Crazy, Stupid, Korean Love: On David Choe, Han, and ‘Unmarriageable’ Koreans

Let us hope neither 1 / 2 of this Asian couple is Korean. Just joking, y’all.

The April 22 episode of Anthony Bourdain’s travel that is new Parts Unknown switched its digital cameras on L.A.’s Koreatown and included a call with subversive contemporary musician David Choe. Bourdain asked Choe to make clear a definite nugget of advice he provides to those attempting to find success in life: “Whatever you are doing, don’t date a Korean woman.”

Choe’s response somehow managed to fuse the reductionist belief from both edges associated with hetero Asian American interracial dating debate that still manages to set the web ablaze (even yet in try-hard, XO Jane fashion):

“Well, I’m racist. For me personally, I’ve given it a go. After which I land in a situation where personally i think like I’m dating my mother. … Korean women are overbearing; jealous; unreasonable; like, unrealistic about life; demanding. … But also the guys too. I would never ever suggest dating a Korean man. if you’re a lady,”

Among this mass of unsuitable Koreans (the 2010 documentary of his life and career, Dirty Hands, would also support this) which makes me think his comments signify more than just a dude throwing shade at Korean chicks though he scrutinizes Korean women through a generalized lens, Choe openly admits his racial insensitivity and includes himself.

A lot of us understand, or are possibly inured to, the trope associated with the “crazy” Korean significant other, a simplistic dichotomy of hard-drinking, abusive guys and domineering, psychotic ladies. Both Korean and Asian America generally seems to embrace — or at the very least, tacitly corroborate — this stereotype. It’s strangely be an integral part of our collective performance that is cultural like joking about who’s the most affordable or who takes the essential pictures of these meals . but, you understand, having a profound feeling of psychological brokenness and harm. Let us place it in this way: I would personally rather keep the cultural stereotype of composing way too many Yelp reviews than of being completely unhinged. I do not care exactly just exactly how beloved My Sassy Girl is.

We asked a couple of Korean Us citizens to elaborate on their “unmarriageable” status as professed by Choe. Apart from a universal feeling of self-deprecation and wryness at an all too familiar subject, some reactions specifically alluded towards the characters and relationships of the parents’ generation:

“It seems great because now i could inform my mother that it is maybe perhaps perhaps not my fault most likely! It is simply because I Am Korean United States. Therefore, it is your fault, mother. Your fault.” –C.K.

“My Korean daddy refused to marry my mother that is korean abandoned her, expecting and alone. I happened to be delivered far from the motherland, to abroad be raised strangers. But yeah, certain. That seems great. It is not like i have invested my life that is entire trying show i am unmarriageable and unloveable.” –K.D.

“If i am any such thing like my mom, we entirely realize why a guy would think twice to marry me personally.” –V.L.

One took an even more inward approach:

“Nobody should marry Koreans because we are fucking crazy. All jokes apart, i believe Koreans — and non-Koreans — try to look for a justification about what exactly is therefore problematic we use labels like ‘stalker,’ ‘crazy,’ ‘princess,’ ‘possessive,’ and stuff like that. about ourselves that” –E.H.

And lastly, one recognized her own intensity that is korean

“I’m certain i am hard to cope with, We have a case that is huge of, but my Japanese/American husband has set up beside me for 11 years.” –J.K.

And here it is: han. a lingering sense of sadness, revenge, and resiliency that endures through generations in Korea and abroad. Choe talks about han, too, describing it to Tony Bourdain let me tell you of its presence. “The han could be the explanation, like, our company is whom our company is,” Choe says. “But it is additionally exactly the same reason we won’t marry a Korean girl.” The brashness of their early in the day scene is changed with pensiveness, and I also started to genuinely believe that this discussion was not plenty about that is desirable as a partner but why Choe and his fellow Korean Americans feel compelled to broadcast these emotions at our very own expense. I happened to be just below the assumption that bad jokes die difficult; but could we really be clinging to the image in addition to trappings that are emotional can come along with it — because of han?

We’ve been aware of han in the context regarding the unit associated with peninsula that is korean the Korean diaspora, in addition to Los Angeles riots, but maybe not plenty as a chatting point with regards to this legacy as heinous life partners. It isn’t more or less casting aspersions from the women and men we had been raised with or who we had been included with/actively prevented as grownups. There’s a thing that appears to lie just underneath the area — one thing we dislike that we just can’t shake — that makes us wear this stereotype like a badge, whether we exhibit these hard ass traits or not about ourselves, memories of relationships we’ve seen or been in.

You will find clearly well-adjusted, pleased, combined up Koreans all over the world — some people might actually be those Koreans (!) — yet it appears as though more good ol’ fashioned enjoyable to collectively perpetuate this feeling of craziness also ourselves together under the same unflattering light if it means lumping. Could it be simply section of our prized, dark social humor? Partially. However it are often a manifestation of this han-induced suffering, stoked by the racism, gender inequality, economic fight, and individual and family members strife that often shape the immigrant and 2nd generation experience. Whether we are romantically enthusiastic about other Koreans or perhaps not, this perception of each and every other as unfit for love, nonetheless hyperbolic or tongue-in-cheek, can not come to be beneficial to any one of us. To echo personal reaction to hearing other people’ “crazy ex that is korean anecdotes: “we are maybe not that bad.”

That will seem like i am setting the club precariously low, but i prefer that it is a declaration that signals a wish to have growth. We can’t forget that nestled next to the pain sensation and interior battle that comprise han can be good elements, like perseverence and hope. exactly exactly What would we be fighting for or why would we suffer therefore if love — for yourself, for other individuals, for nation — were not at play? While Choe may espouse I gathered from my peers represent a more reflective and determined brand of these oh-so Korean feelings that he and the rest of Korean America are romantically doomed, the responses. J.K. continued to explain further:

“What really makes a married relationship gorgeous and worth every penny comes years beyond the marriage time, as soon as the two different people figure out how to be brothers-in-arms, working together to help keep their own families and their communities delighted and healthier. That is when being Korean is available in handy, really. We understand just how to fight when it comes to success of this family members. We have been familiar with putting up with for the larger good. And somehow, we’ve enjoyable doing it.”

Yes, our han is created through the relationships that created us and yes, we project it onto other people whenever we create relationships of our own. However with our tenacity, we could channel it into one thing caring, supportive, and not a cloud of terror combined with Marlboro Red exhaust. a goal that is lofty? Possibly. But that is exactly just just what keeps us rolling.