, and NBC among other publications. She graduated from Columbia Journalism School, and her work has been nominated for SAJA awards. Follow: @Samideque

Samira Sadeque


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here