For most South Koreans, globalization has largely meant increasing exports or going abroad to study. But now that it is also bringing an influx of foreigners into a society where 42 percent of respondents in a 2008 survey said they had never once spoken with a foreigner, South Koreans are learning to adjust — often uncomfortably.
South Korea enjoys considerable regional economic prosperity and it is an advanced industrial state. This makes it a magnet for those seeking "a better life". So South Korea has become an immigrant receiving nation in the past several years much to the chagrin of a segment of the host society.
But a recent forum to discuss proposed legislation against racial discrimination turned into a shouting match when several critics who had networked through the Internet showed up. They charged that such a law would only encourage even more migrant workers to come to South Korea, pushing native workers out of jobs and creating crime-infested slums. They also said it was too difficult to define what was racially or culturally offensive.
“Our ethnic homogeneity is a blessing,” said one of the critics, Lee Sung-bok, a bricklayer who said his job was threatened by migrant workers. “If they keep flooding in, who can guarantee our country won’t be torn apart by ethnic war as in Sri Lanka?”
It is an open secret that there is no desire amongst Asian nations to "diversify" their populations culturally or racially or otherwise. They justify this by looking at other nations like Sri Lanka, the United States, or the U.K., as examples of the disharmony "diversity" creates and the problems (what we refer to as challenges) foreigners bring to a host society. It should also be noted that "diversity" has not been integral to building the advanced industrial economies of Japan or South Korea and now China as well.
A disproportionate number of South Asian immigrants to Canada come from the Indian state of Punjab. The is the home territory of the Sikh religion. In Canada Sikhs are prone to lecture Canadians on the benefits of immigration and cultural diversity which is what makes this next story interesting. It seems what is good for Canada is not necessarily good for Punjab, at least according to the Sikh separatist group Dal Khalsa.
Describing migrants as 'population bomb', hundreds of Dal Khalsa activists displaying placards and banners marched in the interior of the city of Hoshairpur and Jalandhar to convey that the (population) bomb was ticking and that their uncontrolled influx and permanent settlement is 'unwelcome' and unacceptable' in the state.
Calling unfettered migration a "menace", the hypocritical mouthpieces of Dal Khalsa claim migrants "pollute" Sikh culture (so Sikhs in Canada "enrich" Canadian society, not pollute it?). One can only imagine the reaction of Dal Khalsa if the same terminology was used to describe an influx of Sikh migrants into a host society.
Lastly, South Africa has seen its share of race riots and if you think black vs. white then think again. Try black vs. black only in this case it's against other African immigrants who have moved to South Africa in search of a "better life". The problem is that for many black South Africans the "better life" still eludes them and a constant influx of immigrants from other parts of Africa does not make their life any easier.
There are couple of issues that unite these stories. The first is the self preservation of a host society/culture in the age of globalization. Mass immigration has the potential to alter the demographic make up of a society in all sorts of ways. That being the case does a host society have the right to protect itself and enact laws that will preserve the character of the host culture even if these laws may be construed as "racist" or xenophobic? I believe it does.
Each country has the potential to offer its uniqueness to the world. Multiculturalism is the inevitable consequence of mass immigration. Multiculturalism is also a non-identity, a fake identity if you will. The more multicultural a nation becomes the less unique it is and ironically the less multicultural the world becomes. I believe each country should control is immigration intake and be as discriminate as it needs to be to make sure immigrants complement the host society and help preserve it, not replace it.
The second issue is that immigration is a plaything of the elites no matter what country it is. They are typically sheltered from its negative economic effects, taking from it what they can to accentuate their banal existence; to go ethnic and show how cosmopolitan they are; to show how morally superior they are to the rabble. That is if they are not profiting from mass immigration outright. In short, they get all the benefits, everyone else pays the costs. Were their jobs and their lifestyles threatened I can guarantee they will be singing a different tune.