Black in Korea: STARES, Pictures & Racism… My Experience

January 5, 2020 posted by

Hi Travelers, it’s Nathalie here again, and
today, I’m going to talk about a very wanted, or a very popular topic here on YouTube, which
is “Being Black in Korea”. so..I think that the most wanted or the most feared thing about
being a (black) woman or (black) man of color in a different, a homogenous society like
Korea is being singled out or being standing out among the crowd…basically being stared
at. Now I’m not going to say that you do not get looked at here in Korea, because you do,
and especially when you come from a country where you blend in and you don’t really stick
out among the crowd to a country where you are most likely the only person of color (black),
in ten square miles, it can be un-nerving and really annoying. You’ll find people looking
at you, staring at you on more than enough occasions and, you know at first, when I first
came here, it was really annoying. If you watch… been watching my videos from the
start, you know that Ive talked about it briefly and I’m just like ugh…if they would stop.
blah, blah, blah…but you know…being here in Korea for what…seven months – going on
seven months now…you know.. it honestly becomes part of life, and you get use to it.
It’s like… I actually walk around with my glasses all the time, my sunglasses, and I
put them on like I’m a big celebrity or you know… I just make sure I look good from
every angle. Now, one thing I do have to say is that the majority of stares I get come
from Ahjummas, Ahjussi’s and maybe even like middle-age women. I don’t get too many stares
from younger middle school – high school age, or young adults. Ahem… of course
you get looks from little kids because they are like WOW! But the school-age students,
I think that they get a lot of diversity within their classroom. Where I feel like schools
are trying to add some kind of diversity or they have an english teacher from another
country. They are becoming very open to the world of pop culture and seeing faces of different
colors. I’m not saying that…you know.. they are aspiring to have darker glowing tan skin…because
that is definitely not the thing. They are becoming a lot more kind of neutralized about
seeing people of different skin tones around. The kind of stares that always get me are
the ones that you are literally looking at that person and they just sit there and literally
look you up and down…like up and down, and you are just..ok….what is going on…what
is wrong with my body? But…then you have to think about it again, they’ve probably
never seen you, they’ve probably never seen a body type like ours…curvaceous kind of
thing..they haven’t seen that so its just like..hum.. what is that? Honestly… I don’t
take it to heart. I think at first when I first came here I was like ugh…it too much
but now it’s just like…whatever! Now I do want to point out that there is definitely
a difference between staring and and looking. I don’t feel Koreans stare as much as you
may think. Like when I mean sitting there and looking. I know there has been many people
who have had that experience when people are just staring consistently at you, but in my
opinion I have seen people that… you know that do stare occasionally, but just happen
to look and if you kind of get like have eye contact with them they are just like…ok.
However, on the other hand, I’m going to tell you this experience that I had when I was
down in Seoul. I was visiting palace, if you don’t know that is the Joseson Dynasty palace,
the main palace in Seoul…and I was just happen to walking around and I saw all these
tour groups of asian people, just asian people tour groups, and I learned that they were
Chinese tourists. These groups now…these groups, the Chinese tourists, they stared
at me more than any other person I have ever come in contact with in Korea. The Chinese
tourists was like I was the attraction at the palace. So there were some girls dressed
up in hanboks at the palace, and of course you guys stand out and everyone wants to take
a picture with you guys. There was a long line of Chinese tourists waiting in line to
take a picture with these girls. Now these girls were trying to get away because they
had been standing there for a while. I was like…I kind of mimed to them like…after
me I’ll let you guys go kind of thing, and they are like ok, ok. I go in…I take my
picture with my selfie stick, and then do you want to know what happened?… I become
the attraction! So now the Chinese tourists who where standing in line waiting for these
girls in hanboks, now change their minds and decided to stand in line waiting for me to
take a picture of me!…yes!…like seriously!, I was like…awkward! That was not suppose
to be the plan, but it happened. Anything dealing with pictures, being stared at, it’s
been the Chinese tourist that has been the more ferocious when it comes to that. Now
another question I know people ask is have I experience any kind of racism or any kind
of discrimination while I’m here because my skin color?…I have not experienced anything!
Now it could be a mixed because I’m #1. antisocial (I don’t really go any place), I really don’t
do much…ahem…. I haven’t really experienced anything that has really turned my experience
here sour. I’m not saying that there is not going to be an experience that may happen,
but in my opinion, I in my experience, I have not experienced anything like that. and I’m
very fortunate, because I’m almost a year here…so it’s like..I’m pretty comfortable
where I am, and where I go, and I feel comfortable…you know… in my skin. I see that a lot of people
get really offended when people ask where they are from or ask if they are from Africa…
I think it’s because Africa has this negative connotation (portrayed by media) that all
black people come from Africa, Africa is poor, (portrayed by media) this image of Africa
and I think people have to understand that in Korea, the concept between nationality
and ethnicity is very different compared to our perspective of nationality and ethnicity
in these english speaking countries like America, UK, Australia…things like that, mainly because
in Korea if you look a certain way you are considered Korean. That is you ethnicity,
that is your nationality. However, when I try to explain this concept to my students,
they are surprised that people from any race from any country can become American. American
is not an ethnicity, American is a nationality, and therefore…any body can become an American…
where as no matter how long I stayed in Korea, I’d learn Korean perfectly, I’m here for 60
plus years, I would never be considered Korean, I would always be considered a foreigner.
I think that kind of misconception come into play when people are assuming you come from
Africa because they associate African skin color with that nationality. So again, I understand
it kind of confusion again like black people cannot be from America, it’s just that that
ideal of nationality vs. ethnicity is no really apparent in their country, is not a huge thing,
and of course this country is still homogenous…so. I think give people a break when they assume
you are from Africa because they just assume that everybody who is darker skin (blacks)
is from Africa. I get that a lot… I had somebody come up to me tell me that they were
learning Swahili, and I’m like…that good for you..I mean, it does not apply to my.
But overall, in Korea, I have experienced just this overwhelming kind of love and warmth
with the people that I have met. I haven’t really experienced any negativity. I’ve just…
any where I go, people are just excited when I walk into their store, they are like…”Oh
it’s a foreigner”, you know, they show me their love, especially if I am a repeat customer…they
are like WOW…she came here again…let me give her some more stuff, you know. Ahem,
but that is just what I have experience during my time here, and I really enjoy it to the
point that I am considering…considering staying another year…we’ll see how that
goes… but yes… I hope that this kind of open your eyes on my experience of being a
woman of color (black woman) here in Korea. Well thank you guys for watching… Bye!


100 Replies to “Black in Korea: STARES, Pictures & Racism… My Experience”

  1. Thi Quỳnh Chi Nguyen says:

    Im here to admire your skin 😂

  2. Sabah Qureshi says:

    I really like your explanation about nationality and ethnicity. I always knew that Koreans had thought that way but I didn't know of a good way to explain it! Many assume ethnicity and nationality go hand and hand but they aren't saying it with bad intentions!

  3. Yashaar Chazaaq Yasharahla says:

    Maybe, they're looking at you, because they're amazed and see an Aura around you.

  4. Michelle Angelica says:

    Have you met Meghan Bowen?

  5. SFC.Michael Fox Williams says:

    There is this Brother that lives in ,I think Seoul .And His name is Joseph Busto,have you heard of Him,being you live there? He has been singing on Korean Tv,which they have many of His video on YouTube.I was in Korea years ago,I was in the Army over there,and I loved it.I may come back over one day,just to see how it is as a civilian. Love your channel!

  6. Peace Dream says:

    Then go live in Africa. It is the same everywhere : people are racist and they look down on dark-skinned people.

  7. OceanBlue says:

    Why do black people always accuse everyone else of being racists but never look at themselves?… Ever think that it’s you and not everyone else?

  8. spidey sis says:

    she’s so cute and wholesome

  9. Big Eyed Rascal says:


  10. Robert L says:

    Look in the mirror and you will understand that its your beauty that causes these stares.

  11. 박승현 says:

    Hearing your experience is more like your annoyed of Korean people being curious of your race is not being racist is being annoying two different things stop calling people racist just cause your black Koreans call every white guy American even though most of them are from Europe so no big deal Japan and the middle-East are 10 times more xenophobic than Korea

  12. John Hynson says:

    Everywhere you go in the world there is stereotyping. I have since in Asian and in Africa. Because there is no identity in American culture . We all have a ethnic background, but do we care to know. Have you hard of a Kenyan American or Rwandan American all Black people concern themselves African American it is to broaden . They need to narrow it down there background where they family come from . So They can be put as where there lineage comes from . Africa is a big continent different cultures and languages. I wish more Black American tried to find there roots. Not all African are the same. Not all Black look the same. They need to put it out there . I have been to many countries in the world no two people are the same. Black and African black have been shown in the media badly. But on the other hand why do Black people let the own people degrade themselves in movies. Why aren't there good and education blacks shown more in movies. Keydo Nigerian means How are you? People stare because you are other ethnic groups are a small majority. I got stared at in African not fitting in. They know you are a outsider because you don'y blend in as we do in America. We need to blend in more in that culture so they don't think we a different.

  13. John Hynson says:

    people say what will happen if we take out labeling people. That will never happen human beings must label things and people. Like Scientist say we come from Animals. That is labeling how can we be compare to Animals they are the lowers species in the world. They can't think each animals speak in there own language. We to speak in different languages. The differences is our intelligence give us the ability to learn more that animal. We can learn to speak different language animals can't. A cow can't speak bird, dog language. We are not Animals we are unique species of it own. Once we stop labeling ourselves as coming from Animals. Then we can change our way of labeling each other as a intelligent Species that have free will. People can't accept change that why people stare they are curious. So the next time someone mistakes you as a different culture. And you are black American you should be very honored to be labeled a African, They have along history and culture you should be proud that people consider you as a great race. American history is over 500 yrs old. African history go back thousands yrs. Which do you prefer to be recognize as. No shame to a Black American being called Africa. But it is a shame for African being called American. Because there history is long and rich not 500 yrs old history of slavery.

  14. Rachel Davison says:

    Love your makeup so much in this video :))))))))) so perfect. and your skin! whats your skincare routine?

  15. Elisa Mondragon says:

    America is not a country

  16. Alessio Romagnoli says:

    What confuses me is when you say you're a 'woc' in Korea, or talk about being a 'poc' in Korea. You do realize Koreans are poc too? Maybe it's just awkward phrasing, but it sounds weird. This aside, I will echo the sentiments that you are gorgeous, and I'm glad you seem to be taking everything in stride.

  17. Icee 9 says:

    Vietnam have some mixed blacked and mixed white ppl from the war….in general Asian countries prefer lighter skin people (not about racism…more about class). This include other features are looked at closely with everyone…not just black/white.

    Asian prefer white milky skin…some like tan…but nice smooth healthy and lighter looking skin. It shows that the person is classy and well kept. I am Viet with lighter skin when I was younger, but got darker for being at the beach so much (mom is very milky white…dad is darker Asian Viets). If you look at all the media…most of them people go to surgeries to get white skin, higher nose, cheeks…etc….ie Michael Jackson….also other races/countries/ppl doing similar things in the past to be received better.

    I grew up with all kinds of very black black skinned friends..and never once had any racism thoughts toward them. And I think it's similar with most Asian….some are just very negative ppl of course just like anywhere. I just see black, white…etc as people. The way you talk, act, behave is how most Asian ppl judge you. You'll also have to be super nice and respectful. That's how you gain respect with Asian ppl. You don't want to have an attitude or be obnoxious.

    Sorry for the rambling…just want to share 🙂

  18. Impeach Trump 2020 says:

    Ouu la la, we we, very pretty lol 😍

  19. Impeach Trump 2020 says:

    They probably stare because ure so gorgeous… I mean who wouldn't. U probably look like a goddess to them.

  20. placeboing says:

    LOL at suddenly becoming the attraction to the Chinese tourists 😂
    Good video

  21. Tina says:

    You are probably getting stares because you are very pretty. Just go with it and when they stare smile at them and stare back.

  22. Cee Lewis says:

    My wife and I want to go to Korea because she is half Korean and speaks the language. We want out kid to speak and experience the culture for a year or so. I think it'll help because she said Korean and has family there.

  23. Benita Mussolini says:

    im anti social too

  24. zadose says:

    If you're a proffessonal victim or an easily offended liberal… don't go to south Korea, they're very conservative, mostly. If you try to rant about being offended they'll laugh at you behind your back.

  25. Beckinsale says:

    Is there a way we can chat about your experience teaching in SK? I'm a woman of color seriously thinking about doing it!

  26. Riya Jahan says:

    u r so gorgeous..!!😍😍😍 in my institution there are lots of Chinese who come to study..and also many black..nobody stare at them…!!BT how such developed country can do this annoying things😠

  27. lucy says:

    Most African Americans get offended frombeing asked whether they are from Africa. Asian and Latin people are proud of their origin.

  28. RealRuStreet says:

    You resemble Lauren London in some ways

  29. Osea_Yo moi says:

    You are gorgeous 😍
    I admire you

  30. Aspen Edwards says:

    This really gave me insight about Korea because I am going there in two years & plan on moving there afterwards.

  31. Tina Diggs says:

    You are very beautiful! They don't realize that Blacks come in many different shades and colors.

  32. R x says:

    You’re so gorgeous mygod💖💖

  33. Harley Davidson says:

    Man come on.. people are not staring at you cause they’re racist. They just lookin at u cause they not used to seing people of color. They’re just curious. Wouldn’t you behave the same way if you saw a person with purple skin ? YES you would. Cause you’d be surprised. When you see something ORIGINAL –which you are, as there are very little black people in Korea–something that stands out, of course you’re gonna watch.
    The first time my great grandmother saw a black person she was AFRAID. But t doesn’t mean she was racist. She simply had never seen one before. That’s it. Deal with it.

  34. Ari Wanders says:

    I have had people stare, take pictures (ya'll we know you are not taking a selfie and your camera click is on!) , or even yell foreigner. I mostly just ignore it but every once in a while it is just too much and gets under your skin. Today on my walk home someone passed me and then turned back to look at me three times haha. I have noticed the more rural the area is the more attention. People in Seoul have been exposed to more diversity. Busan is ok in the center but the farther out of the city center the more stares.
    Some of my friends have experienced some racism here. I think most of it is people in Korea are just so used to the homogenous society and they are curious. Sometimes foreigners are not treated well (often because they don't know what to do with you) but often they are doted on. It depends on the encounter 🙂 @ariwanders

  35. Mikaela Lohikoski says:

    I just wanna say, tho I'm not even korean that because I'm 'white' and if I look a black person everyone will think that I'm racist, let me tell you the reason I'm looking is because they're so gorgeus.

  36. insta kittylover says:

    Im scared to go to korea.

  37. Jaqueline Alfama says:

    l love Korea💙😍

  38. hoho hihi says:

    you are beautiful wooooow 😀

  39. Min Han Yeon says:

    I'd like to ask this since I would like to move to Korea in a not so near yet not so far future. How expensive is the lifestyle over there? If someone could answer that I'd be so thankful. Also, is it easy to get a job over there if you are bilingual? (I can speak Spanish and English and I am halfway through my Japanese, but I wouldn't count on it).

  40. Banananamandine says:

    You look gorgeous

  41. art에반 says:

    Well what are u even doing in korea
    Unless your company u work at sent you or a holiday then people are just gonna give u weird looks cause u have no other reason to be there

  42. Liyema supernova says:

    I hate the fact people have a certain image of Africa even though the continent of Africa has countries and is not just one big place, and yes in some countries they are struggling but people need to understand that its mostly a great place of different cultures and more religions of sorts and I'm proud to say I'm a black South African and know three languages and don't appreciate how my country is looked down upon just because of our government and our dark past

  43. 미국소킹 says:

    im korean and i find you very gorgeous

  44. arielartista says:

    They probably thought you were Beyoncé or something lol I don’t think they meant any harm, you’re just pretty

  45. Cordaro Castro says:

    I’m amber , and I’m going to korea this month .. and I’m so nervous

  46. Jokoya says:

    What’s the korean words she was saying

  47. Prema Q says:


    I experienced the stares and wanting to take a picture with me in Hawaii.

    I was waiting for a friend who had just arrived from the mainland USA.

    I was waiting outside the hotel, enjoying the ocean breeze wearing a long shoulderless dress like Hawaiian females are known to wear (but mines was an African print), when a long line of Japanese tourists sighted me. They all were carrying the same turquoise-blue shopping bags.

    As they single-file marched their way down to me it was as if they had discovered a new species. The leader of the tour said: "You Hawaii!" and asked if she could take my picture and then, one-by-one, each one methodically bowed to me and took a picture with me as if I was a prize catch.

    As the last tourist got their pic, they all bowed in unison and filed away with happy grins.

  48. VGN Alz says:

    So I’m from Saudi Arabia and when I was there for the holidays I had people look at me up and down just like you said but nothing harmful! In fact I remember like I’ve had uni students stop me to talk and hang out because apparently I look “outstanding” so it’s cool😂

  49. Just a Person says:

    You look so pretty Nat 😍.I respect you a lot 💜💜And you are so awesome

  50. Sarah Hell says:

    I wish i had black friend they are most honest ppl on the earth im white but I don’t care about this kinda things

  51. noobi rachel says:

    I live in Africa and its not poor the things that are here are helka expensive

  52. M’dragon Riches says:

    I do so want to be your friend and maybe a pen pal. You are honest, funny and entertaining; big plus informative too. I am going to Soeul in Oct 2019 and spend 10-14 days there, now I know what to be aware of. I will take your advise and be my fabulous self! Thank you.

  53. ☼YouBetterWorkItYooooooo☼ says:

    You are so beautiful !!

  54. Roy Mayhew says:


  55. Happiness 효진 ღ says:


  56. j Smi says:

    As a black man I laugh at this bottom feeder, because I bet she don’t go over here with her bs that she learned from her white feminist American friend. Will travel thousands of miles around the world to obtain approval from other races that don’t like you. Typical black females I tell you!

  57. Daughter of Namjin says:

    I live in Japan and I get same stare lol

  58. strike sisters says:


  59. Lya. says:

    You do look good from every angle 💜💜💜.

  60. Tesla Was the shit says:

    Omffgrirhsbqjbd she is so pretty I usually look at the comments more while watching a vid but I glanced at her face and I couldn’t take my eyes off 😍

  61. Asma Linsey says:

    I don't know why, but it's so satisfying when she says Korea. Maybe it's just me?

  62. Priti Khergamkar says:

    You look beautiful in this hair style 😇👌👌👌

  63. Kooki 4_Me says:

    Ik I'm late but this dimple😭❤🔥


    Damn you look amazing !! And everything about you is just beautiful letting you know we all can experience racism things in any country ^^, not only for black peoples also Arabs and other races . Better way to avoid it is to be deaf and dumb lol 😂 😂 and enjoy life as queen in her own world girl !!!!

  65. drew erving says:

    According to blacks the entire world is racist…except for them of course. By the way…it's their country…if you don't like it then leave!

  66. Sam yoongi says:

    I live in korea,soeul,gangnam it happens to me also

  67. Sariah Adil abb says:

    your so pretty and you remind me of a monster high character, clawdeen wolf

  68. мσσηѕтαя says:

    This is why I'm not going there. Why should I? To be discriminated? Looked down upon?

  69. Gaby Joe says:

    Black people getting offended when asked if they’re from Africa is duuummmbb. All black skin is from Africa, period. Migrations occurred but genetically you’re African. Correcting people about your ethnicity is understandable but getting offended is dumb.

  70. Kim Dim says:

    Do you live in Korea till now?

  71. emelia kyei says:

    I actually don't understand why Asians especially Koreans sees blacks as we are from a different world or we are aliens
    The number of Asians here in Ghana which of course Koreans are among is like……
    But we see to be a normal human being
    I'm living in Accra (capital of Ghana)Tesano estate and there is a Korean here in Ghana who once told me to workout and slim my but and hips cos its too much for a teenager like me
    Imagine oooo
    Telling me this in MY country how much more being in your country

    Also There is this Ghanaian in Korea (SAM OKYERE)… he shared his experience as black in Korea and I was like WTF
    I think Ghanaians we are seriously becoming toooooooo hospitable
    But when we get to their country we are like aliens….

  72. Rosalyn Martin says:

    You are absolutely beautiful. Thanks for sharing your experience. I sure have been wondering about living in Korea while black. Kdrama's have us all ready to move to Korea and fall in love. Your videos help calm the crazy. Lol.

  73. N4FZ Nebula says:

    I don't think the plastic surgery capital in the world should be calling foreigners ugly


    Have been in China for 8 years now hahahaha that’s true

  75. U. M. says:

    Respect to the Koreans, but they need to get with the program.The world exists of different races ok and we need to embrace Each other!!!😁Black is beautiful!!

  76. Aya Ftais says:

    You’re so beautiful ❤️

  77. Kim tae Sam says:

    You look GORGEOUS 😭❤️🔥

  78. Jung kookie says:

    My experience with Asia is ehhhhhhh. I’m black and I like EXO, I was wearing privé by BBH. Well this Asian girl whispered to her friend while looking at me, “Ugh, I can’t believe SHE has that”. They started talking about how I was black and wearing privé…

  79. Mirasol Lau says:

    Look good in your straight hair and make up so fit in you.

  80. Minseok Lee says:

    Nat!!!!!!! My name is Min, Korean boy trying hard to be non typical korean one. I am gonna become a fan of you. I am very impressed by your insight and observation. I can't agree with you more… wanna believe that our society is becoming a bit more aware of the concept of diversity. Thank you for your great contents and affection to Korea^^

  81. pooja sharma says:

    You are looking gorgeous 😘😘😘love you and your vedios

  82. ᅵ ᅵ says:

    the Chinese tourists😂😂😂

  83. Alaijia Williams says:

    Your so pretty omg

  84. darkeagle says:

    Travelingnat, i was station in Korea with the army back in the 80s, and something i noticed is that, korean people would defecate on the street and in front of people, this happened to be ok with Korean people ???? Have you ever experienced anything like that??

  85. Euphoria says:

    I'm watching this from South Africa So i don't understand why the image of all Africans being poor is still a very big thing when there are forums and there is information to prove it wrong

  86. Euphoria says:

    the nationality thing is the same in South Africa you can belong to any ethnicity and call yourself South African because our country is very diverse and accepting

  87. uwuMakayla_ :s says:

    What I find interesting is that in the Korean music industry it is full of black influence. Our hair, our style, our dances. But they’re scared of us?

  88. Aryian Johnson Peeps says:

    I keep seeing comments from 2-3 years ago saying “they act like they’ve never seen black people before” but I think there’s a difference with seeing black people online than seeing them in person in a community with mostly Korean people

  89. Aaliyah Gray says:

    If I ever go to Korea I’m going with a group bc I have social anxiety 😩

  90. Aaliyah Gray says:

    I’m always scared to travel to the east bc I don’t wanna stick out. America is so diverse that traveling to places that aren’t diverse really makes me scared bc I hate standing out.

  91. shift bravo says:

    Here, you were considering adding one more year to your stay in Korea. Look at you now, almost 5 years down the line!!

  92. Trixie Manahan says:

    Shame about the older people. They should be a model to the younger generation instead to behaving like that.

  93. I named my car Jimin so that I can Park Jimin says:

    there goes all my chace with bts

  94. Wisdom Park says:

    This is such a well-explained video of what nationality and ethnicity are like in Korea compared to America! I love it👍😍❤️

  95. j jj says:

    Koreans. They are most racist people I ever seen for sure.  Hate to see them pretend to be a victim in other country.

  96. KHPS MN says:

    There are some racists in our country, but at least foreigners do not become victimized by hate crime assault or murder. Also, there are many of us that apologize and support for the victims of racial abuse.

  97. masoud omer says:

    I really want to know how they keeps their skin so clean and acne free

  98. Nicole Murray says:

    Girl I’m dying!!! Same thing happened to me in China. So uncomfortable, I even ended up at the main hospital’s website

  99. Janette Cardenas says:

    I think you’re beautiful! They were staring because of that! I’ve been to Japan and Germany and I always get stared at (I’m Mexican-American) and it made me feel a bit uncomfortable but my friends say it’s not always a bad thing. One of them said “it’s because you’re so pretty and they’ve never seen anyone like you” 😂 haha I didn’t believe that but everyone has different perceptions of beauty! You never know

  100. GoingBackto505 says:

    For me, its the concept of ethnicity and nacionality that is the most striking to me.

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