Wednesday, April 11, 2007

the ethnic section

i should clarify. i have to say that when i wrote this post, i forget that people who dont live in portland also read this blog.

when i said that i didnt want to give my money to people who blatantly dislike black people, i should have said specifically THOSE STORE OWNERS. any black person in PORTLAND who has ever gone to the store Living Color knows EXACTLY what i'm talking about. i SINCERELY was not saying that all koreans don't like black people.

i had to go buy hair products today. actually, the one thing i wanted was some stuff to protect my hair when i use the flat iron. it's some spray stuff. here in portland, there are a few places to shop for black hair stuff, but i always feel like i'm going out of my way to get it. like, i can't just run up to the safeway near my house and get what i need. why is that?

i mean, i know that black people only account for about 7 percent of the population in portland, but that's still a chunk of black people who need hair products. i stopped going to the korean-owned stores several years ago. they have EVERYTHING in their stores, but i absolutely refuse to give my money to them. they have no customer service skills whatsoever (and don't care to ) and they're rude. there's no way i'm giving my money to people who blatantly dislike black people. why would i want to deepen their pockets? i know lots of black people go there, but whatever. that's on them.

so usually, unless i'm near a sally's beauty store, i go to fred meyer or target. fred meyer has a teeny, tiny section labeled "ethnic". and there are about 4 or 5 things- grease, pomade, relaxers and sheen sprays. NEWSFLASH: there's more to black hair care than grease and relaxers! i guess they figure that's the only thing we do to our hair-slap some grease on it and go. there's a limited amount of shampoo and conditioner. shampoo's not such a big deal- basically soap is soap (but hey, it would be nice to have some selection), but conditioner is made different for people of color. it has more moisturizers in it.

target was even worse. they've progressively decreased their supply. maybe it's that black people aren't buying those products there and that's why they've decreased it? or maybe black people don't buy black hair product there since they only carry the "token" products. catch-22.

all i know is, it's irritating. like, as far as our hair goes we're deduced down to a fraction of a shelf? there are a gazillion black products to be sold. i know they can't carry the whole inventory like Mid-K or Living Color or Sally's but come on. it's ridiculous.


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j said...

Where I live, you kind of have no choice but to go to a korean/asain store,regardless of how you're treated.Everything from the laundry mat, the market, lottery place, hair product store, food market, the lunch and breakfast place, lol I can go on and on!It's amazing really. Kind of sucks.Some of the owners may hate us, but they sure as hell love our money lol.

Heidi said...

Those are probably the products that someone requested they carry -- maybe you should ask them to carry the spray stuff rather than seething inwardly?

Aly Cat 121 said...

Here are a couple of websites that cater to black hair types, cuz we have many. The only things is, since these products are handmade they are NOT cheap and it takes a few weeks to get them. Since I've been using them, I can't buy that junk in any store - it's pricey but worth the investment in mine and my babies hair for me.

And this site sells both black and white hair products but only for "curly" hair. They have most of the handmade products, still pricey, but a bigger variety.

Susan Henry said...


Your blog entry made me ill today that I hope your hair FRIED in your flat iron while you were straightening it!!

I am black, but I have Korean blood in me, and I'll tell you something: Korean culture is very different from American culture, and you obviously don't know Korean culture.

If the store owners are mean people - fine, they're mean people, but unless you are a mind reader, you don't know two figs if it was because you were black!

But you assumed so and took a position that perpetuates this messed up stereotype that Koreans hate black people. FUCK YOU. I (and a whole lot of other people) shouldn't exist if that is the case. Have you even BEEN to Korea? Can YOU speak Korean? Exactly WHAT do you KNOW about Koreans?

I never chimed in on this blog, but damnit, your entry made me sick to my stomach. I know you like to "tell it like it is," but your POV today was insulting. I don't think you know any Koreans socially. I'm guessing that if you had, you would NOT have made these comments.

How can you bitch about other people disparaging on you because you're black, when you do the same thing to other people's races or ethnic backgrounds?

I hope you make more effort than just assuming these people, Korean or not, hate black people. It's victim behavior, it's gross, and I'll have you know, while Koreans are not perfect as a whole population by any means, they are good, hard working people like many other cultures. If you got to know them, you wouldn't insult them like this.

Wendi Muse said...

i agree with what was said above regarding the author's comments about Koreans. during undergrad, i did a lot of research into inter-cultural relationships--romantic, business, friend-based, and political, and found that a lot of them were problematized by misunderstandings on both ends. one of the most frequent instances of problems in cross-cultural relations that i came across were with regard to asian-americans and the black community in the united states (with a special focus on coastal states like new york and california). one of best books to profile this relationship is Asian-American Dreams by Helen Zia, and I suggest you and anyone else that decided to chime in with support for the prejudice you exhibit toward Koreans. in the section on asian-american store owners and blacks, she discusses how the problems start (on both ends) and the work that is being done in some communities to ease the tension.

as a black woman, i second the previous comment in saying that i too am incredibly disturbed by the ability for so many people of color to jump to conclusions about OTHER communities of color as well as whites and not see anything wrong with that, but if you are on the receiving end of stereotypes, hatred, and discrimination, the cries and complaints are endless.

That Black Girl said...

i think my post was misunderstood. i have no problems with koreans. what i do have a problem with is two particular black beauty supply stores which happen to be run by koreans. each time i went there, i was always treated badly. and i (honestly) don't give off negative vibes. and although i should know better than to listen to generalizations , another korean i went to college with told me that they generally don't favor black people. a korean himself told me this. i truly don't mean to sound racist or offensive.

j said...

Yeah.I understand what the above posters are trying to say, especially when it comes to koreans store owners.But the reality is, there are A LOT of koreans(hell asians in general) that don't like/look down on/hate blacks.And I would have to echo what that black girl said above me.Even koreans themselves told me the same thing.Blacks are looked down on by koreans in america and especially the country itself.Lets not put on blinders here lol.And to be fair, yes, there are also A LOT of blacks that don't like koreans either.Although how that dislike came about may be different.

And I still think it sucks that there are so many asian owned stores in black areas, but barely any are owned/operated by blacks themselves.Don't take this the wrong way, I feel no ill towards asians who own stores there.Not even the ones that have poor service skills :)

Anonymous said...

After Virginia Tech, looks like Koreans hate EVERYONE!!!

Anonymous said...

It's very saddening that you choose to generalize all Koreans while you actively refuse to be generalized yourself. Isn't that hypocritical?

Having being on the receiving end of stereotype, you must understand the pain associated with being thought as a "welfare mom with 5 kids", yet you turn right around and say "there's no way I'm giving my money to people who blatantly dislike black people." Okay, so you met 2 Korean store owners and a Korean schoolmate that allegedly dislike you, and you promptly project the dislike to the WHOLE Korean population, ask yourself, do you want the rest of the world to think of you as a slut with a stinky foul mouth just because we see a few black women fitting the stereotype to a T?

And Anonymous who made the remark about Virginia Tech, it's funny how you zoom in on his ethnicity, but since he is a man, why don't you say "looks like men hate everyone!" Since he is a English-major college student, why don't you assume "looks like all English-major college students hate everyone!".
You are beyond hope.

That Black Girl said...

wow. i should clarify. i have to say that when i wrote this post, i forget that people who dont live in portland also read this blog.

when i said that i didnt want to give my money to people who blatantly dislike black people, i should have said specifically THOSE STORE OWNERS. any black person in PORTLAND who has ever gone to the store Living Color knows EXACTLY what i'm talking about. i SINCERELY was not saying that all koreans don't like black people.

Trula said...

Isn't it messed up that you even have to clarify what you mean? and why do folks always want to talk out their neck like you are refferring to ALL Koreans or ALL white people or something when you talk about racism. Gets on my nerves, I tell ya.

I agree with you on this.

Anonymous said...

I have studied Korean culture for 15 years and taught English in Seoul for 7 years. It is not unusual for Koreans to be impersonal (even rude, by Western standards) to strangers, however, when you become personal with them, you are welcomed in their home and treated like family. I have found my dealings with Koreans in America to be positive experiences, especially when I show them that I am experienced with their culture. They are always pleasantly surprised that I have visited the country and know the culture, and often I find it very easy to establish common ground even though I am a Black American from Brooklyn.

I would recommend checking out some books on Korean culture, like "Culture Shock!: Korea" -- it would be a tragedy indeed if you never had the opportunity to experience how warm and open Koreans can be.

D said...

Ummmmmm... let's see, I think when people make negative generalizations about a group of people based on race or ethnicity that's called racism or bigotry.

I dated a Korean girl, and although she was very private, I would not make the same sweeping negative conclusions you did about Koreans in general. And my cousin is married to a Korean guy, and he's just an all around great guy.

I'm not saying there are not some Koreans who are racists. There probably are. But two wrongs don't make a right.


Now, about the hair products thing. It sounds to me like there is a big opportunity in your area for a store which sells these items. Doesn't have to be huge or fancy. In other words, someone should add a couple of shelves stocking these products to an existing African-American owned business, or some enterprising African-American woman should start such a business... i.e. out of her living room, or attached to a hair salon, etc. If you see a supply and demand problem, there's money to be made in solving it, so do something about it, or suggest the idea to a friend who is enterprising like that.


Anonymous said...

Most Koreans don't like black people, especially the older ones...Older people of any ethnic immigration have stereotypical views of races from what they see in the streets, on the news, and even simply treat black people based on their skin color...

Many Korean store owners do not trust black people, but we makeup the largest percentage of their "Ming-Ling" store experience.

I think the half-Korean "experiment" up above took it personally, because she is half-Korean and perhaps has her own issues when she hears anyone say anything about Koreans--bless her heart--NOT!!

Anonymous said...

wow, TWO WHOLE Korean people you know said Koreans don't like blacks, so they must DEFINITELY speak for the entire Korean community...I don't know if you've ever been out of this country, but there are negative stereotypes by all people of all color TO all people of all colors..not just Koreans to blacks.. So get over yourself and stop trying to deepen the racial divide by dwelling on this

Anonymous said...

Look i do believe that most Koreans don't like blacks, but that is the way it is all over the world! the darker you are the more people hate you!
don't mean to sound cliche, but look at music videos and things with minorities commiting crimes and going around praising themselves for it.

Look when i was in college i was in the computer lab and a couple of black girls were sitting behind me and there was a white guy across from them. he had his cell phone plugged into the wall them moved his chair. He left his cell phone there and then the black girls said "excuse me is this your cell phone cause' you know we black and we steal shit" thats probably why races have certain feelings toward others.
Look im an African American woman who wants to travel overseas and is not afraid..I would'nt like to experience racism, but i will.
Oh and how do you think Asians feel when they come to America and are looked down on because they have not learned the language yet or how they are even portrayed on T.v.. and thats it im out....

Anonymous said...

i dont think you should make such comments about Korean people. I recently read a study that looked at interactions between black people and koreans in L.A. and basically it is just a miscommunication problem. Korean people have different ideals about what is polite and you should not just assume they hate you because you are black. They take the businesss transaction to be just that "business" not a social event.

Anonymous said...

i think u guys r all taking this too far. she repeatedly told us that she didnt mean to b offensive and i kno where shes comin from cuz ive met a few rude people in my life. before someone yells at me for being racist or whatever- not all the rude people were korean, but some were. and i dont know who runs mid-k cuz i think its just a big company but they r the best 'ethnic' hair supplier in oregon. i would die without that place...but it takes me 40 minutes to drive there and another 40 to drive back. its worth the effort but frustratin as hell. im wit her on the whole stores need to have some of these supplies for easy access...

Anonymous said...

I'm a Korean and am sorry to hear that you had bad experiences with Korean storekeepers. I do know that SOME Koreans have bad attitudes toward other ethnic groups, but most are decent. How about learning some simple Korean greetings such as Hello and see how they react? Most likely their face will lit up and will treat you like a princess. "AnNyoung HaSeYo" is Hello in Korean (I know it's mouthful)